I am currently working on a new piece for Black Swan’s Secret Swans Art Trail.
Frome Standard, March ’16 – Local Artists’ work focal pieces/Chelsea Flower Show story
Frome Times, March ’16 – Chelsea Flower Show commission
Fine Times Recorder, March ’16 – Bishop unveiling at Bishops Palace
Wells Journal, March ’16 – New sculpture unveiled at Bishops Palace
The Visitor Magazine, May ’16 – Somerset artists net Chelsea Flower Show commission
BBC Get Creative Day, April ’16 – workshops at Black Swan Arts
Bruton Town website – Chelsea Flower Show commission
The Fine Times Recorder – Chelsea Flower Show commission
Bishop commission – Country Gardener
Mendip Times, May ’16 – Bishop and Chelsea
Gardens Illustrated, May ’16 – Chelsea
Sunday Telegraph, 29 May ’16 – Chelsea canopy
Viking Cruises brochure for Chelsea Garden, May ’16
Somerset Live – Chelsea artists return
Frustrated Gardener blog – Chelsea Mekong Garden
Garden Design Journal – Chelsea
Country Life, Collectors’ Issue, 1 June ’16
Chelsea Fringe website – Hidden Garden Art Show
Frome Standard, 9 June ’16
Ham and High – Hidden Garden Art Show
The Visitor Magazine, June ’16 – Gold and Best Artisan Garden Awards at Chelsea Flower Show for Somerset Artists
Bruton Town website, June ’16 – Secret Swans Art Trail
SculptSite.com, June ’16 – Secret Swans Art Trail Adds Mystery to Frome Festival
Frome Festival, July ’16 – Secret Swans Success Story
Somerset Cool Blog, July ’16 – 30 Years of Art – Black Swan Arts, Frome
Frome Standard, July ’16 – Secret Swans
Frome Times, August ’16 – Black Swan – Beacon for the Arts
Salisbury Journal, Aug ’16 – step in stone tours to Salisbury Art Centre
It’s been an incredible few weeks, unleashing inner reserves of energy I didn’t know I had! Thank goodness for the unyielding patience and support of partner Nick Weaver, helping me to pull off the installation of Step 2 for ‘step in stone’ (a project I’m running), while finishing off artwork, getting signage done for 2 venues and co-ordinating it all. In between, I have been keeping things going at Somerset Earth Science Centre (our Step 1 venue), and maintaining my diatoms, which have been taken over by birdlife and getting mucky in the process!
Halecombe and Westdown/Asham quarries are now open daily for all to visit – see Duncan Simey’s wonderful selection of pics from a very rainy Friday. Jack Offord filmed us for the project documentary – looking forward to seeing the results of that at our Preview evening, 2nd October at Black Swan Arts, Frome.
Below is a selection from our Step 2 installation days and a couple of photoshoots by Duncan Simey taken since.
Finished work by some of the artists at both venues:
My main pieces – ‘Cirri’ (last images above) are based on crinoids (see the making process)! These are ancient sea creatures whose fossilised remains are common in carboniferous limestone and whose descendants can still be found living today. Crinoid tentacles (cirri) are reminiscent of branches, tendrils, feathers or the microscopic pattern of neurons. They cling to the seabed (some now vertical rock faces) by long spiny stems, others are without a stalk but have tentacle legs or long arms, which enable them to drag themselves along. I’m inspired by the tenacity and diversity of life and similarities of form that occur in different organisms.
Sadly a couple of heavy steel springs (components of my work) have gone missing and other parts tampered with at Westdown – if anybody spots these lurking in the bushes there, do contact me, they might be from my work!
The past fortnight was filled with our workshops, guided walks and talks, held at SESC, Westdown and Halecombe Quarries. The guided walks, in collaboration with Rosie and Pippa from Somerset Wildlife Trust, were really well attended and greatly enjoyed. Workshop participants of all ages explored a range of creative approaches related to the project, Sally Kidall’s talk was much appreciated and I was chuffed that my talk for 27 Active Living members received a wonderfully receptive and enthusiastic response.
Last week culminated in a very inspirational performance at Westdown/Asham: Artmusic’s ‘ECHO’ sculpture and sound installation on Saturday 22nd August was animated by live performances of Artmusic’s ‘BLAST’ – a theatrical response to the rock and mechanics of quarrying, with specially composed trumpet music being played from locations which echoed around the quarry. We had a great turn out and the audience seemed to really enjoy the unique show and setting. “A delightful melange of live and recorded fluttering trumpets grab our attention this way and that while butterflies flit among the stones…. As they move slowly up the valley from stone to stone, always edging closer to melody, we begin to follow, or not, or meander above and below. ..” Caroline Radcliffe
People brought picnics, dogs, cameras, sketchbooks and the sun was scorching all day!
Can’t wait to download Ralph Hoyte’s GPS Soundwalk ‘ANTICLINE‘ – now available for your smartphone before visiting Westdown.
I’m now working on the next stage for Step 3, which opens on 3rd October at Black Swan Arts, Fairy Cave Quarry and Frome Museum. Hope you can visit step in stone soon (www.stepinstone-somerset.co.uk)!
It’s going to be a very busy summer…
step in stone is absorbing most of my energies as curator and I hope you’ll visit the artscape when it opens this summer! A collaborative multi-disciplinary art project featuring work by fourteen leading artists, step in stone offers a unique opportunity to encounter contemporary artworks in rural Mendip while exploring spectacular, wild landscapes of abandoned and working quarries. Opening on Wednesday 8th July and stepping up in 3 phases to its finale in October (part of SAW Festival’s Momentum programme), the event will occupy 6 different venues. Trail, exhibitions and guided walks are free while there will be a small charge for our workshops and artist talks.
Together with some of the step in stone team I’ll be speaking about the project to a drop-in audience as part of Bristol’s Big Green Week outside at The Hub, just above the cascade steps, (near the Watershed) on Sunday 7th June at 12 noon (http://issuu.com/biggreenweek2015/docs/bgw_2015_programme). If you’re in Bristol at 12 noon – please come along! We’re also taking stands at Collett Park, Shepton Mallet on Saturday 13th June and The Sustainability Show in Taunton on Sunday 14th June, so people can learn more about the project. I’ll be there at both.
Friend Jo Martin created a beautiful hand painted map for our leaflet. The signed limited edition map will soon be available to buy at step in stone venues and the leaflet will be downloadable on our website and in various outlets throughout the region. My cousin Jack Offord made our trailer film for the project. I’ve loved teaming up with friends, family and colleagues on the project!
We’re looking for volunteers to man and/or help in our workshops at Somerset Earth Science Centre so please get in touch if interested, or pass this on to others. For further details about step in stone or to book a step in stone workshop, guided walk or artist talk visit: www.stepinstone-somerset.co.uk
This June my work will feature in GROW London, Hampstead Heath, London (18-21 June) and the Hidden Garden Art Show, Hampstead, London (see previous post), represented by Gallerist Maureen Michaelson. I’m happy to say that one of my pieces on show there has already sold this week! My work will also be on exhibition at ArtParks International Exhibition, Sausmarez Rd, St Martin, Guernsey GY4 6SG.
I hope you can visit some of these events and wishing you a happy, hot summer ahead!
Hello to budding spring! (I guess there is a spring in my step, though sometimes I feel like my feet are dragging – especially early mornings).
A few updates about events you might be interested in. My Art in Quarries project ‘step in stone’ is progressing well, having achieved a fantastic result through generous donors via crowdfunding on Ideas Tap and more recently a successful Arts Council England/National Lottery application. Heavily involved in bringing it to fruition, I am trying to reserve slices of time to make art. We have a new step in stone website, in addition to our facebook and twitter pages, so do please visit, follow and share. The best bit of the project is working with artists and other experts I admire. I’ve been getting increasingly inspired by the history, geology and nature of the quarries, with new sources of information from scientists such as Gill Odolphie from Somerset Earth Science Centre and friend Nick Weaver. I hope you’ll be able to visit the project this summer.
Part of the step in stone project will involve a young Sculpture Design Competition, kindly hosted by Black Swan Arts online from 1st April – 18th May. The winner will create their design as a full-scale sculpture to feature in our Trail, and all entries will be shown at the Black Swan, so any under 20 year old budding artists you know might like to have a go: http://www.blackswan.org.uk/sculpturedesign2015. Somerset Earth Science Centre (BA3 5JU) are hosting a Launch for us to explain more about this on Monday 23 March, 6-8pm. Come along if interested!
I feel honoured to have recently been elected onto the Black Swan board as a trustee and hope I can do the role justice in time. I love the Black Swan, it continues to provide excellent quality Arts in the South West, despite it’s huge crash in Council funding a few years ago. I hope it will gain further funding to be the best it can.
A radiator company, Sunflow Ltd, commissioned me to produce a 3-d sculptural piece for their new line of interesting Arty Radiators earlier this year. A challenging concept, I created an organic piece (no surprises there) involving copper piping and a woven nest on a layered backing of cut out metal, which we then sprayed (see design left and link above). These radiators are unusual – beautifully engineered, slim and very low heat. Mine is a prototype, so further one-off versions can be commissioned from me via Sunflow.
This June I will be featuring in the GROW London Fair, Hampstead Heath, London (18-21 June) represented by Gallerist Maureen Michaelson. My work will also be on exhibition at the Hidden Garden Art Show, Hampstead, London NW3 from 6-28 June and ArtParks International Exhibition, Sausmarez Rd, St Martin, Guernsey GY4 6SG.
Workshops and teaching continue to keep me connected with surrounding schools and the community. I’m looking forward to some great projects ahead with students, making large insects, birds and a dragon.
I was elated when news came through in January that my grant application to Arts Council England/National Lottery (via Grants for Arts) for step in stone was successful! This is the icing on the cake after several hard-going months fundraising and a few other succcesses including our crowd funding on IdeasTap. It’s really not my thing, so I feel a huge sense of achievement and relief! I owe thanks to several people who helped and supported me, particularly Nick Weaver, for his patient editing.
Since then, work’s got even busier! In between organising our step in stone Artist Research Trip (image below), doing step in stone PR and some art teaching, I have a commission I’m working on. Once complete, I will post images. It’s a new departure for me and I’m sworn to secrecy about it at the moment.
I was also delighted to be invited to join the Black Swan Arts Centre team as a trustee. It’s a great honour, and I’m looking forward to getting more involved with the Centre.
A couple of weeks ago I did a radio interview with Martin Evans at BBC, Bristol. Zoe Li (SAW) and I went up for an interview to plug Somerset Art Works Open Studios Family Friendly weekend, which we did. Martin then suggested a separate interview about my work.. so here it is – live for 7 days..!
I have just launched a crowdfunding campaign for step in stone on IdeasTap:
The link leads to full details about my planned step in stone project, together with a short related film, made by Jack Offord. Please visit and support. We hope to be successful in raising our target amount for an exciting project!
Somerset Open Studios ’14 is now in full swing, we had a great open evening doo to kick off and I’m happy to say our venue (140 – Cranmore BA4 4RH, shared with Nick Weaver) made several sales this weekend. With over 52 pieces on show in the garden alone, it was a big job setting up (and clearing up my studio ready for the event). I ran a brief workshop for several art students from Wells Cathedral Junior School and will be running similar taster workshops on the next 2 Sundays (11.30-12.30). Please book if you’re interested: (01749) 880394.
Last weekend I visited Hauser & Wirth’s new Gallery space in Bruton for their Private View of Piet Oudolf’s newly created garden. Phyllida Barlow’s work inside provided a tactile (though you can’t touch), raw and quite spectacular use of the barn buildings. Her work seemed to celebrate the space: multi gigantic pompoms suspended and massive colourful structures reaching into roof voids. It was invigorating, while Oudolf’s garden was soothing. Luckily we could touch his wonderful, feathery grasses – it would have been torture not to. And it was a treat to see one of Louise Bourgeois’s Spiders (much smaller than the one I saw at the Tate Modern, but still great!)
Fundraising is not my forte but I’ve had to do it as part of a major project I’m organising entitled ‘step in stone’. The film we’ve been making for a crowdfunding platform is now ready to launch on IdeasTap. This will go live in the next day or so, and I hope we will have some success through it. We have now made the final selection of featured artists, and it is all getting very exciting and absorbing! More news of this project soon…