Tim Pugh

Environmental and Mixed Media Artist

“Toxic Tale”.

“Toxic Tale ” is a continuation of a series of interventions created in response to my inquiry into issues that deal with maritime pollution. I picked up a large wooven plastic sheet from a beach and embossed a warning sign from a bleach bottle. The sheet was wrapped around a beach groyne at St Bees in Cumbria and was intended to highlight the environmental consequences of widespread use of chlorine found in bleach cleaning products. I deliberately enlarged the image of the warning sign logo to raise awareness to beach visitors as most warning signs on bleach products are tiny and illegible .The artwork was sited against a beautiful natural backdrop so as to highlight the intended message. 

“Seagull Food Chain “.

“Seagull Food Chain ” was created on a beach groin at St Bees beach in July 2015.I created a seagull outline adhering beachcombed fragments of discarded plastic onto the wooden surface. The intention was to highlight the issue of plastic debris getting into the maritime food chain with future disastrous consequences for life on earth. Most seabirds have plastic in their gut which leads to poisoning and starvation as a result of eight million tons of plastic being dumped into the sea every year.Passing onlookers were attracted to the vivid colours and after photographing the artwork, I collected up the plastic. I view each mini litter pick as an integral part of the creative process and recycle the debris to create future issue based artworks. 

“Bottletop Cluster”.

“Bottletop Cluster ” was created at St Bees beach in Cumbria in May 2016.I was horrified at the sheer amount of plastic waste deposited on the tideline and yet seduced by the attractive bright colours of the bottletops. To highlight how out of place the colours seem in a beautiful natural location I chose a pristine beach location at St Bee’s to further illuminate the contrast between man made and natural materials. I found an appropriate boulder in which to attach the bottletops I collected and decorated half the boulder to convey the colour contrast and highlight the profound difference of the products. I attached the tops using blue tack and after photography, dismantled the intervention and took the bottletops home to use for future projects.

“Cold Change “.

The temporary artwork was created in response to the referendum vote on wether the U.K. should stay or leave the E.U. I was saddened and shocked by the result and in response, created a series of artworks using mirrors and mixed media. I drew out a map of the UK  directly onto the surface of a mirror with a sharpie pen and infilled the map with text from my poll card. The mirror was then placed in the sea and I photographed the effects of the tide depositing the sand across the map. The resulting image resembled a weather map depicting a North Westerly airstream hence the title “Cold Change”.This I saw equally as a metaphor for the changes and uncertain future that will affect the U.K. as a result of the referendum vote to leave the E.U.

“Ore Eggs”.


“Ore Eggs”,is a mixed media installation created at the site of a long abandoned iron ore mine at Woodend, near Bigrigg in West Cumbria in February 2015.I found an old birds nest and filled it with rolled up balls of mud with a high concentration of iron ore mineral and clay and positioned it on a protruding piece of metal, itself a remnant of the iron ore industry. The implementation reminded me of the same processes I used when I was a student creating ceramic sculptures from similar creative processes. High winds constantly threatened to topple the nest and occasional bursts of sunshine illuminated the deep tones of the ‘eggs’ to good effect.

“Iron Ore Mine Studies “


“Iron Ore Mine Studies “is a mixed media gallery drawing created over a month at Florence Mine Arts Centre in Egremont, West Cumbria. The design display was made during a month long residency /joint exhibition at the Arts Centre in August 2015 entitled “Makers”. The design panel makes use of text,drawing out of ideas,sketches and slag bank samples from surrounding defunct iron ore mines in the area as well as images of previous iron ore experiments made in the past.It was a good opportunity to compile ideas,thoughts and images as well as text and other bits and pieces to create a vast design sheet. When the show ended ,it was envisaged that the gallery would paint over the artwork but they couldn’t bring themselves to do it so instead they unscrewed the boards the artwork was on. I decided to donate the design sheet as a ‘thank you ‘to the gallery for allowing me opportunity to experiment on such a large scale on their walls.

“Print Balls “


“Print Balls ” is a gallery installation created at Florence Mine Arts Centre,Egremont during a two person exhibition with Cumbrian Artist Di Mcghee in August 2015.I retrieved a couple of handfuls of iron ore laden soily clay from the ground near a defunct iron ore mine in Woodend in West Cumbria and rolled them into a heavy ball.As I had a big gallery wall to myself I decided to create a huge grid /symmetrical design on the white surface by pressing the mudball onto the surface.The ball left a succession of beautiful patterns with flowing red iron ore patterns and in two hours,covered the wall with rows of the imprinted designs. I likened the effect to ceramic wallpaper and appreciated the opportunity to experiment on such a big scale with just one mudball.

“Sediment Study”


“Sediment Study “,is an experimental artwork created at a rural location in West Cumbria called Woodend.The site is amidst the ruins of an abandoned iron ore mine where I often visit to create temporary artworks. On the site is an old slag bank where there are lots of waste materials such as clay, coal various ores and rocks associated with the old workings. I have always been fascinated with the beautiful tones and textures within the waste products and found a smooth stone in which to scratch and rub the various materials onto the surface.Over the course of a few hours I amassed many different contrasting colours collected from the materials, plucked from the slag bank and was amazed at the sheer variety to be found.The colours were arranged into a grid formation rather like the  layout of a watercolour set and after I photographed the artwork, I left it on the  slag bank for the elements to reabsorb into the ground.

“Mud ball Balance “.


“Mudball Balance “,is a temporary installation created at Woodend in West Cumbria, at the site of a long abandoned iron ore mine.The artwork is made up of rolled mud/clay ball sediment, dug out directly from the earth.The balls were balanced upon a couple of metal rods protruding from the ground and supported by a scaffolding type of branch and twig structure to help keep the heavy mass suspended above the ground. It took several attempts to construct with the main difficulty being the sheer weight causing the bottom balls to collapse and fracture and thus topple to the ground.I had to wait for a heavy overnight frost to freeze the balls solid before attempting to create the installation  again so the bottom balls could support the weight of the artwork. The mudballs were very heavy,rather like cannonballs due to the presence of high concentrations of iron ore within the ground.

“Kiln,Furnace and Forge”


“Kiln,Furnace and Forge” is a mixed media beach installation created at North Beach in Whitehaven, West Cumbria. The beach has many reminders of its proximity to former heavy industries in the area such as old collieries and brickworks and the artwork is made up from from collected fragments collected from the beach and arranged on a section of eroded brick stonework.These include pieces of pottery, glassware and various pieces of slagwaste and coal from old nearby collieries. I was fascinated by the various textures and tones of these finds and enjoyed arranging them into a formal pattern before the tide came in and reclaimed the fragments.