Former Wigan High School and Wigan Grammar School pupils, artistic sister and brother duo, Carole and Martin Dawber, will be sharing the Artist of the Month spotlight at The ArtHouse over in Southport during March, with a display of contrasting artwork, each reflecting their individual perspectives on contemporary art.
Now living over in Birkdale, both are also graduates of the celebrated Liverpool School of Art from the 1970’s.
Carole, who is still fondly remembered for her clientele couture wedding shop, ‘Pierrot Pearls’, based near the Queen’s Hall in Market Street, recently had a sell-out showing as part of Southport’s ‘ArtHouse’ Christmas Collection Exhibition in December, describes her time at Liverpool as ‘magical’.
“All I did all day was draw and paint, work with fabric, design clothes, and create by taking risks and having fun. The most inspiring artists, tutors and musicians surrounded me. It was awesome. There were no limits to imagination. I meet such amazing people, all of whom just loved creativity for the idea of invention.”
Education was also key to directing Martin towards the right path.
“I owe where I am today to my six formative years in art education. It spring boarded me all over the world and I would always urge anyone to stick to their dreams and do the same.”
During the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, Carole’s research into fabric dying from natural sources while still a student at college, earned her the accolade of being awarded a lifetime Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts. Carole’s final garment collection at Liverpool was subsequently put on display in London at Dickens and Jones store in Regent Street and was applauded by fashion editor, Prudence Glynn, in a TIMES’ editorial. However, she confesses that her lasting memory will always be selling knitwear samples at the ‘INDIGO’ trade fair in Paris to none other than Yves Saint Laurent Couture. “I loved every minute of it!”
Carole comments that her exhibited stitch pieces on display at the ArtHouse form “part of my posy series that maintains the story of my all to impulsively picked garden flowers and uses hand-dyed fabrics, mixed with machine and hand-stitch, to represent the glorious colours held within each bunch of flowers.”
Martin, better known today as the international author of over 10 books including the BIG BOOK serie that he describes as ‘a type of Yellow Pages of inspiration for artists and practitioners”, also says he owes a lot to his initial training.
“Opting for art at the Grammar School in Wigan was a not viewed as a genuine career pathway, and it was only when I gained a place at Liverpool Art School and subsequently at The Royal College of Art in London, that I felt that I was in any way being taken seriously. My years in art education pointed me in the right direction. It never ceases to amaze me what a trigger that proved to be.”
Entering the world of ‘art’ from a sheltered and traditional academic background threw a lot of unpredictable surprises his way.
“The shock of being offered a drink of tea in a glass jam jar at my Art foundation interview in Liverpool through to drinking a different beverage five years later with the likes of David Hockney at the RCA in Kensington Gore are memories that I will always hold dear.”
Although now ‘officially’ retired, Martin has no signs of letting up from his heater-skelter existence that has seen him conveying his skill across the world, from exhibitions across Europe to academic work at institutions in Istanbul and Singapore.
Currently, he has swapped his pen and paper for the modeling tools and wet clay on offer at SCA’s ClayWorks pottery classes which he attends weekly, and has generated the series of vases that will be on display.
“Although I don’t possess any traditional training in ceramics (throwing on the wheel, etc) I enjoy the tactile and almost therapeutic value of working with your hands in wet clay. My hand-crafted vases using contemporary patterning and glazing could be well employed as wine-coolers or for housing freshly cut flowers”.
Both are no strangers to exhibiting their talents – their individual output has been on show at galleries from Singapore to New York. Now you can catch up with them in Southport. The ARTIST OF THE MONTH exhibition (3rd – 28th March) is at SCA/ArtHouse, 65 Eastbank Street, Tues thro Fri 10.00 – 15.00 and Sat 11.00 – 16.00.