I have just handed over my artwork for the Sparrows Project exhibition, which will be in various venues in West Somerset throughout June, with the intention of raising awareness about Modern Day Slavery locally. Yes, it is happening here, in rural Somerset.
My friend Viv Meadows in Frome alerted me to the Call-Out for Artists earlier this year – she will be showing work too. It seemed like the perfect home for my Nest Box Project pieces, and John Dickinson from the charity agreed. He called in to meet me and collect the work this morning and we sat in my garden over coffee discussing life, art, what the Sparrows Project does and the alarming rise in vulnerable people being trafficked into this area.
For more on who they are and what they do please look at the Restore Hope West Somerset website here: https://rhws.org.uk/
And for a reminder of my Nest Box work here are some images taken by Neil Juggins:
I hope you can see why they may be relevant to the theme. Further updates when the exhibition goes live!
Here are some quality pictures of our joint exhibition, Venue 9 of the Frome Open Art Trail 2021, with Viv Meadows. We had a visit from the Frome Festival photographer Mick Yates (link below) and he was kind enough to send us both copies of the images he took.
End of exhibition, and on a high. 199 people came to see our work over the course of the Frome Open Art Trail. That’s amazing! Especially given how restricted we have been with visits, conversations and meeting strangers over the last 16 months.
Viv Meadows and I were delighted to have so many interesting conversations, explain our work and receive good reactions. Sometimes it was a social occasion, with tea or coffee and cake in the garden. Sometimes they were complete strangers who came across our work for the first time. Some people remembered us from two years ago, the last time we could do this.
Viv sold a lot of cards and one unframed print, and I sold one 3-pot form, but to be honest I am not judging the success of the exhibition by the amount of sales. I think it is quite possible that these two weekends could be the highlight of this year. The new people met, the networking, socialising and the inspiration we offered were the highlights, even though it was a little overwhelming at times. I was taking myself seriously as an artist, focusing on nothing but that for the whole time I was there, which is a rare thing in my life.
We also went out to other venues and Festival events when time allowed, including a deeply passionate and moving one-man show about the British nuclear test veterans, A Thousand Sons – this was the public premiere before it moves to London, so I felt privileged to catch it. The Turkish music and dancer ensemble Chalguh Chengi in Victoria Park yesterday left me with a big smile on my face and a wiggle in my hips.
So having finally worked out how to access my downloaded photograph files, I will attempt once again to add some picture files to this post…
Success! A few images of work in our ‘Fragments and Forms’ show uploaded. All work is still for sale, if you liked something but didn’t quite get round to buying it. And there is still ‘Hugging Form’ to be found in the Black Swan Arts exhibition of the Open Art Trail.
Photographs taken by Neil Juggins, to whom many thanks.
Just home from the first weekend of Frome Open Art Trail, in which I am exhibiting with my friend Viv Meadows at Venue 9.
We had a lot of interest and visitors despite the rather dodgy weather forecast. The set-up was on Friday, clearing and sweeping through the downstairs rooms and arranging my work on the IKEA white boxes – Viv’s is print and painting/collage and was already on the walls, although I helped a little with re-arranging. Everything labelled and a list of things we both had to do before the opening, and I drove home to write a Covid Safety notice and print it out. Viv already had a bar code for those with the NHS Track and Trace app, but I felt we needed some guidelines and reassurances for visitors too. I also did my (first ever) Lateral Flow test (negative) just to reassure myself and anyone I may come in contact with.
On Saturday I drove back over to Frome with everything needed for an overnight stay and we did the final signposting and cleaning. Soon after the start time of eleven a.m. the first visitors arrived, and we had a fairly constant flow – 37 in all. It was a pleasure to meet new people and talk about our work, their work (if artists) and catch up with a few friends who made it over. Viv sold a fair number of cards and I had some interest in a couple of my ceramic pieces (they intend to return), then we went out to a music gig in the evening, watching clouds, swifts and doves in the summer evening light as we enjoyed some new music (The Breathe) and a glass of wine. It’s so lovely to be able to do these things again, but we are not taking it for granted!
Today the weather was wetter but we still had a good number of visitors through the doors (32) and some interesting conversations. My ‘nest boxes’ are striking a chord with some, while others enjoy the variety of textures and effects from my experimental glazes. All agree that Viv’s work and mine sit well together, a similarity of approach and experimentation as much as the palette, I think.
Next week Viv is opening on Thursday, and I will be there again for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I hope to report some sales for each of us but if not, it is still worth doing for the impetus, motivation and lovely people we get to connect with. Long Live Frome Festival!
This morning I managed to access the decent photos of my work, upload one to the online form and submit it to the gallery. Being a little technically-challenged this feels like quite an achievement. I may now also be able to provide a decent image of my work on here (by dint of saving it to my desktop). The piece you will find at the gallery is called Hugging Form, it is stoneware, 20x14x15cm, is two pieces that can fit together it various ways of your choice, and looks like this:
As part of the Frome Open Art Trail in July, I will have a piece on display at Black Swan Arts – follow the link for more on this exhibition:
The online brochure for the whole trail will be available soon and I will provide the link to that in the next post, but here is a phone pic of the hard copy, which I just picked up from Frome today. Terribly excited!
Last year the Open Arts Trail was purely on-line due to Covid19 restrictions, but this year we hope it will be running in venues again. I have entered with my friend from Bath Spa Uni, Viv Meadows, using her house as the venue and with an exhibition title of Fragments and Forms.
I will post a link to the Trail brochure as soon as it is available, but meanwhile keep the first two weekends in July in mind for a visit…
I now have wonderful photos of my latest work courtesy of Neil Juggins, but haven’t yet been able to upload them to the blogsite (the way it works has changed since I last did this!) I aim to post a few teasers before July, anyway.
Meanwhile I have moved in a new direction since lockdown meant I could no longer access ceramic studios or kilns. My first textile project, ‘Nest Boxes’, currently work-in-progress, should be ready for the exhibition. Updates probably on a monthly basis as of now.
I was contacted via LinkedIn for permission to put photos of my Sage head, currently at Royal United Hospital in Bath, on a national art website. Seemed like a good idea! All sorts of forms downloaded and signed, and here it is.
This was work done while a student at Bath Spa University, and exhibited at RUH as part of a student exhibition. He seemed at home in the courtyard there, and I didn’t have anywhere else to put him, so I left him there for the enjoyment of staff and patients. Some years later, he’s really settled in…
On Saturday I went over to Frome for a ‘business meeting’ at Viv’s house and studio. Lots to sort out – from choosing the work to show and where to display it, to label fonts and pricing, and arranging the Private View.
We’ve decided to invite people over for tea, coffee, cakes etc on Saturday morning, July 6th, 11.00-1.00. Our venue (No 16, ‘Watermeadows’) will be open 11-5 on Saturday and Sunday 5th and 6th, also Fri-Sun 12-14th, although I may not be around much for the second weekend as I have a lot of other commitments – singing.
Meanwhile here is a pic to whet your appetite, I hope…
large pot, craft crank stoneware, decoration in white slip and cave mud. H24, C29cm
I have just been proofreading my entry in the Frome Open Studios Guide, and I must say the whole event is looking very exciting. Quite a few ceramicists, so my inner critic (a particularly fierce beast) is already wondering how my work will measure up to that of ‘professional’ potters/artists… Oh come on Jo, believe in yourself for once!
Fortunately I have lovely artist friends who encourage me, including Linda Starkey in Yeovil, and I have just signed up for her evening course starting in April to get the ball rolling in making some new work. I will mainly be showing already existing work in Frome in July.
But before then is the day workshop in linocut printing at ACEarts in Somerton. April 1st, to be precise. No jokes please…