RAF Upper Heyford

Using a collection of studies and field notes from my time spent at RAF Upper Heyford, I created a series of three prints…

Screen prints: 3

screen prints: 1Screenprints: 3


lol ceramics is life

Okay so you may be thinking to yourself, ‘why would you make so many ceramic cats Lily?’ and to be honest, I’m not quite sure what the answer to that question is.

The cats began as one aspect of my RAF Upper Heyford Project, when on one visit I brought a china cat from a couple of girls trying to raise money for charity. I used it to make a slip mold and from this made about 50 cats (and counting). Most are raku fired, meaning they were burnt in a home made kiln outside (with lots of marshmallows).

I gave ten back to Heyford Park, the residential section of RAF Upper Heyford…

Heyford cats: 3 Heyford cats: 1Heyford cats: 7Heyford cats: 6Heyford cats: 4Heyford cats: 2Heyford cats: 4

With raku firing you never quite know how the glaze will come out (or if the cats will just explode, exciting right?), that means no two cats are the same. Here are some of the crew…

cat 4 cat 3 cat 2 cat 5


RAF Upper Heyford is an airbase located a few miles away from my hometown of Bicester. It was occupied by Americans from the 1950s into the early 90s, but the United States Air Force abandoned the site in 1994. Since then it has been left in a transient state, a sort of limbo between belonging and rejection. But in the middle of this uncertainty lies Heyford Park, a small residential area, where the inhabitants live amongst the relics of a different world. My work attempts to somehow preserve Heyford Park before it is engulfed by a housing property development. Its history, ignored for so long is now being stripped away to be replaced by standardised, manufactured houses, most of which are too expensive for the local community to afford.

Although this project will never be finished, its progress can be displayed in the form of an exhibition of collected ephemera and my own responses to Heyford Park. Things of interest which can or cannot be placed on some shelves are:

  • 19 hand made ceramic cats
  • A short animation of Harris Road
  • Hut signs salvaged from the building sites
  • A pot plant
  • A forty minute recording of an interview with Alan, a local
  • Three screen prints
  • A piece of old carpet

This project won best in show at the end of year exhibition. Some of the photos below were taken by Neil Mabbs, some were just taken by my mum:

RAF exhibition 1

RAF exhibition 4

RAF exhibition 2

RAF exhibition 3

RAF exhibition phone

This here is a short animation of one of the roads in Heyford Park, playing over the top are extracts from my interview with Alan (that local)…