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A Magazine for Sheffield

Nohrr Worm goth

Landscapes and architecture built in monochrome and rendered in detailed lines and dot work give rise to otherworldly dimensions.

Nohrr is Edith Rothwell, a Fine Art graduate from Sheffield Hallam who calls these seven hills home. Having first encountered her artwork relatively recently, I’ve been returning to it again and again, each time with new questions. I chatted to Nohrr to find out more about her creative process and where she draws inspiration from.

Your artwork has a haunting, other-worldly quality to it. What does it represent to you?

This one's difficult… The answer might be "I don't know"? It's almost more that I'm trying to work out myself why this is what comes to me, why I feel this work is important or interesting, at least to me, to make.

I've always preferred art, in whatever medium, that's a strange and overwhelming experience. I want to come away feeling… shaken, a bit bruised, maybe. In an odd way that's more comfortable or satisfying to me than art about mundane, everyday reality, or art that tries to charm or soothe, all of which I often find uncomfortable. It might be to do with not quite feeling at home myself, not quite belonging anywhere.


You work exclusively in monochrome. Have you always done this, or has there been an evolution in terms of your colour use? If so, how?

I don't think I ever made a conscious choice not to use colour, it just doesn't really occur to me. I think that at the moment at least I'm more interested in composition, light and form constructed through mark-making. It might be that in the future I want to make more colourful work, although I don't know what that would look like, or how I'd go about it.


Architecture and landscape play a focal role in many of your pieces. Where do you draw the most inspiration from within these areas?

In both cases, I'm attracted to the overwhelming – things that don't operate on a human scale, that don't accommodate. An extreme and inhospitable landscape. Buildings that look somehow alien, like they arrived from another time or place, or like they weren't made by humans at all. A really stark contrast between a building and its environment. Those are the kinds of things that are exciting, beautiful and pleasurable to me.

I put in bits of things I see around Sheffield – sometimes it's conscious and deliberate, and sometimes I only notice later. Things like the backs of the terraced houses where I live, the way light and shade fall on them, and how they look against the sky. I'm really fascinated by the Hallamshire Hospital – I think it's to do with its size, the brutal simplicity of its shape, its position high up, on its own, visible from most of the city.

HATC Hdone

Your pieces are incredibly intricate. How does your creative process work? Do you plan each piece carefully, or is the process more organic?

I keep notes and basic sketches of ideas that usually come to me while I'm working on something else. Before I start a new piece I'll work on these until I have something I'm happy with. They're very loose, mostly focused on form and composition, working out light sources, vanishing points, things like that. After I start the piece itself it's mostly just small details that move around. Because the ink work's such a slow process, taking multiple passes over each area, the pencil usually gets rubbed out and redrawn several times so it can shift a bit, or I can decide something's not working and alter it.


How's 2021 shaping up for you, artistically speaking?

So far I've had a bit of commission work, which I'm looking forward to sharing when the time comes. It's really satisfying to me to lay out the commission as a design problem, working towards something that fits the parameters of format, budget, deadline and any reference material the client provides. It's a bit like reverse engineering or working in the opposite direction to the way I approach personal work. I'm hoping there'll be more opportunities for that kind of work later this year and heading into the next. In terms of personal work, I'm excited to just keep going and see how things develop, maybe experiment a bit more around the edges. Print fairs are potentially on the horizon and I'm going to have a lot of prep and organisation to do to get ready for those.

by Felicity Jackson (she/her)
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