Projects / Making, A Life

It was our great pleasure to curate folk artist and craftsman Peter Hodgson's first ever exhibition, premiering at the Coniston Institute before touring in 2018 to Castlefield in Manchester and to MIMA in Middlesborough.

Four decades of Peter's work in leather, horn and wood was exhibited in 'rooms' created in the hall, alongside more recent paintings and several collaborations with Heidi Hodgson & Grizedale Arts' artists:

Fernando Garcia Dory, Joe Hartley, Tom Philipson, Juneau Projects, Laure Prouvost, An Endless Supply, Graham Taylor

A short film by Karen Guthrie & Maria Benjamin told some of Peter's story and followed some of the processes of his working life.

Peter has been a highly influential figure on Grizedale Arts' visiting artists and curatorial direction. He grew up on a remote Lake District farm without electricity or running water, and after learning leatherwork and saddlery locally, now works from his studio and shop in Ambleside, a thriving town in the heart of the Lakes. Peter’s work has evolved to encompass engraved glass, hand-painted tiles and ceramics as well as painting, yet his enduring theme remains his acute and witty observations of the natural world, in particular the habits and characteristics of animals, wild and domesticated.

Hodgson is someone that answers most questions by making: making what he needs, making for a living, making his world interesting and engaged. This impulse is shared by the artists that admire him, all share a ‘work it out your own way’ attitude, being in many ways self-taught, for Peter that qualifies him as an amateur, whilst for the art school trained artists they are defined as ‘professionals’.

Arguably an ‘outsider’ artist, under-represented in the contemporary art world, Hodgson’s new exhibition contributes to a vital review and re-understanding of British folk art. His work moves fluently between popular and naïve art, contemporary art, making and design, whilst drawing on the heritage of the Lake District and of the Coniston Institute itself.

This exhibition toured to Manchester's Castlefield Gallery in late 2017 and shows at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art until Feb 3 2019. We are publishing a monograph of Peter's work to coincide with this which will be available a the the exhibition and in our online Shop.