Apothecary Gallery CIC is an innovative gallery based in Hammersmith, West London

2016 | Tessa Horrocks and Siân Armstrong


2016 | Tessa Horrocks and Siân Armstrong

An exhibition of collagraphs and pen and ink drawings inspired by the environment

Tessa Horrocks is a printmaking artist who uses the intaglio technique collagraph to create her images. Even though she has lived in London for the last 15 years, she is still very much influenced by the natural world and the positive energy it brings her. Tessa grew up in the countryside and spent a lot of her childhood in fields and forests, it is the joy of these surroundings and being immersed in the miniature world of plants and insects that has stayed with her throughout her life as an artist.

Tessa rarely starts with a rigid idea of how an image will look; she often works directly on the plate and lets the materials lead her. She enjoys the excitement and freedom of working like this, until a composition appears – often a sort of imaginary landscape. Tessa uses a mixture of dry point and collagraph techniques, her plates are made from card which she draws into with a knife, sometimes tearing it, then adding simple things like wood glue, sellotape, masking tape, and sometimes carborundum grit (a fine sand). These give different textures and gradients of dark and light when inked up and rubbed away. All her work is printed on Somerset paper, using an etching press. The fragility of the plates means the editioning is kept short and Tessa often makes unique one-off prints.


Siân Armstrong is an artist who lives and works on the mountainous and beautiful Isle of Skye. She resumed her art practice about fifteen years ago after doing other things including farming and environmental psychology. Her series of trees are drawn mostly in pen and ink on Aquarelle paper with limited use of watercolour and gouache.  Being interested in form, detail and pattern Siân’s work is often mistaken for woodcuts, but they are all hand drawn.

“Trees in this part of the world have a hard time of it due to the harsh climate, especially the constant onslaught of wind and the frequent storms. As a result, over time they often develop interesting and marvellous forms and shapes which appeal to my imagination.  Trees have always been important to the human race and everyone relates to them in their own way. Over the last few years I have been exploring possibilities in the forms of trees – both real and imaginary ones – as they are infinitely variable; each one is unique and each one seems to have has its own personality.

I have always been interested in the small-scale patterns and repetitions found in nature, rather than the large scale.  I particularly like the quirky oddities: trees which grow at a funny angle or sprout out of the top of old buildings; or plants that flourish where conditions are not great for them like the dandelion that has been pulled up many times but refuses to stop growing on my front doorstep; or patterns of stones in walls; or reflections through broken windows; or leaves on water; or the way the rust has developed on an old tractor in the corner of a field; or knotted bits of fishermen’s netting found on a quayside”