Get Creative!

I’ll be running free 20 min drop-in taster wire workshops in the Gallery at Black Swan Arts, Frome (2 Bridge St, Frome BA11 1BB) as part of BBC’s Get Creative Day tomorrow (Saturday, 2 April, 2-4pm). 3 other artisans will also be offering taster workshops in their studios at the centre.  Come along and get creative!

Get Creative poster

 

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!

BBC Radio interview

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..!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0287hwn

Press 2009 – 2011

Wildlife Artist of the Year Award ’09

Somerset Life Magazine article 2009:

garden beet – Sculptures for Gardens

Spaeda Magazine feature 2010:

bbc news – Glastonbury Festival’s Greenfields 2010 – Giant Spider

Green Diary – Glastonbury Giant Spider project

winkball.com – First 2 videos show me at work on Spider at Glastonbury

Mendip Times – Glastonbury Spider ’10

Somerset Life – Carymoor Environmental Sculpture Project 2010

Mendip Times – Carymoor Environmental Sculpture Project 2010

bbc news – Somerset Art Weeks 2010

bbc news – Insect sculptures stolen from Dobbies entrance

Spaeda – featured school project

Wincanton Window – Art for Life – Sustainable Sculptures in Historic Venues (2011)

Central Somerset Gazette – Scraptors at Pylle scrapyard (’11):

Wincanton Window – Scrap – The New Alchemy

Warminster Journal:

Period Living article – Salvo Fair 2011

TAAG – Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail 2011

Chronicle front page – Stackpool, Kidderminster – Community Insect Sculpture Project:

This is Somerset – Somerset Art Weeks 2011

Somerset Life Magazine – Art in the Garden, Somerset Art Weeks

Thinly Spread blog – Scraptors Stourhead Sculpture Trail ’11

This is Somerset – Stourhead Sculpture Trail ‘Beyond the Garden Gate’ ’11

Wincanton Window – Stourhead Sculpture Trail ’11

 

Glastonbury Giant Recycled Spider project – Greencrafts field

Raising awareness of recycling through art…

Diary:

Thursday 10th June: With less than 2 weeks to go before the Spider sculpture has to be installed at Glastonbury’s Greenfields (see Spinning my Web), it’s going to be a tight schedule.  I am logging my progress with snapshots of each stage – apart from anything, it will help keep me on target!  So many other things booked up at this time… I’m trying to keep a calm grip!!

Had a few setbacks with the project recently, including one of the ‘team’ dropping out at this late stage, but there is still a great deal of support and had a visit from BBC Somerset today, who are following the project ( see links to BBC feature and BBC feature 2)

More to follow soon…

Sunday 13th June: Still looking for a replacement helper for the project, but the spider’s taking shape.  Trying to keep it linear whilst also using some interesting pieces of scrap to make it quirky.  Found a couple of good leg parts and some mattress springs on a dog walk to a disused quarry today – carrying it all back was interesting… luckily my son helped out.

Tuesday 15th June: Now have a 4th helper so all go…  Mendip Times is coming to see the spider structure on Thursday, so will try to get abdomen complete by then.

Thursday 17th June: Have been grinding rust/paint off leg parts which isn’t such fun – neither environmental nor creative – but gotta be done!  The best bit will be when I weld the leg parts together at the weekend and test the bolts which connect the legs to the body eventually.  Various admin jobs for the project (and other commitments) are taking up time… but I think it’ll all be ready for Monday’s delivery.  Apparently insects are a big theme at Glasto this year, so I’ll be in with the in(sect) crowd:-)

Sunday 20th June: It’s been a hard grind – haven’t stopped all weekend!  The legs are taking much longer than I’d anticipated – I may have overdone the cleaning process. My neighbours aren’t too chuffed with the noise of my angle grinder which I’m loathe to use, but under pressure….  Ruth and Pete (helpers) came round last night to drop off their stuff for the big delivery and kindly fed me with home made curry. What a treat!

I have various errands/jobs still to do tomorrow morning and have run out of welding wire – still with 3 legs to make by tomorrow afternoon … all a bit fraught!  But, it does look quite spider-like now.

Thursday 24th June: The last few days have been a slog… but today made it all worth the effort!  Delivering, setting up, getting in and out of the Festival site have all been an experience I won’t forget!  Next time round will be easier now I know the ‘way’ as crew person, but there’s so much red tape – even at Glastonbury Festival!  And SO much walking and moving heavy things til’ late at night on my own …

Wednesday seemed disturbingly quiet, until I realised the footy match was gripping thousands on site.  Today was brilliant!  Despite several glitches in the morning (passout/re-entry problems + Pete – helper – couldn’t make it due to a back injury) we had non-stop participation from the public, adding wire to bulk out the body, then crushed cans and bottle tops.  Ruth (helper) and her sons Dan and Joe + friends have been wonderful supporters.  Dan has taken the web on board, so tomorrow we should have it all completed.  The weather has been fabulous – stiflingly hot – so no wellies necessary and tomorrow evening I intend to take in the rest of the Fest!

Sunday 27th June:

Last day and still going strong!  The Spider had to be lowered as it was becoming a worry with people tripping up, especially late-night-lurchers …my steel man on display was on his back two mornings in a row and various things have been stolen from the dome during the night (all my cushions, a prototype dreamcatcher I’d made and my bag of glasses for eye protection) – some people are charming!  However, the web (made by Dan – helper – and friend Jess) is gradually gaining waste bugs made by participants in workshops yesterday, from young children to adults, so I’m pleased with the progress.

Monday 28th June: What an exhausting week/month!  Spider got filled up with cans and nothing too serious went wrong.  We were penalised with a rubbish area at the edge of Greencrafts field for our site, BUT despite that the public (all ages) seemed to appreciate the concept; loads joined in to help create the piece – some fighting arachnophobic tendencies;  numerous photo shoots of people wanting to pose with ‘Spider’ (still has no name – any suggestions??) and some press coverage, so I think it was a success!  In tandem with the Spider creation, the weekend wire workshops stretched people’s imagination.  Some produced complex insects with beautiful beadwork, whilst others made funky ‘waste bugs’ with googly eyes – all for the web, which participants collected later.   And I saw Stevie Wonder – he was fantastic!

The project owes its success to numerous helpers, particularly HUGE THANKS to Ruth Worsley, Dan and Joe Beadleson, Pete Margerum, Jason Nosworthy, JustVans, Luke Allen (Geodize), Pylle motor Spares, Capita, John Shepherd Feeders and all the kind can collectors!


QUOTES FROM PARTICIPANTS:

“thank u fiona for letting us all join in. Out of all of Glasto this year, helping to build a giant spider will stick with me forever. Please keep in touch. Marc”

I’m on the photos! 🙂  It was a pleasure to participate and the final work looks amazing.  Analia”

PS  Click on the following link to see a brief interview with WinkBall.com