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Seeing the Potential: Using Mixed Media in my Work
with Nicky Dillerstone
on 07 May 2019

Nicky Dillerstone presented her work to us this month with an impeccable sense of humour.

Based in Grimsby, Lincs, the impetus for much of her mixed media work is a love response for nature and her garden.

After spending 22 years in Community Arts she believes everyone is inherently creative and has had some of the most interesting experiences working with those with no prior knowledge of the materials.

Economy of budget and repurposing what otherwise might be thrown away, is something Nicky thrives on.

“Once seen, you can’t unsee the potential. Trash is treasure,” she says.

All of Nicky’s work is handleable and, in all of her 22 years, only once has one of her pieces been damaged. “My fault for making it too fragile,” she says. 

Assemblage, textiles and mixed media are transformed despite an abhorrence for paint, which is ‘too messy’, although glue is permitted. There’s not always a lot of stitch involved either. After an abundance of neutral, colour is at last gloriously creeping in – born instead from Markal oil sticks or powders such as eye shadows.

Ideas for found objects may take months to percolate. A set of antique cream horn tins for example are passed daily, still awaiting their fate. Some works are undone and redone also over time – a kind of artwork evolution – they move on.

She gets bored with the planning itself though, maintaining she’s a maker above everything else and inspiration often comes from the found objects themselves.

A fascination with the exotic, oriental, whimsy and magical make for some interesting pieces such as a ‘Man of the World’ with a globe for a head and a ‘Mud Skipper’ from a replicated antique stacked shoe.

Not that Nicky doesn’t take her work seriously, she just feels that real-life can leave a lot to be desired. She’s accepted that you can’t please everyone and sometimes what people want a piece of art to be, even if it differs from the intention, is enough. “Is it a shoe? A bib?” she mimics; “Try it on, see if it will fit!”

Containers are another excitable source of interest as they force the viewer to physically interact with her work, she says, “they have to peer in.”

Other standout pieces are dolls and her famous nests – found objects which undergo processes born of happy accidents and layers of mixed media otherworldliness.


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