SAW Project Development Bursary: Carolyn Lefley and Molly Rooke

With East Quay opening we have been able to deepen our commitment to artists and the wider ecology of the region. Our artists bursaries will provide added value to SAW’s Professional Development Bursaries which enables emerging and mid-career artists to develop their projects, including group learning, mentoring, fundraising and £500 to support research and development activities.

We have added to this provision, offering funded studio space in East Quay over the period of Somerset Arts Weeks Open Studios in 2021 and contribute curatorial, production and marketing support as well as matching the £500 contribution from SAW. Two artists have been awarded these bursaries in 2021. They are Molly Rooke and Carolyn Lefley.

Molly Rooke

As an artist and printmaker Molly Rooke's practice negotiates preservation and longing through collections of images and ephemera. Her work often uses the material elements of tourism such as souvenirs and postcards where printed, pictorial representations preserve collective and personal experience in time past and these two-dimensional images become the focal point for perpetuating history and memory. By re-appropriating and disrupting archives using processes of repetition and reproduction, she attempts to shift perspectives and manipulate the narratives that surround these items.

Molly is a Fine Art graduate of Cardiff School of Art and Design and has an MA in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art. Recent group exhibitions include Printabilities in Cologne and Marlborough, the New Wave touring exhibition and Size Matters in Bath and is the recipient of a 2020 Somerset Art Works project development bursary. Her work is held in various collections including the British Museum and the Chelsea Library Special Collection, and she is a founding member of Sister, Sister a collective supporting female artists across the South West of England.

Molly is also an artist educator, and after running the Fine Art degree programme at University Centre Somerset for three years, she now runs outreach printmaking workshops with Double Elephant Print Workshop in Exeter, Devon. The seaside is an important place to explore as it is an intriguing lens for the current political climate in Britain; a place that holds onto much of the past and the discomfort that this can provoke.

The seaside is an important place to explore as it is an intriguing lens for the current political climate in Britain

For my project development bursary, I have proposed to expand my existing practice beyond the confines of two dimensions, developing a multi-disciplinary approach. This will be the result of a period of research and development that responds to the theme of preservation and longing through various Somerset seaside locations.

The proposed outcomes include film and sculptural work that has the potential to go beyond the traditional gallery setting and are modes of practice that Molly has not had the opportunity to work with in the past.

Carolyn Lefley

Carolyn Lefley is a visual artist, writer and educator. Her work uses photography and moving image to explore belonging, belief and the natural world. She makes work in the rural landscape and in the studio using playful dioramas. Carolyn works with digital photography to create manipulated realities as well as using traditional techniques such as cyanotypes and liquid emulsion. Her meditative short films explore elemental themes.

Carolyn works with digital photography to create manipulated realities

‘Tide’ is a new body of photographic work currently being developed which explores the rhythm and wonder of the tide.  The project will centre on the rock pool, or tide pool, a microcosm of life; a temporary home covered by the ocean twice daily. ‘Tide’ will incorporate images of the smallest rock pool scenes, seascapes, tidal rivers, and the vastness of the night sky, sometimes with double exposures.

Images of the moon will be incorporated and folklore around the monthly names of each full moon will be explored. This project will draw together both micro and macro elements. Work will be made above and below the water, revisiting the visible and revealing the hidden world beneath the surface of the waves.

Carolyn’s project is being created along the coastline of the British Isles, with a particular focus on the Dorset and North Somerset coastline. The project will be presented as a limited-edition artists book, an exhibition of prints and a moving image work.


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