Jo Atherton, 13 – 27 July 2019

I was lucky enough to have been granted a Bursary. (See the Brisons Veor News page) I had a number of projects and ambitions which I was delighted to be able to fulfill during the two weeks at Cape Cornwall.

In between applying to Brisons Veor and being informed that my proposal was successful, I discovered that I was pregnant so I had to make some revisions to my original plan of work. I was very thankful to the Trust for the opportunity to make these revisions and still be offered the chance for a residency, despite having to amend my original project.

For the past 18 months, I have been working with cyanotype, a primitive photography technique to explore patterns and design via my collection of plastic found objects gathered on the Cornish coast. Many of the everyday items found on our coastlines will inevitably become material ghosts, speaking at a time when fossil fuels and plastics were so abundant in our daily lives. By incorporating them into my designs, these bold images present an uncanny reflection of ourselves, harnessing solar energy to produce haunting yet familiar remnants of our material culture. The technique itself, which relies on the sun’s power to create these striking images on light sensitive paper references the energy upon which we all depend.


My time at Brisons Veor enabled me to scale up my work and experiment with different materials, techniques and patterns, something I have not had the time or space to do at home. I was delighted with the results I achieved, and even when things did not go to plan, I felt it was a great opportunity to learn more about this primitive photography process and establish exactly why the technique did not work as expected. I returned home, not just with over a hundred pieces of work, but also an increased knowledge of the technique.

I am working with an interior design company to create two high end wallpaper designs
I am also working towards a solo exhibition, hopefully in 2020, although with a baby due in October, I am aware that the timescales of this may be subject to change!

I will be writing about my residency and reflecting on the experience of engaging schoolchildren in my creative practice to explore the ocean plastics problem. With my own creative practice so bound up in the coastal environment, I was especially interested to speak to young people from a coastal community and see how relevant it was to their sense of identity, and also explore their feelings around ocean plastics.