Monday, 17 July 2017

Garden Tour Part 1 Cannington Walled Gardens

This year's garden tour was based fairly locally, in Somerset and Dorset, staying two night in a B&B in the lovely village of Montacute, and then another two nights in Dorchester. It's amazing how many gardens there are to visit, and we fitted in few. Well organised gardens open to the public tend to be very photogenic, I decided therefore to give each garden its own blogpost, so what follows will be lots of photos of gardens. Gardens were generally picked because they were RHS partner gardens, National Trust properties, or Historic Houses and Gardens or very famous like Hestercombe

We started with the Walled Gardens of Cannington, easily recognised from the road by the the sandstone wall running around them.

Located in the village of Cannington, Somerset, The Walled Gardens of Cannington lie within the grounds of a medieval priory and many of its fine buildings, including the walls of the garden, remain. Having undergone extensive redevelopment, the Gardens were officially opened by HRH the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward.

Since then they have been accredited as a ‘quality assured visitor attraction' by VisitEngland and named as a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) partner garden. The Gardens are home to a Plant Heritage National Plant Collection® of Deschampsia and Santolina. All are displayed in a modern prairie style planting in our Collections Garden.
I particularly liked the flowers on this Beschorneria yuccoides, there were several of these around the garden. There were also some attractive drifts of flowers
and these Californian poppies looked fabulous with the grey leaved plants
There was a comfortable tea room and interesting shop.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Simone Dawood's Open Studio

Simone Dawood is opening her studio as part of Marlborough Open Studios which takes place for the whole of July. I went along to her opening night on Friday 7 July, intending to put up this post that night in order to encourage you to visit her open studio.
Simone's studio in Bushton is open today, and next weekend, so there is still time to visit. There's a large sign outside, indicating she's part of the Marlborough Open Studios art trail.
Simone's studio is set in the most glorious Wiltshire countryside near to Clyffe Pypard, with hills rising a field or so away:
 It's a lovely space, clearly labelled
 And Simone is very welcoming
 The evening gave everyone a chance to chat to each other, look round the garden
 and of course look inside the studio
 at the glorious Ridgeway landscapes
 It was hard to capture the paintings without someone in front of them, and I'm encouraging you to go and have a look this weekend, or next, so didn't want to photograph them too carefully anyway.
 And a few more
 I bought some cards so I can keep looking at my favourite paintings, you still have time to visit.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Grittleton House Plant and Food Fair

The Grittleton House Food and Plant Fair which raised money for Action research, was held yesterday, and proved to be a fabulous day out, with excellent plant  and craft stalls, a hog roast and a huge range of cakes in the dining room. I was very surprised to find we could wander around the downstairs and first floor of the building, it's a fabulous interior. Thinking I could find out lots of information about the interior, I was a bit disappointed to find it's mainly advertised as a wedding venue, with little explanation of the interior. The Wikipedia entry is reasonably helpful regarding the architecture. Like many large houses, a house existed on the site in the sixteenth century, but was demolished and rebuilt in the mid 1800s.
It was a beautiful day yesterday, and on arrival I was struck by how lovely the these windows were, it's slightly odd that a swimming pool has been installed in what was probably an orangery.
 Here's a view of the side of the area.
 Wonderful stalls on the lawn
 You can see it's ornate and rather grand
 More stalls
 When we went into the house, it was hard to keep the camera in my bag, there was so much to look at. The first room we went in was circular with a beautiful ceiling and
 a lovely floor, very worn away by many feet of schoolchildren who must have walked over it over the years. Grittleton closed as a school in 2016.
the lighting fixtures are absolutely fantastic, just the sort of thing I would have liked to find for myself.
It's a bit difficult to see this one, everything looks like shabby chic in the nicest possible way.
Here's a better view of the skylight
and just look at this light fitting!!
A view of the first floor
another skylight
At the top of the stairs, there's an interesting window, used as a model shoot on one website.
Looking down from above, this hallway has wonderful marble tiles arranged in a wonderful pattern
A stunning stained glass window
Another of the amazing ceilings and light fittings.
On the way out, I bought some Presshead organic cider which won't last long!

Handing Over Money Raised in the Lottery to Twigs

Last Sunday Twigs gardens were open for the National Garden Scheme, being only one of two gardens hold this honour in Swindon, I thought it would be a good day to hand over the money we raised for them during the Original Art Lottery held on the landing at the Arts Centre during the Swindon Festival of Literature. Festival Director, Matt Holland, kindly reminded people to buy tickets during the festival for a chance to win one of the 52 artworks, and we raised £500.
Two committee members are seen below handing over the £500 cheque to Alan Holland, Twigs co-ordinator. The Adver article which appeared on Friday was lovely, the link is here.
You can also see how much better a photograph is when taken by a press photographer.
Having handed over the cheque, Jane and I wandered round the gardens, the weather was variable and not very sunny, so photos are a bit dull.
I was pleased to see the pond had some water in it, in contrast with my last visit about a month previously when it was just a muddy swamp. Below a photo of the wild part of the garden.
I thought I'd try and get a good photo of the metal poppy sculpture, I think the foliage has grown up since I last tried to do this, it was difficult to see their profile.
Then the sun came out and they looked good among the greeenery

Above and below some sempervivums nicely displayed in the The Path of Life garden.
I love the structure below at the end of the Path of Life Garden, the roses smell wonderful.
And then on the way out, this clematis on a fence around the Olive Tree cafe garden was just fabulous.
Do visit the website to find out more about when you can visit Twigs, there are open days on
  • 25 June TWIGSfest 11 am -4 pm
  • 23 July NGS Day 1-5 pm ; the plant sales are fabulous, £2 each or 6 for £10 for well grown, lovely perennials.

Bath Society of Artists Summer Exhibition Opening Night

The Bath Society of Artists Summer Exhibition takes place in the main gallery on the ground floor in the Victoria Art Gallery annually. The opening night is always well attended, this year was even more packed with artists and their friends than usual, on a steamy evening.
Prof Anita Taylor, Dean of Bath School of Art and Design  opened the show with an excellent talk about her involvement in art, specifically the Jerwood Drawing prize, which she is the founding Director of, and her latest project, a Drawing Centre in Trowbridge which she talks about in her fascinating interview with Josephine Corcoran
Do click on the links to find out more about Anita Taylor.
I took a few photos of the evening, which give an idea of the atmosphere:
 Above is a first attempt to photograph those giving speeches, then below a photo taken holding the phone high in the air, shows Chair Susanna Lisle introducing the speakers
I then tried to photograph Tim Carroll's entries, but it was difficult to get close to them, so here's the first one 'Caryatids holding up the Roof' was used twice in the Bath Magazine to advertise this exhibition.
Below you can see people on the grass, titled 'Love's Labours Lost', also by Tim. It's alluding to the Shakespeare play of the same name.
and barely visible a 6 person Stoneware ceramic sculpture seen the the right of the lady wearign the blue jacket's shoulder.

Above a general view with free standing sculpture, and a photo below that of the fabulous balloons in Bath presumably for the Bath Festival, on a sunny day they are magnificent.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Lottery Winners

Some of you may know we held an Original Artwork Lottery during Swindon Festival of Literature with 52 artworks donated by artists taking part in open studios, and some not taking part this year, but keen to support Twigs.
Last Saturday, Councillor Jane Milner-Barry took time off from door knocking and leaflet delivery, along with committee member Nancy Elliott, to help convert money in envelopes into raffle tickets which we then drew out of a hat. Here they are, working hard with biscuits:
 We raised a fabulous £500 for Twigs which I'm hoping to present to Alan Holland at the NGS open day on Sunday 21 May 1-5pm. I compiled a list of the winners, and mostly was able to say whose work they had won, the winner appears on the left, and the artist whose work they won on the right. As you can see, frustratingly some people won more than one artwork, and we didn't win anything!!
Lottery Winners
Carole New x2 – Terry Humphries, Deb Battaglia
Kathy Geddes x 3 – Cheryl Willis x2, Lisa Lane,
Kathleen Elliott -Carmen B Norris
Angela Atkinson- Caroline Day
Jenny Hughes x2 – Paula Sullivan, Alex Coppock-Bunce
Lesley Gow – Rachel Pryor
Sophie Cummings – Vanetta Joffe
Marilyn Roberts – Tim Carroll
Louisa Davison – Vicky Silver
Ida Walker – Vanetta Joffe
Adele Merrison Keith Panting’s plate
Linda Kocur – Bee Operanto
April Nobes – Rupert Aker
Ben Cavanna x3 – Jill Carter, Marilyn Trew, Rosie Leather
Kate Brailsford – Dee Levy
Jane Rodborn – Susan Carr
Ben Staite x2 – Anne B, Sally Thain
Terry Brown – Kate Parsons
Alison Onslow – C Dunn
Mary Holder- Naomi Cantillon
Jack Bryniarski – Cheryl Willis
Anna Hirsch-Holland x2 Jo Mc Aree, Sue Bardwell
Jill Backle – Cheryl Willis
Rosie Baylies – Kareen Jackson
Suzanne Bullimore – David Bent
Debbie Irens – Anthea Hilson
Adam Bartoszewski x2 – David Robinson, Mollie Gratland
Stan Pajak – Jennifer Howells
Marion Paul – Sonia Leggett
S Hayward x2 – Vanetta Joffe, John Maskalaniec
Rachel Pryor – Beverley Anderson
Marilyn Trew – Jennie Anderson
Martyn Cook – Tim Carroll
Christine Hardisty x2 – Sally Taylor, Hannah Dosanjh
Mr and Mrs Ellis – Ruth Wintle
Avril Brown – Sarah Purvey
Dona Bradley – Rachel Pryor
Andrew Yeoward – Sue Pready
Tracy White – Karen Holman
Rebecca Campbell – Val Gibbons
The artworks have all been wrapped up, and are now gradually being delivered. To speed up the process, please email swindonopenstudios@hotmail.co.uk to arrange collection.
Here's a reminder of the artworks:



Thank you to all those who took part and donated so generously to Twigs, and to Matt Holland for tirelessly reminding people to buy a tcket.