skip navigation


somewhere / projects / exmoor national dress / exmoor blog

Exmoor National Dress

2008 - 2009

This solo film and photography project by Karen Guthrie was made for Triparks, a programme of 6 "artists' residencies to explore commonalities and differences between three of England's National Parks: Exmoor, Dartmoor and Northumberland".

I spent time throughout spring and summer 2008 in Exmoor National Park (Somerset). Myself and another artist, Harald Smykla were based in the Park, whilst Triparks had also commissioned Paul Grimmer, Bridget Kennedy, High Nankivell and Volkhardt Muller to work in Northumberland and Dartmoor.

For my project Exmoor National Dress, I invented just that, a costume which I then used to make photographic portraits of Exmoor people I've met along they way. I also made a short film (20 mins) following the process of the project and the people I met along the way.
Much of my time was spent on historic research and tracking down local makers, like Tom Lock of Hawkridge who carves and makes things with antlers. He contributed a head-dress to the final costume, and you can find out more about Tom's fascinating life here. Other local contributors are landscapist Maurice Bishop and Shearwell Data, who make animal eartags used in the costume as fixings.

From the links on the right you can see a gallery of the Exmoor portraits I made, or look at some of my research, plus documentation of a stand we did at the Dunster Show, a traditional country event.

There was a preview of the finished project in Dulverton Town Hall in late 2008 and the work was on show in Somerset at the Brewhouse in Taunton before touring to the new Duchy Centre in Princetown on Dartmoor in Devon.

It also showed in early 2010 in Newcastle at ACAdovetail, before going back to Dulverton on Exmoor for a summer outing.

Installation shot, courtesy of AHA