Catherine Headley, 'Ancient Land', collagraph (detail), © Historic England. English Heritage Trust
Catherine Headley was awarded a commission and funding in 2020 by English Heritage to produce artwork for the Visitor Centre for the World Heritage site at Stonehenge.
"I had an all-consuming four months, from December 2020 to March 2021, of challenge and excitement," says Catherine. "To be asked to produce art work relating to Stonehenge was a gift, and I have endeavoured to celebrate the delight in Stonehenge and the awe felt by every visitor."
Ten collagraph prints were commissioned from the artist with a brief asking for an emotive, semi-abstract response to the stones and their surrounding landscape, using pattern, colour and texture, to reflect and amplify a unique sense of place. The collagraphs were enlarged onto fabric banners which now hang in the visitor centre and the imagery from the collagraphs is also being carried on merchandise.
Stonehenge Visitor Centre, Photo: courtesy English Heritage
Catherine Headley, 'Barrow', collagraph 38 x 38cm © Historic England, English Heritage Trust
Catherine decided on two colour schemes to reflect the importance of the winter and summer solstices.
"I wanted to give my work the energy that emanates from the stones and to reflect their moods, ever changing according to the weather. I felt the powerful presence of the stones in an ancient landscape strewn for many miles with earthworks and barrows.
Catherine Headley, 'Stonehenge', collagraph 38 x 38cm © Historic England, English Heritage Trust
From aerial images I observed the sweeping curve of the Avenue, once a white path cut into the chalk, to connect Stonehenge with a bend in the river Avon. I thought about the axes carved into the stones."
Working for sixteen weeks during the pandemic lockdown presented its own challenges for the project, as Leicester Print Workshop was closed. To overcome this, Catherine purchased an etching press and worked on the commission in the studio workshop in her garden in Rutland.
Catherine Headley in her printmaking studio, May 2021
"This commission came out of the blue," says Catherine Headley. "One phone call catapulted me out of lockdown lethargy into a frenzy of creative activity. Above all, I have a renewed confidence in and respect for my printmaking."
Scroll down to see Catherine Headley's collagraphs