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joanne austin

Joanne works with video installation, performance and sound. She is interested in creating a disorientating experience for the viewer, in order to provoke irrationality and imagination as an antidote to conformity and restriction and promote creativity as a means of freedom for the individual. Her main inspiration is the repetitive nature of suburbia, but she has also worked in a variety of site specific locations. The inspiration for the Luton Hoo Walled Garden project is a newspaper article dated 23rd January 1772 which states that at 1:30am the moon descended on Luton Hoo! The response will be a surreal video shot on site and shown as an installation with sound in the Boiler House.

caryl beach

mary down

“For me, photography has become an obsession.

“Much of my art practice has been concerned with the exploration of gaps,omissions and silences.”

Caryl’s work focuses on observing and recording the smallest insignificant details that emanate from shadows and refraction of the sunlight. Images of neglected and once abandoned buildings, traces of the layers of history that echo a universal theme of transience, absence and presence. Her investigation at the walled garden has led her into a micro world that requires close inspection and a magnification process in order to record the finest minutiae.

Intrigued by the long and distinguished history of the walled garden, Mary‘s work has been exploring evidence of discontinuities and dissonances. Her work refers to the period during the 1940's when Luton Hoo Estate was a training centre for members of the Women’s Land Army. This installation and sound piece encourages the viewer to engage creatively in constructing, for themselves, an imaginative narrative.

During the past seven years, I have documented my experiences which have evolved into a visual diary, a journal, which records and reflects my everyday journeys, noting the detail, often over looked, in the hustle of our daily routine”.

The resultant images lack external reference, which is intentional and imparts in them an ambiguous and enigmatic quality, which attempts to evoke a state of contemplation.

Previous exhibition venues include Inverness Art Gallery, Canterbury Art Gallery, Herne Bay Art Gallery, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, Rugby Art Gallery, Quay Art Isle of Wight, Davies Memorial Gallery Newport Powys and the University of Hertfordshire. .

“The environment decays and transforms. There is a chaotic rawness, as time and memory of place is absorbed. The Luton Hoo Walled Garden glasshouses, walls and outbuildings are marked by time and the environment, which makes the site pertinent to my practice. The Mackenzie and Moncur conservatory was an amazing symmetrical testament at the time it was built. However, nature has removed the roundels in the grids of the windows as the lead has decayed through time. Plants, weeds and algae have made their own marks and wind around and throughout the fabric of the building trying to undo the man-made grid and uniformity.”

‘Curse or Cure’ is a ceramic installation, which brings the apothecary to the unconventional location of the walled garden. It illustrates the 18th Century entwined practices of folkloric medicine and witchcraft, highlighting the powerful use of plants other than for decorative or culinary purposes.

veronica grassi

nici ruggiero

Through abstract form and restrictive mark-making, Veronica Grassi fabricates three-dimensional drawings. Her work continually experiments with simple, everyday materials to capture a poetic quality, evoking memories and narratives for the viewer. The shape of the form and surface qualities are altered through rust, gravity, collapse and deterioration exploiting the organic, random pattern, of fractals and chaos. Veronica selects her materials, such as stitch, soluble film and non-traditional textile materials for their “ephemeral and transient qualities” Recent exhibition venues include: Rebirth, 18/21 Gallery, Norwich (2010); Arts Depot, London (2010); Elements: ‘Man and the Environment’, The Forum, Norwich (2010; In 2009, she was awarded the Hatfield House Sculpture prize.

Nici Ruggiero has been exhibiting and selling her ceramic work extensively throughout the UK since graduating in 2007, with a First Class Honours degree in Applied Arts.She has been selected to show at prestigious events including the launch of the British Ceramics Biennial and New Designers ‘One Year On’ showcase. She demonstrated her skills at the ‘Ceramica’ event marking the opening of the new ceramics department at the Victoria and Albert Museum 2009, and has also presented her Arts Council funded project ‘Keep off the Grass’ to the Members of the Society of Designer Craftsmen. Nici won ‘Best Piece from a Welwyn Hatfield Artist’ prize at the UH Galleries Open Exhibition 2009.

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suzanne page

Suzanne’s practice considers the role of language in our everyday life, the significance and the impact of our words.

Using a range of media, she works to scrutinise the content of what has been said or written, allowing for a reexamination and potentially reinterpretation. Her focus of interest and research has been in looking at Lord Bute’s relationship with George III, who appointed Bute as Prime Minister (1762–1763). “I have recreated a letter written by Bute to George III, towards the end of their long friendship in the likeness of the carnation that Bute, an accomplished botanist, cultivated at the estate”. The piece reflects the fragile nature of our relationships and the repetitious quality of the work echoes the nature of the written word, with the letter having been reread and reinterpreted over the decades.

abi spendlove Since graduating in 2008 from Central Saint Martins, Abi has been exhibiting regularly in London and across the UK, achieving commercial success and critical acclaim. Abi’s work is concept driven and is often poetic, encouraging the viewer to find new meanings in the work through their interpretations of its subject matter. She works with a variety of materials; from ice and smoke, through to intricate embroidery and drawings. Abi’s research at the Luton Hoo Walled Garden has centred on the life of Lord Bute. She has used drawing and collages of roots to create maps and diagrams that refer to events in Bute’s life and the places where he lived (his roots). She invites the viewer to look closely as they navigate their way through a landscape of history and memory. For more information, please visit

sally tyrie Since first visiting the garden in 2009, Sally’s research has focused on the incidental, often subconscious, traces left behind by the various occupants of the garden. In particular it is the more subtle, often overlooked, evidence of human occupation and involvement within the space that has been of primary concern. Her 3D drawings, placed around the site, juxtapose written sources from the garden’s history and Lord Bute’s contribution, with more incidental traces, as a way of mapping out the history and occupation of the garden. Sally uses mono print drawing, sometimes combined with additional media to explore layering and juxtaposing abstracted interpretations of collected imagery. Her work is informed by a desire to express a sense of fragility and transience. She is a member of the Digswell Arts Trust Printmaking group and has participated in a number of regional exhibitions since graduating from the University of Hertfordshire in 2008 with an MA in Fine and Applied Arts.

chris wilmott Since discovering the Walled Garden in 2008, Chris has been keen to respond to the heritage and scale of the site and, in so doing, challenge his work’s assumptions. After responding to these challenges in 2009, by exhibiting a series of wall sculptures along the garden’s walls, Chris has said that “further questions arose, other practice presumptions being identified”. His ‘artistic journey’ in 2009 and 2010 has led him to the exploration of the visual language of ‘holes’ . “ I fill holes when making small, one–off, lightweight, iron castings attaining shallow plane designs involving holes. Also, moths make holes and the Peppered Moth inspires my work. Yet the garden is my outdoor studio, so in it early hole ideas are explored”. Chris primarily uses iron, to which other materials are added, sometimes during casting, or after. His works are wall sculptures, installed both singly and in small or large-scale groups.

Luton Hoo Walled Garden Brochure  

As part of Herts Open Studios 0n the 10-12 September 2010 the nine artists in residence at the Luton Hoo Walled Garden will present work tha...