Cultivate@Courtyard 2023 – Meet the Cultivate Artists

The Courtyard is pleased to announce the four emerging artists selected to work on the Cultivate 2023 visual arts project. This year’s themes are Speak, Motion, Connect, Renewal and Optical.

The four Cultivate Artists will be mentored by professional artist Dermot Clarke. They will work towards producing an exhibition at The Courtyard in the Summer of 2023. The artist who has best met the brief will be given a £1000 grant on the day of the exhibition.


A wooden sculpture depicting a person running. Blue rope is intertwined with the wood.A young artist named William Barrett stands outside The Courtyard  A wooden sculpture of a person swinging a golf club. Blue rope curls around the sculpture, emulating the motion of the club.

William Barrett

I am a 21 year old artist based in Bromyard. My artistic background starts in strict confinements of technical drawing and some illustration, but throughout the years this has expanded and transformed greatly and now I pursue flow, motion, and 3D processes in my art. I make minimalist silhouettes out of wood representing a human, or animal, paused in a movement, and add colourful rope (usually paracord or mountain climbing rope is used) to the silhouettes in a way that documents and exaggerates that silhouette’s path of movement. 

I’m inspired by dance, martial arts, theatre, fire, water and anything with a sense of flow and energy to create my pieces. The inspiration leads initially to hundreds of gesture drawings which is where my chosen movement is found. My drawing process doesn’t follow rules of structure and proportion while I hone in on it’s raw gesture, but then after choosing a movement to use in a piece I refine this into a silhouette that is either laser cut or cut with a jig saw depending on it’s scale. 

The Courtyard’s large exhibition space and layout enables walk-through and immersion for viewers which is why this is a great opportunity for me as my work’s intended effect can really be enabled in an environment like this.


A sculpture formed of two pieces of intertwining metal holds a lit candle. A photo of a young artist named George Markham standing outside The Courtyard. A close up image of a piece of twisted metal with gold indents.

George Markham

Over the last six years, being an up-and-coming Artist Blacksmith, I have been honing my craft. I have completed a diverse range of courses, work experience placements and have completed over three-hundred-and-fifty orders for Forging Ahead Blacksmithing. I am working towards my BA (Hons) in Artist Blacksmithing.

My work is primarily inspired by nature, and informed by an understanding of abstraction. I particularly enjoy using traditional forge skills in more contemporary, sculptural pieces that I am able to produce in a range of mediums and sizes.

The Cultivate project will help me to develop my skills and practice by providing a specific set of challenges and contexts for developing work along the theme of ‘Connection’. This is really exciting for me as it would enable me to challenge myself further to explore a range of new techniques and processes alongside my formal study. The Cultivate grant is enabling me to access equipment that would help me to develop and refine my practice and to create a larger and more varied body of work.  As an emerging practitioner I would also benefit from access to new audiences – which an exhibition at The Courtyard will provide.  This would enable me to connect with both The Courtyard as an organisation and individuals visiting for a range of activities and purposes. Professionally this would be hugely beneficial. “


A collection of embroidered pieces of artwork including insects, fungi and shells.A picture of a young artist named Phoebe Merrifield stood outside The Courtyard.  A photo a wool fish and coral in a glass fish bowl.

Phoebe Merrifield

The style of artwork I produce is fibre crafts, with a focus on knitting and crocheting, mixed with sewing and embroidery. I like to experiment with different stitches, thicknesses of wool, colours and designs. I started knitting when I was about 7, taught by my mother, who had been taught by her mother, who was taught by her mother, so there is a long history of knitting in my family which makes it very special to me as I feel that it gives me a link to relatives who are no longer here. I have always been creative in so many different ways and I wouldn’t know what to do with my life if I wasn’t doing something creative.

So far this project has already helped me to develop different knitting stitches and my grid pattern work. It also helped me to develop thinking on a larger scale, how could I present my artwork in a larger setting, that is when the idea of covering a whole room with knitting came to me.

I think that I struggle to think like an exhibition artist, I find that I think about things on quite a small scale and that I think about how my pieces might be commercial. I find that this stops me from taking artistic risks and possibly limits my development, this is something that I am trying hard to change about myself. I hope that this project will help me with this.

I’m choosing to base my idea on the theme ‘connect’, taking this word literally in the sense of connecting squares of knitting together and ultimately connecting a whole room together with wool.


A photo of an orange portrait painting on a piece of glass.A young artist named Darcy Eccleston standing outside The Courtyard.  A picture of an artists studio. On the left is a blue portrait painted on glass. On the right is an easel.

Darcy Eccleston


The Cultivate@Courtyard exhibition is open in The Courtyard Gallery from Friday 9 June  Sunday 30 July 2023