Kat Blockley: A Common Treasury


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Applewood, 2 End Cottages Talaton Exeter
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There are 5 steps up to the garden that leads to the studio. Visitors who need to stay on the flat can visit the kitchen to view work and meet Kat there.
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Extended Bio
Artist Statement Using stitch, paint, print and song, Kat archives the interface of tradition and modernity in everyday life. How do we, consciously or unconsciously, situate and ground ourselves between old and new, past, present and future as we narrate our own life stories and model our surroundings in a rapidly changing world? What do we borrow from history, heritage, craft and memory? What do we discard, and what do we adapt? Kat’s fascination with social narrative and the ways the ephemeral and eternal intermingle leads her to document the complexity of human culture across artforms. Kat’s practice begins with the serendipitous collecting of news cuttings, photographs, prints and drawings. The collection and archiving of seemingly random items in her shoebox files is fuelled by Kat’s engagement with community, tradition, memory and nostalgia. Subjectively cataloguing both the familiar and idiosyncratic Kat mines her collection to make new stitchwork pieces, paintings, songs and illustrations under the title A Common Treasury. Images and texts are selected based on criteria including formal qualities, historical reference, emotional content and community concerns both serious and seemingly frivolous. The range of material archived in the shoebox files spans personal and political aspects of cultural identity. Collected items are often organised as typological variations; the files adapt to archive cultural shifts that bring new concerns and approaches to the communities served by local newspapers from food banks to changes in weather and gender roles. Kat is interested in how we present ourselves and how subject matter may have been treated differently in the past or elsewhere than it is here and now. These files become a fertile ground for the creation of new artworks and songs that emerge directly from the archive to take their place within the Common Treasury. Viewers regularly recognise something of themselves and consider the viewpoints of others in works from Kat’s Common Treasury. Through elevating the ordinary and overlooked and drawing viewers’ attention to their complexities, Kat’s invitation is to embrace the broader spectrum of humanity through noticing and considering the finer details whilst acknowledging the absurd and appreciating the whimsical. The domestic scale of the works encourages an intimate experience; exploring the vitality of line, colour, image and text gives viewers the space to look below the surface to consider how we celebrate and question life and what humour, incongruence, hypocrisy, and self-deprecation might coexist in our representations of ourselves. Drawing viewers in to explore reminders of cultural shifts can be both comfortable and uneasy, Kat is asking us to take a closer look and consider where the thresholds lie between what we venerate, criticise and ridicule. As we wonder at human diversity and similarity, expectations of gender, age and place we can ask Is this serious or funny? Is this consigned to our past, or does it reflect how we operate here and now? Should it be this way? This acknowledging of threads of continuity through conversation between old and new and the discovery of the exceptional in the everyday invites viewers to wonder, connect, critique, and smile in recognition as they are beguiled by vignettes from life. As an experienced teacher, Kat is a highly effective communicator of ideas and artistic skills. Kat works with people of all ages to build enthusiasm, knowledge, skill and confidence within the realms of art and craft. Biography Kat spent her childhood in North Cornwall and after completing her secondary education she moved to Falmouth to study Art & Design Foundation Studies. From Falmouth Kat studied as a direct entry student to the second year of the Drawing & Painting degree course at Edinburgh College of Art. Drawn to creating figurative works that suggest narrative, Kat developed her observational and expressive technical expertise working in oil paint, drawing, and printmaking. It was during her degree studies that Kat created the shoebox files to archive and organise her growing collection of clips from local newspapers and other print media. This archive has grown over the years and some of this imagery is available online as A Common Treasury along with artworks it inspires. From Edinburgh, Kat moved to study at the University of Exeter for the PGCE to teach Art & Design in secondary schools. Following qualification, Kat taught English in China at a summer school before taking up a post as Art and Photography teacher at Chenderit School in Middleton Cheney north of Banbury. Whilst teaching at Chenderit, Kat worked with students on a range of extra curricular arts projects including intergenerational and participatory projects and completed her MA in Education part time. In 2015 Kat returned to the West Country to teach at Honiton Community College and lead the CreATE faculty there. At this time, Kat reconnected with folk music and dance and this led to her realisation that writing and performing her own songs and interpreting and arranging traditional song were both a possibility and a natural addition to the Common Treasury. Kat continues to live in East Devon and teach Art and Textiles part time in schools as well as tutoring adult art classes.
Explore Kat’s working process including her shoebox files that archive the interface of tradition and modernity in everyday life. These files are a fertile ground for the creation of artworks and songs that emerge from the archive to take their place within Kat’s Common Treasury. Kat shares a range of work using stitch, print, illustration and paint.


The last cream coloured house on the way out of Talaton towards Clyst Hydon. Applewood is opposite the thatched 'Lees Farm'.
On road. Parking available at the church (short walk) if required.
What Three Words
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