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Melanie Tomlinson – Ghost Horses and Guns

Melanie Tomlinson's sculpture And Then I Saw a Deer, showing a deer created from shaped metal sheets printed with a floral pattern. Ghost Horses and Guns by Melanie Tomlinson, showing a decorated hexagonal base with five colourful jointed metal horses mounted on top Detail from a Melanie Tomlinson work, showing a bright green metalwork beetle among stylised cutout metal foliage.


From 23 January

Ghost Horses and Guns is Melanie Tomlinson’s most significant solo show to date. The exhibition comprises of sculptural works exploring those ‘edgelands’ where city meets countryside, and the urban folktales that they evoke.

For the artworks in the show, Melanie revisits the haunts and stories of her youth. Those memories that she has held onto over the years and which have become part of her own story. The pieces that she has created are intricately constructed assemblages of found and created elements. Melanie uses a wide range of techniques to make the individual elements of the works from silversmithing, to ceramics and glasswork, to lasercutting and colour printing of illustrations onto wood and metal. They combine into a rich and intricately constructed collection of work.

From Deirdre Figueiredo MBE’s foreword to the exhibition catalogue: “Tomlinson’s fearless and ambitious approach stands out with its unique originality and her contribution to British craft and automata making is widely recognised and highly regarded… This themed body of work gives the audience the opportunity and the pleasure not only to immerse themselves in immense craftsmanship, skill, beauty and intricate detail of carefully observed nature, people and environments, but also to find in the imagery many nuances, layers of meaning and literary and symbolic references. These are provocations to help us reflect on and think about the times we live in and the consequences of our actions.”

This video was made to accompany Ghost Horses and Guns exhibition. In it Melanie talks about edgelands, the inspirations for her beautifully intricate sculptures and how she creates each piece.

Ghost Horses and Guns is an exhibition produced by the artist in collaboration with Wolverhampton Art Gallery and supported by funding from Arts Council England.


Commission: The Blue Bridge

Blue railway footbridge on the outskirts of Scunthorpe  (Image credit: John Turner)

As part of this exhibition, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre has commissioned Melanie Tomlinson to produce an artwork which is specific to Scunthorpe and the memories of those who have grown up in the town. Her research and discussions with locals have led Melanie to re-create the blue railway footbridge which used to cross the tracks at the edge of the town. It is a landmark still vivid in the memory of many locals. She has visited the area on several occasions and part of the sculpture will contain found objects discovered onsite. The piece is due to be delivered during March.


Workshops, events and competitions

Inspired by Ghost Horses and Guns, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre is hosting a number of events. We hope you’ll get involved.

Embossed Metalwork Online Workshop with Melanie Tomlinson

27 March 1 – 2.30pm

Create a beautiful natural form in embossed copper foil, under Melanie’s direction.

Online Conversation Cafe with Melanie Tomlinson

27 March 3 – 4pm

A chance to talk online with Melanie about her work.

Edgelands Photography Competition

Closing date for entries: 20 April

Share your best photograph of North Lincolnshire edgelands for a competition to be judged by Melanie Tomlinson.