I completed a new piece ‘Cocoon’ last week for Fresh Air ’17. Inspired by the puss moth cocoon and pupa, it is a drawing in space, welded, woven and wrapped. The exhibition starts this weekend and runs until 2 July.
Just back from a stint at Chelsea Flower Show celebrating the success of the Viking Cruises Mekong Garden‘s gold and best artisan garden awards, Nick Weaver and I were overawed by the massive interest in our focal pieces for the garden, which appeared to have the wow factor.
A seemingly endless stream of visitors in their 1000s admired and appreciated the garden, designed by multi-gold award-winner Sarah Eberle. People expressed how much they would love to lounge on Nick’s boat and chill, with the water gently lapping around them and visitors were charmed by the ‘ethereal beauty’ and colours of my canopy, many intrigued by its makeup. Sarah Eberle described it in her BBC TV interview this week with Joe Swift as her best bit of the garden: “I love the canopy.. like a celestial beam.. wonderfully charming”!
I was commissioned by Sarah Eberle to create the canopy for her Artisan Mekong Garden, inspired by Cambodia’s floating gardens, traditional fishing nets and silk weaving in the Mekong River region, following Sarah’s journey on board sponsor Viking Cruises Magnificent Mekong. Nick made a lounger styled on a traditional fishing boat.
The 7 x 5m garden is entirely water with a small deck leading to the boat/lounger and cantilevered canopy suspended above. The beds follow the style of the region and contain an eclectic mixture of fruit, flowers and vegetables. Harvested hazel, other reclaimed woods and a plethora of woven wire, silk and found materials have all be used to harmonise with the planting.
I was approached by Sarah after seeing my installation piece “Lichen” at the Maureen Michaelson Gallery stand at GROW London last year. The 4 metre textured fishing net/canopy I made by hand incorporates incredibly fine woven copper wires, fruit netting bags, twine, silk, wool and other surprising found and reclaimed materials like fish skeletons! I also made 3 wire baskets used as props. It was a great pleasure and honour working with Sarah for Chelsea Flower Show and amazing to have achieved such highly acclaimed awards. The team involved many others, including Nigel Evans (paint effects on boat) and Angela Morley (supplied trombone squash), and we are grateful to all who have supported us, given materials and helped!
After over 4 months of hard work, I am a little exhausted but elated!
To see more photos of the Chelsea Flower Show work in progress visit my Art Facebook Page
Next show – The Hidden Garden Art Show, at Maureen Michaelson Gallery, Hampstead, London; 4 – 12 June. I will be showing a range of my work, alongside other selected artists (see poster below). On Sunday 12 June this Gallery is also hosting a day as part of Chelsea Fringe Festival, where I will be demonstrating my sculpting techniques from 11am – 5pm, with a talk at 3pm. Do come along!
I completed my steel Bishop last month (see images) for Bishops Palace Gardens, Wells – to be unveiled soon! I was originally asked to create a topiary structure, but as he evolved it was decided the Bishop would remain purely a sculpture. I created him as a 3d linear sketch. He represents a myth about the medieval Bishop Jocelyn of Wells who slayed the Dragon of Worminster, saving the people of Dinder from further ravaging of their children and stock. The Dragon will be made later.
I’ve been involved in work behind the scenes at Black Swan Arts as a Trustee. The current Young Open Exhibition required lots of preparation – an impressive show of young talent including some of my students from All Hallows and elsewhere. Very proud that some of them were winners! Celebrations for Black Swan’s 30th anniversary this year include some exciting events coming soon at the centre – BBC’s Get Creative Day (Drop-in workshops on Sat 2nd April, 2-4pm), 1000 Postcards (exhibition & sale of mini artworks by artists/celebs), Secret Swans (trail as part of Frome Festival) and 30 Plinths exhibition. A chance to look forward to a great future for Black Swan and vital fund-raising. If you’d like to help or take part do visit www.blackswan.org.uk. We need 1000 postcard artworks by June!
My work for the Viking Cruises Chelsea Flower Show Artisan Garden, designed by Sarah Eberle, is now well under way. It is inspired by Cambodian floating gardens and fishing techniques of the Mekong region. I’m working on it collaboratively with Nick Weaver, who’s making the wood boat/lounger, while I’m making a 4 metre textured fishing net/canopy by hand (see image), incorporating fine woven copper wires, twine, silk, wool and other surprising found materials like fish skeletons! I am avidly collecting lemon netting bags for it. It’s a long process and an exciting prospect – I’ve not produced work for Chelsea Flower Show before. I will be there on 24/25 May, so please come and say hello if you have tickets! Updates about this will be added to this blog in due course or visit here.
This June I will be exhibiting works in The Hidden Garden Art Show at Maureen Michaelson Gallery in Hampstead, London (June 4-12). On Sunday 12 June this Gallery is also hosting a day as part of Chelsea Fringe Festival where I will be demonstrating my sculpting techniques. For more information about these events, visit www.maureenmichaelson.com or www.chelseafringe.com.
Looking ahead, ‘step in stone‘ – the artscapes-in-quarries project I ran last year – will be touring to Salisbury Art Centre in Aug/Sept. Artworks by all 14 artists will feature – a chance to see some of the work if you missed it last year.
Have a lovely Spring!