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Made In Peterborough: Celebrating Local Artists

Jen Ramm speaks to some artists who participated in the Made In Peterborough exhibition this year. 

Poetry by Laura Collins (Photos by Jen Ramm)
Various artwork in the Cathedral (Photos by Jen Ramm)

Peterborough Cathedral showcased a variety of artwork to celebrate the city’s creative scene. Featuring a diverse array of artwork ranging from multicolour patchwork quilts to photo-realistic oil paintings, the display follows the success of the Made In Lockdown and Made In 2022 exhibitions. What emerged was a platform for artists of all backgrounds and experience levels to share their work collaboratively. 

The Cathedral’s stunning architecture served as a backdrop for all kinds of art; it is interesting to see contemporary pieces, such as digital artwork, housed in such a traditional setting. Hannah Shingle, who is also known as Dragonfly At Sunset, created a digital painting inspired by Gothic architecture. Hannah has since joined local organisation Up The Garden Bath’s UNITY project, which is a unit in the city centre where Peterborough residents can sell their creations in a community space.  In this year’s exhibition, Hannah believes that “It’s really nice to see so many pieces of art and so many artists in this city that you otherwise wouldn’t know how much creativity there is in Peterborough. This exhibition brings all of that together in one place that shows just how much creativity there is in this city.” Everyone’s creative process will vary depending on personal preferences, but it is the end result that matters, as that is where the story lies. “I wanted to capture that as well as the strong sunset lighting in a piece because lighting is something that I enjoy in painting. In terms of digital, I like how it lets me play with light in my paintings in a different way from traditional painting because I do traditional paintings as well. I can’t get the same quality of lighting in them as I can with my digital work,” Hannah elaborates. 

Poetry by Laura Collins (Photos by Jen Ramm)
Poetry by Laura Collins (Photos by Jen Ramm)

Another up-and-coming artist who took part in the exhibition was Laura Collins. An avid enjoyer of literature and the arts in general, she displayed two original poems, each printed and formatted onto a digitally created design. Laura is already fairly involved with the local arts scene, having qualified as a finalist in this year’s Poet Laureate competition while working on projects alongside local organisations such as Jumped Up Theatre and Peterborough Presents. “I’ve found that the creative scene in Peterborough is really special. I wanted to just really be a part of that and make the most of it.” Each piece of artwork shines on its own but subsequently becomes part of Peterborough’s wider narrative, which is something that Laura is keen to contribute to. At the same time, she is able to form a deeper sense of self through the mediums of poetry and the arts. 

The exhibition also provided an opportunity for hobbyists, such as Elizabeth Wilkinson, to have their creations go somewhere further than just their living rooms. Having reignited her love for embroidery and needlework during her retirement, Elizabeth exhibited a hand-sewn gold brocade piece of Saint Peter coming to the Cathedral in Peterborough. During her school days, she rather impressively embroidered a tray cloth for Princess Margaret. “We were told we had to do our best work because Princess Margaret was coming to the school,” she recollects. These days, Elizabeth finds that her hobby has a therapeutic aspect to it; it’s now a little less stressful than making something fit for an actual princess. “It helps with mental health and keeps your brain active, helps with your mental health. There's nothing worse than sitting watching too much Coronation Street, EastEnders or whatever else is on, but I enjoy being productive and creative.” While she reaps the personal benefits that crafting brings, Elizabeth also found a real sense of community from taking part in the Made In Peterborough exhibition, saying “it gives people something to aim to, like, ‘I've got an exhibition coming up six months. Can I do something in time?’ and you then try and do something, and then other people come to look around and you feel some enjoyment and feel better.” 

Peterborough Cathedral is arguably the city's main attraction, making it all the more ideal as a space for home-grown talent to exhibit their work. Amassing over 200 unique pieces created by the many artists who responded to the exhibition callout, Made In Peterborough highlighted the flourishing arts and culture scene within the city. 


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