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The Dovecote Studios and Gallery

Artists Statement Tessa Marsden

Surrounded by the incredible beauty of land, sea and sky I am constantly aware of the great gift of nature and that we are here as guardians. My inspiration to create often comes from some small moment on a walk as the sunlight catches a tiny lichen or fungus, a shimmer on the water, the wind in the reeds.

In contrast I also seek to draw beauty from where man’s hand can so quickly destroy the landscape. My intention is to create work that allows others to enter into that moment without being prompted by figurative suggestion but by an abstract atmosphere created through colour, line and form.

Initially I work by walking, looking and taking photographs as I build a mental image and feeling for possible outcome, often gathering small pieces of natural material to take back to the studio - for example, charcoal gathered from a charred mountain that is then used for drawings. I also have a growing desire to use

materials that eventually can return to nature without a damaging effect.


I usually work in limited series based on a theme in a variety of mediums including oil on canvas, chalk pastels, clay. At present, I am returning to creating installations, working with natural materials sourced on the farm.


For artists really wanting to immerse themselves in their work we can offer accommodation and studio space. Please contact us for further details.

Tessa Marsden Bio

The work of Sligo-based artist Tessa Marsden draws deeply from her surrounding landscape. Through her explorations into the natural environment, Marsden blurs the boundaries between painting, sculpture, found object and installation. Her visual language echoes forms found in nature which are abstracted to become detailed studies in colour, light and structure.

Born and raised in England, Marsden’s childhood was immersed in the countryside of Dorset and Wensleydale. This closeness with nature has remained a constant theme throughout her life and spending a year in the wide expanses of the Australian outback surrounded by vast eucalyptus became a key inspiration for her work. She returned to England to  study Modern Art Practices and Debates at the Open University. The deep understanding of process afforded by these studies saw a shift in her practice towards abstraction that has endured to this day.

Marsden and her family moved to Sligo in 1994 where she simultaneously exhibited work and tended sheep and cattle on their small farm. She returned to her art studies in 2004, graduating from IT Sligo in 2008 with First-Class honours, receiving the John O’Leary award and IT Sligo Governors Medal.


Marsden continues her practise in ceramics, painting and drawing at her studio in Tully, Sligo. She founded the Dovecote Gallery and Studio in 2016 where she hosts workshops and visiting artists.


Her work appears in collections in the UK, Germany and Japan.

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