Jane and the snowman. In the back yard of her families Endon Village home around 1970

Growing up in England during a time when the “ Back to Nature” movement was in full swing meant a lifestyle that was lived close to the land. Self-reliance and self-expression were encouraged.  Childhood in a small rural village near the Staffordshire Moorlands was spent running free and wild through a countryside that was lush and green, although often wet. The air was electric from the constant movement of the wind or wind-driven rain through the leaves and wildflowers. The humming, buzzing, chirping, squeaking energy of wildlife made us know that we were a part of something big and good.

Home was about finding your passion in life.  My mother’s passion was nurturing and rescuing. In our house the outside was inside. Thus I grew up surrounded by a jungle of plants and animals. A crow that had fallen from his nest, a sheep who’s mother had been killed, cats, dogs, ferrets, fish, cockatiels, chickens, rabbits, these creatures were my brothers and sisters, and I became fluent in the expressive language of animals.

At three years of age, Meningitis struck my young body and I was taken by ambulance from my nurturing home where everything flourished and grew.  This unexpected separation unhinged my world. When returned from the hospital frail and unable to walk and with damaged eyesight, I was isolated from my friends and familiar activities to allow my weakened immune system to recover.  During convalescence I discovered art and it gave me strength, and allowed me to process my newly found fears of being returned to that empty antiseptic world. I came to understand that life is all about connecting and being a part of something that brings joy.  I’ve been making art and creating my own connections ever since.  The artwork that I create is my way of bringing more color and fun into a world that can be way too serious and dark.

Jane and Oscar get ready for an art exhibit 1984.  Photo courtesy of the Leek Post and Times.