Christine Nicholls: Artist in Residence, Highgate Allotments

Chrstine Nicholls at Highgate Allotments picture by Nigel Sutton

Chrstine Nicholls at Highgate Allotments picture by Nigel Sutton - Credit: Archant

Ruth Pavey talks to the artist digging deep for inspiration

Chrstine Nicholls at Highgate Allotments picture by Nigel Sutton

Chrstine Nicholls at Highgate Allotments picture by Nigel Sutton - Credit: Archant

Christine Nicholls loves being outside in all weathers, which is good given her commitment to a two year artist’s residency at Highgate Allotments.

Plants have long been close to her heart, ever since she started drawing on her grandfather’s allotment in Switzerland.

Taking up her Highgate residency last June was, she says, “like being in a sweetshop”.

With everything in full growth it took a while to focus, so she started on the plot of a friend who had arranged the residency.

Allotment Sheds by Christine Nicholls

Allotment Sheds by Christine Nicholls - Credit: Archant


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There is no money involved, just the understanding that she needs to sell her work (drawings, prints, artist’s books, maps, cards) and is free to blog, so long as people are only identified by their plot numbers.

Christine’s background is in printmaking and graphic design.

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Far from broad brush, her representation of allotment life is based on detailed observation and a love of drawing, often using a carbon ink pen and natural dye watercolours.

She has quickly made friends, leading to the offer of several sheds in which she can take shelter.

Chrstine Nicholls at Highgate Allotments picture Nigel Sutton

Chrstine Nicholls at Highgate Allotments picture Nigel Sutton - Credit: Archant

She has, so she tantalizingly remarked, also become a repository of secrets.

But more often she is to be seen outside on a portable stool, working.

She is only there a few hours a week but says that it is the perfect, enlivening place in which to be quiet and concentrate.

See Christine’s website inkpot&pen.com

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