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MA Printmaking student wins summer residency at Canonteign Falls

Helen Skidmore, MA Printmaking student, has been selected for a summer residency at Devon’s Canonteign Falls, forming part of the September Devon Artist Network Open Studios event

MA Printmaking student Helen Skidmore has won a summer residency at Devon’s Canonteign Falls. Helen began her studies at Plymouth College of Art as an undergraduate in BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking in 2013 before progressing to continue her studies at Masters level in 2018. Helen is now spending her summer at the Canonteign estate, drawing, sketching and taking inspiration from the unique landscape. As part of the residency she will create a specially commissioned work that will reside permanently at Canonteign House.

Nestled on the edge of Dartmoor, Canonteign is home to one of England's highest waterfalls, plunging 70-feet through woodlands and tree ferns. The estate includes a Victorian Fern garden, bee garden, ancient orchard and wildflower meadows. Helen’s work, along with five other short-listed entrants from Plymouth College of Art, will form part of September's Devon Artist Network Open Studios event and be exhibited in Canonteign’s cafe.

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Canonteign Falls has a longstanding relationship with Plymouth College of Art, offering its summer residency exclusively to students from the College. 2021 is the first year that the competitive process to win the residency has been opened to MA students.

Dr Steven Paige, Subject Leader for Postgraduate Studies at Plymouth College of Art, said: “Opportunities such as the Canonteign Falls residency are crucial in how they can offer our Undergraduate and Postgraduate students unique opportunities to develop and create work in the world as an artist. These residencies are a rarefied and special moment to have to focus on creating new work.”

Helen Skidmore

Helen Skidmore at work

Amy Greenman, Marketing Director at Canonteign said: “This year we have seen an exceptional number of applications and we hope that our residence program and the awareness around it grows year on year. The residency is designed to offer a commercial launchpad to final-year students, within a nurturing and supportive environment.”

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Helen Skidmore, who is keeping an online diary of her time during the residency, began her work by using the immediacy of charcoal and pencils to capture the inspiring vistas. “I plan to make a series of drawings inspired by Canonteign Falls,” Helen explained, “which would lead to editioned prints, linocut and woodcut and/or a series of monoprint work. I love the movement of water, its passage through the natural environment and its transformational impact on habitat.”

Beginning in September, Helen will hold a series of walk-and-draw workshops for small groups to explore Canonteign Falls, giving others the opportunity to share, through art, Helen’s love of the natural environment. She describes place, presence, observation and perception as keywords that would underpin the workshops.

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Dr. Steven Paige, who has high praise for Helen’s work, said: “Helen has worked tirelessly to articulate the dramatic and rugged Cornish landscape in her printmaking practice. It is testament to her approach that she returns to locations to record how the landscape can seemingly be the same but also entirely different at a given moment, captured wonderfully in her drypoint prints.”

While Helen won the residency, four runner ups from undergraduate and postgraduate study at Plymouth College of Art are also exhibiting alongside Helen at Canonteign Falls, showing the work of Martine Macpherson, BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking; Phillip Battley, BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking; Charlotte Robinson, BA (Hons) Craft & Material Practices; and Nicola Westlake who is studying MA Illustration.

The Canonteign Artist Exhibition is free and runs at Canonteign Falls from 11th — 26th September 2021.