Second Sight

Lucy Carter


Lucy Carter is an artist living in Macclesfield. With an illustrious career spanning more than 25 years, Lucy has specialised in lighting ballet and dance productions internationally, collaborating with Royal Ballet Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor regularly at Royal Opera House.

She has won the prestigious Knight of Illumination Award twice for her work in theatre and dance lighting.

Lucy is at present focusing on making her own light installations and light works and having moved to Macclesfield four years ago is keen to put down some creative roots and collaborate on new projects as an emerging artist.

For Macclesfield’s Lit Festival, Lucy has been commissioned to create a work that will be on display in the windows of The Snow Goose Bar on Sunderland Street from December 2020.

Tangles is a mess of fairy lights, inspired by the knot of emotions created in lockdown.


Q. Tell us about the inspiration for Tangles and how you have created it?

When I was commissioned to create a piece for LIT, the country was in turmoil and suffering from lack of clarity around the Covid situation.

For me, light creates a positive and uplifting experience, so I wanted to make something that evoked that feeling. Warm white fairy lights always make me smile and feel joyful.

I wanted to create a positive and forward looking work around confusion and clarity and to engage the community in a collaborative experience. I asked the local communities for a single word that represents their hopes for the future.

I instinctively selected the seven words used in the piece from the numerous words that were submitted. These were the words that resonated most with me. The tangle of fairy lights covers and enmeshes the words so that as the piece evolves the words emerge from the confusion with clarity and positivity.

Q. Why do you work in light and how do you find inspiration?

Light found me. I was at university studying Dance and Drama and learning about design and image making for performance. I realised that the element that helped me feel and relate to what I was seeing was the light.

As we move around everyday, light is constantly changing. When we come inside or move through the seasons, changes in the weather or nature; light changes day-to-day and the way we feel also changes in a subconscious response.

I observe light and shadow constantly throughout my day. Light can tell stories, evoke sensation, portray ideas and support the emotional connections. It is these things that I play with and grapple with, in my work. I am interested in exploring the possibilities around how light can say and do so much as a creative medium, and in ways to distill the infinite options that light gives into kinetic and immersive experiences.

Q. How would you describe the process of progression from your live performance lighting design work into light installations?

I have been exploring solo installation projects for around seven years. It is something that is fully connected to my work for live performance. I have begun to develop a desire to investigate light as the sole or leading creative medium. It feels like a more personal extension to my 28 years of exploring light for performance, a way to creatively enrich and extend my passion for and understand the distilled potential of light. How, unsupported by a script, performers, music or physical design, light can perform alone. I don’t see it as a new avenue of exploration or that my performance work will cease, it feels like both are creative investigations with different end results. Essentially it is always about the way light speaks to our subconscious.

Q. How do you see your future as an artist?

I would like to continue to develop my personal creative practice alongside my lighting designs for live performance. I have a desire to make local connections and establish creative collaborations amongst the communities I live in. An alternative to the constant international travel of my creative journey so far. To find a quieter and more inward practice that is for me, and about my interests and passions, so that I can investigate my ideas fully and take full responsibility for the whole outcome.


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