Artists at Home: Margaret Fairhead, Roger Griffiths, Elizabeth Forrest and Myron Duggins

The RBSA is committed to continue sharing work and engaging our community in the visual arts, even while our gallery is closed. The surge of creatives sharing their daily art practice online during social distancing has been uplifting to see. If you’d like to get involved and share your artwork or articles, please get in touch at

Margaret Fairhead RBSA

During social distancing, RBSA Artist Margaret Fairhead, reflects on her series of canal pieces originally created for the RBSA bicentenary.

Exploring the locks Margaret became fascinated by the contrast of old and new architecture, including details such as graffiti, cobbled towpaths and metal ladders.

Margaret Fairhead RBSA

“My attention to detail has to be very good as I often meet local canal experts when I’m exhibiting and if I get any detail wrong, such as the handle on a specific lock bar, they would soon tell me!”

Creating machine embroidered artworks is often referred to as freehand or free-motion machine embroidery.

“Colour and texture is what I aim to achieve,” Margaret says. “I usually work with two different colours, one on the top and one underneath. If you tighten up the top tension you can get flecks of the underneath colour appearing on the surface. If you look inside a tunnel, particularly if there’s water underneath, the ceiling isn’t just one dark shade, but all sorts of different colours – that’s what I like to interpret in my embroidery.”

Margaret Fairhead RBSA

Roger Griffiths RBSA

Roger Griffiths has been exploring his local area again and combined perspective views with aerial images and OS map extracts to express this. Honey Hill has a long history, it’s a significant natural high point on a Jurassic ridge forming an outlier of the Cotswolds’ geology. It has relics of Iron Age and later activities and has the unique feature of being the site of the first Ordnance Survey’s trig point in the UK.

Honey Hill from the Hemplow Hills, Roger Griffiths RBSA

Elizabeth Forrest RBSA

Elizabeth Forrest, a Welsh-born artist now based in Derbyshire, shares how her practice is developing during isolation.

I am an artist who uses lettering and my own hand-made paper to produce work. My work is a personal response to text from the varied sources that inspire me and is based on a love of words combined with a passion for colour, texture and pattern.

For some years I have been regularly exhibiting with a small group of East Midlands artists and currently this month, we were due to exhibit our work on William Blake in Liverpool R.C Cathedral. Sadlyn this has now been put on hold, leaving things in limbo.

Wall hanging, Elizabeth Forrest RBSA

I continue to produce new Blake work at home but have also used the lockdown to explore the area surrounding my house in my exercise hour! Someone who I haven’t seen or had contact with since leaving Wales ten years ago had texted out of the blue to ask how I was and added “I think of you often”. This phrase seemed to hang in the air and confront me with shifting glimpses of the past. I have always been fascinated by the textures and colours found in rusty metal and I have often used them to create new work. (See wall hanging above comprising 35 fragments of paper pulp and string.) The rusting metal bridge panels with their faintly incised graffiti made me think again of the texted phrase, but now it became linked more firmly in my mind to the concept of the passing of time and the endurance of memories.

Rusting bridge that inspired Elizabeth Forrest’s work

This is sometimes how I work and get inspiration, using seemingly random words and textures which combine and jostle one another for my attention. Without, I hope, sounding pretentious, it is a huge comfort to find that this magical process is still working for me in these difficult days.

Myron Duggins

Birmingham based artist and RBSA Friend, Myron Duggins, draws intricate pieces in pencil and ink. His recent work, Difference, took over 60 hours to complete.

The artwork is Myron’s take on the duality of personality. The right side represents the public-facing personality that is considerate and agreeable. On the contrary, the left side symbolises the inner self which holds true feelings.

ink drawing by Myron Duggins

Difference, Myron Duggins

About Us

The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) is an artist-led charity which supports artists and promotes engagement with the visual arts through a range of exhibitions, events and workshops.

The RBSA runs an exhibition venue – the RBSA Gallery – in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter, a short walk from the city centre.

The gallery is currently closed due to Covid-19.

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