Collaboration

'Flock in Flight' All Hallows Prep School group work

Each project brings with it new challenges. Sometimes several projects run alongside each other and the art of juggling can be a challenge in itself. Some of my roles overlap or interlink. This can be a good way to function, ‘killing 2 birds with 1 stone’ (though I hate killing), easing the problem of having too many things on the go, but isn’t so straightforward if you don’t want to compromise the work, and it can create a bottleneck time-wise, amongst other complications. I’ve enjoyed working alongside other artists/makers of all ages. I like collaboration – at its best, combined effort multiplies output and result, it’s more fun and creatively, one can learn so much from working with others.

The past month has been full-on. With a bit of time to reflect now, here’s a look at what went on in my little creative world (in the bigger world – all I can say in a nutshell is PLEASE CAN WE UNITE AND STOP KILLING).

Teaching, Workshops, Talks, Demonstrations

On 12 June I spent a day at the Hidden Garden Art Show (Maureen Michaelson Gallery, Hampstead), part of Chelsea Fringe Festival where my sculptures were on show with other selected artists, demonstrating my work process, running a drop-in workshop and giving a talk about my work to visitors.  Although it poured with rain all morning, the sun brought a magical shimmer and quite a crowd in the afternoon, including Tim Richardson – founder of Chelsea Fringe.

Drop-in workshop at Hidden Garden Art ShowWorkshop participant's beetleMe talking to Tim Richardson (leads Chelsea Fringe)

I teach 2 evenings a week at All Hallows Prep School and as I’ve been involved in the Secret Swans Art Trail (one of Black Swan Arts’ 30th anniversary events and part of Frome Festival), I devised a project to involve the children in the Trail.   We created a flock of flying swans in wire, which were installed on the exterior wall of Black Swan’s historic Round Tower.  Inspired by my recent trip to Sophie Ryder’s exhibition at Salisbury Cathedral, we used her ‘scribbly’ technique to add more black areas.  It was an effective solution given time constraints.  The final lessons getting the work completed was a mission as some children were absent due to end-of-term activities.  Thankfully others stood in (special mention: Ellie West and Nick Somerville!). The swans looked like faint drawings, quite lovely and ethereal, though visitors had to look hard to see them.

Student's work in progress - making the All Halllows swansStudent's work in progress - making the All Halllows swansMy contribution to 'Flock in Flight'Installation on Round Tower, Black Swan Arts Centre

Preparations for Priddy Festival included some ‘birdy notes’ as we called them.  A team of Mendip Creatives made them from wire and paper, for marquee decor.  A large willow hog was also made, led by Angela Morley.

I worked with a couple of schools recently (Bishops Wordsworth & North Town) making wire figures and mini creatures.  Bishops Wordsworth was a 2 day slog over to Salisbury in a hire car (my truck was broken) giving 4 x powerpoints/making sessions to 128 children in fairly swift succession. The short sessions of 2 hours per group had limitations, but it’s amazing what children can do when focused!

North Town Primary students making Giacometti-inspired figureNorth Town Primary student making Giacometti-inspired figureGiacometti-inspired figureGiacometti-inspired figureGiacometti-inspired figureWire Fish by Yr 7 pupil - Bishops Wordsworth School Wire Dragonfly by Yr 7 pupil - Bishops Wordsworth School Wire Seahorse by Yr 7 pupil - Bishops Wordsworth School Wire Crane by Yr 7 pupil - Bishops Wordsworth School Wire Woodlouse by Yr 13 helper - Bishops Wordsworth School

Volunteering Roles

Secret Swans badge (illustration by Belinda Brownlee)

I continue to be very involved in the Black Swan Arts centre as a trustee, especially this year, with its 30th anniversary.  We have held several special exhibitions/events to mark the occasion, which have so far been a ‘resounding success’ (Christina Oswin), with great feedback, overwhelming support from the public, serious funds raised, heightened the BSA profile and engaged the community.
1000 Postcards attracted over 1000 postcard-sized artworks (including 2 of mine) for a massively popular exhibition with over £10,000 of sales so far and visitors galore.  Unsold postcards can still be bought online.  Preparations for the Secret Swans Art Trail, which followed straight after, grew more intensive.  30 artists in 30 venues around Frome.  I made a piece, ‘Resurrection’, (using reclaimed steel, copper wire, tar, rope and scrim) and sited it by the river.  It only recieved slight damage, easily rectified and many positive comments, so am grateful to most Frome residents for their respect!  In addition I worked on the All Hallows piece, helped Nick Weaver with the organisation and was largely involved in the PR for these events.  They are great examples of a huge team effort by Black Swan volunteers.

Sketches for my Secret Swans work'Resurrection' - ‘Black Swan’ is a metaphor for the impossible becoming possible. This piece is about hope, endeavour, yearning, striving for truth, purity (‘we will never know everything’), freedom from constraints, environmental pollution. Swans represent love, which ‘conquers all’, symbolised by the crucifix. 'Resurrection' - ‘Black Swan’ is a metaphor for the impossible becoming possible. This piece is about hope, endeavour, yearning, striving for truth, purity (‘we will never know everything’), freedom from constraints, environmental pollution. Swans represent love, which ‘conquers all’, symbolised by the crucifix. 'Resurrection' - ‘Black Swan’ is a metaphor for the impossible becoming possible. This piece is about hope, endeavour, yearning, striving for truth, purity (‘we will never know everything’), freedom from constraints, environmental pollution. Swans represent love, which ‘conquers all’, symbolised by the crucifix. 'Resurrection' detail 'Resurrection' detail Secret Swans piece (detail) by Edgar PhillipsSecret Swans piece by Tessa Farmer (detail) Secret Swans piece by Alicia Merret Secret Swans piece by Angela Morley - detail Secret Swans piece by Annie Fry

I’ve been involved in various Somerset Art Works meetings, a couple for an exciting new project that might come off next year with Anna Best, and for Somerset Open Studios ’16 (17 Sept – 2 Oct).  As Rep for East Mendip, I’m keen to make sure we do Somerset proud.  I’m part of a cluster group in my area called The Mendip Triangle; we have a specially designed map (by Michel Linthorst) to help direct SAW visitors to our lovely rural Studios in September.  Looking forward to seeing this year’s SAW guides being delivered next week!

SAW flyer 'The Mendip Triangle' by Michel LinthorstSAW flyer (back) 'The Mendip Triangle' by Michel Linthorst

New Work, Exhibitions

I made a new Nest and Mini Dung Beetle & Ball for the Maureen Michaelson Show, in addition to existing work.  ‘Resurrection’ will be sited at the Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail, Teignmouth seafront from 23 July – 4 Sept, and I am now curating our forthcoming step in stone exhibition touring to Salisbury Art Centre (18 Aug – 24 Sept), with Amanda Wallwork’s help. 2 of my main outdoor pieces will be on show.  If you missed any step in stone artscapes last year, try to visit!

Nest detail'Cirri' created for step in stone, installed at Westdown Quarry, found and reclaimed steel, copper, aluminium, twine, wool, netting, rope, plastic. Photo by Duncan Simey

The garden and studio get quite a battering after big projects, so it’s time to tidy up!   My good intention of simplifying life, with less to clutter the brain is still in the development stage – I hope it will happen one day.  In the meantime, the juggling continues!

Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions 2016

I will be involved in the following exhibitions this year:

The Viking Cruises Garden, RHS Chelsea Flower Show , Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London SW3 4SL; 24-28 May ’16.  I am creating a large woven canopy as a focal piece for Sarah Eberle’s garden, inspired by Cambodia’s floating gardens and artisanal fishing techniques in the Mekong River region

The Hidden Garden Art Show, Maureen Michaelson Gallery, Hampstead, London; 4 – 12 June.  On Sunday 12 June this Gallery is also hosting a day as part of Chelsea Fringe Festival, where I will be demonstrating my sculpting techniques from 11am – 5pm, with a talk at 3pm. www.maureenmichaelson.com or www.chelseafringe.com

1000 Postcards, Black Swan Arts Centre, Frome; 18-28 June (Preview Evening Fri 17 June, 6-8pm).  Sale of 1000 Postcards (original artworks), many by famous artists and celebrities at an affordable £30. Exhibited anonymously (signatures on back), with list of contributors displayed. Funds will refurbish the historic Round Tower

Secret Swans, Frome (trail as part of Black Swan’s 30th anniversary celebrations and Frome Festival); 1-10 July.  Trail of 30 related artworks in various media/scale displayed at indoor and outdoor public venues around Frome. Information sheets/list of artists/venues available at Black Swan.  Secret auction at each venue

Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail, Teignmouth seafront; 23 July – 4 Sept.  My new piece ‘Resurrection’ will be on show alongside a range of other artworks

step in stone‘, Salisbury Art Centre; 18 Aug-24 Sept, open Tues-Sat, 10am-3pm. Private View Fri 19 Aug 6-8pm.  The artscapes-in-quarries project I ran last year goes on tour.  This exhibition tells the story of a unique event held in the summer and autumn of 2015.  14 local/international artists created site-specific artworks in response to the nature of quarries and their place in the environmental, cultural and industrial heritage of the region

Somerset Open Studios 2016, Laundry Cottage, 13 Cooks Lane, West Cranmore, Somerset BA4 4RH; 17 Sept–2 Oct.  Showing with Nick Weaver.  I will be running a Taster Wire Workshop, Sun 25 Sept, 11.30-12.30.  £6 pp. To book contact: fionacampbell-art@sky.com
Quartz Festival 2016, ‘Outside In’, Queens College, Trull Road, Taunton TA1 4QS; 15-22 Dec.  Collection of work based on the natural world from over 40 artists and makers from South West UK

Suddenly, it’s Spring!

Working on Bishop JocelynLoaded on my truckBishop Jocelyn installed at Bishops Palace Gardens. Base to be sunk.

I completed my steel Bishop last month (see images) for Bishops Palace Gardens, Wells – to be unveiled soon!  I was originally asked to create a topiary structure, but as he evolved it was decided the Bishop would remain purely a sculpture.  I created him as a 3d linear sketch.  He represents a myth about the medieval Bishop Jocelyn of Wells who slayed the Dragon of Worminster, saving the people of Dinder from further ravaging of their children and stock.  The Dragon will be made later.

New Black Swan 30th logoWinner in 8-11 yrs category - one of my studentsSome of the masks on display at the Young Open. Chuffed that all my students' entries were selected

I’ve been involved in work behind the scenes at Black Swan Arts as a Trustee. The current Young Open Exhibition required lots of preparation – an impressive show of young talent including some of my students from All Hallows and elsewhere.  Very proud that some of them were winners!  Celebrations for Black Swan’s 30th anniversary this year include some exciting events coming soon at the centre – BBC’s Get Creative Day (Drop-in workshops on Sat 2nd April, 2-4pm), 1000 Postcards (exhibition & sale of mini artworks by artists/celebs), Secret Swans (trail as part of Frome Festival) and 30 Plinths exhibition.  A chance to look forward to a great future for Black Swan and vital fund-raising.  If you’d like to help or take part do visit www.blackswan.org.uk.  We need 1000 postcard artworks by June!

Me & Nick Weaver coppicing hazel for the canopy structureNick and Fiona in Fiona's garden with samplesCanopy in progress, fishing net sections

My work for the Viking Cruises Chelsea Flower Show Artisan Garden, designed by Sarah Eberle, is now well under way.  It is inspired by Cambodian floating gardens and fishing techniques of the Mekong region.  I’m working on it collaboratively with Nick Weaver, who’s making the wood boat/lounger, while I’m making a 4 metre textured fishing net/canopy by hand (see image), incorporating fine woven copper wires, twine, silk, wool and other surprising found materials like fish skeletons!  I am avidly collecting lemon netting bags for it.  It’s a long process and an exciting prospect – I’ve not produced work for Chelsea Flower Show before.  I will be there on 24/25 May, so please come and say hello if you have tickets!  Updates about this will be added to this blog in due course or visit here.

This June I will be exhibiting works in The Hidden Garden Art Show at Maureen Michaelson Gallery in Hampstead, London (June 4-12).  On Sunday 12 June this Gallery is also hosting a day as part of Chelsea Fringe Festival where I will be demonstrating my sculpting techniques.  For more information about these events, visit www.maureenmichaelson.com or www.chelseafringe.com.

Looking ahead, ‘step in stone – the artscapes-in-quarries project I ran last year – will be touring to Salisbury Art Centre in Aug/Sept.  Artworks by all 14 artists will feature – a chance to see some of the work if you missed it last year.

Have a lovely Spring!