Research

My MA continues to absorb me.  Research is a main focus this term, I have never got through so much literature in such a short time!  I am looking at the ‘expanded fields’ (Krauss) and blurred boundaries in drawing and sculpture, doing alot of thinking, writing, visiting exhibitions, listening to talks and making samples.  I love the alchemy.  Inspired by artists such as Eva Hesse in the 60’s who defied categorisation, Cornelia Parker (exploded shed; melts down and ‘draws’ the object/s (eg a lead bullet) into wire), Monika Grzymala (see image below: theatrical explosions with tape and paper), Chiharu Shiota (immersive stretched installations) and critics/philosophers e.g. Rosalind Krauss and Peter Osborne, new ideas are slowly formulating.

Monika Grzymala, Freeing the Line, 2010

This month, I will be taking part in the Quartz Visual Arts Festival ’16, ‘Outside In’, 15-22 December at Queens College, Taunton TA1 4QS.  This involves a collection of work based on the rural landscape and natural world from over 40 artists and makers in the South West.

quartz-visual-art-exhibitionquartz-visual-art-exhibition-2

I’ve been involved behind the scenes at Black Swan Arts, Frome.  The winter exhibition ‘30 Years/30 Artists’ is now running until 24 Dec, our final 30th anniversary celebration of 30 years at Black Swan.  Postcard artworks have returned to the Gallery (displayed on a strange pink/silver/pearl tree I cobbled together), this time in secret envelopes at just £10 each – Christmas bargain!

I am also working towards a large piece for ‘Fresh Air ‘17’ in Quenington, Gloucestershire.  More news on this later.

Very best wishes for a happy festive season!

Autumn Events

Somerset Open Studios invite

It’s been a wonderful summer. I often feel a little sad at the end of this season, but what makes it more bearable for me is that autumn is beautiful and in UK we tend to have ‘indian summer’ weather in September. Tied in with that is Somerset Open Studios running 17 Sept – 2 Oct (see invite). It’s something to look forward to and work towards. I will be showing my work alongside Nick Weaver (elegant, organic wood furniture and sculptures) in my rejuvenated garden and studio. Our work compliments each other – we both use reclaimed and found materials that harmonise within natural surroundings. If you missed seeing our focal pieces earlier this year in the Mekong garden at Chelsea Flower Show, which received gold and best artisan awards, we will have these on show during Open Studios. I’m also looking forward to visiting a few other Open Studio venues when possible.

My work is currently on exhibition in ‘step in stone’ at Salisbury Arts Centre until 24 Sept. Curated by Amanda Wallwork and me, the exhibition tells the story of last year’s art-in-quarries project. Selected artworks by all 14 artists include re-created dioramas by Tessa Farmer and a GPS soundscape around the grounds by Ralph Hoyte. You can download this on your smartphone via this link.

I will be taking down my work from the Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail, Teignmouth seafront this weekend, so if you’re around that area before Saturday evening, take in a beach stroll, fish and chips and a look at the artworks before they disappear!

In October, I’m taking part in the Quartz Festival’s ‘Outside In’ exhibition (Queens College,Taunton), 5-15 Oct, with over 40 other South West artists and makers working in different media. The theme is the natural world.

I have decided to donate my Giant Spider sculpture to Carymoor Environmental Centre, (Castle Cary) where I know it will have a great permanent home. Originally created for Glastonbury Festival’s Greenfields ’10, it has travelled to various shows around UK since. Look out for it if you visit.

I hope you’ll be able to make it to one or more of these events – have a great start to autumn!

Spring in my Step

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.

Fairy Cave Quarry

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!

Sculpture Design Competition Poster

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.

Nest 1 - final idea for Sunflow radiatorIdeas for Nest radiator

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.

Spring - Wire work class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back at Somerset Open Studios ’14

SAW signSAW sign

Taking down the yellow signs for Somerset Art Weeks often feels a bit like the end of a party.   Quite exhausted, tinges of sadness but ultimately happy to have met and even befriended so many lovely, appreciative people from the South West and beyond.  Looking back at stimulating conversations and comments left by visitors it’s great to know that they enjoyed themselves and were inspired.  Starting and ending on a high note, overall I felt this one went with a swing.

I shared my venue this year with Nick Weaver, whose reclaimed wood pieces really enhanced the show.  Thanks to his hard work helping to restore my garden to former glory and to an indian summer, the 52 outdoor sculptures glistened in their surroundings – described by one visitor as ‘reminiscent of arcadia’!

Bulrushes and Lignum amongst grasses Sculptures in the garden Workshop in the garden Found Now Missing

Good signage, SAW catalogues and successful PR (by all involved) seem to be the main ways to attract SAW visitors.  A focus this year was to appeal to a younger, wider audience.  Zoe Li (SAW Art Weeks manager) and I did a BBC radio interview in Bristol with Martin Evans to increase media coverage of the final Open Studios ‘family friendly’ weekend.   As it turned out, the last weekend was, in my view, a brilliant finale.  I manned at All Hallows School’s venue on Saturday, where some of my students’ work was on show.  Tied in with an Open Day their venue attracted far more family visitors than usual.  And on Sunday, as part of the Big Draw, I had 20 participants of all ages doing a taster wire workshop in my garden in addition to many other visitors – challenging but fun!

Visitors at All Hallows SAW venueWire Crane (detail) by a student at All Hallows Wire Cranes by my students at All HallowsSunday wire workshop in garden for family friendly weekendSunday wire workshop in garden for family friendly weekendSunday wire workshop in garden for family friendly weekendMother and daughter teamWire owl by workshop participantWire cat head by workshop participantWire beetle by workshop participant

Making sales is always a bonus, and happily we made some of those too!

Recycled Art

I have some work in the annual Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail, on show on Teignmouth seafront until the beginning of September.  These pieces were originally created for the Voyages programme at Contains Art earlier this year.

Sculptures at Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail 'Found, Now Missing' - Sculpture at Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail 'Found, Now Missing' (detail) - Sculpture at Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail

I also recently took part in Litterarti’s week long series of workshops at the Trinity Centre, Bristol.  Over 25 artists who use recycled materials were involved in working with the community and/or exhibiting at the final exhibition for ‘Waste of Space’.  I created a scrap steel tree with Pete Margerum.  We then ran a workshop at the Trinity Centre for the public to create branches, leaves and flowers made from recycled wire, bottle tops and beads etc.

Making the Tree with Pete Margerum Litterarti workshops Litterarti workshops Tree (foreground) at 'Waste of Space' Exhibition, Trinity Centre

 

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.

May madness and shipping

I love May – it’s my favourite month in UK.  But this May I have a hectic schedule of side-by-side and back-to-back exhibitions, workshops and projects on the go and already finding myself working hard on the bank holiday weekend.  C’est la vie…

On Wednesday I packed up and delivered a piece for shipment abroad (just Guernsey but still across the sea).  It was a trial getting the piece appropriately packed for safe transport as it is a fairly fragile, unusual shape.  The work will be on show at Artparks International Sculpture Exhibition.  Next Saturday I will be installing several pieces in a Hampstead garden owned by curator and gallerist Maureen Michaelson for London’s Chelsea Fringe and National Garden Scheme (see below).  Exciting to be showing back in London.

Tomorrow I’m taking down work from an exhibition at Sidcot Arts Centre, though leaving my outdoor sculptures on show until July.   And the panic is on to complete a large set of work for the Voyages programme at Contains Art.  My exhibition there is entitled ‘Found, Now Missing’.  It references the disappearance of seashells and sealife from coral reefs.  My main piece will be sited on the roof of one of the shipping containers, so I am making it in sections for lifting.  Created from scrap steel etc, it’s very heavy!

With a couple of other projects I’m organising and a few workshops in schools also lined up this month, I have a feeling it’s going to be a roller coaster month!

 

Local to International

I’ve been selected to show work at this year’s International Sculpture Festival in Guernsey.  Whittled down from thousands of applicants from across the globe, there will be approximately 120 pieces on display throughout the summer (May 25th to the end of October), making it apparently the largest festival of sculpture held this year in Britain and a mecca for collectors, garden lovers, visitors and art enthusiasts.

In contrast, I’ve also been invited to show my work in the Hidden Garden Art Show as part of Chelsea Fringe in London.  Some of my smaller hanging woven wire sculptures will be displayed in a beautiful Hampstead garden from 24th May – 8th June.  The show will also feature in the National Garden Scheme on 8thJune.  Curator of the show Maureen Michaelson says:  “Our lushly planted hidden garden houses the smallest outdoor sculpture gallery in the UK.  We specialise in artworks for urban gardens and can commission works from a wide range of artists for all types of outdoor spaces: from balconies and courtyards to large spaces.”  The exhibition is open Sats, Suns & Bank Holiday Monday, 2-6pm.

More locally, I’ve been selected to create a set of new site-specific work for an exhibition at Contains Art, Watchet in June/July.  The three large shipping containers, situated by the harbour have been transformed by artists into gallery and workshop spaces, providing much interest in Somerset.

Entitled ‘Found, Now Missing’, my work for the commissioned ‘Voyages’ project is inspired by my collection of flotsam and jetsam from many trips to coastlines in UK and abroad.  Having made numerous voyages to Kenyan beaches and reefs over the past 5 decades, for example, I’ve become aware of the detrimental effects of collections such as exotic shells and tourism generally to coral reefs and beaches.  Over the years, I’ve witnessed a dramatic decline in its coral life, shells and resident sea creatures.  On top of pollution, our human desire to collect, own, trade, discover, colonise and capture continues to impact on the disappearing life and beauty in coral reefs.

I have started making a set of large sculptures to be sited in the courtyard and on the gallery roof at Contains Art of skeletal, exotic sea life forms based on shells, urchins, coral and starfish using scrap metal and found materials sourced locally, including the boatyard and beaches.  These exotic pieces will celebrate the wonder of sealife, hopeful of a better future for our environment.  My largest sculpture mounted on the roof will be visible from the steam railway line and viewing platform on the cliff.

The installation aims to convey my concern for environmental degradation.  What once seemed beneficial voyages of discovery by naturalists such as Ernst Haeckel (whose drawings I love) have, ironically, led to the current situation in which mass tourism degrades the environments, habitats and ecosystems, which inspire us to travel.

Related drawings will be on show in the gallery and I will be running a workshop on Saturday 7th June for members of the public to create shell drawings on postcards with environmental messages.  Visitors will be invited to send these out far and wide.

The exhibition runs from 4th – 15th June, open Wednesdays – Sundays, 10am – 4pm at East Quay, Watchet Somerset TA23 0AQ.  The outdoor sculptures will remain on display until mid July.

 

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