Bethany Stead is an artist and works as Activities Coordinator for the charity Newcastle Vision Support.
Their work explores materials and techniques associated with traditional craft and folk art, which are assigned to humans of a particular class, gender and sex. Working between clay, wood, textile and paper, they are intrigued in using these materials to incite conversations about the societal barriers they, and others face, due to these classifications.
Drawing inspiration from surrealism, their drawings and imagery become animistic characters residing within imagined, disturbing, domestic spaces, whilst hand-sculpted vessels and objects dissect the awkwardness of inhabiting a body, hinting towards aspects of folk dress and haute couture. Symbolism, semiotics and folklore are themes which thread throughout their work, alluding to the influence of intergenerational storytelling and writing as a form of therapy. An ongoing facet of their practice is social engagement and mutual aid, contributing towards opportunities, voices and space for underrepresented individuals, regularly facilitating various community projects and workshops.