Ermias Kifleyesus was born and raised in Ethiopia where he became an artist. The British Council saw his work when he was still a teenager and awarded him a grant in 1997 to study at City and Guilds of London Art School which was the beginning of his life in Europe. He received his MA from HISK, Ghent, NA in 2009 and currently works and lives in Belgium with his partner and two sons. Ermias works alone and in collaboration, he makes drawings, paintings, sculptures installations, films, street art, interventions and investigates relationships between individuals, ideas and cultures. He is a city person who prowls the streets and flea markets for materials and inspiration as well as working with the energy of community and politics. Ermias is a man of dignity, joy, generosity and deep thought and he has a profound respect for history and loyalty. Belgium is lucky to have Ermias Kifleyesus as one of its citizens.
Joan Edlis is a Chicago born garden designer and artist who thinks about the connections between the immateriality of sound and the materiality of the world. Her explorations include drawing, printmaking, objects, installations, video and sound. She has been awarded several residencies in places as diverse as Istanbul Budapest and the extreme west of Ireland These days Joan lives and works in Suffolk in an old pink cottage where she has created a superb garden of colour, scent and pleasures surrounded by a twelve foot high mixed hedge that is habitat for wild birds in all seasons. If you are visiting Joan it is not unusual to enjoy the swoop and cries of swifts who nest under roof tiles after looking for tadpoles in her minuscule pond while discussing the Latin names of rare plants that she has sourced and nurtured. Joan also grows impressively large pears, succulent strawberries and more. She is currently researching her cottage and village with the local history group.
Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate and author who lives in Vermont, USA where she known as The Radio Pet Lady. Tracie is also the prize-winning author of seven books including The Cat Bible, The Dog Bible, Pregnancy and Childbirth. She is definitely a polymath, a woman of courage and independence, linguist, traveller, tennis and pickle ball player, storyteller, superb chef, all in all a person of action, honour and humour. Listen to www.radiopetlady.com for all things related to pets and their people where one of her recent programmes was titled ‘Georgeous Reggae Music for Dogs (and us!) During Covied 19’.
Judy Allen is looking at a new plant, in a place where she’s always grown things she’s never grown before. She shares how this year has been a year of learning, of the balance and space between virtual platforms, technology; and tending the same patch of earth for the past 40 years.
Writer, Mentor and Tutor
This year, Julia Wilson has spent her holiday heaving straw bales to help with a natural build in south Devon. In the background you can hear a straw bale barn being constructed.
Julia mentions all the wonderful things on the planet, of which she is one: she’s studied horticulture, closed-loop systems, circular economics; she’s a feminist, thinker, doer, architect, environmentalist, and teller of giddy jokes.
Pause a moment and listen to how a storm gathers over the New Mexico desert with Lavinia Currier and her three dogs surrounded by pinon and juniper trees. Currier became a passionate environmentalist around the age of ten and has spent the last fifty years defending and trying to preserve our planet. She is also a poet, filmmaker, fearless horsewoman, rancher and more – a true woman of the wilds – she divides her time between New Mexico, Colorado, Hawaii and Virginia.
As a puppetmaker, woodworker and storyteller Shere Coleman creates small worlds that enhance the world. She is also an exponent of Feng Shui, a political and environmental activist and a wonderful friend who delights in laughter and adventure. Here she is at work deadheading roses on a hillside above the city of Portland, Oregon where BLM demonstrations and all manner of freedoms are being defended and honoured by Coleman herself, the Wall of Moms and many remarkable local citizens.
Anna Ilsley is an artist who paints strong female figures from a feminist perspective. She recently moved to Suffolk where she lives and works with her ICU nurse partner Tom, who has been caring for Covid-19 patients. Ilsley and her new baby take long walks, explore shingle beaches, shady ancient woodlands and care for The Wadd a wetland and environmental initiative in their village.
Rachel Donati feels life intensely, running in her veins and memories are strong connections with India and Italy, also a powerful sense of home that is interlaced with a soft spot for the thrill of adventure and the tap tap tap of stilettos. Donati has a poetic beat and vocabulary that transports us into her world where it casts new light on our own experiences and sometimes can make us re-feel past encounters.