Tamsin Abbott completed a degree in English literature at Stirling University (1985 -1989) where she specialised in medieval literature. Her love of the language and stories of medieval literature was enhanced by the fact that much of the research material she was reading was illustrated with paintings and simple woodcuts of the period.
After leaving university Tamsin moved to Herefordshire and returned to college to complete a foundation year in art at Gloucester College of Art and Technology where she discovered the highly influential work of the Brotherhood of Ruralists. In 1999 she began an evening class in stained glass at Hereford College of Art and Design and soon gained an OCN in the craft but continued the course for a total of four years.
Tamsin works from her studio in the Herefordshire countryside where the orchards, the hills, the woods and all the plants, birds and animals influence her work. She says ” When I painted my first hare a few years ago I had no idea of the connection I was making and the relationship I was forming! So many people are drawn to the it and I am often asked why so much of my work is about them. I think it could be because the hare embodies all those aspects of nature that we want to believe in, that it is wild, clever, bold and free. However, the hare has also long been associated with many myths and folklore, witchcraft and shape-shifters and in a way represents the female spirit of nature just as the green man represents the male energy of nature. I think that we all have a need or desire for a spiritual connection and yet we have become alienated from the major religions of the world and somehow the hare sparks something off in peoples’ minds.”
Thanks to Spangleann, ledburyportal, oriel myrddin gallery and auzmosis for some of these images.
Tamsin talks about her influences. ” I am also drawn to the world of myths, fairytales and our ancient connections to the landscape. This is to me the invisible tapestry that weaves and links us to our rural ancestry. I have often referred to this as our hidden memories but from the enthusiasm I meet when showing my work I now realise that it is as real for others as it is for me. This melting pot of influences is, to me, the magic of our existence, and when working I try to imbue even the smallest of pieces with a sense of this.My final source of inspiration comes from the glass itself. This is a material with alchemical qualities and mystery of its own being neither a solid nor a liquid as we would normally understand them. It is produced from fairly base materials which are finely crafted whilst molten, and the final product is clear yet solid, bright-shining but coloured like the rainbow. It is a material that has been used in different forms for celebratory, spiritual and magical purposes since it was first discovered over a thousand years ago.”
These are almost stories in themselves, or indeed snippets of folk tales about the countryside and the nature that lives there. Do visit Tamsin’s site and find out more about how she creates these beautiful pieces here.