I’m looking forward to taking part in the Hidden Garden Art Show as part of Chelsea Fringe and GROW London – both with Maureen Michaelson Gallery in Hampstead this June. Come along if you can!
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.
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!
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.
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.
I was elated when news came through in January that my grant application to Arts Council England/National Lottery (via Grants for Arts) for step in stone was successful! This is the icing on the cake after several hard-going months fundraising and a few other succcesses including our crowd funding on IdeasTap. It’s really not my thing, so I feel a huge sense of achievement and relief! I owe thanks to several people who helped and supported me, particularly Nick Weaver, for his patient editing.
Since then, work’s got even busier! In between organising our step in stone Artist Research Trip (image below), doing step in stone PR and some art teaching, I have a commission I’m working on. Once complete, I will post images. It’s a new departure for me and I’m sworn to secrecy about it at the moment.
I was also delighted to be invited to join the Black Swan Arts Centre team as a trustee. It’s a great honour, and I’m looking forward to getting more involved with the Centre.
Somerset Open Studios ’14 is now in full swing, we had a great open evening doo to kick off and I’m happy to say our venue (140 – Cranmore BA4 4RH, shared with Nick Weaver) made several sales this weekend. With over 52 pieces on show in the garden alone, it was a big job setting up (and clearing up my studio ready for the event). I ran a brief workshop for several art students from Wells Cathedral Junior School and will be running similar taster workshops on the next 2 Sundays (11.30-12.30). Please book if you’re interested: (01749) 880394.
Last weekend I visited Hauser & Wirth’s new Gallery space in Bruton for their Private View of Piet Oudolf’s newly created garden. Phyllida Barlow’s work inside provided a tactile (though you can’t touch), raw and quite spectacular use of the barn buildings. Her work seemed to celebrate the space: multi gigantic pompoms suspended and massive colourful structures reaching into roof voids. It was invigorating, while Oudolf’s garden was soothing. Luckily we could touch his wonderful, feathery grasses – it would have been torture not to. And it was a treat to see one of Louise Bourgeois’s Spiders (much smaller than the one I saw at the Tate Modern, but still great!)
Fundraising is not my forte but I’ve had to do it as part of a major project I’m organising entitled ‘step in stone’. The film we’ve been making for a crowdfunding platform is now ready to launch on IdeasTap. This will go live in the next day or so, and I hope we will have some success through it. We have now made the final selection of featured artists, and it is all getting very exciting and absorbing! More news of this project soon…
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve had a lovely month, which started with setting up and manning my exhibition at Contains Art, Watchet – almost a fortnight of hot sunny days by the harbour, chatting to visitors and resident artists (and quite a bit of driving to and fro), followed by making a large Nest for children’s litterbugs in Bristol via Litterarti, running adult and children’s workshops and going on art trips with my All Hallows students. A highlight for me was seeing Tessa Farmer’s fairy/insect works at the Holburne Museum, Bath – such amazing attention to detail! I also sold 2 sculptures in my London show via Maureen Michaelson.
For the last few days I’ve been concentrating on installing my Lichen piece around a tree for Glastonbury Abbey’s Orchard Sculpture Trail starting in a few days. A scary storm of lightening and thunder stalled the process – copper, steel and trees don’t bode too well when thunder and lightening is cracking down at an ever increasing rate, but thanks to friend Nick Weaver’s help it is almost done and the sun’s now returned (just as Glastonbury Festival ends.. as is the norm!)
Plans are well underway for a new project I’m organising for 2015 – an Art Quarry Trail in the Mendips. I have the support and partnership of Somerset Art Works, Black Swan Arts and Somerset Earth Science Centre. More will be posted of this as it develops – just hope we get the funding…
Tall Tendril on Show at Arts Centre, Wells Journal 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
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 at Glastonbury Abbey – Shepton Mallet Journal
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
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!
Art is just flooding out of Somerset 🙂
Below is a list of exhibitions featuring my work over the coming months. I will be adding to the list when venues & dates are confirmed:
Black Swan Arts SMALL Exhibition, 2 Bridge St, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BB 1-24th Dec ’12
Christmas Open Exhibition, Bridgwater Arts Centre, 11/13 Castle Street, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 3DD 28th Nov – 21st Dec
Ginger Fig Gallery’s 5th birthday themed exhibition ‘The birds and the bees’, 1b Bath Place, Taunton TA1 4ER 25th Jan – 9th Feb ’13
Scraptorzoic Era by the Scraptors, at The Magdalen Project, Magdalen Farm, Winsham, Chard, Somerset TA20 4PA 2013 onwards
I’ve been a bit obsessed with Diatoms of late. Sucked into their microcosmic world, it’s become a running theme – versions of diatoms floating and not floating – made of recycled steel, wire, plastic, twine, bottle tops and other found materials. I was thinking about an interesting form for a prototype I wanted to make for a Scraptors project late last year. I had also been previously donated some beautiful large pink glass baubles – cast offs by Sonja Klinger (a glass artist I know) and was looking to incorporate these in a set of work. Something nest-like, primal and related. I was looking at some Ernst Haeckel illustrations I’ve always loved, together with old sketchbook drawings. Haeckel’s intricate drawings of strange and fantastical plant forms and microscopic creatures have inspired me in the past in my own work and art teaching projects with children, though I hadn’t fully investigated their scientific content. The diatom illustrations struck me more than ever before – colourful, ephemeral, sculptural, primal and reminiscent of so many simple life forms and my growing collection of scrap bicycle wheels, tyres and bottle tops etc – a perfect union. After researching the topic, I was hooked – endless possibilities of woven, kaleidoscopic forms. Diatoms live up to their name, with diametrically opposed characteristics and dichotomies that are fascinating. They have inspired others, but still more have never heard of them.
Diatoms are microscopic organisms living in aquatic environments, now sadly becoming endangered, yet essential to our survival as they provide over 35% of our oxygen. Beautiful, primal structures hailing back to the Jurassic era, if not earlier, they are symbols of nature’s cyclical persistence, though threatened by man’s intervention. Just yellowish algae to the human eye, close up they are living glass sculptures, coated in iridescent silicate shells, similar to glass. Shaped mainly as circular, ribbons, zig zags or stellates, their shells display the most incredible range of raised frustules and cavities. They are single celled, yet multiply by splitting in two. Because their shells are heavy, there’s a risk of sinking, yet they need to be on the surface to photosynthesise, so they blow themselves up like helium balloons, to counteract this and to float. Some can move via flagellation. They provide food directly or indirectly to numerous animals. When they die, their shells float to the bottom and become diatomaceous earth – forming a major part of the earth’s limestone, and used by us as diatomite (and here’s another twist – this is used as insecticide and a component of dynamite). We use diatoms to monitor environmental conditions…
I offered a diatom-based design, amongst other drawings/ideas of cocoons, nests and eggs, to our Scraptors group as one of a set of prints to try to raise funds for a planned ‘Scraptorzoic Era’ eco sculpture installation at The Magdalen Project. This led to more diatom drawings and sculpture designs incorporating the pink glass baubles. The first floating diatom prototype sculpture I made (using recycled materials) had a tractor inner tyre tube as its basis for floating. However, the Magdalen Project felt it wasn’t appropriate as it contained friable plastic – not condusive to their eco farm – and the tyre would need maintenance in future years. Having taken several days to make it and with the agreement of Rachel Macleay (fellow Scraptor who’d added some wire & plastic tentacles as a collaborative piece) and her partner Paul (Scraptor) I put it forward for Bristol’s Big Green Week, rather than let it lie listless and wasted in my garden, together with newer alternative designs utilising recycled materials. Accepted as a Capital Green Week Artist, I was kindly offered several orange life rings by Bristol’s Harbour Master and ended up making 8 more floating Diatoms and 1 non-floating (with glass bauble) for part of my exhibition, amongst other new work. Initially exhibited on the harbour by the Arnolfini, these Diatoms are now floating in London’s various Canal Festivals this summer as part of the Rubbish Art Project – being moved to each site in turn. I’ve just made 2 more Diatoms (a little sketchy due to time limitations) to complete a set of 3 non-floating ones – each with a central pink glass bauble for the Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail – showing at Teignmouth seafront until September. I may build on these in the future. The glass baubles seem appropriate – silica being in intrinsic element of diatoms. I will hopefully be making others – different and exclusively suitable for the Magdalen Project requirements (with no plastic content) – later this year for the Scraptors’ project.