Jennie McCall, Artist

Jennie McCall is a sculptor working mainly with stoneware and bronze media, she also makes original pen and ink illustrations and limited edition giclee prints, has work in a number of collections and undertakes commissions. I met Jennie recently when she came for a day at The Refectory Table. Jennie is one of eight artists bringing work to my NGS Open Garden & Secret Craft Fair on the 15th & 16th of June. Her work ranges in scale from small – to larger pieces that will look great in your garden.

I popped over to see Jennie to chat about her work and to get a sneak studio preview of the pieces she’s making for the Secret Craft Fair.

What are you currently excited about/involved in?  I’m launching some new work this year based on my pen and ink studies of animal skulls. I’m developing new ideas combining hand-built stoneware with cast bronze and some of these pieces have been selected for two major sculpture exhibitions this Summer.

How does your garden inspire what you make?  I’m so fortunate to have a studio in the middle of my garden surrounded by forest trees and wildlife. Most of my work is based on myth and nature so I am being subliminally charged with the noises, smells and seasonal changes that surround me every day.

I’m particulary interested in the development of a new rookery at the bottom of my garden and the effect this has had on the smaller birds. My new range of singing ringing birds and some tree illustrations come from this source.

What are you bringing to the secret craft fair?  I shall be bringing some mini-garden pots and platters inspired by the ebb and flow of garden life … oh and some little porcelain singing ringing birds!

We all have memories and experiences of gardens, what is your –

Earliest memory? Digging up worms at about 4yrs old … captivated in an intense childhood discovery of earthy smells and the feel of my captive, sticky, wriggly little friends.

Strangest happening?  It’s a bit dramatic. … a fabulous dog fox was hunting a squirrel a few metres from my window. The squirrel was badly injured and I knew I had to let nature do it’s job. For about 15 minutes the fox chased, grabbed and flung the poor squirrel in the air as a cat would do with a mouse. The fox then ate the head and left the remains, which of course were left to me to dispose of! Horribly compelling.

Happiest time? Happiest times were enjoying the seasons of the garden with my family. From building snow-men, family planting of trees and shrubs in the spring and sharing warm summer evenings with a glass of wine with friends.

Finally, what sort of a gardener are you?  I would say that I am an instinctive gardener. I don’t plant to strict rules but I let the garden lead me. It’s a mature garden now providing food and safety for our wildlife friends and an all year round visual tapestry of emergence and hibernation.

You can see and purchase work by Jennie McCall and other artists at the NGS Open Garden & Secret Craft Fair in Loughborough, Leicestershire on the 15th & 16th of June.  Come along and take a mini-garden or singing ringing bird home with you!


Twitter  @JennieMcCallART