Jenny Thorburn

Jenny Thorburn makes her work by going out into the 6 square miles of woodland near her home that is the Ashridge Estate and Berkhamsted Common in the Chiltern Hills, about 30 miles north west of London. Jenny walks and sits out in the woods drawing individual trees. Back in the studio she uses these drawings to make woodcut prints and ink drawings.  

Often there are structures in the woods made from branches and sticks – ‘dens’. Jenny photographs them and uses these to make pen drawings, examining their architecture. They are enigmatic; we don’t know who has made the dens we find and why. They all follow a plan of a beam and ‘rafters’, and sometimes are ‘thatched’ with bracken. They seem to be an archetype for a ‘house’, including, often, a symbolic fire by the doorway. They hint at a desire to make a home in the ‘wild’, returning to a wilder existence. 

Her prints are made by relief printing from carved birch plywood boards, handprinted on Japanese papers. She does not use a press, so each print is unique.‘Frith’ is an Anglo Saxon word which was often applied to woods and wooded landscapes, and remains in place names today. The meaning of Frith is peace, protection, freedom from molestation, security, from a root meaning ‘beloved, happy’ (Wikipedia). For Jenny this confirms her feeling that being in the woods is a refuge from modernity and a sanctuary to gain peace and inspiration from woodland life. 


All works are on sale

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