• Published on Monday, 1 December 2008
  • | Bursary reports
  • | The Natural Eye Bursary

Kate Aughey - The Natural Eye Bursary Winner 2008 Report

The SWLA bursary has been an extremely valuable experience that I continue to draw on in my artistic career. As a young artist I had never developed and structured a project proposal before and with the help of the bursary scheme guidelines I found I was able to put together a strong application

Kate Aughey

My bursary was for a project exploring folklore and its relationship with the natural world. By travelling through Finland, a country with strong folkloric tradition, I was able to research folktales within the context of the culture that produced them. The research focussed specifically on the indigenous Sami population of Finnish Lapland.

Before I embarked on my trip I made contact with galleries and arts organisations throughout Finland and received encouraging responses from several organisations. I gained an important insight into the trends and themes present in the Scandinavian art world that will allow me to pursue exhibition opportunities there in the future. I had often been told that my work had a Scandinavian Look” but I had never had the opportunity to go there until the bursary made my trip possible. Throughout the course of my bursary funded trip to Finland I learnt a great deal about my artistic practice and what is important to me as an artist. I learnt to trust my intuition and make work with the materials at hand and so was able to incorporate the atmosphere around me into the work. I found great inspiration in the wild landscapes of Lapland in particular and recently sought out similar isolation in Caithness, Scotland to continue the body of work I began in Finland.

Since my return from Finland, I have exhibited the resulting body of work twice as a solo show. This has enabled me to present my work to a wider audience and I have sold several pieces as a result. Having the SWLA bursary on my CV has provided a valuable talking point and I have been invited to contribute to group shows on the strength of my exhibition history. I was recently approached by an arts organisation, 2D 3D South, who were impressed to see that I had shown work at the prestigious Mall Galleries. They have invited me to join their collective of exhibiting artists which will provide future opportunities to show work, as well as collaborate with other artists.

The SWLA bursary has been an extremely valuable experience that I continue to draw on in my artistic career. As a young artist I had never developed and structured a project proposal before and with the help of the bursary scheme guidelines I found I was able to put together a strong application. I now have the confidence to pursue funded projects in the future and can use my SWLA proposal as a template to take forward in future projects.