Artist in Residence

Shelved, David Clarke and Tracey Rowledge

David Clarke and Tracey Rowledge will be the Tunbridge Wells Cultural and Learning Hub Artscore Development Artists in Residence from July 2016 - June 2017. Both fine artists, Clarke specialises in silversmithing and Rowledge in bookbinding. Working in partnership, they will be creating a new body of work, with the working title, Shelved, in response to their experiences of residency within the cultural quarter at Tunbridge Wells. Shelved will be shown in an exhibition at Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery October 2017 - January 2018. Their collaborative work to date has seen them manipulate concepts of craft skill and making, especially in relation to material culture and shared narratives. This has been realised through physical intervention, live experimentation and testing participatory ideas as evident in the work of the 60I40 group along with ceramacist Clare Twomey.

The outcomes for Shelved are as yet unknown; over the next 12 months Clarke and Rowledge will embark on a journey of research, participation and reflection, through visiting Tunbridge Wells Museum, Art Gallery, Library and Adult Education Centre. They will survey the collection of 60,000 or so objects held in the archive to discover some of the borough’s untold stories. They hope to find the common ground and points of interest and to get to know the collections through discovery, research, and public and private discussion and reflection. It will be the things that ‘trip us up’, pique our curiosity or enable us to connect with hidden stories and significant characters which will result in a comprehensive new body of work. Uniquely, they will also contribute creatively to the development of the borough’s new Cultural and Learning Hub, the realisation of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s and Kent County Council’s plans for a combined cultural offer. Serving as project team members, they will input their creative thinking to the planning, concept and realisation of the Hub, helping to ensure that the arts remain at the core of the redevelopment of the current museum, library and adult education buildings in the civic centre of Tunbridge Wells town.

Clarke and Rowledge will be recording their progress as artists in residence through this blog:


Blog Posts

Quietly getting on

Quietly getting on - 11 August 17

One year has flown by and as our journeys back and forth to Tunbridge Wells become less frequent, we find our focus shifting to work in progress. We are developing this by questioning and rigorously raking over our thoughts and responses to the work itself and to different locations and spaces within Tunbridge Wells Museum, Adult Education Centre and Library where we are considering showing the collaborative work.


All Change

All Change - 24 April 17

As artists in residence we are continually on a journey, both mentally and physically.

We travel together by train from Charing Cross to Tunbridge Wells. We know the platform is not long enough for the train, yet on nearly every journey we take, we find ourselves in the wrong carriage!!


Unpacking and repacking

Unpacking and repacking - 5 April 17

We have just had two great days of talking, discussing and working with new objects.  Charity shops are full of unwanted objects waiting for new owners, each ready to be found, reclaimed and possible re-purposed.


Adult Education Centre a special space

Adult Education Centre a special space - 29 December 16

We were very fortunate as Artists in Residence to be able to book a drawing room on the top floor of the Adult Education Centre. This room, largely unaltered since it was purpose built as a Technical Institute between 1900-1902, with large north facing windows, was where we spent time working on the renaming of the ‘Hub’.


A collection of wool

Your Help Is Needed - 4 October 16

As Artists in Residence, it is very important to us both that we go out and meet folks from all walks of life. To understand a place it is essential that we meet the residents, workers and cleaners. So far in Tunbridge Wells we have had hugely insightful and generously open conversations with receptionists, taxi drivers, a shoe repairer and a rough sleeper.


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Artists Profile

David Clarke is often cited as one of Britain’s most highly innovative silversmiths. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1997, Clarke has produced a wealth of covetable objects that have proven pivotal in the renaissance of contemporary British silversmithing. Clarke has a well-earned reputation for producing engaging, intelligent and challenging domestic objects. The aesthetic most often associated with Clarke’s work relates to the subversive nature in which he responds to the entrenched traditions of silversmithing, often taking it to surprising extremes. This absolute willingness to experiment and play inappropriately sets Clarke apart.

picture of a pumpkin

Alongside his own practice, Clarke has also been associate lecturer at; Konstfack Sweden, South-Carelian Polytechnic Lappeenranta Finland, Bergen National Academy of the Arts Norway, Pforzheim School of Design Germany, The Royal College of Art London, Birmingham School of Jewellery UK, Rhode Island School of Design USA, Nanjing, CAFA and Wuhan University China and Hiko Mizuno Tokyo Japan. Clarke was awarded the Diploma of Excellence during Scmuck Germany 1998 and was a short-listed finalist of the Jerwood Prize for Metals in 2005. He received the Sotheby’s Award in 2007 and won the Jerwood Contemporary Makers Prize in 2010. He has curated several installations and exhibitions in the UK, Germany and Sweden. Clarke’s work has been purchased by The National Museum of Northern Ireland, The National Museum Oslo, Röhsska Museum Göteborg, Sweden, The Marzee Collection, The Netherlands, Victoria & Albert Museum London, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths London, Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery UK, The British Council Collection UK and The Crafts Council Collection UK as well as numerous International private collections.www.misterclarke.wordpress.com


Tracey Rowledge studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths' College, London, and Fine Bookbinding and Conservation at Guildford College of Further and Higher Education, Surrey, UK. Tracey is a member of the independent artists group 60|40, founded in 2008 by Tracey Rowledge, Clare Twomey and David Clarke, which aims to expand the environment and opportunities for the applied arts. Tracey is also a founding member of Tomorrow's Past: an international bookbinding collective whose aim is to encourage an alternative and modern approach to rebinding antiquarian books.

picture of a pumpkin

Her work has been shown internationally and is held in various private and public collections including The British Library, London, The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, and The National Art Library (Victoria and Albert Museum), London. Tracey has received a number of awards for her work, including support from the Crafts Council to go on the 2008 Cape Farewell Expedition to Disko Bay, West Greenland.Recent work has included a series of drawings resulting from a two-year collaboration with Sarah Warsop, designer and choreographer, commissioned by Siobhan Davies Dance, entitled What Isn't Here Hasn't Happened, 2011. Most recent exhibitions include In Parallel, an exhibition of bookbindings at Ian Rastrick Fine Art, UK and Jerwood Encounters for which Tracey made a site specific, solid graphite wall drawing at the Jerwood Space, London.