Rebecca Chesney ::::::

In 2019 I was invited to be Artist in Residence at Astley Hall. Dating back to the 1570s, with major additions made in the 1600s and 1820s, Astley Hall is a magnificent country house located in Chorley, Lancashire.

If you know where to look you’ll find a number of small taper burn marks on the wooden panels and beams around Astley Hall. These teardrop shaped apotropaic marks are thought to have protected the inhabitants from evil spirits and were made by charring the wood with a candle or taper, gouging the charred wood with a tool, then rubbing with a finger to create the teardrop shape. 

At the beginning of my residency I was given permission to take rubbings of the burn marks. Wanting to create a space of safety and protection I enlarged these rubbings and screen printed a number of them on to linen fabric to make new drapes and a bedspread for the four poster bed in the Oak Bedroom at Astley Hall. I screen printed the linen drapes at ACPS with the support of the research team helping to choreograph large pieces of fabric around the studio and onto the screen beds numerous times.

66 Million is a large print showing the extent of dead trees in the forests of Yosemite National Park in California caused by years of drought, bark beetle attack and increase of wild fires. This print forms part of a project developed during my Lucas Artist Fellowship to Montalvo in California looking at the increase in extreme weather episodes and the impact of changes in the climate.

The final print is made of 8 large laser woodcuts, printed using etching ink on newsprint. A number of test woodcuts had to be produced to evaluate the outcome of the image before the larger panels were made, with the whole process being an incredibly exciting collaboration: exploring, testing, producing and printing.