March 16, 2023

Tilia Holmes Exhibition - Entwined

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Join us at our ground floor café, Backyard for an exhibit by UK artist Tilia Holmes.

To celebrate Earth Month, Treehouse have partnered with the London based artist who specialises in the ancient art of pyrography. Tilia burns her illustrations into wood, then enhances each piece with oil painting. Each of her canvas’ are sustainably sourced natural edged pieces of sycamore.

Her latest exhibition ‘Entwined’ explores how her artworks become windows into the woodland. With a selection of originals and limited edition prints on display, one can see the scale of some of her largest pieces to date as well as the details and textures she achieves. 

We caught up with Tilia to find out more...

How does nature inspire you?

Nature has always been an inspiration without me realising, from growing up in Dorset, which is such a beautiful part of the country, I don't think I fully appreciated it until I moved to the city. Whereas now I can see through my artwork what a strong theme trees have been through my life. Wherever I go, I am always looking for for unique perspectives into trees and light shining through the leaves. Even through the city, it is still filled with golden pockets of nature and green places.

What drew you in to the ancient art of pyrography?

"Pyrography is one of the oldest human art forms. As long as humans have been taming fire, they have been drawing with it." - 

As my namesake originates from the Tilia genus of lime tree it was almost inevitable for me to end up working with wood. I first experimented with pyrography just over 10 years ago when I was exploring a 'family tree' project in A-levels, I had a vision of drawing portraits on wood to represent my family tree. My parents are successful wood workers and had an old pyrography iron lying around that they used to use to sign furniture, so gave it to me to experiment with. I had a go with it, and thought it was the most fascinating tool for drawing, enabling me to use wood as a canvas, it made my work very tactile. Through their contacts and their renowned woodwork gallery, Dansel in Abbotsbury, I had access to offcuts from makers and a place to sell my work. This inspired me to keep making pieces and developing my style. 

What are some of the challenges you face working with natural elements?

It can be difficult to source the right wood, I prefer to use sycamore as it is a hard wood with a tight grain so pyrographing on it feels just like drawing with a pencil. I also like the piece to have waney natural edges, so I am always on the look out for large pieces of sycamore sustainably sourced from local fallen trees. I have started teaching day courses at Yandles in Martock and they often have amazing sycamore lengths for me to collect. 

It is also a challenge to obtain inspiring reference photos all year round, I am interested in the light hitting the trees and leaves creating vibrant colours, and this can be quite difficult to acheive sometimes. 

How will you celebrate Earth Month?

I will celebrate Earth month trying to be outside as much as possible, hopefully we will have a sunny April and it will be a good chance to get a collection of reference images to work on for the next few months. I will be visiting Westonbirt Arboretum over the next few weeks, where they have 15,000 specimens, and 2,500 species of tree from all over the globe. I will also be spending a fair bit of time in Dorset and teaching my first private pyrography course in our family woodland, consisting of over 800 trees that my parents planted some 30 years ago. 

All pieces on display at Backyard are for sale. For more details, please visit:   

Exhibition live from 28th March to 30th April 2023. 

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