Sunday, 15 May 2016

The Original Art Lottery Draw

It seems as though we've been organising the lottery for ages, and now it's all over. The list of winners is on the SOS website and we're in the process of hand delivering those we can do, and posting the rest. I've took a few photos of the postcards before they were taken down:

and a photo of my signage to encourage people to join in:
It certainly worked because we sold over 400 tickets and took £700!! Profits will go to Prospect, and I hope we can organise one of those hand over events for the cheque.
I didn't take any photos of the draw which was started by Cristina Odone, and continued by Vanetta Joffe. We then had the task of dismantling the boards and unscrewing the pictures from them, and sorting out where the winners lived, or how to contact them.
Here we are part way through the process:
 I was thrilled to discover Maggie Brunger had one the Eileen Cooper RA original. She's a big fan of Eileen's work and loves the current exhibition by Eileen Cooper, 'Hide and Seek' at the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery
So it all turned out wonderfully, thank you very much to Matt Holland organiser of the Swindon Festival of Literature for encouraging and supporting this lottery, the Arts Centre for hosting the display, especially Dave Jell for being so accommodating and helpful, Terry Humphries and Susan Carr for taking the artworks away and screwing them onto boards, and of course the artists who so kindly donated their work.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Original Art Lottery at the Arts Centre

We are very pleased to be holding a lottery of original art at the Arts Centre, to coincide with the Swindon Festival of Literature. 40 works have art have been donated by Swindon Open Studios artists, friends of ours, Eileen Cooper RA, the first female Keeper at the Royal Academy, who currently has an exhibition at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.
Sara Lee was also kind enough to donate one of her glorious landscapes.
Terry Humphries kindly mounted the framed prints on boards which he hung on the hooks on the Arts Centre wall kindly provided by Swindon Artists' Forum, and they were left covered in white paper until Tuesday 3 May at 2pm when Matt Holland, Festival Director unveiled them:
 Above here's Matt giving the speech with Rachel Pryor and Terry looking on
 There are 3 boards, here's Matt unveiling the middle one:

 And the third one at the far end.
 You can just about spot the Eileen Cooper painting, it's the middle one on the second row.
 The artworks are superb, to enter the lottery, you will need to go into the Arts Centre, put £2 in an envelope for one ticket, or £5 for 3 entries, or any multiple of £5. Add your name address and contact details to the envelope and place it in the postal box in the reception area. Proceeds to Prospect Hospice, and the draw will be this Friday 13 May at 7.30pm after Cristina Odone's talk.

The Superb Woodland Gardens at Bowood and Sculptures at Lacock

I went for a day out with a friend yesterday, the weather was perfect, a sudden rush of summer made us a bit lazy and ready to look more carefully than usual, or maybe it was the vibrancy of the colours which made us stand and stare.
Sue had suggested we visit Bowood, not having been there since I visited for the children's adventure area, I wasn't sure what to expect. But it wasn't the main parkland, but the woodland area we were visiting. There is a fabulous collection of Rhododendrons dating back to 1854 when 300 were bought for £4.15s, so many different sorts as well as Camellias and Magnolias, with a carpet of bluebells in many places. It has been home to the Lansdowne family for 250 years
I took some great photos, hard not to really with such wonderful colours, so here they are:
 The blue of the bluebells was like a carpet, and below a lovely pink Rhododendron
 A gorgeous Magnolia flower:

 A couple more photos where I liked the backdrop of the trees and colour of the bluebells
 This was an intriguing Rhododendron with red stigmas and a very tubular flower shape.

 Light pink and dark pink Rhododendrons

 There's a Mausoleum at the far end of the garden with wonderful views over the plain.

 Above a bright orange Azalea and a bright red Rhododendron
 From there we went to Lacock had lunch in the Red Lion, and then for a look round the Abbey
 There is currently an exhibition of sculpture  until 22 May celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. I particularly liked willow artist Woody Fox's creatures.
 I could keep on photographing the Abbey, the architecture is so pleasing
 You'll need to go and have a look at these fish in the pond, Woody Fox again.
Bowood and Lacock are very close, we ended up going via the centre of Chippenham which wasn't the correct route, lovely day out.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Allotment Flowers

Sometimes I'm overcome on the allotment by the beauty of what's growing there. Having got all my potatoes finally planted last weekend, and quite a few seeds sown, there was nothing to photograph of what I'd been doing, but there were some fabulous flowers. All accidentally growing where they are.
Firstly the cowslips which arrived in some garden compost brought to the allotment when I was moving house. They originated from some I dug up from the bottom of next door's garden when I lived in Hyde Road, thirty years ago. They love the soil on the allotment and have been transplanted into my present garden and the Mr Cod garden this year.
 Next a redcurrant bush completely laden with flowers, this is self seeded, and growing very vigorously.
 And below some wallflowers which I sowed in the allotment and never managed to transplant before the winter took hold.

The Annual Dawn Chorus Event at the Lawns

The Swindon Festival of Literature starts at 5.30am with the Dawn Chorus, an event where we don't listen to birds, but watch people frolicking around, balancing on each other, juggling with fire and without. There's also more sedate, but rousing singing and reading poetry.There are always bacon butties and homemade cakes from Matthew Pearce of Coffee Gang
I love the way the inkiness of the blue sky changes in these photos as it gets light. This first one shows a blackbird singing loudly at 5.15am
Traditionally the bagpipes herald the start of proceedings at 5.30am, this sends a shiver down the spine, and you're glad you came.
The mixture of fire and twirling a hoop around worked really well.

Here's Matt introducing the Dawn Chorus and organising the flow of the morning. I think he was relieved it didn't rain, and we looked hard to see if there would be any pink sunny bits in the clouds, but there wasn't much.

I've included these two photos because it's lovely to catch the juggling batons mid air

I only seem to have one photo of Jake the Juggler, here he is walking on a wire, he's wonderfully entertaining, and a real star of the show for me.
On the way home I spotted these flowers at the base of a huge tree, I was told at the time what they were, but have forgotten. Any ideas anyone? Never seen them before. Star of Bethlehem? Might be
The Star of Bethlehem were growing at the base of this tree which is almost human looking with its amazing knobbles. For more on the festival look at

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

'Strange but Somehow Beautiful; Art of the Adan People of south east Ghana

I went to the Private View of this exciting exhibition from the collection of Mike Yates at the Mount House Gallery, Marlborough College, Bath Road, Marlborough SN8 1PA.
I would recommend a visit to have a look at these artefacts from Mike's collection, they are beautiful and beautifully arranged. I took lots of photographs, and am including almost all.
The exhibition runs from Wednesday May 4- Sunday May 22.
Opening times:Wednesday-Friday 14.30-17.00 Saturday 09.00-13.00 Sunday 14.30-17.00
The woven fabrics are so beautiful
I love this arrangement

And as we left the Mount house gallery, St.Peter's Church spire with it's slightly different spires looked fabulous against the blue sky.