Butterflies, bees and other bugs…

Now that most of my exhibitions are over for a while, I have a bit more time to focus on some drawings in between a couple of commissions.  After months of intensive sculpting, this is a gift – an opportunity to get new ideas rolling. Some edgy new work for gardens with a difference…  Ginger Fig Gallery has asked me to produce some work for their forthcoming ‘Birds and bees, butterflies and other bugs…’ exhibition – prompting me to visit some butterfly houses and get some inspiration.  Longleat and Cadbury Gardens are great resource centres for butterflies and cocoons, kindly giving me some dead ones for my collection.

I went to a couple of Private Views in Bath yesterday evening.  Duncan Cameron (love his work of collected creatures/bones and sketchbooks to die for – I even own a piece!) at Bo Lee Gallery and the Gillespie sisters at Beaux Arts.  I was very moved by Sarah Gillespie’s intimate charcoal and ink drawings of moths and bees… it seems many of us are on the same wavelength.

New ideas to follow..


Feedback from clients

I’m grateful for updates from clients who’ve bought my work and send photos of the pieces in situ.   I have an odd mix of feelings when my work is bought.  Happiness, naturally, to have sold them, but also a strange pang of loss at the time of handing over.  So much time, effort and soul goes into the work, and it’s good to know how they are faring.

Recent photos of work sold last year:

“…a photo of my wonderful dragonfly… here are some pictures, though it is very well camouflaged.  It has been a great joy.  Thank you so much”  Jane

“…a lovely pic of the heron against a menacing sky.”  Chrisi

Bumblebees III & IV are doing well in their new home – sold last year through Showborough Sculpture Garden.

I’d love to know what happened to the two pieces stolen from Dobbies entrance (Shepton Mallet) over two years ago  (Butterfly and Dragonfly).   Anybody out there seen them?  This is what they looked like:

Pre-Christmas Wire Workshops in schools

I’ve recently had a spate of running workshops in two schools (Henbury, Bristol & Robert Blake, Bridgwater) and the Ginger Fig Gallery, Taunton – resulting in some fabulous wire pieces:   (see Spaeda website – Features Artists for more information)

Time to get on with new work in preparation for some forthcoming shows next year… and a few Christmas festivities!


New Exhibitions

I have been busy with workshops in various schools and the Ginger Fig Gallery recently, but also installed some of my work in the RHS Rosemoor Winter Sculpture Exhibition, Great Torrington, Devon (27th November – 27th February).  With acres of beautiful gardens all year round, it’s a fabulous venue for showing larger sculptures.  See images below:

I am also taking part in a Christmas Art Exhibition at Black Dog Studio, Bickenhall, Staple Fitzpaine, Taunton TA3 6TX (4/5th December).  Please come along if you can!

Future exhibitions for next year include Bridgwater Arts Centre in May and Stourhead Sculpture Trail in September.  In 2012, I have a solo show booked in Bishops Palace grounds, Wells – very exciting! More details to follow…

A hectic month!

Various work events have all coincided this September – completing the Carymoor Intergenerational Sculpture Project, preparing and running my venue for Somerset Art Weeks (with Sunday workshops), installing work at Stourhead and weekly Art Classes I teach – to name a few!

Now over half way through, my Open Studios  (venue 113 – part of Somerset Art Weeks) has been well attended.  Sales a little slow, but glad that my ‘prize-winning’ Dung Beetle and Ball has sold and plenty of positive feedback!  Some photos below illustrate my Exhibition and one of my SAW Sunday Workshops,  running again this weekend (12-1pm).

The Carymoor Intergenerational Sculpture Project overlapped with this, so I spent a few hairy days and nights exerting myself in order to complete and instal a public sculpture at the Carymoor Environmental Centre, Castle Cary.  The Open Morning on 25th September included the unveiling of the sculpture and a display of participants’ wirework I set up.  The day was a great success and art work much admired:

Earlier this month Stourhead asked me to put some work in their gardens as part of their Artist-themed event this month, so I gladly installed Dung Beetle and Ball I and Bumblebee III amongst the flowers in their exotic walled garden for a few weeks:

Various wire workshops are scheduled over the next couple of months – including one at Ginger Fig Gallery, Taunton on 15th November.  Please contact me if you’re interested.  I’m also involved in the Great Crane Project through SAW, which is very exciting!  More to follow…

Binham Grange – Old Cleeve, Minehead

When I first visited Binham Grange last week – the day I set up my work for the ‘Summer Art Show‘ (14 – 28th Aug) – I wondered why I’d neglected this part of Somerset for so long.  It really is staggeringly beautiful!  The drive towards Minehead has some incredible views of the sea and bay.   Whilst there, I took my son to see the Red Arrows which happened to be doing a dramatic display over the beach – just amazing!  The Private View on Friday 13th – a round trip of 3 hours for me to get there after a busy day running workshops and making sculpture at Carymoor Environmental Centre – was also worth it just for the extraordinary scenic views!  Half way through, the sun was interrupted by a rainstorm and two rainbows which swept over our Exhibition and ended in a deep red sunset!  Plenty of visitors attended and hopefully the work by a mix of  18 Somerset artists will be appreciated during the fortnight’s show, which I think looks fabulous!  A mixed media exhibition, it’s set in the beautiful grounds of Binham Grange and spills out into three barns, which have been renovated by the artists specially for the show.

Workshops by artists are running daily to coincide with the show.  My wire workshop is on Tuesday 24th August 10.30 – 4.30 (£12 pp. incl.)    To book a place please call:  01984 624544 / 623357

Do visit!


Now working on a series of tadpole forms (aprx 40cms each) which will eventually interconnect with various wires and thin copper sheet, whilst my son is on holiday with me.  I have a few other work commitments (such as Carymoor – see link) but I can make the tadpoles intermittently, day or evening.  The idea arose in spring when my pond was writhing with life: eggs, tadpoles and frogs – all threaded in and out of the blanket weed and lily pads.  Watching tadpoles reminds me of carefree days as a child, and I remain fascinated by the magic of their transformation.

Many events seem to follow this same ‘network of threads’ theme.  Some interconnecting circumstances make me feel very much part of the greater scheme.  Last year I was commissioned to make a Bumblebee sculpture as a surprise anniversary present for a beekeeper.  Now the same lady, Christina, has taken part in designing the site-specific sculpture with me at Carymoor Environmental Centre, based on dragonfly metamorphosis.  A series of unforeseen events led to this happening, yet it seems such a neat twist of fate!

My concerns about whether I was using enough recycled materials for the Carymoor sculpture project were also coincidentally put to rest.  Whilst browsing on the net I came across another wire artist Elizabeth Berrien’s site.  She states:  “Wire Sculpture is about as green and environmentally responsible as metal art can get.  Artists who make airy, open-work wire sculptures from copper, aluminium or steel wire consume less than 1% of the materials of solid metal art, creating substantial works of art from tiny amounts of wire.  When wire sculptures are fabricated via “cold-formed” techniques, with all joinery performed by hand, the wire art becomes even greener, since welding equipment is not involved, no harmful chemical emissions are released.”  Even better then, when a lot of the wire is itself recycled!  Sorted!


This time of year is always hectic – a plethora of Summer Exhibitions to juggle, prepare for and set up, peppered with end-of-year school workshops to run.   How many layers of fixtures can one physically fit into one week – whilst also trying to get some work done for imminent shows?  This past week pushed me to my max.  On top of the usual events, I drove 150 miles to buy a more suitable vehicle to transport my art, saying a fond farewell to my loyal Ka, which did me proud but had outgrown its usefulness.  This weekend I put monster truck to the test, transporting my Giant 5 metre Spider to Teignmouth seafront for the Devon Sculpture TRAIL.  Nothing fell off the back on the motorway and once set up, numerous passers by made lovely comments about Spider!  Earlier in the week I drove in it to Minehead where I ran a one-day Headdress Workshop with some fantastic students and staff from West Somerset College.  The results were staggering, due to hard work, talent and amazing enthusiasm by all.  And I’ve nearly completed Bumblebee IV for an Exhibition at Hybrid Gallery, Honiton, starting on 24th July.  See photos below:

Spider - recycled steel, wire, crushed cans and bottle tops. Made originally for Glastonbury Festival '10, now at Teignmouth seafront 'til Sept..

Bumblebee IV - Hybrid Gallery, Honiton