Kay Mullenger

I’m inspired by the natural world and the way the elements change and shape our environment - from the play of light on wet river-bed mud to the way the sea shapes our ever-changing coast.  I’m always finding something interesting or inspiring to add to the growing archive of photographs that form part of my visual research.

Working mostly in 3D mixed media, I seek a connection with the viewer: my most recent body of work relates to the stages of grief and includes interactive sensors.  Other works include a multi-panel study of the power of the sea’s effect on partly submerged, periodically re-emerging Dutch groynes on the Norfolk coast.

Materials such as wood, sawdust, paper pulp and rusty nails are just some that I’ve recently used, alongside stitch and textile.  Free-machine embroidery is a favourite technique, but as my current work is still developing at the time of writing this, I’m feeling excited to explore what materials and methods I’ll use to bring the next body of work to life.

Bridging the Gap

My work for Bridging the Gap is inspired by Brigid, a figure who seems to transcend time.  In the year of my writing this the Irish government made Imbolc (1st February 2023; the marking of the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox) a national holiday in her honour.  Whether Brigid is thought of as a pagan deity who was a healer and a mystic, or the Saint Brigid that Christianity adopted in her wake, she is an enduring figure that bridges the gap between the Christian and pagan worlds.

The materials I’m using include fallen wood – oak and holly - which I am working into a structure, with ancient weaving methods and fibres to bring the structure together.

I choose to interpret Bridging the Gap as being about connection between humans and nature as well as about people with each other.  I feel that the way we communicate with each other has a huge influence on how well and how deeply we connect with one another, and as we inhabit an increasingly technologically-governed world, I believe we are in danger of losing the ability to really connect on a human level and to explore what it is to be human, with all our gifts, joys, sorrows and flaws.  This need for connection is a major driver for me for making art, and is especially present in my work for Bridging the Gap.