Voyages and Discoveries

Caught in a whirlwind of exciting art projects in and around Somerset, I’ve put on hold my intention to exhibit further afield, instead embracing a wave of creativity locally, very much inspired by a recent trip to Mombasa.  Amongst my discoveries on the beach were extraordinary hairy crabs, sand-filled crab sacs and various interesting flotsam and jetsam.  I returned with drawings and ideas for site-specific installations happening from this month onwards.  I have just finished the first of these new pieces.

Braving the elements on Friday 31st Jan, I installed my tallest work to date – a 6 metre Tendril writhing heavenwards up a pole and over the canopy of Sidcot Arts Centre.  Thanks to Nick Weaver’s patient help setting up in the cold rain, Tendril, accompanied by my Man and Nest pieces forms the first in a new outdoor artist programme at the Centre, run by Georgina Micklethwaite.  They will be on show from 1st Feb until the end of July.  I will also be showing work in their amazing indoor space for a group exhibition “Of Form and Texture“, which runs 22nd March – 26th April.

Happily, ContainsArt have selected my work for one of their ‘Voyages’ exhibitions.  I will be creating some large new sculptural pieces based on sealife using scrap found in the locality (especially the boatyard), as a site-specific installation for their innovative container/gallery spaces at Watchet from 4th – 15th June, open Wed – Sun.  Must get collecting again…

Other forthcoming exhibitions include Showborough Sculpture Exhibition, Twyning, GL20 6DN 25th April – 15th June; Art Parks International Sculpture Show, St. Martin, Guernsey GY4 6SG in May; Glastonbury Abbey Sculpture Trail in the Summer and Somerset Art Weeks Open Studios in my garden and studio 20th Sept – 5th Oct.

In my new role as East Mendip Rep for Somerset Art Works I really enjoyed meeting up with new and exisiting members at a recent get together. Chris Lee (West Mendip Rep) and I got East and West members for a social to exchange ideas for SAW 2014 and get more acquainted.  Useful and fun I think!

Last Autumn Richard Tomlinson of Somerset Film made a film about my work called ‘Common Threads’ as part of the Ignite Somerset Project.  This has now been published.  To watch click here.

Art is just flooding out of Somerset 🙂

Reflections on 2013

This year has been one of contrasts for me, including plenty of achievements, interesting new directions and records set.  With over 20 exhibitions, it’s been a busy one.  I plan to focus on fewer but bigger shows next year.

One of my more challenging projects was the SAW/NGS Abundance commission work, which engrossed me for months.  For my ‘Garden of Eden’ I created 3 new works including my largest to date – ‘Lichen’. Although the site-specific installations were only on exhibition to the public at Esotera for a fortnight, I moved some of the work on to my next show at Walcot Chapel Gallery, Bath for further airing.  A blog and catalogue about our Abundance work has been published to ensure some legacy for the project.

My involvement with Somerset Art Works has developed into a new role as Rep for East Mendip, which is leading to interesting new work relationships and projects with other artists.   Somerset has a lively creative community with some amazing talent and innovation going on.

A few other commissions, numerous workshops and teaching have also kept me hard at work.  I made a piece for an indoor architect-designed space, which was novel for me.  I was surprised at how comfortable my work sits in a more urban, glass-panelled interior setting.

Amongst other sales I sold my longstanding steel ‘Man’ piece this year.  He has been with me to many events, homes and shows over the years and nearly sold several times.   He now resides in a lovely NGS garden with a diversity of wildlife to keep him company.   Coincidentally, the real thing came along in my life around the same time.

Over the Christmas period I have a piece in one of Frome’s Loop de Loop spaces, by the Black Swan Art Centre, which you may like to visit.  They have an unusual history…

I’m looking forward to seeing family in Kenya for Christmas, where it will be deliciously hot!  Sketchbooks will be fully utilised.


Press 2012

Wincanton Window – Casespace – Solo Exhibition at Bruton Museum, Feb ’12

Western Gazette – Casespace, Bruton museum, Feb ’12

Somerset Guardian – Precious and Primal, Feb ’12

Wells Journal – Casespace Exhibition, Feb ’12

Country Life – Precious and Primal, Feb ’12

Somerset Life – Scraptors, crowd-funding for Magdalen Project, Feb ’12

Western Daily Press – Scraptorzoic Era planned for Magdalen Project ’12

Western Morning news – Scraptors’ plans for Magdalen Project ’12

Create Centre – Green Capital Artist in Residence 2012

Big Green Week Workshop – Arnolfini

North Somerset Arts – Big Green Week involvement – Big Green Week involvement, April ’12 – Floating Diatoms and forthcoming Shows, June ’12

Ecojam – Big Green Week and Family Mash Up workshop

This is Somerset – Highly Commended for Green Capital Residency work

Arnolfini Arts Pinterest – Featured Artists

Sculpture & Installations Pinterest – Featured Artists

Sir Harold Hillier’s Art in the Garden ’12 – Spider featured

Garden Art & Whimsy Pinterest

Swans of Wells – Swan Artists

All Hallows Prep School – Candela

This is Somerset – Candela Swan for Swans of Wells 2012

Metro UK Press site photo – Candela at Bishops Palace, SwansofWells auction preview, Sept ’12

Bishops Palace Facebook – Swansong Auction Preview weekend

All Hallows Prep School Chronicle 2012 article – Candela Swan

All Hallows Prep School Chronicle 2012 article – Extra Curricular Art

Culture and Anarchy blog – The Bishops Palace Summer Exhibition, ’12

Musiety article – Fiona Campbell sculptures, Nov ’12

This is Somerset – Sculptures make big impact… Nov ’12

Dragonfly sculpture workshops, Westfield Academy


Another artist recently said of my work:  “Rather fun organogenesis going on”.   I wish I’d coined that term myself – what a great new word.  Thanks ReTech for that (maker of inventive reclaimed sculptural lamps with a difference – have a look).

It suggests notions of taking things back to their basic elements, reconstructing primal life forms, vitalism, rebirth (an essential part of life’s cycle), idealism as a more primitive, spiritual concept.  The wonders of what’s going on amidst all our ‘sound and fury’.  Micro in tandem with macro.  A simple ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ message.  Let’s appreciate and care for the real things in life more (and do less blogging!)  Construct not destruct.  Mend the world and return to a new beginning – a Utopia.  That would be nice.

So many of us are caught and wrapped up in modern life’s pressures.  I’m happy to be doing what I feel is my calling, but I do wonder where time goes, how to balance a hectic workload with quality time enjoying life’s greats – and earn a good crust.  Fast and furious… I guess we are just ants keeping busy.

I’ve installed more exhibitions this year than ever before and it’s only half way through.  Last week I set up some of my work in Bishops Palace Gardens, Wells for their Summer Show.  (Exhibiting with Ian Marlow, Jo Jones and Cathy Judge).  The venue is one of my top favourites in Somerset.  Adjacent to Wells Cathedral you enter via a drawbridge.  Huge earthy red ruins are surrounded by a moat, waterfalls, stunning views from well pools to the Cathedral and a rose garden with scents from Eden.  My cocoons are now hanging from the ‘Tree of Heaven’.  Going back to Organogenesis – it seems appropriate.  The Exhibition runs from 1st July – mid September, open 10-5.  Normal admission charges apply.

Just need a little more sun for the summer please…


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)

New Year

Strangely, the new financial year coincides with the start of my next year as a fully self-employed sculptor.  I gave up my part-time teaching job this time last year, to go fully self-employed and so glad I did.  It’s been a great year on the whole – a bit of a rollercoaster – with enough achievements to keep me working hard for the next year at least!  I may need to re-evaluate how much time to spend driving around various parts of the country delivering/collecting my work for Exhibitions.  Whole days and full tanks of petrol frequently get consumed for this cause.  It seems wasteful in many ways… but my little Ka does me proud – it’s amazing what you can fit into a tiny hatchback if you utilise all space!  I keep feeling I should have a proper pick-up truck or landrover to cart around larger work, but my Ka seems to manage most of the time.  I saved one journey by sending one of my smaller pieces safely via Royal Mail to the Fire and Iron Gallery, Surrey.  I will, however, be needing a pick-up truck for a piece I’m making for Glastonbury Festival (greenfields) ’10 – a giant Spider – about 4metres wide – and Web, but hoping I can borrow one..!  Any offers gratefully received!  I’ll be offering wire workshops at Glastonbury (greenfields) too, so please come along if you have a Glasto ticket!

Looking to the future, I have several exhibitions coming up over the next few months (see my previous ‘Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions blog) culminating, I hope, in a couple of Solos planned for next year (details to follow..).  I am also going to try to break further into the realm of Public Art work.  Here are a few photos of my past year’s work (one for each month!):

Owl (detail) - sited in Private Woodland, Rackenford, Devon

Butterfly - sited at entrance to Dobbies Garden World, Somerset

Dung Beetle and Ball II - Award Winner in 'Wildlife Artist of the Year '09', London

Chameleon (detail) - Artist-in-Residence work, All Hallows School Woodland, Cranmore

Earth Worm III (confusion)

Me and 'Seaweed' at the Devon Sculpture Trail '09

Cocoon series - Somerset Art Weeks

Bumblebee II - private commission, Somerset

Man (detail) - RHS Rosemoor Winter Sculpture Exhibition, Great Torrington, Devon

Beetle study from insect collection at BRLSI

Spiky Cocoon II, version II - on show at the Black Swan Arts, Frome

Me with 'Dragonfly II' at the Air Gallery Private View