Danielle Vaughan, In our Time, ripped paper on cardboard

Leicester Faces and Places:
Danielle Vaughan exhibition
31 October - 17 December 2016
Cank Street Gallery

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Danielle Vaughan is a recycling artist who works in ripped paper on cardboard. She trained as a Shoe Designer at De Montfort University, then after a post-graduate certificate in education became a teacher for six years then home-schooled her own children for seventeen years.  She took a change of direction to focus on developing her own practice as an artist over the last two-and-a half years and is currently working on a series of works about the people and places of Leicester.

My current theme is 'Leicester and her greatness'.  This year has been amazing for Leicester, so I am making portraits of people connected with Leicester as well as the buildings. 

Claudio Ranielle with Danielle Vaughan's, In our Time

One of my proudest moments was meeting Claudio Ranieri recently.  I took my portrait of him to the Leicester City training ground and when he was signing some autographs he came over and spoke to me and signed my portrait of him.


My typical day is bitty because I am easily distracted and struggle to stay on task. I start the day walking the dog, prepping the dinner for the day, teeny tiny bit of tidying and then into studio around 10.30am where I set to work on whatever I am working on. I find I can only work in short bursts before I need a change to load the washer or make a cuppa etc. I drink a lot of tea - I am a teaoholic! I work till about 2.30 then it’s the school run. Back for an hour or so before tea and maybe an hour in the evening. Another day GONE!

Danielle Vaughan, Wild is the Wind, ripped paper on cardboard

I like to listen to instrumental music whilst creating. Lyrics get in the way of my thoughts. I like Philip Glass and Eric Satie but in the car I like The Smiths or David Bowie.  I like to run or rollerskate - which is better for the knees; it helps me to think. 

The most rewarding part of being an artist is seeing a work finished.  I can relax until the next one starts.

Danielle Vaughan, Alliums, ripped paper on cardboard

My first portrait got me so tense I immediately went for a 7 mile run straight after finishing.

Portraits are a challenge as they do usually need to bear some resemblance, to counteract this I work on what I call a 'whimsical' piece in between the portraits to loosen up and unwind.

My best subject at school was art. I went to what was classed as a ‘sink' school and was a little bit of a monster. I was asked to drop Geography and History as I was a nuisance and instead they gave me the key to the art room where I went at lunchtimes also. I loved - and still love - learning, but I was rebellious and questioned everything. The careers advisor had ‘advised’ that 6th form was a no go area for me, so I was delighted to be accepted for a two year Foundation Art course at Blackpool & Fylde College. I put together a portfolio of work and together with my one A-level I trundled off to Leicester Polytechnic in September 1987 - the Glory Days!!  Poverty was a challenge and working class expectations were another. People like me didn’t go to University, I was the first person I had ever met who had. 

Danielle Vaughan,  Lime Blossom, ripped paper on cardboard

I followed my degree with a teaching certificate, and after teaching for 7 years, then homeschooling my own children for 17 years, I was faced with the question of what next? I had been out of education for too long, plus I realized I didn’t have that kind of energy anymore.

We converted the garage to my studio and I started by making bags from old jeans and quickly realized I hated being dependent on machines.

Danielle Vaughan working in her studio

I remembered that I had enjoyed working with paper and had sold a few pieces too in my Foundation Art years and first year in my degree on a mixed media project, where my tutor asked to keep my work for his wall. 

Danielle Vaughan, Tom Meighan of Kasabian, ripped paper on cardboard

I believe you have to make the most of what you have so I decided to have another attempt at working in collage.

My first introduction to art was the illustrations by Shirley Hughes; as a child I really knew how the children she drew felt by seeing their expressions. One of my favourite artists now is Lucien Freud; his later work became full of texture and shows that art is a progessive path.  I also like Antony Green's paintings which are full of colour and different perspectives, and another painter of people, the US Bay Area artist Wayne Thiebaud, for his use of colour in shade.

I love to travel.  Mostly we have been through Europe - Holland is the only place we have been visited twice.  I want to travel more - and this is what I frequently tell 20 year olds: TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL!

Danielle Vaughan, 'Rosey Posey'

Danielle Vaughan, Rosey Posey, ripped paper on cardboard

I like working with recycled paper and prefer it to using paint.  I organise my materials and paper by colour.  I find you get random and unexpected areas by working with fragmented images, and I like the depth of colour and texture layered paper gives to the work. 

I now run workshops about collaging using ripped paper and always say – try it!  It’s not that scary!

Danielle Vaughan, Richard III, ripped paper on cardboard

31 October - 17 December 2016

Cank Street Gallery
44-46 Cank Street
Leicester LE1 5GW

Open Monday - Saturday 9.30 am - 5.00 pm
Sunday 11.30 am - 4.00 pm