Autumn Hotting Up More Than Summer Did…

September 29th 2015

QuartzParticipation in three shows coming up!
Quartz Festival at Queens College, Taunton – a mixed show of a range of locally based artists, curated by Lisa Harty and Sarah Dudman. Opens tomorrow,Wednesday September 30th and runs til Saturday October 11th, 10- 6 daily. I have both prints and small tapestries there. http://quartzfestival.co.uk/

dark bannerThe second show promises to be really interesting; ‘Re-animate, Repair and Meld’ at the Bluecoat Display Centre in Liverpool is being curated by Paul Scott, whose brilliant stapled plates were part of my ‘Nature of Mending’ show in 2013. It will feature the work of artists who are concerned with the re-use and re-animation of existent (often devalued or discarded) cultural material. Other artists include Matthew Harris, Neil Brownsword, Bouke de Vries, and Jenni Dutton and Bridget Harvey, (both of whom will be in my next Mending show in 2016; more on this in due course). There will also be artists from Canada and Scandinavia. ‘Re-animate, Repair and Meld’ will run October 10th – November 14th. http://www.bluecoatdisplaycentre.com/

SITFinally, Stroud International Textiles (SIT) are mounting a Showcase weekend of stands, exhibitions and events at Cheltenham Town Hall Friday October 23rd – Sunday October 25th. I will have several of my small, block mounted tapestries on show here. http://www.sitselect.org/showcase/index.html

Through all of this activity, I and five other artists are still working on the Discovery Room project, exploring the museum stores and archives of Somerset Heritage. I have been trying out all kinds of new processes from video to casting textiles in bronze! Will do a full post on this before the final show opens in Taunton. More details at http://www.revealthemuseum.com

Finally, a PS. If you read my post about Bologna and Peralta, from June 2014 (still on this page, just) it talks about Fiore de Henriquez. Good friend Charles Mapleston has now finished his very fine film about this extraordinary sculptor, and a trailer can be seen at http://www.malachite.co.uk/films.html

New Show Some New Work

Za-Zen
Za-Zen

2D3D Contemporary, The Meeting House, Ilminster  March 22nd – April 18th
Well, this piece isn’t very new, but has only been shown during Open Studios last year. So this is it’s first really public outing. Small tapestry, about 20 x 15cm.  The show looks great, and I have several tapestries and some new prints and drawings alongside work by other Somerset and Dorset artists such as Bronwen Bradshaw, Jenny Graham and Amanda Wallwork.

Wired Stripe
Wired Stripe

This is a new print, quite large. My first ventures into aluminium etching. Strange to be doing a normal thing like exhibiting in the midst of the very different experience of working with Somerset Heritage for The Discovery Room project. Visit http://www.revealthemuseum.com for up to date details about that.

 

 

 

Lines (not wrinkles), London and Pots

TapeLineNovember 2nd    Last weekend I was in London, going to two workshops run by textile artist Shelly Goldsmith, in response to Richard Tuttle’s ‘I Don’t Know. The Weave of Textile Language’. Starting at the Whitechapel Gallery, investigating the quality of line was a good way into this retrospective show of some of Tuttle’s work, all of which has an emphasis on textiles. We were then let loose in an upstairs room to create mayhem, making and installing our own ‘lines’ out of fabric and thread, and incorporating heat transfer images. Great group of people, with varied backgrounds, and all ready to get stuck in. This is the part of my line that I liked. After the workshop I wandered into Kader Attia’s installation ‘Continuum of Repair: The Light of Jacob’s Ladder’. Like the Tuttle, how could I resist a title like that?! Just great, fascinating, intelligent, many of the things I was groping for through my Nature of Mending project were articulated here.

I can’t really describe either the Tuttle or the Attia, so I won’t try, but got a great deal from both, visual and cerebral. Sunday the workshop re-convened at Tate Modern, to contemplate Tuttle’s installation in the Turbine Hall, which I think is pretty horrible, and I wasnt totally alone. But we got to create chaos again in another upstairs room, this time deconstructing a garment we had brought, and creating something. All very art- collegey but great fun.

overandover

Here is a detail from my black silk piece (I abandoned the heat transfer, a technique Shelly uses to brilliant and thought provoking effect, but I was hopeless). The woven ‘name-tape’ is a section cut from a whole long length of text that Shelly brought, left over from one of her pieces, and again, finding the phrase about repair, just had to pounce on it. (Hope it’s visible)  One of the extra treats of the day was being in the Tate’s education room, high up at one end of the building, with extraordinary views 013255fccd9279bdb1204ac0b5f318392436aa00e1014ac7c7bd722021e5d99882bc2d4ded25eb067f05Home on Monday, then on Wednesday a visit to Museum of Somerset as part of the Discovery Room project which is now well under way (more about this v. soon) and another extraordinary treat, looking at and holding very very ancient ceramics. This one is about 2,500 years old….017286966b3175827ba68f127da7d2bbe92727fdecWhat a week!

 

July 30th 2014. The Room! New Project!

Friend and painter/printmaker Jenny Graham has been successful in her bid to Arts Council England for her project ‘The Room’. I will be joining her, and Chris Dunseath, (sculptor), Ralph Hoyte (poet) and Richard Tomlinson (photographer/moving image) to spend the next year rootling around in the stores and archives at Somerset Heritage in Taunton, alongside their great team of curators. The rootlings will culminate in an installation at the Museum of Somerset in 2016. There will be a project blog soon.
SO, I have been ruminating about collections. I don’t think of myself as a maker of collections, but I realise, I have unconsciously put together a collection of wonky pots over the past 15 years, which live on the windowsill in my studio. There are one or two things which are not pots, but which relate somehow, (and there is one bowl which is anything but wonky but makes a great foil for the others). Here is my windowsill.

studio windowsill
studio windowsill

You can’t see the individual objects in any detail here, but the reason I wanted to post a picture of my collection was more to do with their background stories than to show them off and say why I like them. Makes a change from always being primarily visual. So here are the stories. The numbers start with the little bottles along the top, and go clockwise and then into the middle, finishing with the Michael Fairfax sculpture.

1 – 5
Rejected bottles and pot collected from the debris of John Butler and John McKenzie’s wood fired kiln after their final firing at Hurstone Studios in 2004.

6
Beaker made by Martha Stalkopt at Hurstone studios in 2004. One of the gifts she made to all of us who had studios there when she returned to Switzerland.

7 & 8
Terracotta beakers from India. The LH one is a chai cup, (now holding pins) which I picked up from a pile of rejects next to the potter who was making them, in a small remote village somewhere in Rajasthan in 2005. James Crowden would know the name of it; he took us there to see the most spectacular step well.
The RH one I kept from a train journey from Dehra Dun to Delhi, later in 2005. Extract from my diary: ‘As soon as the train starts boys come round with newspapers. Unfortunately all in Hindi. These are followed by bottles of water and a paper cup each. A while later we get a sort of thin spicy pasty, a cup of tea (from a ‘tea kit’), a packet of crisps, one of those testicle like sweet balls (brown this time) and two toffees. After another pause, we get a carton of mango juice each, which are whipped away rather quickly, (no chance of saving for later) and replaced with a cup of spicy tomato soup and roll and butter. NOW comes the major meal, 3 hot dishes, (curried beans, curried paneer, rice & 3 chapatti) a paper bag of salad, pickle, and a terracotta pot of beautiful yoghurt’. This is the very same terracotta pot, and now holds a painted easter egg.

9. 1960s vase from car boot.

10 & 11. Two experimental fired paperclay objects, made by me at UWE Bristol whilst studying for my printmaking M.A in 2002

12. A small beautifully imperfect bowl by Japanese ceramicist Kaori Tatebayashi, bought this year at the Leach pottery shop in St. Ives. It now contains a handful of iridescent green beetle wings from my grandmother’s sewing things. They were presumably for applique, like sequins.

13 – 16 More experiments with fired paperclay, made last year for my Nature of Mending project, using nails and metal washers, with a view to incorporating into tapestries.

17. A piece of circular slate. Cannot remember where I found it.

18. Four rusted antique nails found whilst gardening.

19. A beautiful, serene, perfectly symmetrical and balanced celadon bowl with raku fired pedestal by Devon ceramicist Tim Andrews, bought 2 years ago at the Marle Gallery in Axminster.

20. As 10 and 11

21 As 1 – 5 except this was not a reject and I bought it from one of the Johns. John Butler now making green buildings in Bridport, so he would know.

22 Five pieces of fabric stitched/wrapped with metal dipped in porcelain slip then fired, by textile artist Debbie Smyth. Bought this year from the Taunton exhibition of work made during the Somerset Artworks project Z Twist.

23 Wood and lens sculpture by Michael Fairfax. A much loved 50th birthday present from the artist.

So, a rich mix of pieces by artists, some friends, some not, incidental finds and my own experiments.
Applying this process to museum collections won’t of course be possible, but maybe with imagination, making collections from within their collections can be brought to life in a similar way. Can’t wait!

Quick trip, ideas to last

Is this Heaven?
Is this Heaven?

I lived in this tiny village in the Tuscan hills in 1975, long before it evolved into its current life as a holiday village with a difference. Abandoned post war, the sculptor Fiore de Henriquez, (who died ten years ago) bought it and re-built it (mostly herself) during the 1960s and 70s. One weekend this June I was one of around 50 people who stayed there for a weekend of Fiore celebration, which included two exceptional films about her. 2 days of stimulating conversation, exceptional food and wine, and heavenly views, scents and weather. From here I travelled to Bologna for two days.083
In my next post, I will put together images from Abbzia de Santo Stefano, the Archaelogical Museum and Mambo, the new Museum of Modern Art in Bologna. These were the main things I got to see, fitting in around buying a train ticket (as always in Italy, a saga in itself), buying espadrilles, and Italian knickers, and experiencing the free movies being shown every night in the main square, along with an elegant concert in a church garden of 18th century chamber music…..I love Bologna. Oh, and of course sensational ice cream…..

June 3rd. Last 5 days coming up…

Yellow Present
Yellow Present

Give yourself a Yellow Present before Artweeks finish on Sunday…. Still some great drypoint prints to be had too – Thank you everyone who has been so far, great time catching up with people, and meeting new ones. Venue 151, on the Dorset /Somerset border near between Axminster, Chard and Winsham in the middle of a field….check directions at

Open Studios Week Two….

Flying Kerchief
Flying Kerchief

This is a very small painting/drawing of mine, bought by Eve Higgs last week. Still have two others from the same series left…..
Week two of Dorset Artweeks Open Studios is so far drier and sunnier! Myself and partner Brian Rice are right on the precipitous edge of Dorset, so only the most discerning and intrepid venture out to see us. (venues 150 and 151 http:www.dorsetartweeks.co.uk) So we have had some really great visitors; engaged, interesting, and able to look closely at our work as we don’t have blockbuster type crowds. We close tomorrow and Tuesday to catch up on our lives, before being open every day from Wednesday to next Sunday. Don’t miss out! There are some other exceptional venues not far away, and we are in a very special bit of countryside too.

Open Studios May 24th-June8th

Mile End

My studio will be open to visitors as part of Dorset Artweeks 2014 from May 24th, so come and visit me and my partner Brian Rice in our idyllic place on the Dorset/Somerset border, overlooking the Axe Valley and Forde Abbey (hidden by trees, but it is there!). Take care down our rather rough track access though. We are venues 150 and 151. More info www.dorsetartweeks.co.uk

Great prints at Coleridge Cottage!

Coleridge Flyer for EmailSomerset Printmakers were approached by the National Trust at Coleridge Cottage to make work inspired by or in response to poems by Coleridge. The resulting show is a great mix of figurative and abstract visual thoughts, and in conjunction with visiting this evocative little house, is a must-do visit. Detail from my print is top RH corner of the above flyer!It is a response to his poem ‘This Lime Tree bower, my prison’.  What I like about this poem is Coleridge’s change of heart, from raging against having to sit in his garden rather than striding in the open air across much loved hills with his friends,(he has burned his foot badly) and then finding that actually there is much to celebrate in the small details that surround him in his lime-tree bower. My two prints aim to reflect the two perceptions of his situation encapsulated in the poem.