A couple of weeks ago I did a radio interview with Martin Evans at BBC, Bristol. Zoe Li (SAW) and I went up for an interview to plug Somerset Art Works Open Studios Family Friendly weekend, which we did. Martin then suggested a separate interview about my work.. so here it is – live for 7 days..!
Taking down the yellow signs for Somerset Art Weeks often feels a bit like the end of a party. Quite exhausted, tinges of sadness but ultimately happy to have met and even befriended so many lovely, appreciative people from the South West and beyond. Looking back at stimulating conversations and comments left by visitors it’s great to know that they enjoyed themselves and were inspired. Starting and ending on a high note, overall I felt this one went with a swing.
I shared my venue this year with Nick Weaver, whose reclaimed wood pieces really enhanced the show. Thanks to his hard work helping to restore my garden to former glory and to an indian summer, the 52 outdoor sculptures glistened in their surroundings – described by one visitor as ‘reminiscent of arcadia’!
Good signage, SAW catalogues and successful PR (by all involved) seem to be the main ways to attract SAW visitors. A focus this year was to appeal to a younger, wider audience. Zoe Li (SAW Art Weeks manager) and I did a BBC radio interview in Bristol with Martin Evans to increase media coverage of the final Open Studios ‘family friendly’ weekend. As it turned out, the last weekend was, in my view, a brilliant finale. I manned at All Hallows School’s venue on Saturday, where some of my students’ work was on show. Tied in with an Open Day their venue attracted far more family visitors than usual. And on Sunday, as part of the Big Draw, I had 20 participants of all ages doing a taster wire workshop in my garden in addition to many other visitors – challenging but fun!
Making sales is always a bonus, and happily we made some of those too!
I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer and feel ready for the fall. I managed to get away for an inspiring trip to Florence and Pisa for a week in between working on various projects, teaching, commissions and exhibitions. I sold some work locally and in London, made a tree in a day and very happy to have just learnt I won an Environmental Award for my work at the Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail!
There’s plenty to look forward to this autumn. I’ve been preparing for Somerset Open Studios ’14 as East Mendip Rep and exhibitor. This year I’ll be showing work in my studio and garden with Nick Weaver (elegant wood pieces) from 20th Sept – 5th Oct, 11-6 daily (wire workshops each Sunday 11.30-12.30 – please book). We’ve formed a small cluster group in our vicinity and have a Launch doo on 20th Sept (see below) – please come and visit us!
My energies have also been focused on organising a major project entitled step in stone – a collaborative holistic, multi-stranded Art Trail around 2-4 disused/working quarries in the East Mendips (planned for July – Oct ’15), with related exhibitions at Black Swan Arts Centre and Somerset Earth Science Centre, linking with Somerset Art Works. Artists are being drawn from a range of disciplines, some selected from a callout. Confirmed artists include Tessa Farmer – one of my favourites after seeing her at Saatchi and recently at Holburne. The project relies on funding, so in addition to formal applications we’re running a crowdfunding bid on IdeasTap via their commission-free Accelerator platform (soon going live – watch this space) and making a film for it. I’ll have curatorial mentoring from Amanda Wallwork (Sherborne House Art Director/B-Side Curator) and Zoe Li (SAW/Arts Council) – let’s hope it all comes to fruition!
Some other exhibitions I’m involved in over the next month or so:
Glastonbury Abbey’s Orchard Sculpture Trail, BA6 9EL (ends 28th Sept)
Art Parks International Sculpture Exhibition, Guernsey (ends Oct)
Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, USA – Second Time Around – The Hubcap as Art, LandfillArt (6th Sept ’14 – 1st March ‘15)
Have a great start to autumn!
I had a great day at the Arnolfini, Bristol recently with fellow SAW Abundance artists and SAW curator Zoe Li seeing new work on show and catching up. Micheael Dean’s sculpture (see tongue piece below) and Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ performance ‘Maintenance Works’ were inspiring. Ukeles’ work seeks to overlap activities of ordinary labours of life with artistic labour – a concept she originated in the ’60’s. Amongst other projects in ‘Touch Sanitation’ she spent months following, talking, participating and shaking hands with New York sanmen – thanking them for their thankless work. Dean’s textured concrete works are made to be handled, making them far more accessible.
At the Black Swan Art Centre, Frome, I visited Seamus Moran’s exhibition of beautiful, haunting sculptures cast from tree knots. His work resonated with my own fascination and collection of found objects including tree knots, twigs and roots.
Frome seems to be gathering momentum in the arts. I went to a meeting about their planned new ‘cultural quarter’ for the area around the Black Swan, Museum, Library, Cheese and Grain, cattle market and river – a potentially very exciting arts complex which will infuse the Mendips with even more creativity – in addition to the Hauser and Wirth Gallery opening in Bruton in 2014.
I’m currently exhibiting a piece in this ‘cultural quarter’ for Loop de Loop – newly converted mini exhibition cubicles, which used to be loos! The spaces look great lit up at night and will hopefully be appreciated over the Christmas period, starting with the Frome Christmas lights opening by Jenson Button this Friday evening, Catherine Hill artisan market and Super Market on Sunday.