Visual Arts in Rural Communities (VARC)

One year residency spent in Northumberland, England 2009 – 2010

Set amongst a remote hill farming community in the heart of Northumberland, I lived and worked as artist in residence for one year. This residency had a profound affect on me, not only as an artist, but as a person. I created a body of work for a solo show called ‘1,873,333 Steps – A Peripatetic Investigation’ and fell in love with nature, walking and the importance of place. I completely immersed myself in the community and landscape of Tarset. I maintained a discipline of daily walks, data-collecting, and covered over 900 miles of countryside. I asked everybody I met in this isolated place if I could photograph their feet, creating an instant way to engage, and produce a photographic series called ‘Feet That I Meet’. I created artworks in direct response to the landscape, walking, and the immediacy of living within the local hill farming community. For example, in response to the demise of traditional skills such as dry stone walling, I created a paper stone wall by stitching local newspapers together creating individual paper stones, and built  ‘The Writing on the Wall’ with the knowledge and help of local skills .

To document my experience, a documentary film was created with film maker Steve White. View the film here.  I also documented my personal journey as an artist through writing a weekly blog for one year. View the blog here.

See published catalogue –


The writing on the wall. Newspaper (Hexham Courant), cotton thread, staples, graphite, ink and PVA. Installation 9 x 3.5 x 1 ft (approximately) 2010

The Eightfold Path - Part One

Eightfold path 4

The Eight Fold Path: Part One

Graphite, shoe polish, graphite powder, graphite paste, pastels, bitumen, thread, barbed wire, staples and lamb tags
300 cm x 150 cm (approx)

Eightfold path in situ at VARC studio

On The Verge

Photographic series (selection) – Year-long series of photographs documenting the roadside verges changing throughout the seasons, whilst daily walking.


varc blog

Jilly’s Colouring-in Adventures

This is a blog that documents the personal journey of an artists residency for one year; the highs, lows, sights, sounds and development of a body of work.

Click here to visit the blog.

Other artworks created at VARC

Click on image for more details.

Walk the line
Eightfold path hanging
Heart to heart


KHN residency thumbnail

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Kimmel Harding Nelson