Everyday objects including Marmite jars provide inspiration for north Oxfordshire based artist

Marmite, by Cam Hodgkinson NNL-180925-143240001
Marmite, by Cam Hodgkinson NNL-180925-143240001

A Bloxham-based artist who has drawn detailed illustrations of plants at Kew Gardens has turned her talents towards the man-made.

Cam Hodgkinson started her drawing career at the age of 18 while she was studying at the Camberwell College of Art in London. A botanist she was living with asked her if she wanted to illustrate horticultural books, despite having little interest in plants.

Cam Hodgkinson, from Bloxham, whose art work inspired by packaging will be on display in Weston on the Green later this month. NNL-180925-143228001

Cam Hodgkinson, from Bloxham, whose art work inspired by packaging will be on display in Weston on the Green later this month. NNL-180925-143228001

She was commissioned by Macmillan, to illustrate a series of books for the RHS, which led to a job at the Royal Botanic Gardens, in Kew.

The job entailed drawing detailed, factually correct and to scale illustrations from looking at seeds and plants under the microscope. Cam said: “From humble beginnings of not really knowing one plant from another I was now spending over 15 hours a day working on illustrations where no error was allowed. All my work was done initially in 2H pencil and then inked, requiring a very steady hand, with no margin for error.”

But after having to commute from Oxford, working long hours and needing to live in a caravan in the grounds of the gardens, she worked in a pub in Oxford for 18 months.

She met her husband and they had their first son in 2003 after moving to Bicester. She started painting murals, one at Beachborough School, near Brackley, which led to a job teaching design and technology, and art, at the school.

Oxford Blue Cheese by Cam Hodgkinson NNL-180925-143251001

Oxford Blue Cheese by Cam Hodgkinson NNL-180925-143251001

Having committed herself to taking a stall at the school’s Christmas bazaar, she re-entered the world of illustration, taking inspiration from everyday objects found in the kitchen and cocktail cupboard.

She said: “I started drawing bottles of gin when a friend gave me a commission to do so for a birthday gift. The image was so well received that I started increasing my range which now includes pieces of cheese, vegetables, jars of preserves and everyday items such as Marmite and Vegemite.”

She will have a stand at the Manor Hotel’s Festival of Food and Drink, Weston on the Green this Sunday.