My love of history and research led me hunting through the local history section at Frome Library this summer. I discovered a fascinating book by Andrew Pickering titled ‘The Devil’s Cloister’. Andrew Pickering is Programme Manager for Plymouth University BA (Hons) degree in History, Heritage and Archaeology delivered at Strode College in Street, Somerset. He is also the author of a number of books including ‘The Witches of Selwood Forest: Witchcraft and Demonism in the West of England’. I also found out, much to my delight, and bemusement that Andrew and I live in the same town and knew many people in common. So, it was not long before I was handed Andrew’s number and encouraged to call him.
Andrew Pickering is one of those people who makes you feel at ease within less than a minute of speaking with him. Before the end of our first telephone conversation, we had made plans to meet and Andrew suggested I may like to exhibit some of my work alongside the book launch of his new edition of ‘The Devil’s Cloister’ (formerly ‘The Hellish Knot’).
The “Witchy” book launch, as it was referred to by ‘What’s On Somerset‘ magazine, was hosted in early November by Fiona Runacre as part of ‘Made In Bruton’ which is situated in the ‘Ape and Eden’ shop owned by Andrew’s wife, Lisa Pickering. Andrew’s books and my witchcraft inspired paper cut silhouettes, complemented each other to create a beautiful display.
The main papercut was called ‘Hare Woman‘ which I was inspired to create from a number of detailed accounts from eye wittinesses in Andrew’s book (The Devil’s Cloister). ‘Hare Woman‘ is based on a local woman called Julian Cox, accused of being a witch who could shape shift into a hare. Little did I know when creating this piece that a conversation with Andrew would lead me to venture on a ghost hunt and my next project.