louise bell

Louise Bell

Hidden Fractures: Plymouth illustrated within its repairs (Falmouth University: Creative Connected Communities) 2017 -

Plymouth is a scarred city with vestiges of trauma marked in patina and structure. These scars or fractures interest me — cracks communicate damage but are often disguised or hidden.


Repair is a suture of fractures; joinery which acknowledges damage with attention and intention. Breakage and repair, though opposing, are always interplaying. ‘Wholeness’ is illusory as there is always already potential for damage residing internally.
My role as an illustrator is to discover and document these paradoxes, thereby highlighting the overlooked.


Like the cup’s golden lacquer cracks, illustration both illuminates and adorns.
An illustration is an image interacting with other elements to form a complex text.
A complex text is any communicating artefact.
Therefore, a city is a book (communicating artefact) with innumerable words (elements).


Urban spaces are palimpsest. Place is not neutral. Place is a material.
Bombing, civic planning and passing time inflict fractures.
Zen-influenced illustration is a method of signifying fractures.
Sites of excavation become sites of production.


I am walking to 6 different sites that have altered since 1939 or no longer exist (i.e. Promenade Pier, Millbay station). While walking I will encounter locations or objects which can be categorised with Zen ceramic repair principles. Using archives and gathered information, I will illustrate an evolving narrative of Plymouth. Practice performing the research content conveying hidden fractures into Plymouth’s past.


Supervision Team: Dr Carolyn Shapiro (Director of Studies), Dr David Prior


Contact: louise.bell@falmouth.ac.uk


Website: inkandmist.com