Markmakers-artists: Halton`s contemporary arts collective...

Markmakers is a collective of practicing artists, working in and around the borough of Halton, in England’s North West, who have been exhibiting and working together since 2002. Meeting monthly for network opportunities and to discuss future developments in their artwork, the group also lead workshops and promote the visual arts.


Working in a wide variety of fields, including drawing, print, painting, sculpture, textiles and installation, the artists have developed two exhibitions together; All in a Day’s Work, which received funding from Arts Council England, and was on show at the Brindley arts centre, Runcorn in spring 2005, and 2008’s Tidal, shown at the same venue and at Liverpool’s Albert Dock, Castle Park Arts Centre, Frodsham and Birkenhead Park.

They are currently working on the theme of narratives and will be exhibiting at the Brindley in May 2012 with a show entitled There is something disconcerting about a dead zebra...

Members of the group have exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally with artists involved in national touring exhibitions and international residencies and have won a number of prizes including open art competitions, regional cultural awards and all continue to explore ideas and ways of making work in a contemporary context.

Originally the group formed from a previous collective and began to develop with the support of Halton’s visual arts development officer Louise Hesketh, who continues to support Markmakers as part of her remit in developing the visual arts in the borough.


Val Jackson...

My work is a study of the function of clothes and accessories in memory. These things are visual evidence of where and what we are in life at any given time. I use free-machine embroidery to produce interesting and varied surfaces. My work is devised from multiple layers of distressed and recycled silk, interspersed with fragments of metallic gauzes and tissues, scraps of gold net, and pieces from my collection of fabrics from different eras in my life. I utilise controlled wear and distressing to reveal glimpses of this variety of colours, patterns, and texture, and to mirror the wear which blurs and alters our perceptions of the past. Use of sketching and the study of garments from a range of times are important to my work.

 Amanda Oliphant...

Amanda's initial response to presenting art has been to investigate associated materials, to research a site, to manipulate and change objects into newly created forms of enquiry. This has created the fundamental background to her practice. To understand cultural ecology is to understand relationships between people and place, there is never one without the other. It is Amanda's desire to further investigate relationships between man and nature that allows us to distinguish our own sense of place, therefore exposing more about ourselves and connecting us to place through layers of significance. Like many artists, Amanda works within a range of appropriate disciplines and amongst different supporting networks, but it is the physical act of making that remains a strong element within her practice. Workshops not only support Amanda's practice but allow for further in-depth investigation and exploration of ideas, including international exchanges and continued research into environmental projects.

 Susan Meyerhoff Sharples...

An international visual artist, based in North West England, UK, Fellow of Wirral Art School and a Batchelor of Arts with honours. Exhibitions, commissions, collections include: America, Canada, Spain, Austria, Israel, Croatia, Montenegro, Eire and UK.

Predominately a sculptor, my work is concerned with evolutionary processes, provocative defence systems and the primal instinct for survival achieved via diversity, adaptation and mutation. Recent work explores ethnology and the evolution of multiculturalism from its most primitive origins to modern manifestations. It embodies the concept that we share the same human family, are interdependent and no longer live in relative isolation continuing our own traditions, but in an interconnected contemporary world that reflects a world-wide cultural diffusion.


 Jeni McConnell...

Jeni McConnell is a North-West based artist who is hooked into engaging with places and people.

Delving into collections and archives that document the history of passing time in a place, she is intrigued by how we as individuals and groups respond. She often uses objects and archives as the trigger for conversation, both for her own creative responses, and for those she engages with. Jeni’s creative works are conceptual and delve into the personal and emotional connections we have as people experiencing place over time, thus communication, language, history, archives, stories and personal tales all become part of an interwoven practice with people.

She works with physical materials, found objects, books, archives, sound and image to encourage people to question the past and present, visible and hidden around them.

 Owen Anthony Jones...

I taught Art & Design at Secondary school level and was Head of a Creative Arts Faculty. I have now retired and am developing my own visual imagery based on Mixed Media and Printmaking. I am presently involved with research with the University of Liverpool into laser cutting plates for etching. I work from my own studio and at the Regional Print centre, Yale College, Wrexham. My work is based on the landscape around where I live on the border between England & Wales which I explore using my recumbent trike. I am also a fully qualified Shiatsu therapist.


Jacqui Chapman...B.A. (Hons) Fine art

Coastlines are often the subject of Jacqui’s abstract landscapes where she focuses on the sensation of places remembered from her homeland, South Africa. She has developed a metaphorical painterly language where the process of remembering is transferred. Mixing opposites of oil and water creates surface tension with restless compositional movement suggesting that memory is unreliable and constantly changing. She immerses herself in this process finding an inner connection and often remembering a sense of smell which triggers a memory. Her work explores the relationship in us between identity and territory and demonstrates that they are integral to what we are.More recently, British landscapes are filtering into her consciousness offering a new point of reference.

Jacqui exhibits widely in the North West of England,nationally and internationally recently exhibiting in the Florence Biennial 2011 where she co-founded a global artists collective, MOSAIC, currently on an international tour including, Australia, USA, Ecuador and the UK.

Claire Weetman...

Claire is based in the North West of England, she exhibits regionally, nationally and internationally and often works in the public realm, engaging the public and involving their actions in the production of her work. Claire's work focuses on movement and issues around space - using line, sound, drawings and objects to document the passage of people in their everyday lives.


Sharon Lelonek…

Art has always been significant throughout my life; I may not always conform or respond to art in ways other people challenge me to. Art allows me to respond to my feelings expressed at that moment at that time in my life. My inspiration comes from passing carriage’ transporting materials; it is the way the materials are gathered forming geometrical patterns and substance. I wonder where it is going, what it will be, how it will look, what will become of it, and how will the public respond to it once it’s complete and finished its journey. Also am inspired by rotating and moving parts of machinery, and steel bridges appeal to me, it’s the perception of space and interlacing lines as you pass through. My artwork is a reflection as to where I am at the present time, it’s also about the journey of the materials I use, the process and progression of the materials and the finish structure or installation will be. To end, it’s how the people view and interact within the space of my artwork.

 Carys Anne Hughes...

Maria Tarn...

A lifetime passion for art and crafts in Education motivated me to turn my hobby into a commercial activity. I gained an MA in Education and professional Development at MMU in 2000.

Since completing my City and Guilds Qualification in Textiles, Design and Embroidery, I have worked with the TX Group of artists in Frodsham, Cheshire, developing skills in the creative use of free style machine embroidery techniques. I joined the Markmakers group in 2009.

Initially my photographs or sketches of places visited are interpreted to form the basis of a range of textile work which I have successfully displayed in local galleries over the last five years.

If an image can be drawn or captured digitally it can be interpreted using the sewing machine as drawing tool on canvas. I use digital images transferred onto fabrics and photo collage as backgrounds in my pictures.

Working in these digitally enhanced images and textiles offers opportunities to bring together the rich diversity of texture, colour, depth and energy inherent in textiles. My materials are usually canvas, papers, ribbons, braids, sheers and a range of machine sewing threads.

When not actively engaged in my own textile work I am able to offer workshops to support others in their pursuits and hobbies. Workshops presented by myself on art techniques were well received at the Cheshire WestDeputy Head and Head teachers’ Conferences. The staff in a local nursery were very interested in developing art skills with young children in preparation for Christmas based on my workshop.

In 2012 I will be delivering workshops on design development and textiles at Reaseheath College for the summer Downtime courses.

 Fiona Philipps, BA (Hons) Fine Art

Fiona’s most recent exhibition “First to Last Breath,” was a culmination of work created during her fellowship at Wirral Art School, and was based on continuous research into the human body. It is an exploration of structures, cellular systems, and processes that take place throughout our lifetime. She works from greatly magnified images and then increases them to an even larger scale. She says: “I never cease to be amazed by the incredible complexity of the human form, and the body’s abilities to keep a fine balance within.

She works in many different materials, including wire, clay, paper, and paint. Her work is also inspired by investigations into the natural world.

Allison John. 2013

I am a Printmaker based in the North West of England. My work includes many different aspects of Printmaking, including Linocut, Woodcut, Rhenalon Etching, Monoprint and Collograph.

I am interested in how even the smallest events in our lives have significance and consequences, for as Michael Cunningham says

" There are no insignificant people, objects or events, only insufficient ways of looking at them" *

What we are is shaped by the day-to-day small things that create the world within which we live. Everyone's experiences and memories are different and this makes each one of us unique. This current work explores through Collograph and Encaustic, the daily world within which I live. Those spaces, both physical and psychological, that I occupy and which have an influence on the way I see and experience things. They are not just about the physicality of spaces, people, or the events themselves, but about the way they impact on me, both visually and emotionally. These ideas are combined within the prints with images of the natural world, emphasising my place within the order of things, within the 'bigger picture' and the significance that this has for me.

*Michael Cunningham. Specimen Days. 2005. publ. Harper Perennia

 Jennifer Kenworthy

I graduated in 2010 with a BA (Hons) in Embroidery from the Manchester School of Art. My work is an exploration into the colour and form found in nature. I am fascinated by the changing landscapes of my surroundings, both in England and more recently Belgium and aim to capture these changes through a range of expressive marks. 

I am interested in investigating the weight of the stitched line in relation to the varying tones and depths expressed through drawing. Imaginatively exploring traditional techniques of hand-embroidery. Print and appliqué, my work intends to convey the idea of contrast. This contrast is explored through considering the different linear qualities that working in each of these mediums provide. My practice is attempting to capture fleeting moments in time that are suggestive interpretations of the rural and evocative landscape rather than a representational depiction.

I hold a keen interest in the use of participatory art and more specifically how it can be used as a tool within the local community to engage directly, individual’s of all ages in the creative process. I offer practical workshops for adults and children that creatively explore a range of disciplines and provide an exciting take on traditional techniques.


the Brindley High Street, Runcorn, Cheshire | 01519063737


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