Re-invention Through Art – that’s Real Stockton

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We have had the pleasure of meeting someone awesome here in Stockton we can’t wait to tell you about.

We stumbled upon Suzie Keith on Twitter, or she stumbled over us, its a bit hazy now but you can click here to follow her yourself.

She was tweeting out a request for old images of Stockton for a piece she planned to celebrate our history… but please bear with me for more details as I’d like to tell you a little more about her first.

Before her current incarnation as an Artist, Suzie was a driven career professional with a demanding role in the NHS.  After a holiday she returned to work feeling like she was carrying a bit of a bug.  She tried to push through it at first, then thought she could rest it off.  Neither however was an adequate remedy for Viral Enchephalitis.  Suzie finally received correct treatment literally in the nick of time after her husband discovered her unconscious.

The long term ramifications for her general health have meant a return to her previous existence was impossible.  Suzie had loved art at school but after a teacher at Grangefield had told her not to bother as she wasn’t good enough, she had promptly done just that.  Now while contemplating her new life, and searching for a hobby to fill time, she decided to be brave.  Bandaging up those old word wounds and joining in a local class; Billingham Arts Group at St Cuthbert’s Church Hall on Saturday afternoons.  In this space she found a way to nurture herself.  A perfect medium to help her convey her innermost thoughts and feelings at a time when her traditional ways of communicating had been diminished by her illness.

That expression has really connected with others and, proving her art teacher quite wrong, she quickly started to pick up commissions and sales.  Deciding to make it official she has set up her own business.  While reading up about the history of her local area Norton (there is the history bomb again- hang on in there as I will get to that point) she discovered her home is now standing on a site that had previously housed a local mill.  Feeling the echo of the past in the present and being intrigued by the rich cultural history of Stockton and how that leaves its impression on today, she brought that into her business name and so Taylors Mill Arts was born in 2013.

Suzie describes her artistic approach as uncluttered and stripped back to the bare minimum.  A style she chooses to allow the image to have maximum impact, letting her work speak for itself.  She utilises a variety of tools in her pieces, using shaved graphite, paints, newspaper and mould-able clay.  She also creates crafts and sewn pieces some of which can be seen on her facebook- click here to go straight to her facebook page   her affection for needlework visible in ‘Taylors’ in her business name.Not Stockton born, Suzie is Stockton adopted (something I empathise with).  She feels a genuine appreciation of a place to call home after feeling like she spent a lot her childhood without one travelling the world as a Soldier’s daughter.

And that brings us back to Stockton! Suzie loves the rich and varied history of our local area and that of wider Teesside.  She feels strongly she wants to create a piece of art that celebrates how our local history is imbued in the present day.  How it shapes us and our identity.  She is asking for all our help – anyone that has old photos or stories, in particular those involving WWI would be greatly appreciated, Suzie can be contacted on taylorsmillac@gmail.com

Passionate People Fulfilling Potential – that’s Real Stockton.

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