Journeys

Although the pressure started earlier for me this year, I’m beginning to feel it tightening its grip.  Determined not to let the season of summer madness get the better of me, I have declined a few possible festival workshops (usually done for love not money!) in order to keep focused on important commissions/exhibitions coming up later in the year.  However, there still seems to be a gathering list of exhibitions, and I’ve spent much of the past week either delivering/installing or collecting work!  The long journeys and physical exertion of lifting/carting work can be time-consuming, expensive and exhausting.  No matter how hard I try, I can’t say no and often, the good exhibitions are miles away.  The trick is to make the most of every journey.

Last Monday, with a bit of clever planning, I incorporated 3 appointments in one day, so that the travel to Devon was fully utilised.  With truck fully loaded, I went first to Greenway (Agatha Christie’s place – so beautiful) to discuss a possible solo exhibition there next year, which is exciting.  Agatha described it as “the loveliest place in the world”, and I can see her point.  Overlooking the river Dart and a boathouse, her georgian home is surrounded by lush planting, lichen and mossy woodland.  I was entranced!

I then went on to Cornwood to install work for the Delamore Arts exhibition (runs throughout May) – a great venue, particularly for sculpture.  And finally, a trip to a small Gallery in Exmouth (LookArt).  My dog and I enjoyed several walks that day exploring each area, so it was quite an adventure.

Whilst in Bath last week collecting flyers for the Widcombe Trail (18/19th May) and delivering work, amongst other errands I visited Bath Abbey to see the Odyssey exhibition (about journeys), including work by Tessa Farmer and Damian Hirst.  I first saw Tessa’s work at the Saatchi Gallery, but this was even better.  Her ‘Voyager’ piece contains miniscule winged skeletons spearing beetles on the back of a real swan with strange growths… incredible!

Yesterday I drove north to Showborough House, Twyning, Glos to install there.  It took up most of the day, but another great venue for sculpture I can’t resist.

Now I have a week or two to get stuck into making (hopefully in the sunshine), before the next set of installing.  For a full list of forthcoming exhibitions please see here.

Scraptorzoic Era at The Magdalen Project

On Friday, 8th March our Scraptors sculpture group finally installed some work at The Magdalen Project – an organic farm and eco/educational centre bordering Somerset, Dorset and Devon.  The work is a scaled down version of the original Scraptorzoic Era planned at the centre, an eco sculptural project of Scraptorzioc creatures, humanoids and weird, fantastic plant life.   The installation will remain as a permanent feature for visitors to enjoy.  We spent well over a year trying to gain sufficient funds to enable us to install a much larger set of work.  Although we didn’t achieve our Arts Council grant – required to match funds given by Dorset Arts Council – we did gain some success fund-raising via Indiegogo (crowd-funding), donations of materials and a workshop at the Gryphon School via ArtsLInk.  Some of the students’ spawn and scraptoroid creatures will be on display at the centre, as part of the installation.  The Magdalen Project will be holding a ‘Spring on the Farm’ Open Day on Sunday 21st April for the public to visit the farm, see the lambs, calves, piglets and aliens, make pizza and roast marshmallows.

This is my last trail/event as part of the Scraptors group.  I have various new projects on the horizon, including the Abundance commission and other forthcoming exhibitions, which will keep me very busy and it is time for me to move on.

Woken with a jolt

Happy New Year!  2013 has woken me up with a jolt after a much needed rest.  I have several exhibitions in place for this year, with a few still to confirm, so plenty to work towards.  I hope you can make it to some of the following, in which my work will feature:

Sidcot Open Art Exhibition, Sidcot School Community Arts Centre, Winscombe, N.Somerset BS25 1PD  12th Jan – 9th Feb (open Sat 10-4, Tues 2-7, Thurs 2-6.  Private View Jan 11th 6-8.30pm) – see below

Ginger Fig Gallery 5th Birthday Exhibition ‘The Birds and the Bees’, 1b Bath Place,
Taunton 
TA1 4ER  25th Jan – 16th Feb (Private View Jan 24th 6-8pm)

‘Art at Blackmore’, Blackmore Farm, Blackmore Lane, Cannington, Bridgwater TA5 2NE  23rd Feb – 3rd March (Private View Fri 22nd Feb)

 Landhydrock National Trust Estate, Bodmin PL30 5AD  1st March – 31st Oct

‘All Wired Up’, Walford Mill Crafts, Stone Lane, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 1NL   2nd March – 14th April (Private View Sat 2nd March 2-4pm)

Widcombe Art Trail, Paragon School, Bath BA2 4LT  18/19th May 10.30-5.30 (Private View Fri 17th, 6-8pm, The Paragon)

Delamore Arts, Cornwood, Devon PL21 9QT   1st – 31st May

Artist on a Plinth, Black Swan Arts, 2 Bridge Street, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BB  1st – 31st May

 Showborough House Sculpture Exhibition, Twyning, Gloucestershire GL20 6DN  2nd May – 16th June (open Thurs – Sun & Bank Holiday Mondays 10.30-4)

 Café Bar, Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury Glos GL20 5NX  2nd May – 16th June

Frome Artists Open Studios, The Limes, 45 Keyford, Frome, Somerset BA11 1LB  6th – 14th July

Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail Teignmouth seafront  July – Sept

Somerset Art Weeks & Abundance Garden Trail  21st Sept – 6th Oct

Walcot Chapel, off Walcot Street, Bath BA1 5UG  14th – 27th Oct

My work is also currently represented at The Sculpture Park, Surrey and First-View Gallery, Stourhead.

In addition to regular teaching work at All Hallows Prep School, I have been running some workshops this month at Ash School, near Martock, linked to the wonderful Great Crane Project via SAW.  Year 5 children have been making birds in various states, using wire and recycled materials.  It’s been a delight to witness children working so happily and busily together – peaceful collaboration in small groups.  Today Western Gazette photographers flew in and out to take pics of the workshop.  A lesson in itself about the adult world and artifice. Photos will soon be posted of the finished products.

Meeting deadlines

It’s a tricky thing knowing, in advance, just how much to book up in terms of work and exhibitions.  There are always last minute changes, new opportunities come along and some fall through.  A few projects of mine are now head-to-head and overlapping – I just hope I haven’t booked too much to handle!  The next few weeks/months are pretty packed –  see Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions for details.  In addition to my Green Capital Artist Residency I’ve recently installed work at some wonderful venues including Delamore (Devon) and Showborough (Gloucestershire) and working towards gaining funding for our Scraptorzoic Era at The Magdalen Project, where we (The Scraptors) will be showing samples of what’s to come at their Open Day on 29th April 2-5pm.

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

 

New work – recycled materials

Just embarking on a new set of work for the Stourhead Sculpture Trail, amongst other venues.  ‘Heron’ is starting to take shape, after sourcing some interesting scrap steel forms for it.  I’ve rummaged for old tools, clambered over scrap heaps and filled a corner of my garden and studio, thanks to Pylle Motors and friends for kind donations of scrap steel, including a ton of horseshoes!

I’m still looking for recycled bottle tops, buttons and beads for my planned giant ‘Chameleon’.   Made of steel, wire and colourful recycled materials,  it will hopefully be decorative and fun.   It has a few venues booked, so an exciting Summer ahead!  Mid-construction, ‘Chameleon’ is due to go on tour to the Salvo Fair, Knebworth (24-26 June), where visitors can watch me making the structure!  The final decorative touches will be added by members of the public and me at the Larmer Tree Festival (15 July).  The effect will be hopefully vaguely mosaic and jewel-like (Gaudi-esque with a flavour of African beaded wirework).  The aim is to create further awareness and enjoyment of art and recycling.  ‘Chameleon’ then tours to the Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail ’11, and last but very importantly, it will be installed on a mossy fallen tree trunk overlooking one of Stourhead’s lakes.  This features as part of a Sculpture Trail in September entitled “Beyond the Garden Gate”.  Though contemporary in style, it will reflect its surroundings, and be reflected by them.

Any contributions of colourful bottle tops, buttons and beads much appreciated.  Thanks for donations already recieved!

WEEK IN A NUTSHELL (or rather MONSTER TRUCK)

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

Mythic Garden Sculpture Exhibition ’09

Set in the most beautiful arboretum housing an amazing collection of birch trees, amongst other delights, the show starts next weekend.  I feel privileged to have the opportunity to show in this stunning gem of a place.  Once set up, I took some snaps of a couple of my pieces that were grouped between some stark white birch trunks in the dappled light.  I thought they looked quite ethereal.

My work in the Mythic Garden, Chagford, Devon

My work in the Mythic Garden, Chagford, Devon

 

Work on show at the Mythic Garden Sculpture Exhibition '09

Work on show at the Mythic Garden Sculpture Exhibition '09

The Exhibition runs from 11th May – 3rd October, 2 – 6pm daily.  See ‘NEWS’ section for further details.