Curio • sea • ty
noun ( pl. curio•sea•ties )

  • A strong desire to know or learn anything relating to the seas and oceans.
  • An unusual or interesting object or fact about the sea.

An art project and exhibition exploring human relationships with the sea by artists Lorna Barrowclough and Hondartza Fraga.

Curio•sea•ty will explore human relationships with the sea, using objects that help shape our experience of it as a starting point. The notions of the sea’s identity, distance, survival and physicality of the sea will be used as the framework on which to question common associations with the sea and its role in cultural imagination.


The project will start in May/June 2014 and will culminate in an art exhibition at East Street Arts Project Space in 2015. We will use an initial research period as an exploratory time for experimentation, knowledge and skill exchange, as well as for attending conferences and visiting collections. We are especially interested in the transatlantic relationship and plan to visit museums in North America and Europe. This will be followed by a production period to make the new works and mount a public exhibition.

fanciful coquilles 2
Fanciful Coquilles, clay, beads, varnish on oyster shells, Lorna Barrowclough, 2013


We will identify certain objects that inspire us for their potential to engage with more than one of these aspects of human-sea relationships. The object then becomes the catalyst for analysis through practice-based artistic experimentation.


As individual artists, we both currently approach the notion of the sea from two different contexts and with different methodologies. Traditions, heritage and superstitions are the drive of Lorna’s work, with more recent focus on the maritime; scientific and cultural interpretations and the identity of the sea are recurrent elements of Hondartza’s practice.

Through our conversations we have realised that there are overlapping interests but also contradictions, challenges and tensions in our works. These contrasts will feed each other’s work and help our practices develop further. This project will also provide the dedicated time to experiment with new ways of working and to learn from each other’s skills and knowledge and from the evaluation of our peers. Through collaboration our work will evolve in unexpected ways that would not otherwise emerge.

It turned me to admire the magnanimity of the sea which will permit no records, pencil on paper, Hondartza Fraga, 2013


We are both based in Leeds, where we have our studios, so most of the time we will be developing the new works there. When we travel to research locations our journeys will be documented and shared out online, alongside sketches, videos, interviews and photographs.

We will share our progress from the start in this blog as well as peer-to-peer and open studio sessions. This way we hope we will open our process to anybody interested in the sea and its exploration through art.

This is the video of our Kickstarter campaign and it tells you a bit more about us and project (opens new window). With thanks to Blessing Oyenbanji for making the video for us.