Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Dates Announced for Swindon Open Studios 2016

I'd like to thank all those who took part in Swindon Open Studios, whether as artists or visitors, and contributed to making it such a resounding success.
The committee feel like they have hit the ground running and are keen to begin thinking about the 2016 event, so we begin by announcing the dates, not rocket science of course, we're going with the tried and tested dates, the first two weekends in September, so the dates for 2016 are:
3rd and 4th and 10th and 11th of September 2016
Make sure you're in Swindon for those dates!

Maggie Harris has Made me a Duplicate Cat

I visited Maggie Harris on Saturday 12th September, and fell in love with the gorgeous cat she'd made which we used as this years brochure image. At the time, Maggie had two visitors, one of whom also liked the cat, so I let her have the cat, and asked Maggie if she could make one for me. She has made a lovely one very quickly, and delivered it through my door a couple of nights ago.
Below there are two photos, the original one:
 and here's the latest one made to order for me:
There are of course differences, but I'm very pleased with the wooliness and sweetness of mine.
Thank you Maggie.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Joseph Wright at the Core

I've finally been to have a look at Joe Wright's display of fine art prints at the Core, and wasn't disappointed. His work based in Savernake and the Swindon area is stunning. 'The Floods' book, a new limited edition hand bound book sold really well, I'd love to have a look at it.
Here are some photos I took of the exhibition:
 Above some information about Joe and his photographic methods
 Above some of the flood prints, and below some woods

Above various different photos, including close ups of bark on the right hand side. There may be a few days left of this exhibition at the Core, although Kris said he loved them so much, they could stay longer if Joe wanted to leave them on the wall.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Fab Exhibition - Of Brush and Clay

This exhibition which opened on 19 September, and runs until 9 December is being held on the ground floor at the Ken Stradling Collection and Study Centre at 48, Park Row, Bristol, BS1 5LH.
The permanent collection contains over 500 pieces of studio ceramics, 200 pieces of Scandinavian and British studio glass as well as many items of furniture, industrial design, decorative objects, paintings and prints. It has been likened to Kettles Yard in Cambridge, a collection kept and arranged as though it's in a lived in house.
The items in the exhibition are beautifully painted ceramics by Sam Haile, William Newland and Margaret Hine, potters 'who took British studio ceramics on a new course, rejecting the sombre Orientalism of Bernard Leach and his followers and using their pots as an artist's canvas.'
Here's the poster in the window:
 And here's the lovely piece featured in the poster:

 Preparing for lots of people coming to the private view:
 On the right hand side wall, there are shelves with lots of examples of these ceramics
 On the other side of the room were shelves with beautifully painted items:
And in close up:

We also went upstairs to look at the permanent collection where two pieces of glass caught my attention, the one on the table was hard to photograph
 and in the background of the photo above can be seen this tremendous glass stoppered bottle:
I also love this chair:
 This painting
 and the fabulous bird cage
The arrangement of items on the sideboard is beautifully understated yet works so well:
It's well worth a visit to see this lovely place, open Wednesdays from 10.00-16.00 or by appointment. Tel: 0117 329 0566 or email There is a website, but it's not working tonight.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Banksy in Weston Super Mare

 Jay, Kathy and myself, very much enjoyed the Banksy exhibition in Bristol several years ago, although queueing in the rain for 4 hours to go in virtually ruined my smart sandals, so we agreed to meet in Weston Super mare and visit Dismaland . I wanted to be able to buy tickets online before we went, but this proved a tricky business, 'part of the experience' I was told.
We chose to go on Monday 20 September, and thought it might help to get there early since tickets were sold out online. Weston Super mare is a doddle to get to by train, with a very regular service, and some through trains to London taking an hour from WSM to Swindon, it is also our nearest easily reachable seaside resort, so why don't I go regularly? It wasn't such a doddle on Monday with delays from Swindon, so it took over 2 hours to arrive, by which time Jay and Kathy were in the queue for Dismaland as I made my way from the station along with what seemed to be an alarmingly large number of other people. Banksy had thoughtfully written his name on the pavement with arrows, so it was easy to find the Dismaland, made me consider whether I could do that for visitors here?
The queue was very slow to move, and rumours abounded as to whether we'd actually get in that day or not. A member of staff said we wouldn't get in until 3pm, that would mean a wait of 4 hours, and not practical since I had to be home for a meeting.
After an hour and a half in drizzle, we were cold and decided we should explore the delights of Weston, and give up on Banksy. We started out in a great cafe right beside Dismaland, and here are Jay and Kathy reading red tops; it wasn't that busy when we arrived, but very busy when we left:
 Denied the experience of Dismaland, we walked onto the beach and around the site taking photos of what we could see:
 The same coloured beach thing from the side
 It was beginning to brighten up a bit, thought the horse looked great from this angle
 And the big wheel must have given fab views of the bay
 I tried another photo of Dismaland from a distance because others were taking photos, but not using my sort of camera, or maybe from a different perspective because this isn't good at all.
 Walking along the front, we were very impressed with the shelters, and asked a passing couple to take some photos of the three of us, I love these reminders of the day:
 Our walk took us along the front towards Knightstone Island which has a fascinating history, explored after a great fish and chip lunch in a delightful restaurant on the front.
 The building above is part of the one on Knightstone Island, I think this part houses a baths, and below the causeway linking the island back to the mainland and forming a marina
 I love the huge terrace ahead in the photo, and have booked to stay there to explore Weston further

 Walking further on, we came across  Birnbeck Pier
 It seems such a shame it's a ruin and a wreck, in an idyllic spot in the Bristol Channel, it would be great if some of the £20 million generated while the Banksy show was in town could be used to repair the pier. It's not that simple of course, the latest information appears on Sept 1st when chair of CNM Estates who own the pier and Birnbeck Island sounded as though they were trying to do .
Meanwhile Friends of Birnbeck Pier have a Twitter feed.
Kathy had visited Dismaland on Saturday with her daughter Ruby who had been able to buy tickets online. She sent me the following photos of Dismaland at night:

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Mollie Gratland and Anthea Hilson

Were at Linley Close for the first weekend and Hodson for the second. Vanetta visited them during the first weekend
and found them sitting at a table in the sun
And took a few photos
Here are some of Mollie's silk screened scarves
and cushions, here's a photo of the one Vanetta bought:
Mollie and Anthea had set up a table where visitors could try their hand at a small business sized card sized painting or drawing, the results can be seen below:
And here's a detail of two cards sent by Mollie for me to use here.
This is such a good idea. Well done, and what a lovely record of the visitors you had.

Artsite's Open Studios

Artsite opened the Main Gallery for an exhibition of associate member's work The Main Gallery seen below
There was also an exhibition of stunning ceramics by Sam Silverton in the Number Nine Gallery opposite Artsite, seen below
In a casual shot someone can be seen talking to Sam, and Lynette Thomas is walking past the camera
here are more visitors talking to Sally Taylor, partly obscuring Kate Parson's stunning pictures
In addition, studio users had opened their studios and were on hand to show visitors round, and explain their working practices.
I was really pleased to see this message to SOS on Facebook:

The Studio Users at Artsite would like to thank Swindon Open Studios for organising yet another successful year of this event. For some of our Artists, this was a first time experience and they they found it both exciting and inspiring. The footfall was higher than usual and several sales were made over both weekends. We fully appreciate the sweat, blood and tears that go into organising so many different artists. . So congratulations. Getting better every year. 

Isn't that wonderful?