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…

Swan for Wells

I am very pleased to have been asked to decorate one of the Swans of Wells by All Hallows Prep School in Cranmore, a sponsor.  The project ‘will feature sixty, magnificently decorated, 5ft swan sculptures, one for each of the sixty years of the Queen’s reign. The flock will be displayed in public locations in and around Wells from June to September 2012. This eye-catching, high profile event is expected to bring thousands of visitors and vibrant contemporary art to the streets of England’s smallest city.’  Our Swan will have pride of place outside Bishops Palace.  I have just over a fortnight to do the work, which has a recycling theme and will entail 3-d materials collected by All Hallows and me, including some wire creations by children at All Hallows…  images to follow as the work develops.


Update – 27/5

Over a month ago I was asked to decorate this Swan.  Luckily the deadline was postponed.  It’s been very absorbing and great fun, but incredibly time-consuming!  I’ve loved my residency creating the work at All Hallows Prep School (the sponsors), where I was supported by all.  The children added some bits (hand-made wire school crane emblems, patterns woven, painted and drawn, and a few stuck on beads, buttons and gogos) and they gave me loads of positive feedback.

We named our Swan Candela.  It has relevance in various ways:  The Latin word for ‘Candle’, it features in the All Hallows motto:  ‘Sancto cuique sua candela’ which translates as: ‘for every saint there is a candle (light).’  Every child is a potential saint and they too have their lights.  The Swan has a flame-like, glowing quality in its patterns, colours and bright, luminous objects.  The  recycled objects have been lovingly collected, donated and created by the children, (+ me and my son, Jack) – symbolic of their individual lights.

The process was more complex than I imagined, as I had to texturise the surface prior to sticking on the objects (all individually cleaned/de-greased),  then sand, prime and paint in between all the bits.  Varnishing was a huge relief – there was no return.  Although not perfect, I think it’s got a charm of its own.  The Swan was collected on Friday and will go on display with the rest of the flock next week (after 28th May).

Swans of Wells Launch – 28/5

Some of the flock were displayed on Wells Cathedral Green today for the media launch, including ours, and there was a brief appearance of them on BBC and ITV news.  All looked lovely in the sunshine!

See press: Shepton Mallet Journal, SwansofWells website, Jenikya’s blog

Update – 19/6

Visited Candela to give her a clean up.  Great to see Ian and the team were already doing some Swan cleaning.  Sadly Candela had her eyes plucked out + a few other bits.  I will be replacing the missing parts asap.  It’s encouraging to see members of the public trying to help by keeping an eye out for the Swans.  A note was found inside Candela, together with a missing part, retrieved by some kind person.  The good news is that Candela has a new sunny spot nearer the Palace entrance and is still attracting plenty of attention:

Update – 2/7

Gave Candela back her eyesight, replaced a few other bits that had been removed and another wash last week – so all gleaming again 🙂

Update 15/7

I helped on the first Swans of Wells stall this Saturday selling Swans merchandise to raise funds.  Also revived Candela with another freshen-up as the sun came out on Sunday.  Plenty of visitors in the sunshine:

Update 15/8
I’ve been back a couple of times to give Candela some TLC and clean her up from all the mud splatters after such heavy rain over the past month or so.  Today, plenty of visitors stopped to take pics and remark on Candela and the Swan flock.  They were intrigued to hear the background to her – some people even claimed she was their fav Swan.
Update 27/8
At the Moat Boat Race on Bank Holiday Monday; went to the SwansofWells stall for a bit – great to see more merchandise decorated with our colourful Swans.
Update 16/9
Candela is now preened and ready to be auctioned on 29th September.  Here she is at the Auction Preview weekend (15/16 Sept) at Bishops Palace with the rest of the flock:
Swans Auction – 29th September
I’m delighted that All Hallows have managed to acquire Candela through successful bidding at the Auction.  It was a very exciting evening. Candela achieved a healthy figure and will now return to her rightful place, where she will live happily ever after.  The amazing total of £111,500 raised from the Swans auction will go mainly to local charities.
I was asked to decorate one of two mini swans bid at end of the auction.  I decided to make a baby Candela – ‘Candelina’:
In permanent residence
Candela, now back at her resting place in All Hallows Prep School:

Somerset Art Weeks at Stoberry Park

It’s that time of year again when artists around Somerset gear up for the intensive fortnight, opening venues to show their art to members of the public from far and wide.  I will be exhibiting some pieces at Stoberry Park, Wells, together with Ian Marlow ARBS, Sonja Klingler, Alex Relph and Christine-Ann Richards.  We all specialise in 3-d work and the venue is perfect for this – set in stunning gardens with magnificent views overlooking Wells Cathedral, across to Glastonbury Tor and beyond.  Free-ranging sheep roam the lower acreage, which leads to large expanses of parkland, a lovely arboretum, large ponds and beautiful cultivated walled gardens near the main house.  The venue will be open to the public from Sunday 18 Sept – Sunday 2 Oct, 11am – 6pm.  It will be closed on Mondays and Thursdays.  The gardens will also be open for the National Garden Scheme – the last NGS event of the year (£3.50 to charity, children free). Refreshments will be available.

Stoberry Park, Stoberry House,
 Stoberry Park,
 BA5 3LD  is located just off A39 (Bristol road) on the outskirts of Wells. Turn into College Road and immediately left into Stoberry Park. Long drive (with free-roaming sheep).