Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spotlight on angela callanan

Angela Callanan’s path has led her from County Sligo in the West of Ireland to Wales, where she has made her home for the past 17 years, and from nursing, to an MA in Art and Design.
Her photography is very evocative and I asked her to talk a bit about it.
“When I was doing my degree I experimented with a lot of different methods and my course in Design allowed this. For my final year I was doing a lot of work in embroidered textiles. I wanted to do textiles based on the Snow Queen but was talked out of it by my tutors. When it came to my MA I was determined to do work based on these ideas. Starting with the idea of the Snow Queen I began experimenting with freezing various objects in ice, and then it started to become much more. "

from the Snow Queen series
Working with ice got me thinking about the symbolism of ice - frozen moments in time, frozen years, freezing yourself to numb the pain. I initially thought once this project is finished that I would be done with ice, but then when I started to work on a series of prints called Weapons of Hurt & Healing - all the images were based on lines from Emily Dickinson poems. The first one I did was the gun, and I liked the frozen gun so much I continued on with ice. I have always loved Emily Dickinson's poetry … and first started using poetry as inspiration on my degree. On my MA we were all invited to submit a piece of work for a Mini-Print Exhibition and that was when I first used Emily Dickinson's poems to inspire me.”

from Weapons of Hurt and Healing series

After her degree, she thought about teaching art, but was persuaded not to go that route, and instead works as an IT Support Technician for a University, a job she enjoys, which leaves her fresh and ready to do her artwork in the evenings and on weekends. Since joining Etsy, she has come to the realization that being an artist doesn’t mean you have to be in your studio full time, “preparing for exhibitions every other week” but that each person approaches being an artist in their own unique way within their own unique set of circumstances.

kitchen table book binding!

Angela continues to take art courses and has been making artists books, incorporating her print and photography. “This year I am going to do Letterpress and am really looking forward to having a play with that.”

She has made an edition of 10 books for Book Art Object, and one of the books in this edition was purchased by the Tate Library Artists Book Collection.
Her rubber stamp artwork has been featured here.

And what does she do for fun when she’s not making art? Well, along with the usual responses like movies, dinners out and walks to the sea, she has confessed to being something of a metalhead and enjoys “metal gigs”. She is also a bird lover and does volunteer work for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as well as caring for the wild birds in her own backyard.

You can visit Angela at:
Her blog


  1. Wonderful to learn more about you and your work.
    I love your work!

  2. Lovely to meet Angela & learn all about what inspires her beautiful work.

  3. Thanks for your lovely comments and a special thanks to Betsy for all her hard work - it is much appreciated.

  4. totally original and inspiring work, so glad to see her interviewed her and learn more about angela. can't wait to see what is next!

  5. Hey Angela, I didn't even realize that we were featuring an Irish girl on St Patrick's Day!

  6. Angela, it is so great to learn more about you! Your work is so inspiring and beautiful!

  7. I didn't make the connection either Betsy. If you had planned it you couldn't have done it better :-)

  8. nice to meet Angela! and very inspiring and interesting work with such a poetic base!

  9. I enjoyed so much learning about Angela and her beautiful work! Nice to meet you and all the best!

  10. I so agree that each artist has to find their own way.
    I loved reading about your inspiration and your beautiful ice images.

  11. Your story is so powerful. I love how your art has many facets and plays off of poetry. I like the idea of freezing moments and ways of being.