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Ripon teen creates art using scratch cards

James Owen Thomas hangs 'Woodland Walk', a collage made from scratch cards, at Yoredale in Bainbridge

1:09pm 6th March 2018

Extraordinarily detailed and colourful collages – made entirely from discarded scratch cards – have gone on display at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority offices in Bainbridge.

16 year old James Owen Thomas – a student at Ripon College – began developing his technique four years ago, after picking up a card ‘floating in a puddle of water by the road’.

His mosaic-style collages of Yorkshire landmarks and wildlife use tens of thousands of torn or cut pieces of card.  He is putting his latest work, “Seascape”, up for sale during the exhibition to raise money for the homelessness charity, Shelter.

The free exhibition at Yoredale will be open Monday to Friday, 0900 to 1700, until the end of April.

Lesley Knevitt from the Park Authority said: 

"James is an inspirational and very talented artist."

"I love the architectural pictures, such as Ripon Cathedral and Salts Mill, and in particular the pointillism effect – where James uses circular pieces hole-punched from scratch cards.  It is a labour-intensive technique but the result is fabulously innovative and colourful.  We are really lucky to have James’ work at Yoredale.  I hope as many people as possible will come to see the exhibition."

James Owen Thomas said: 

"Four years ago a discarded scratch card floating in a puddle of water by the road caught my attention, as the sunlight seemed to make its colours glisten.  From that moment I noticed how many scratch cards were to be seen littering our streets and hedgerows. I had to do something about it and started picking them all up.  I built up quite a collection and decided to use some of the colourful parts and symbols to create pictures.

"I have seen a lot of people sleeping on the streets during the past few years.  That’s why I would like to donate the money raised from the sale of ‘Seascape’ to the charity, Shelter.  I would like to think it could raise about £100.  ‘Seascape’ is the first time I have created a collage around one of my photographs.  It took many hours to make and is now complete with a white frame and a transparent art glass finish.

"The usual question people ask me is if I've ever found a winning ticket when collecting all these scratch cards.  The answer is unfortunately no, but on my 16th birthday I was given a scratch card as a gift and it won £100.  It must be a good luck sign!"

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