Margaret Bodley Edwards – a talented and remarkable woman who cares about giving artistic opportunities to all
An occasional series of portraits of Creative Coquetdale Folk by Katie Scott
An artist, art historian, and teacher, Margaret Bodley Edwards is proud that she can trace her ancestry back to Sir Thomas Bodley (of Oxford’s Bodleian Library) and the architect George Frederick Bodley.
Margaret was born in the West Midlands, the fifth child of five. As her mother was the eighth of eight and her father the fifteenth of 15, this seems quite remarkable, if not magical!
She was the only one in the family who became an artist, however, and her journey to this career is very interesting indeed.
After graduating, Margaret taught in a primary school in Staffordshire. But art – creating and making – was always her passion, ‘I’ve never not done art; I was always creating’.
She was seconded to the Local Authority as an Art Advisor to schools, and created schemes of work for use in museums and art galleries.
She opened up a whole world of resources which was new to teachers at the time. ‘I was so happy to get kids from all backgrounds into art galleries and interested in art and craft’.
She came to Northumberland in 1988, as Acting Headteacher in an Alnwick first school. But in 1993 Margaret made the leap to become a full-time self-supporting artist and maker.
She began running classes for children while she was at The Coquetdale Art Gallery (now Coquetdale Arts Centre).
Margaret opened Deugar Red Art Studio in Townfoot, Rothbury, in 2005. And in 2015 the studio moved to Woodlands, Rothbury, where Margaret teaches children on Sunday afternoons, Mondays and Fridays after school. She also does adult classes and individual tuition.
Margaret hasn’t neglected art history. She works in schools for Magic Lantern https://magiclanternart.org.uk/ where teachers can request specialist cross curricula art-based lessons of their choosing.
I asked Margaret what she is most proud of. “The banners at Dr Thomlinson’s Middle School which were done with children,” she said. “Also, paintings done in collaboration with the Laing Art Gallery with disadvantaged young people in Newcastle. More recently, pieces created with refugees and asylum seekers for Westgate Road Baptist Church.”
Margaret is a generous, talented and remarkable woman who cares deeply about giving artistic opportunities to all.
“I have worked with groups who have Alzheimer’s and with people with learning difficulties. Community collaborative work is so rewarding because of seeing the benefits that others accrue, and their pride when it is completed,” she said.
You can learn more about Margaret, and purchase her art, here: https://www.margaretart.co.uk/