BIDDY SHILLITO/CLARK Biddy Shillitoe/Clark

Brixham Adult & Community Learning is mourning the passing of Biddy Shillitoe/Clarke who was a student at Brixham for over a decade. Her talents in the arts were shared with many people who were drawn to her because of her ‘vivacity for life’. Biddy was almost 89, but young in spirit and described by Linden Lynn, a fellow student, as ‘offering love, encouragement and colour to the world.’ She died after a short illness having recently received her award as an outstanding student at the South Devon College awards ceremony. She was nominated for her artistic talents by Jenny Harriman who encouraged her to exhibit her work last year as an inspiration to others. A celebration of her life will be held in May.

Biddy first discovered the pleasure of working in clay when she was living and working in Northern Rhodesia and the Belgian Congo for 18 years. She was a physiotherapist who brought up her four children to explore the world they lived in. Her primary enjoyment of pottery began by making figures from anthill clay with the children, which the sun dried.

When she returned to England she enrolled for an evening class at a primary school in South London and there discovered the wonders of firing and glazing clay. She continued to work as a physiotherapist in Devon. In 1973 she decided to link her medical knowledge to her interest in art and was accepted as a mature student at St Albans College of Art where she gained a diploma in Art Therapy.

This gave her access to the ceramic studio enabling her to express her ideas in clay. Later Biddy worked with the residents of Moorfield Psychiatric Hospital and with children at Mayfield School.

Aged 87 Biddy said “Due to my work as a physiotherapist the human body has always been an inspiration as have relationships in my life. These are reflected in the pieces I make for my own enjoyment. ‘Open Studios’ at Brixham College in September 2008 was the first opportunity for me to have a public exhibition and I was thrilled to show my work to others. I hope the public agreed with my grand-daughter who said with surprise in her voice ‘Gran has got a sense of humour’”.

Biddy took part with a show that has been likened to the work of Beryl Cook in 3D, with lots of quizzical and naughty creations!

Everyone who knew her will have delighted in her company and her sheer love of life - indomitable until the end.

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