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Meet Our D31 Art Prize 'People's Choice' Prize Winner: Nicola Harper


Winner of D31 Art Gallery's, D31 Art Prize Exhibition, 2023 'People's Choice' Prize

Describe yourself in 5 sentences... " 1. I live in York with my partner Richard, younger daughter Kate and our basset

hound Clyde.

2. I have loved creative processes for as long as I can remember, having been

taught stitching of all kinds by my mum and grandmother.

3. I’m obsessed with clouds and dramatic skies, and even had cloud wallpaper

on my teenage bedroom wall.

4. I will often see a view as a textile image.

5. I find it hard to throw out scraps of fabrics as they ‘might come in useful’."

What inspires you to make art? "I’m very lucky to live in such a beautiful area. I live in a city full of amazing

architecture and have the North Yorkshire Moors, Dales, and east coast on

my doorstep. Perfect inspiration!"

What inspired your 'North Landing, Flamborough' artwork? "Way back in 2010, when my younger daughter was doing her A levels, she took the photo to use for her Art A level project. Her painting was so large that we had the board delivered directly to school because it wouldn’t fit in the car.

The painting was exhibited in school and, as I worked at one of the primary feeder schools at the time, I used to see it once a year whenever we went there for a training day. I always said that I would have liked it at home, and as I left that job a few years ago I never found out whether the painting was still there. So, I decided to have a go at creating it for myself in textiles. Quite by chance, just as my own version was exhibited in the D31 Art Prize, I found out that my daughter’s painting is still up in the school Art rooms, 12 years after she left!"

Do you think art always has to have a deeper meaning? "No. If I have to think too hard about it, I get bored."

What are some of the challenges you face as an artist? How do you combat these?

"Finding enough creative time and getting artwork noticed. I try to find at least a few minutes each day to dedicate to my artwork, although this isn’t always possible. I joined the York Textile Artists a couple of years ago, which is great in combating the feeling of isolation and for the opportunities to collaborate in


What is your favourite medium to work with? "Textiles. I love the different textures, even before I apply them to the calico. I

have all sorts of scrap fabric bags to delve into and love the challenge of

finding the right piece for the job. It has to feel right as well as look right."

Is there a particular artwork you've created which you are especially proud of? "Obviously, I’m proud of North Landing, Flamborough. I’m also proud of An Edinburgh Doorway, one of my earliest pieces and the first piece that I sold, and Flying Buttresses at York Minster, because this was a breakthrough in my


How do you balance your creative work life with your personal life? " My creative life happens when I get home from my day job in learning support

at a secondary school. I would love to be able to spend more time creatively,

and to have a studio, but for now it will have to be something that fits in when I

have spare time."

What would you say to your younger self if you could? "Stick at it and don’t believe everything your Art teacher tells you!"

Would you like to leave a legacy? If yes, what would your legacy be? "I suppose it would be to make textile artwork more visible and recognised

equally alongside other media, as it has often been thought of as craft rather

than art."


Exhibit with D31 Art Gallery!

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