Ups and downs…

Having been up to Cromford Mill over the weekend it was satisfying to receive some more positive comments about ‘Connecting Threads’. People seem to like the fact that there are several layers to the work – and I must admit, it is quite funny watching people as they walk around it, suddenly realise where the sounds are coming from, and that the sounds are all different. It is also heart-warming to know that one person liked it so much they came back for a second visit – thank you Maja!

One small incident  took the shine off the weekend though; some unmentionable seems to think that it is ok to help themselves (or should that be steal) one of the sets of headphones! What is it with these people – just because it’s not nailed down that makes it alright for them to take it?

In light of this I have now removed the remaining set of headphones; unfortunately this results in viewers not being able to hear the dvds – just watch the moving images. As usual the small minority spoil it for the majority.

I am a big believer however, in what goes around, comes around…



Masson Mills News!

Just a quick post to say there is an article about my installation ‘Connecting Threads’, currently on display at Cromford Mill, Derbyshire, on the Sir Richard Arkwright’s Masson Mills website! If you get the chance do pop in and see it. There’s lot to do and see in the area too: the cakes in the Cromford Mill Cafe are scrumptious and if you walk into Cromford village there is a fantastic gallery called Cromford Studio and Gallery to browse around! A walk along the Derwent is a must, especially at this time of year with all the gorgeous autumnal colours – and it helps to get rid of some of the calories from all that cake!

Connecting Threads

Remembering……..and elephants

Continuing the tale of my weekend…After Saturday’s visit to Bristol and its art galleries, Sunday was conducted at a much more sedentary pace, helped in no short measure by the fact that it was a beautiful day. From our hotel near Chepstow we drove up through the Forest of Dean. Blue skies and sunshine encouraged us to park the car and take a walk. It was one of those days when its just great to get outdoors, breath in the air and be thankful – never more so than last Sunday which was Rememberance Sunday. Walking along on a carpet of coppeCarpet of Goldr, the trees lining the path resplendent inForest of Dean all their autumn glory, providing their own tribute to the fallen – it was the perfect place for a moment of quiet contemplation.

We journeyed on to Monmouth where we had a picnic by the river, and from there on to Ross-on-Wye, such a pretty town, with lots of higgledy-piggledy streets, a lovely riverside walk as well as historic buildings to explore. This is such a beautiful area and one that I look forward to returning to in the future.

And elephants..? Well, after all the ‘artwork’ we saw on Saturday my better half is rapidly coming to the conclusion that ‘anything’ can be art so when we found this waiting for us in the hotel room I just had to take a photo. What do you call the art of towel-folding?

Towel elephant

…and Bristol fashion!

Well the weekend saw me in the south west – a recent birthday treat! As the weather was changeable on Saturday, we decided to visit Bristol for a whistlestop tour. First a big thumbs up to Wapping Wharf car park – £2.50 all day and really central – other cities take note!! A trip along the Harbourside saw us pop into the MDSC_1570 Shed where the history of Bristol and its people really came to life – not only that, but the architecture of the building was great too and on the walls of the stairwell was ‘River Avon Mud Circle’ by Richard Long – a long time favourite artist of mine! The M Shed is worth a visit and it’s free entry to boot! Walking further along the dockside we were invited to step aboard The Matthew, a replica of the ship that John Cabot sailed to Newfoundland on in 1497. Once again, entry was free and the organisers were very knowledgeable. Standing on the deck of this very small ship, it was difficult to believe that this tiny vessel made it across the Atlantic – the hardships they endured must have been terrible. One has to admire the courage and determination of these early explorers though!

Rope CoilOur visit to Bristol did see us go from one extreme to the other. Further along the Harbourside we popped in to the Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition at Spike Island. This is a platform for emerging artists and consists of work by recent graduates – BA(Hons), MA and practice-based PhDs. Whilst supporting these artists, the exhibition also provides ideas of possible trending themes and mediums in the future contemporary art world. Even for me, a recent graduate, this exhibition was challenging. In the main I prefer an artwork to speak for itself, without too much artists’ blurb, but I have to admit that here I would have liked a little hint into the artists’ psyche! Perhaps I am not cutting edge or challenging in my approach, but I just didn’t GET some of the works – and I don’t think that is necessarily my fault! If you are in the area pop in and see this exhibition – I would love to hear your opinion.

From here we went to the Arnolfino where (after fighting our way through the hoardes of hopefuls waiting to audition for the new Star Wars movie) there were exhibitions by Michael Dean and Mierle Laderman Ukeles. I liked the Dean exhibition and its interactive nature – the way I as a viewer engaged, not only with the sculpture (yes you were allowed to touch), but also with the exhibition space as a whole, from the lighting to the carpet. Laderman Ukeles work addresses often overlooked aspects of society. I liked the Touch Sanitation work that she produced when artist-in-residence for the New York City Department of Sanitation. This highlights the unremitting work the employees carry out and that we, the public would prefer not to think about – I think this applies to a lot of other areas too!

As I said earlier, our visit went from one extreme – the Bloomberg exhibition at Spike Island with its contemporary art – to a Roman Empire exhibition at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. In partnership with the British Museum, this exhibition included some wonderful sculptures and jewellery, and the children’s clothing was amazing. Alongside this, the museum contained works by Pissarro and Derain, as well as a porcelain sculpture by Nagae Shigekazu – Forms in Succession – and a glass piece called Ku by Ikuta Niyoko, both really beautiful!Nagae Forms in SuccessionAfter all that artwork we had gallery overload and went for a well deserved meal!! Bristol, I really enjoyed my day and will be back!!

That wasn’t the end of my weekend but I will save that for another time!

Autumn Beauty

‘Did you measure to attain your height?

Did you use geometry to radiate your limbs?

Did you lament storm-torn branches?

Did you inventory your leaves for the sun?

You did none of these things, yet man in his cleverness

Cannot match your perfection.’ – Deng Ming-Dao

Autumn Beauty

Sculptures in the Showers

A lot of people braved the very changeable weather yeaterday to visit the final day of the Discovery Days Festival.  There were lots of events going on throughout the Derwent Valley including at Cromford Mill and Canal.  There was an Artist and Craft Makers Fair, as well as an exhibition by the Friends of the Cromford Canal – which might sound a bit boring, but it was very interesting, looking at all the old photographs and reading about how the canal was constructed. I met a very interesting lady who was a member of The Sheepwash Spinners who were giving a demonstration/exhibition. Local to the area, she told me how she had composed and performed her song about the red tape produced in Wirksworth; she then proceeded to give me an impromptu performance which was fantastic!!

Again, there was some positive comments about my installation – ‘Like a piece of theatre’, ‘Excellent and fascinating’ as well as one that really struck a chord, ‘ Beautiful – it must have taken ages to put up!’

Although the Festival is now over my installation will remain in situ until the end of November – so pop along and view it in the very building that was one of the main inspirations for the piece.

I have found time to explore a little more of the area, and dodging the showers yesterday, spent time viewing the sculptures in the garden of Chatsworth House. Although the Beyond Limits exhibition is officially over, there was still plenty to see. As usual the exhibition had attracted some big names, Tony Cragg, Marc Quinn and Thomas Heatherwick to start with!

I really liked thisDSC_1531 piece by Unus Safardiar called The Lens. After a downpour and with the sun shining through it, it sparkled and glistened as though coated with a frost.

Cyclone Twist

I also loved this one called Cyclone Twist by Alice Aycock.

Not only were there glorious sculptures, the garden itself was full of jewels, with the autumnal colours glistening in the rain and sunshine. I particularly loved the vibrancy of this swiss chard plant in the kitchen gardens.Swiss ChardI also came across GalleryTop on the Chatsworth Road in Rowsley, a small but perfectly formed gallery with some wonderful work in it. I particularly liked the prints by Ross Loveday. One of his inspirations is the North Norfolk coast and I too love that area; his print, I think it was North Creake, immediately brought to mind those windswept marshes and the haunting calls of the birds. Both the gallery and Ross’s work are well worth a look!