Glastonbury Abbey – Orchard Sculpture Trail

Glastonbury Abbey are running their first ever ‘Orchard Sculpture Trail’ this summer, in which I am showing 2 pieces – originally created for last year’s SAW/NGS Abundance commission.  Lichen and Giant Nest were both created from mixed media (recycled and found materials) as part of a larger set of work entitled Garden of Eden.  The work took nearly 4 days to install around a tree in the orchard, and are on exhibition from now until 28th September.  Other featured sculptors include Penny Hardy, Tom Clark, Serena de la Hey and Anthony Rogers.

Lichen - installed at Glastonbury Abbey's Orchard Sculpture Trail

I will be talking about my Abundance work at the Create, Make, Cultivate Symposium this Saturday (12th July) during the Abundance Pecha Kucha (between 3.30 – 4.15pm).  For bookings please contact: 01458 253800 or info@somersetartworks.org.uk.

Summer Exhibitions

My blog writing has suffered in the past few months as demands on my life expand.  It can be said of many of us, life seems to be getting busier.  Trying to take time out to simply enjoy can be a challenge!  The past month has certainly been a massive effort for me to manage, but I seem to have done it fairly unscathed.  Planning and running workshops at different schools, drawing and making large sculptures for new exhibitions, transporting and setting them up, endless admin and meetings for new roles and plans (to be divulged soon) and of course personal life, son, garden, home blah blah…!  So, here’s a snapshot of what’s happening in terms of exhibitions and projects I’m involved in this summer.

I’ve been working towards several summer shows at seaside venues and in some lovely gardens in London, the South West and Guernsey.

Starting next week is my solo exhibition entitled ‘Found, Now Missing’ at Contains Art, Somerset, as part of their ‘Voyages’ programme.  My largest piece (image above) will be sited on the roof of a shipping container/gallery overlooking Watchet marina and Bristol Channel.  It will be seen from the West Somerset steam railway line above, too.  See the Private View invite below for further details – please come along if you can.

On 7th June, I’ll be running a drawing workshop tied in with the exhibition.  Do drop in!

From July to September I will be showing work in Glastonbury Abbey’s grounds for their Abbey Orchard Sculpture Trail and participating in the Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail ‘14.  (See current and forthcoming exhibitions for dates.)

My work is currently featured in The Hidden Garden Art Show as part of Chelsea Fringe and the National Garden Scheme until 8th June and at Art Parks International Sculpture Festival, St Martin, Guernsey GY4 6SG until October.  I also have 3 pieces on show until July for Sidcot Arts Centre’s Outdoor Artist Programme.

Various workshops in schools include recently making crane sculptures with All Hallows students linked with the Great Crane Project – soon to be filmed by Whitespace Productions in the making.  We made a 2 metre high Tree at Watchfield Primary and this month I’ll be constructing a large nest for children’s litterbugs to live in as part of a Litterarti project, which will feature in Bristol’s forthcoming Big Green Week.

On 12th July, I will be discussing my SAW/NGS Abundance work at the ‘Make, Create, Cultivate Symposium’ – a weekend celebration of some recent innovative creative projects in Somerset.

Then I’m off to Florence for a short break, which I’m sure to enjoy!

I hope you can visit some of these events and wishing you a happy, hot summer ahead!

 

Of Form and Texture

A new exhibition starts this Saturday entitled ‘Of Form and Texture’ at Sidcot Arts Centre, in which some of my work will be on show as part of a selected group.  Diane Burnell, Sara Parsons, Debbie Lamb and Laura Howarth are also taking part.  My Lichen piece took nearly 2 days to install (thanks to the help of friend Nigel Evans), but is now up and ready for the Launch event on Saturday.  This piece, made from recycled materials, was originally created with more components as part of the Abundance commission last year – an Art/Garden Trail organised by Somerset Art Works and the National Garden Scheme.

3 of my sculptures have been on show outside the entrance of Sidcot Arts Centre since February, the first set of work for their new Outdoor Sculpture Programme.  Below are details of the exhibition – do try to come along!

Press 2014

Oakfield Academy – Bulrushes Workshop, Frome Standard  Feb ’14

Sidcot Arts Centre, Tendril installation Feb ’14

Outdoor Sculpture Programme, Sidcot School Feb ’14

Embracing Life Through Art, Landscape Juice Feb ’14

New Art Projects in Somerset, Shepton Journal Feb ’14

Tall Tendril on Show at Arts Centre, Wells Journal Feb ’14

Setting a Sea Life Theme, Western Daily Press Feb ’14

Artist Creates Installation at School, Western Mercury Feb ’14

Abundance catalogue (my page)

Memory Tree for Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice – Farnborough Rotary Club April ’14

Hidden Garden Show, ‘Fabric’ Magazine May ’14

Fosse and Mendip

Sculptsite – ‘Found, Now, Missing’ exhibition at Contains Art – June ’14

Somerset Gazette – Contains Art – June ’14

Somerset Gazette articleGazette listings

Bristol Post – Litterarti project – Nest sculpture for children’s Litterbugs – June ’14

Bristol Post – Waste of Space Tree-making workshops and exhibition at Trinity Centre

Golden Pulse blog – Litterarti work at Trinity Centre, Bristol

Glastonbury Abbey Sculpture in the Orchard – YouTube film posted by visitor Tom Eveson

Sculpture in the Orchard at Glastonbury Abbey – Somerset Life Aug ’14

Sculpture in the Orchard, Glastonbury Abbey - Somerset Life

Sculpture in the Orchard at Glastonbury Abbey – Shepton Mallet Journal

Glastonbury Abbey's 'Sculpture in the Orchard'

LandfillArt Website

Second Time Around – Hubcap as Art, LandfillArt Exhibition, MSV, USA

Through Our Hands online magazine p.41-46 (issue 2)

The Great Crane Project, All Hallows

Ideas Tap – step in stone crowdfunding, Oct-Dec ’14

Guardian – step in stone, Nov ’14

step in stone -Somerset Guardian 20:11:14

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections on 2013

This year has been one of contrasts for me, including plenty of achievements, interesting new directions and records set.  With over 20 exhibitions, it’s been a busy one.  I plan to focus on fewer but bigger shows next year.

One of my more challenging projects was the SAW/NGS Abundance commission work, which engrossed me for months.  For my ‘Garden of Eden’ I created 3 new works including my largest to date – ‘Lichen’. Although the site-specific installations were only on exhibition to the public at Esotera for a fortnight, I moved some of the work on to my next show at Walcot Chapel Gallery, Bath for further airing.  A blog and catalogue about our Abundance work has been published to ensure some legacy for the project.

My involvement with Somerset Art Works has developed into a new role as Rep for East Mendip, which is leading to interesting new work relationships and projects with other artists.   Somerset has a lively creative community with some amazing talent and innovation going on.

A few other commissions, numerous workshops and teaching have also kept me hard at work.  I made a piece for an indoor architect-designed space, which was novel for me.  I was surprised at how comfortable my work sits in a more urban, glass-panelled interior setting.

Amongst other sales I sold my longstanding steel ‘Man’ piece this year.  He has been with me to many events, homes and shows over the years and nearly sold several times.   He now resides in a lovely NGS garden with a diversity of wildlife to keep him company.   Coincidentally, the real thing came along in my life around the same time.

Over the Christmas period I have a piece in one of Frome’s Loop de Loop spaces, by the Black Swan Art Centre, which you may like to visit.  They have an unusual history…

I’m looking forward to seeing family in Kenya for Christmas, where it will be deliciously hot!  Sketchbooks will be fully utilised.

Thanks for your interest and BEST WISHES FOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!


From Arnolfini to Frome’s Cultural Quarter

I had a great day at the Arnolfini, Bristol recently with fellow SAW Abundance artists and SAW curator Zoe Li seeing new work on show and catching up.  Micheael Dean’s sculpture (see tongue piece below) and Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ performance ‘Maintenance Works’ were inspiring.  Ukeles’ work seeks to overlap activities of ordinary labours of life with artistic labour – a concept she originated in the ’60’s.  Amongst other projects in ‘Touch Sanitation’ she spent months following, talking, participating and shaking hands with New York sanmen – thanking them for their thankless work.  Dean’s textured concrete works are made to be handled, making them far more accessible.

At the Black Swan Art Centre, Frome, I visited Seamus Moran’s exhibition of beautiful, haunting sculptures cast from tree knots.  His work resonated with my own fascination and collection of found objects including tree knots, twigs and roots.

Frome seems to be gathering momentum in the arts.  I went to a meeting about their planned new ‘cultural quarter’ for the area around the Black Swan, Museum, Library, Cheese and Grain, cattle market and river – a potentially very exciting arts complex which will infuse the Mendips with even more creativity – in addition to the Hauser and Wirth Gallery opening in Bruton in 2014.

I’m currently exhibiting a piece in this ‘cultural quarter’ for Loop de Loop – newly converted mini exhibition cubicles, which used to be loos!  The spaces look great lit up at night and will hopefully be appreciated over the Christmas period, starting with the Frome Christmas lights opening by Jenson Button this Friday evening, Catherine Hill artisan market and Super Market on Sunday.

 

The Garden of Eden

The last fortnight has been a rather mad whirlwind leading to Somerset Art Weeks Festival opening, managing both my SAW venues between other day-to-day commitments, testing my sanity.  Miraculously, the Garden of Eden (SAW Abundance Garden Trail) came together on time.  With the support and help of good friends and a few late nights finishing off, I managed to complete my 3  installations at Esotera (Foddington, Somerset TA11 7EL), set up at Thornreed Studio, Godney (venue 94), get to the Abundance micro feast at East Lambrook, do a talk and workshop on the first Saturday and thoroughly enjoy chatting to visitors for the past week.  Thanks to Pauline Watson and team, the Harveys (owners at Esotera) and Hicks & Don (wine sponsors) for their hard work, food and drink contributions to the private view, it was a lovely event.

I asked a photographer (from 35mil) to take some pics of the work.  We re-scheduled 3 times due to poor weather and it was third time lucky when the sun finally broke through after a dull, cold day.  Dappled sunlight heightens the enchantment on the largest piece – lichen-inspired work set in a copse of silver birch trees.  What’s really needed now is more sunshine to do its magic over this last coming weekend to encourage a wider, more abundant audience.

I’ve received many appreciative, insightful comments about the Garden of Eden and yesterday was a particularly good day at Esotera, with a large range of visitors of all ages.   A friend even made a visit from above in a glider.  Grass is starting to grow through my main installation, and although I regularly collect some of the leaves/debri that fall onto the work (especially after high winds last week), they almost enhance it.   The work is settling into the site – perhaps it should remain a permanent feature!   Gengis the resident cat/leopard is enjoying the extra attention and Scruffy – one of the free-roaming chickens – has an odd habit of pecking at visitors’ feet/legs!   Ahh sweet!

I am feeling positive about the whole experience, apart from poor weather at times bringing less visitors (and a few recoiling when faced with the NGS entrance fee).   It has been hard work, challenging, great fun, addictive even – and I think, successful.

Please see my Abundance post for further details about this project

Buzzy

It’s a funny word – busy!  It often means that things are going well but a bit hectic.  Sometimes it’s an excuse not to do what you don’t feel like doing.  Trying to balance all aspects of life, recently writing a post for my blog was relatively low on my list of priorities.  Too many other projects on the go, all vying for attention, and school summer holidays to boot!  Anyway, like the constant buzz of creatures in my garden at the moment, it’s been a buzzy time.

Below is a snapshot of some of my recent projects and workshops over the past few weeks:

Installed sculpture as private commission for an architect designed interior space:

Various workshops with young people:

Ongoing exhibitions ending this weekend:

Been working on a film via Ignite Somerset – link to be posted very soon.  Ignite Somerset also have a radio show broadcast via 10radio.  I featured in last week’s hourly programme with my son, which was fun.

Time is drawing near for Somerset Art Weeks Festival (21st Sept – 6th Oct) and I’ve been focusing on my Abundance commission work as part of this event (venue 55).  Installation will start soon, and I still have plenty to do before then.  I’m also showing at Thornreed Studio alongside Simon Ledson, Jane Peck and Jan Ollis (venue 94).  Please come along to both venues!

Summer events

The Abundance commission work has taken over recently as a daily activity.   I’m hooked and no matter what the day holds, I try to spend a few hours on making my lichen-inspired sculptural pieces towards a steadily growing mass of forms for my installation at Esotera during Somerset Art Weeks Festival. (See Abundance blog for further details).

Meanwhile, a succession of exhibitions, teaching and personal stuff is using up my remaining energy reserves.  Did the Sustainability Show yesterday in Taunton.  It poured with rain, but otherwise a great event!

Here’s an exhibition update on summer events I’m taking part in:

Bristol’s Big Green Week started at the weekend.  I’m showing some work in the Salvage exhibition at the Architecture Centre, next to the Arnolfini, Narrow Quay (15th – 23rd June).

My Artist on a Plinth exhibition at Black Swan Arts is up and running (until 4th July).

Frome Festival kicks off soon, along with Frome Artists Open Studios.  I will be showing in a group exhibition at ‘The Limes’, 45 Keyford, Frome BA11 1LB (venue 23 – private view invite below)

 

This photo of my work will feature in the Evolver Prize 2013 Exhibition, Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton, Devon EX14 1LX (13th July – 31st August)

 

I’ll be taking part in the Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail (20th July – 1st Sept) around Teignmouth seafront area

Art in the Garden, Lanhydrock National Trust Estate, Bodmin PL39 5AD (1st March – 31st Oct)

And as we draw closer to midsummer in UK, bring on the sunshine..!






Skips and scrapyards – a growing concern

I’ve been clambering over scrapyard heaps for about 25 years (on and off) and it still thrills me to go hunting in them.  My friends’ Dad, Mick, worked in a scrapyard in Cirencester decades ago and introduced me to scrapyard wonderland.  Mountains of metal in all shapes and sizes; colourful writhing wires, crying to be resuscitated.  Once upon a time it was a cheap way to find materials.  Skips aren’t quite as exciting, but they are cost free.

My scraptor exploits are getting a bit crazy of late.  I have a scrap zone in my garden, and it’s getting a bit out of hand.  When I co-founded the Scraptors group 2 years ago and subsequently became a Green Capital Artist in Residence for Bristol’s Big Green Week ’12, friends and the public donated numerous items, some of which I turned into sculptures for related trails and exhibitions.  Now a recent commission (Abundance) via SAW/NGS has given me more reason to go rummaging.   Recycled materials feature strongly in the pieces I’m creating for it.

Owners of the garden at Esotera, where my Abundance work will be installed in September, gave me a large pile of wire for the work.  Last week I returned to a skip I’d come across armed with snips to extract some springs from a dumped sofa (with permission from the owner).  I got some funny looks as I struggled to cut the steel, straddled on top..  Today I dragged back a large rusty steel barrel from a local quarry I frequent and have been avidly collecting bits on dog walks.   Let’s hope the resulting work is worth my garden turning into a scrapyard.  After this project I might sell the leftovers back to the yard, have a scrap free garden for a while and grow nice flowers.