Peter and Tessa started Callington School of Art in 2006 wth Tessa as the resident Director of Art. She has a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Hornsey College of Art in London, specialising in sculpture and printing and an ATC (Art Teachers Cert.) from Brighton College of Art. Between 1986 and 2006, Tessa taught at Magdalen College School in Oxford, one of the country’s leading independent schools. Her work here included teaching art at both GCSE and A Level and also preparing students for entry to many of the UK’s top art colleges, such as the Courtauld Institute of Art and Central Saint Martins. She has also been actively involved in Adult Education in Oxfordshire, both in teaching, writing and moderating courses for the Open College Network.
Tessa and Peter have travelled extensively throughout Europe as well as Central Asia, including Afghanistan, India and Nepal. They have also lived and worked in Australia for an extended period. More recently they have visited rural Eastern Europe, America and Ethiopia – twenty years after Peter worked there for Oxfam.
Tessa’s interest in Art History is reflected in the school’s extensive art library, which features books running the range of the history of art throughout the world. She has been an active member of ‘Drawn to the Valley’ since 2007, sitting on the committee for the past 3yrs. She exhibits with the group frequently, especially during the Open Studios week every year in September. The venue is often described as the best in the group. She also hosts the local Look Group organised by Tate St Ives, where local artists meet monthly to discuss art and visit exhibitions.
Although trained as a sculptor and printmaker Tessa paints in all media. She particular likes drawing, including working from life and is a keen photographer – her photographs are often mistaken for paintings! She also works with photographic silk screen printing and in 2011 acquired an A2 printing press which has expanded the types of printing now available. She also has experience of teaching desktop publishing and working with text and image together. This has led her into her text paintings.
In 2014 after the storms in the UK her work was based on sea charts and the words of the shipping forecast. In more recent years, inspired by the fact that JMW Turner worked in S.E. Cornwall, she worked on a series based on old local maps and the writings of Redding who observed and acted as guide to Turner. The images she uses are put onto silk screens in her dark room and printed into the paintings.
In 2018 she researched Turner’s letters and acquired permission from the London archive libraries to use them in her work. (The British Library, The Royal Academy of Arts, The Tate and The Sir John Soane’s Museum.)
This led to her latest series of work which has been shown in 2019 at the Victoria Gallery in Bath, in the Mall Galleries in London and Exeter Castle. She is currently working on the third series of paintings working with 18th century maps of London and Turner’s London letters.