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13 November 2014

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You are in: Devon > Arts and Culture > Arts Features > Artistic fields

Sue Peach with sheep (photo by Jennie Hayes)

Sue Peach feeds the sheep

Artistic fields

Women artists join women in farming to create new artistic fields. Over four seasons, six artists and three Dartmoor hill farmers draw on their experiences of farming, photography and finding focus on the farm.

Women in Farming
High Moorland Visitor Centre,
Until 19 November 2008

Women, wellies and a willingness to learn has created new art work on Dartmoor's hillsides. Six artists and three hill farmers have been working together in fields and farmyards to record the changing landscape and lifestyles of Devon's farming women. 

Three female hill farmers - Sue Peach at Drywell Farm, Juliette Rich at Wingstone Farm and Mary Lou North at Batworthy Farm, Chagford, welcomed artists into their farmhouses and onto their land.

The artists were also all women - Louise Evans and Jennie Hayes at Drywell, Tot Foster and Maddy Pethick at Wingstone Farm and Penny Klepuszewska and Anthea Nicholson at Batworthy.

Photographer Jennie Hayes and farmer Sue Peach

Photography meets farming at the gate

Working in pairs at each farm, the artists recorded four seasons of the farming year. Their work includes photographs, textiles, books, sculpture and drawings.

The project is the inspiration of Dartmoor based community arts organisation, Aune Head Arts. Nancy Sinclair, the project's director, said: "We provide opportunities for local, regional and national artists to work in rural contexts, particularly on Dartmoor.

"Women in Farming was about enabling women artists and women farmers to work creatively together."

The artists followed and recorded the lives of the farmers for over a year.

Photographs capture the smoke of swaling near Widecombe, and treating, shearing and moving ewes near Chagford.

Jewellery recreates sheep ear tags awarded to 'good mother sheep' and embroidered textiles express the farming roles of landowner, horsewoman, shepherdess and supplier of meat.

Sue Peach's farm has been in her family for generations but this was the first art project based at Drywell.

wellies and camera outside farm buildings

Farming and focus

"Why did I think artiness and practicality mutually exclusive? When you look at the art work created you begin to see that a practical farmer and an artist aren't as far apart as you think.

"I've enjoyed looking at my life in a slightly different way."

Jennie Hayes, the photographer who worked at Drywell, took more than 4,000 images.

"It's been such an extraordinary experience.

"I've learned a lot about farming and a lot about farming on Dartmoor, and the economics and difficulties of farming, how it's changed over the generations. That's been an important part of my learning."

You can listen to BBC Radio Devon's Jo Loosemore's interviews with Jennie Hayes and Sue Peach by clicking onto the audio links.

last updated: 09/10/2008 at 09:47
created: 04/03/2008

You are in: Devon > Arts and Culture > Arts Features > Artistic fields

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