Free Range


I know you won’t believe me but I think about you all the time. Ever since I got back from my trip to London I’ve wanted to tell you all about it but like a lazy lover or a neglectful friend I have frittered away my time this week; walking about the fells talking to myself and enjoying the precious Northern British heatwave. Now there’s too much to say and it won’t all fit here.

Well I’ll try my best. The main thing is that I went to Free Range Shows, in London’s Brick Lane, where Sara and her fellow UWE Illustration graduates were holding their end of year exhibition. The journey was disorientating … after 5 months of pretty much solitary confinement in a mountain barn the train felt like a roller coaster (do west coast trains lean around corners?) and there were no familiar landmarks to navigate by until the first sight of London brick that made me feel instantly at home. Can you be nostalgic for bricks?

I helped Sara set up her show in the huge Truman Brewery space, wrestling with screwdrivers, buying chips ( for her “Overfished and Chips” installation) and feeling very very proud and emotional…and hot, we were all too hot. I was lucky enough to be given a print by Frejya-Moon whose work I had admired for its themes of home, insecurity and family. I can’t say enough how impressed I was by everyone’s work. The group of 60 students had managed to put the exhibition together, met the huge costs by fundraising, organised transport, planning and publicity all with what seemed to be little or no support from tutors or the University. My pictures were’t great so I’ve borrowed the images above from this album on Facebook which shows all the work.

Sara Tillyer-Smith Illustration

Sara’s work, as you know, is about plastic pollution in the Oceans and it was wonderful to see it in real life … from detailed drawings with etched perspex overlays to the beautiful “Ghost Fish” cast in resin encasing plastic and nylon fishing gear found on beaches. So thoughtful and disturbing with a really important environmental message.

Sara Tillyer-Smith at Free Range Shows 2015

Well, it’s been 7 years since I started this blog and since my own graduate shows; I know how much work goes in to producing a final collection so right now I’m just full of admiration and pride (and a little envy as I’d love to do it all again!). Now the real hard work begins… but hopefully the creativity will continue.

Well, I like to be an owl and there’s so much more to tell you… Alexander McQueen at the V&A, returning home to discover the Ruskin Museum, coming out in hives for no apparent reason…. but I’m at work tomorrow and my book is getting to an unputdownable bit so I must say goodbye for now.


That was my attempt at scientific, methodical printing and here is a print which is now for sale in the Northern Lights Gallery. The tent is leaking magic into the mountains … or maybe its sleeping powder, night night x

Magic Tent  Blencathra Kim Tillyer

Reading:  “Any Human Heart” William Boyd  Listening To: Seth Lakeman

Graduates Websites :

2 responses to “Free Range

  1. I just knew that tent was leaking majick………the exhibition looked great and I love that name Overfished and Chips. It’s good you are busy, but that means we miss out on more mountains and bears, owls, rabbits, birds……….

  2. Oh Kim, you must be so proud! So much hard work but totally worth it. (My eldest is just contemplating applying for a foundation course next year then an art degree…so it’s great to see these fabulous end results!). I also absolutely love your print 🙂 Lastly, always remember, there’s no such thing as frittering away time by walking the fells – it’s vital activity for sanity, creativity and self-love! xx

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