Last week I installed my Lichen and Giant Nest for Glastonbury Abbey’s Orchard Sculpture Trail – summer ’14. This is now the fourth showing of Lichen since it’s installation for the Abundance commission last autumn. This time the challenge was to construct Lichen around and up a tree in the Abbey Orchard, which took several days to install! It will be on exhibition until 28th September ’14, as will my Giant Nest – so plenty of time to go and visit them there.
A new exhibition starts this Saturday entitled ‘Of Form and Texture’ at Sidcot Arts Centre, in which some of my work will be on show as part of a selected group: Diane Burnell, Sara Parsons, Debbie Lamb and Laura Howarth are also taking part. My Lichen piece – made originally for the Abundance commission (Garden of Eden) – has now been re-installed as part of the exhibition. It took nearly 2 days to install (thanks to the help of friend Nigel Evans), but is now up and ready for the Launch event on Saturday. It’s interesting to see how it changes – a re-invention each time I install.
3 of my sculptures have been on show outside the entrance of Sidcot Arts Centre since February, the first set of work for their new Outdoor Sculpture Programme. One of these featured pieces is Giant Nest – also created originally for the Abundance commission (Garden of Eden).
Below are details of the exhibition – please come along!
It was sad to say goodbye to Esotera – I loved being there. On my final take down day last week Andrew and Shirley were hard at work on their next venture, wonderful aromas brewing in their kitchen for forthcoming Christmas fayres, industrious as always. Thanks to their input we managed to make over £1000 for the NGS from Abundance takings, including entrance fees, crafts, plants, cakes and teas.
The baby pigeons have nearly grown to full size and the garden is almost back to normal, bar a few bare patches of grass.
Some of my Abundance work is now on show in a new exhibition at Walcot Chapel Gallery, Bath with Kitty Hillier (another Abundance artist), entitled ‘Blurred Edges‘. It runs from 14th – 27th October, open 10.30-4.30 daily, so please come along if you can.
Whilst manning at Esotera I’ve been watching a pigeon nesting. Visitors can’t believe it at such a late time of year. Well, she’s had babies! It’s providing additional interest for visitors to Esotera! Meanwhile, new life is sprouting through my installation – grass growing rapidly after all the rain and mushrooms are finding it a perfect haven. Nature is once again doing its magic and I’m loving the enhancement. Here’s to our final day – let’s hope the sun shines for us all!
The last fortnight has been a rather mad whirlwind leading to SAW’s opening, managing both my venues between other day-to-day commitments, testing my sanity. Miraculously, the Garden of Eden came together on time. With the support and help of good friends and a few late nights finishing off, I managed to complete my 3 installations at Esotera, set up at Thornreed Studio (venue 94), get to the Abundance micro feast at East Lambrook, do a talk and workshop on the first Saturday and thoroughly enjoy chatting to visitors for the past week. Thanks to Pauline Watson and team, the Harveys (owners at Esotera) and Hicks & Don (wine sponsors) for their hard work, food and drink contributions to the private view, it was a lovely event.
I asked a photographer (from 35mil) to take some pics of the work. We re-scheduled 3 times due to poor weather and it was third time lucky when the sun finally broke through after a dull, cold day. Dappled sunlight heightens the enchantment on the largest piece – lichen-inspired work set in a copse of silver birch trees. What’s really needed now is more sunshine to do its magic over this last coming weekend to encourage a wider, more abundant audience.
I’ve received many appreciative, insightful comments about the Garden of Eden and yesterday was a particularly good day at Esotera, with a large range of visitors of all ages. A friend even made a visit from above in a glider. Grass is starting to grow through my main installation, and although I regularly collect some of the leaves/debri that fall onto the work (especially after high winds last week), they almost enhance it. The work is settling into the site – perhaps it should remain a permanent feature! Gengis the cat is enjoying the extra attention and Scruffy – one of the free-roaming chickens – has an odd habit of pecking at visitors’ feet/legs! Ahh sweet!
I am feeling positive about the whole experience, apart from poor weather at times bringing less visitors (and a few recoiling when faced with the NGS entrance fee). It has been hard work, challenging, great fun, addictive even – and I think, successful.
In addition to collecting materials on walks in the area and at Pylle scrapyard, my work has relied on the kindness of numerous local donors, who have given me recycled materials and/or their time. A huge thank you to the following: Sam Garland, John Shepherd Feeders, Ridgeway Garage, Station Road Garage, Pete Reakes, Fon Cosens, Somerset Earth Science Centre, Andrew and Shirley Harvey, Vicky Grinter, Georgia Grinter, Caroline James, Jason Nosworthy, Nigel Evans, Peter Osborne, Denise Campbell, Nick Weaver, Adrian Candy.
I have struggled to keep up with my own self-inflicted deadlines for making the Abundance installations, especially during this school summer holiday, although I am making progress. With September nearly upon us, I’ll need to accelerate in order to get it all completed on time.
My large ‘fallen nest’ is coming along ok and I hope to complete it in the next week. Other parts to the lichen-inspired installation have now been shaped and patinated using reclaimed copper and lead. I have a couple more items to make, and will then set it all out again in my garden as a mock up. It’s been great fun exploring techniques and finding new ways of working with materials.
We are meeting with the owners at Esotera this Friday for a final update on the work and Art Weeks arrangements. Very soon it will be time to install…. better get moving!
It’s been wonderful working out in the garden in the heat and sunshine. I’ve been able to spread out my collected materials and see how it might all come together. Plasma cutting got a little too hot but it’s a nifty new tool for ‘drawing’ ragged edges for the effect I want.
Even more inspired to get on with my final piece after going to a talk by Piet Oudolf in Bruton this week (Kitty Hillier was also there). His world re-knowned natural garden designs, using grasses as an integral feature, are an inspiration to the owners at Esotera. Tall reeds and grasses around their large pond will be echoed by the textures and vertical sense of movement in my giant ‘fallen’ nest.
Pieces are steadily coming together. The aim is to create a mass of giant growing forms, inspired by lichen, linked to the Eden concept and utilising found objects. It involves hours of weaving, wrapping and forming, using soft and hard materials together, which is relatively new for me and occasionally I wonder if I’ll ever get it finished. Anyway, it’s becoming a daily activity and no matter what else the day holds, I try to spend a few hours on the Abundance work. I’m hooked on what I’m making, and what I would really like is to have no other interruptions but life isn’t that simple..
Earlier this week we went to Esotera again to measure the installation area and confirm a few details with Zoe. A landscape designer friend, Jason, came along to help work out where the grass might be allowed to grow a little, in order to create more of an enclosure for the work. Owners Andrew and Shirley have been very accommodating with this.
On reading the other Abundance artist posts, I like the idea that there seems to be several crossovers in our work; connections which somehow tie the Trail together.
I’ve been gathering scrap materials from pockets of Somerset to use in my work at Esotera. Dragging rusty barrels from woodland walks, corrugated steel fences no longer required for guinea fowl and rummaging through skips and scrapyards to add to my collection of materials, in line with the ethos at Esotera of utilising found and recycled items.
They don’t look much like artwork yet, but planning to transform them into something with more form and colour in the coming months, together with other mixed media such as wire, copper, twine, wool, netting… Looking for yellow netting and copper (sheet, piping and wire) at the moment, if anyone has these spare to donate?
Today was a perfect day to revisit Esotera. My first visit with Zoe was on a grim winter’s day. But today blazing sunshine had brought out new flowers from bulbs, ferns were unravelling, ducks, chickens, fish and a very sociable cat ‘Gengis’ were all glorifying our brilliant 1st of May.
As I wandered around, I could understand why Esotera gets so many visitors who stay for hours. The owners and garden envelop you into their world – a place at peace with itself, whilst buzzing with the magic of life and I found it hard to leave! Undecided about the exact location of my installation, with several possibilities, I took plenty of photos and absorbed the ambience. It helped to confirm my ideas for the project, and 3 hours later I left, armed with a load of reclaimed materials for my work there, generously donated by the owners Shirley and Andrew.
The work begins!