Lancashire Hotpot

My latest artwork is inspired by a winter special and a crowdpleaser in my childhood home – Lancashire Hotpot.

My mum had a menu that changed and rotated with each season. When the nights started to draw in hotpot was added to the mix. She made it in a deep glazed stoneware pot in the shape of a plant pot – a pot I now cherish in my own home.

Work in progress
Work in progress

Mum cooked it low and slow then took the lid off in the final 20 mins of cooking to brown up the top layer of sliced spuds. She dished it up with a jar of pickled red cabbage, fresh vegetables from dad’s allotment and a bread plate for mopping up the gravy.

Lancashire Hotpot
Lancashire Hotpot

Recipe for Lancashire Hotpot 

It’s the sort of meal you can pop into a low slow oven and forget about it. If your lucky the spuds will catch and caramelise on the top edge of the dish and taste wonderful. There are lots of recipes on the internet, but this is the recipe I remember at home.

  • Sliced spuds
  • Sliced onions
  • Stewing meat like lamb neck end
  • Stock
  1. Put a layer of spuds in a deep oven proof dish.
  2. Add a layer of meat and a layer of onion.
  3. Repeat layers of spuds, meat and onion. Season well.
  4. Finish with a layer of spuds.
  5. Pour over stock. Cover with a pleated greased paper or a lid.
  6. Cook in low oven for 2 hours, 350’f.

“Tasty with homemade stock, Mum used the saved onion water from making cheese and onion pie, there aren’t any carrots in it, remove the lid and brown the spuds on the top, eat with pickled red cabbage.”

For extra flavour add a bouquet garni and bay leaf to the layers, and add strips of bacon to the top.

Detail - Lancashire Hotpot
Detail – Lancashire Hotpot

Size 11 x 23cm, hand embroidered with vintage Sylko threads onto cotton cloth.

Reverse of the work
Reverse of the work

This piece is part of a collection of work based on Lancashire food.

Fremantle Biennale 2023

Fremantle Biennale 2024

In August of 2023 I received an email from an Australia based sound artist called Rebecca Riggs-Bennett asking for assistance on a project she was working on with her mum Rachel Riggs for the Fremantle Biennale 2023.

Both Rebecca and Rachel are Lancashire born and bred and moved to Western Australia in 2010. Rachel had completed her masters in fine art at UCLan, predominantly focusing on research into Horrockses textile industry and cotton mills. Their new project together planned to look at another part of Lancashire’s history – the Lancashire Cotton Famine and the deportation of Lancashire women to Walyalup (Fremantle), Australia in 1863.

They’d seen a video I’d created about Helmshore cotton mill in Lancashire and asked if I could assist them with some original recordings of the sounds of the machines. It was an honour to assist them and these sounds are now layered into an audio visual artwork they created for the Fremantle Biennale 2023 called ‘So Once You Were Here They Had You’ .

Fremantle Biennale 2024
Fremantle Biennale 2024

‘SO ONCE YOU WERE HERE THEY HAD YOU’

The beautifully produced project can be viewed here on YouTube.

Close to the submerged remnants of the Fremantle Long Jetty, an immersive re-telling of arrival and separation will unfold.

‘So once you were here they had you’ is an experiential audio-visual poem to the 50 young cotton-weaver women who arrived on the shores of Walyalup, journeying by ship from Lancashire over 110 days and nights in 1863. Created by electronic music composer Rebecca Riggs-Bennett and video artist Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson, this work takes place across Bathers Beach, re-tracing the steps of the women and the many others of the “Bride Ship” era.

So once you were here they had you is a reflective honouring of the time swept experiences of these women. Cross with us into an immersive, at times ghostly, real and imagined narrative of migration, loss and departure. – R. Riggs.

A promotional image for 'So Once You Were Here They Had You' // credit Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson
A promotional image for ‘So Once You Were Here They Had You’ // credit Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson

Original research, dramaturgy & collaboration: Rachel Riggs
Animator: Jarrad Russell
Dramaturgy & Co-Designer: Rachel Riggs
Narration: Angeliki Georga & Phoebe Georga
Featuring poetry of the Lancashire cotton famine (1861-1865) by University of Exeter and audio recordings by Catherine Hill and Helmshore Mill.

For further information on the project please visit Rebecca’s website.

Comme Ca Art x AWOL Studios 2024 Open 

Comme Ca Art x AWOL Studios 2024 Open 

I’m pleased to announce that the Giant Cauliflower Harvest  has been jury selected for the Comme Ca Art x AWOL Studios 2024 Open exhibition. I’ll be one of 22 artists showing work in the exhibition.

The exhibition takes place Friday 17th May – Saturday 22nd June 2024 at AWOL Studios, 5th Floor, Hope Mill, Pollard Street, Manchester M4 7JA. During the exhibition people can view by appointment, Wednesday & Thursday 11am – 4pm and on Saturdays from 11am – 2pm.

Giant Cauliflower Harvest part of Comme Ca Art x AWOL Studios 2024 Open 
Giant Cauliflower Harvest part of Comme Ca Art x AWOL Studios 2024 Open 
Giant Cauliflower Harvest - detail
Giant Cauliflower Harvest – detail

The judging panel included:

Short Supply: Acclaimed artist-led organisation based in the North West of England that creates opportunities for emerging artists

Sean Williams: Sheffield based Artist, Curator & member of the Contemporary British Painting group.

Ceri Morgan: Award winning interior & exterior designer based in the North West.

Comme Ca Art x AWOL Studios

Hope Mill , Manchester - home to AWOL Studios
Hope Mill , Manchester – home to AWOL Studios

“Our home is Hope Mill, a beautiful grade II listed building built in 1824 as a cotton spinning and fustian weaving mill for Joseph Clarke & Sons. Over the next 177 years it has had many other guises, from engineering works to dog bed factory, gradually and gracefully falling into decline and disrepair until it was rescued by Hope Mill Partnership in 2001. With AWOL being the first business to lay down its artistic roots in Hope Mill in 2007 it has become one of the most important centres for the arts in Manchester, allowing for a natural regeneration of this important historic building and attracting a myriad of other creative businesses.” AWOL Studios, located in the heart of Ancoats, Manchester.

I’m delighted to be showing work again in a Manchester Open Exhibition.

Update – Exhibition Preview Evening

The preview evening event took place on one of the most beautiful evenings we’ve had recently. I was thrilled to discover that over 200 artists applied and I was one 22 artists selected.

Comme Ca Art x AWOL Studios 2024 Open 
Comme Ca Art x AWOL Studios 2024 Open 

The event was busy and the winning artists were announced – Overall winner Emma Lloyd and runner up (and fellow textile artist) Laura Nathan.

Congratulations to all the fabulous artists and to Comme Ca Art and AWOL Studios for curating a stunning exhibition.