Selected for BEEP 2022

Protective Amulet 1

Nothing has changed

Everything has changed

My Protective Amulet series are painted in oil paint over black gesso’d Limewood boards. Negotiating the placing of paint, marks and patterns within shapes I aim to create solid looking forms on the flat picture surface.

The subject matter in my Protective Amulet paintings conforms to a symbolic language found across the world and throughout history.  As objects of agency amulets offer protection from negative forces as intricately beautiful artefacts that conform to a set of rules; asymmetry, twisting lines, reflective surfaces, random patterns, bright and gaudy colours, juxtaposed decorations, spots and stripes.

The resulting paintings, whilst possessing an undeniable sculptural resonance, have developed into images in which I am interrogating the possibilities of colour, light, pattern and form. I am finding new ways to interpret cloth and to create pictorial harmony through rhythm and repetition.

Whilst the amulet remains extant other devices and iconography have replaced them thus nothing has changed and everything has changed.

Oil on Limewood board, 30 x 20 x 2.5cm

Magical Threads – Great Northern Warehouse and Dez_Rez_Projects 285 Deansgate Manchester from 11th February-5th March 2022

My Magical Threads installation comprises 3 bodies of work developed from my researches into ancient symbols of protection. As individuals we often feel powerless to effect change and at such times may resort to older forms of magical protection, amulets, talismans and fetishes.

The taller Fetishes for Uncertain Times were made in response to unsettling global politics and increasing climate change. Created from random fabric pieces sewn together in no particular order, the shape only emerging as wadding is pushed into every corner and crevice. Amulet devices, in the form of twisted threads, shiny buttons and beads, embroidered knots and wavy lines, are then added using traditional craft skills handed down through generations of women in my family, the distaff side or female line.

Magical Threads of the Distaff Side refer to the long association of women with the production of thread and cloth and are a reminder of our more recent disassociation through mass production and the problems created through clothing worn once then discarded. The distaff is a three pronged stick that held the raw material, wool, linen, cotton, from which a thread was drawn. The free standing metal distaffs provide plinths for my smaller textile pieces.

In my paintings I respond directly to my textile pieces. I enjoy the process of painting and particularly the challenge of painting an object in front of me, observing the way the light falls, in this case, on the various fabrics and attached buttons, beads, nazaars (evil eye beads) and embroidery. The abstract nature of the subject matter also appeals, as does painting something that is of my own creation.

The metal stands were commissioned from Upholland Blacksmiths.

The pieces of plastic I used to construct my series of small sculptures were collected from the fields around my home and highlight the plastic pollution of farm fields where food is grown for human and animal consumption.

Obstructions Exhibition at Castlefield Gallery, Salford.


“In 2020 Castlefield Gallery invited 15 artists from the North West of England to re-make an existing piece of their work with one condition: they had to accept a bespoke ‘Obstruction’ given to them by another artist in the exhibition. Inspired by a long history of artists using self-imposed restrictions to aid creative or free thinking, it also riffs off the restrictions and disruptions caused by COVID-19.”

My response to my obstruction ” USE ONLY FOUND OBJECTS and delve into the subject of plastic waste” was the theoretical discovery by a future archaeologist of a layer of plastic waste. I produced a collection and display of ‘found’ plastic and a series of watercolours of the plastic shards under the title “…a global seam of plastic…”

Photograph-Matylda Augustynek

‘IN SERIES’ is my current solo exhibition at The Glass Cube Gallery, The World of Glass, St Helens.

“Since Jane Fairhurst began work in her studio at Cross Street Arts twenty years ago she has produced work addressing a range of subject matter as work ‘in series’. She sees her art as a platform to talk about issues that range from critiquing capitalism, environmental concerns and why women have been left out of our human story.

Jane works across a range of media using the one most applicable to her narrative, including painting, drawing, textiles, mixed media and installation.

In Series exhibition shows the range of media and depth of research covered by Jane during the two decades since she was instrumental in establishing the first studio group in Wigan, Cross Street Arts.”

Photograph- Matylda Augustynek