I grew up in Cornwall and was introduced to flora and fauna at a young age; from catching prawns in rock pools to fungi foraging in the woodlands of Southern Finland (where my mum is from). Drawing and painting the birds and beasts I saw in the wild, or in the abundance of reference books we kept, soon became a favoured pastime.
I hold a Fine art degree from Kingston University, Surrey. At University I became increasingly drawn to antique ceramics; whether they be displayed in a museum or broken fragments I’d collect from Cornish beaches. The work I produced combined ceramic creations with found objects – often organic.
After graduation, I dabbled in sales, marketing and advertising before starting in the role of Property Administrator with National Trust at Osterley Park, in Isleworth, Middlesex.
My interest in the park’s wildlife soon took hold and I spent much time developing my knowledge of native bird species, fungi and insect life. I began illustrating the park’s wildlife, produced a series for a bird ID worksheet and led family bird walks around the park. In 2010 I held a solo exhibition of wildlife illustrations in Osterley’s garden gallery.
Over a year, I conducted a fungi survey of the park and garden and in 2011, led two fungi walks for the public as well as a family surveying event. The fascinating variety and rich aesthetic of fungi I’d recorded inspired me to create model representations and I continue to do this is addition to my wildlife illustration work.
In 2012 I worked for the Bat Conservation Trust as a Seasonal Helpline Officer. This was a great experience which expanded my knowledge of these fantastic mammals significantly. I was then able to spend a few months focusing on my artwork, assisting with wildlife monitoring activities in my local park and conducting further fungi walks.
Until November 2016, i worked as receptionist at WWT London Wetland Centre. With a full time role and the obvious biodiversity buffet at my finger tips, i recorded around 100 new species for the site during my lunch break walks (mostly fungi and inverts).
I live and work in Ealing, London with my partner Spike and our 3 legged cat, Colin.
Catherine – November 2016