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!

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

 

Scraptors Sculpture Trail, Stourhead National Trust Estate

Its all go as we (Scraptors – Paul Boswell, Rachel Macleay, Anthony Wilson, and I) get ready to install over 70 sculptures at Stourhead.  Months of preparation are finally coming to a head and we are looking forward to seeing it all in place.  Some pieces, including my large steel Heron – to emerge from a lake – and Paul and Rachel’s life-size Horse will be quite a feat to install.

Other pieces are being created on site: I am in the process of constructing a large 3-4 metre scrap steel arch which will join with a wire nest, to overhang the woodland path.   The nest will be made on site up a tall ladder.

Some work exists from a previous incarnation and will form part of the Trail.  My giant 5 metre Spider, created last year for Glastonbury Festival, needed a bit of an update as its canned body had started to fade from sunlight.  Georgia, my arty god-daughter, helped me add new bright cans and bottletops to give it new life.

The Scraptors have worked collaboratively, teamed with the National Trust at Stourhead to offer an enriching Trail which will thrill all ages.  The extravagant show will make reference to the abundance of wildlife, history and mythology surrounding the Stourhead Estate.  Visitors will be encouraged to explore the wider domain, beyond the usual lakeside route, with a sense of wonder as they discover works hidden in trees, emerging from lakes, crouching in woodland and even flying.  Humour plays a large part in this quirky Sculpture Trail and it’s certainly worth a visit before the holidays end.

The Trail runs from 1st – 30th September in Stourhead Gardens (normal NT admission and times apply).

For further information visit scraptors.blogspot.com and Stourhead’s blog

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

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



Rejuvenation

Just back from a mini break in Cornwall – my favourite retreat in UK.  Rejuvenated & with usual bag of collected flotsam & jetsam I’m now set to start the giant spider sculpture project for Glastonbury Festival’s Greencrafts field.  Spent the weekend preening the garden in readiness for a visit from BBC Somerset who are coming to see the spider progress…. Better get moving!!  The drawing/template alone took 3 hours to draw out on 4 metres of paper with charcoal attached to a long stick a la Matisse (finally a good use for my son’s extravagant stick collection!)

Several exhibitions of my work have come and gone in the past few months (see Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions) – the latest at the Yew Tree Gallery, Cornwall started yesterday.  Below are some recent images of my work in situ and see link to Headford Gardens.  Very glad Fossil sold (at Showborough) – it’s a heavy one to cart around!

After a recent bout of insect-making, I’m looking forward to exploring new ideas and forms – I want to look into the vitalist principle further… Arp, Moore and Sutherland were connected with it.  With some horrors going on in our natural world – the BP oil disaster, killing dolphins in Denmark, China’s new interest in ivory/elephant poaching in Africa….  there’s a need to breathe life and beauty into things…

Cocoons - RHS Rosemoor, Great Torrington, Devon

Dragonfly II - Air Gallery, Wells

Spiky Cocoon II - Black Swan Art Centre, Frome

Fossil - Showborough House Sculpture Exhibition

Dung Beetle and Ball (large version) - Mythic Garden Sculpture Exhibition, Chagford, Devon ('til October)

Anthill I (bulbous form) - Bruton Art Trail

'Nature', Octagon Theatre, Yeovil ('til 3rd July)

Man - Manor House Garden Sculpture Show (12/13 June)

Spinning my web

I will be showing my largest sculpture to date at Glastonbury’s Greenfields this June – a giant Spider and Web, to be made out of steel, wire and recycled materials.

The basic inner steel structure will be made in advance.  On the first two days of the Festival, the Spider will start to gain its woven outer layers of wire and colourful crushed cans, bottle tops, lids etc.  Members of the public can watch or join in with my team to create the finished piece.  The Spider (approximately 3-4 metres in diameter) and Web will continue to grow and develop during the Festival.

Alongside the sculpture construction, I will be running Wire Workshops over the Glastonbury weekend at Greenfields.  Adults and children will be able to participate in 2-hour sessions to create their own pieces made from colourful wire and recycled components.  These can then be attached to the giant Web until participants are ready to collect them.

The concept behind the work is a new-age spider, made of steel, wire and recycled waste, which has adapted and grown to enormous dimensions to take on her new role of catching waste, which she feeds on.  The giant spider weaves her web to attract ‘waste bugs’, which adults and children will create during the workshops.  The aim is to create further awareness and enjoyment of recycling, along with exploring new creative skills, using colourful wire, cans, plastic bottles, lids, buttons and other recycled implements.

Various local companies and individuals have kindly offered their help with the project, including Pete Margerum, Ruth Worsley, Jason Nosworthy, JustVans, Luke Allen (Geodize) and John Shepherd Feeders.  A large quantity of aluminium drinks cans are needed (particularly red and orange cans), so the collection commences!  Please let me know if you can help.  Refuse depots have strange rules that restrict giving their rubbish to the public..!

Design for Giant Spider and Web