Counting down…blog update

Well we are now in the final run-up to installing Connecting Threads in The Charnwood Museum, Loughborough next week so I am busy making to do lists! Business cards ordered and delivered – tick!Business card image Artists’ blurb done and printed off – tick! Signs printed and mounted – tick! Photos remounted and framed – tick! Tower scaffold organised – tick! PPL emailed – tick! Last minute visit to museum to check all is okay – tick!


Loughborough CanalLoughborough Canal








Workers' Cottages

It’s about now that I worry we won’t get it all done – especially when the space seems so much larger than I remember! However, I counter the butterflies in my stomach by telling myself that this is now the third time we have installed the work so we have got all the teething problems ironed out – fingers crossed!

Will hopefully post photos next week of the work in progress!

If you are in the area do pop in and visit both the installation and the rest of the museum – and you must have coffee and cake in the cafe!! Connecting Threads will run from the 5th April – 1st June!

Connecting Threads

Scottish sojourn…blog update

Before the hustle and bustle…and stress of installing Connecting Threads at the Charnwood Museum in Loughborough next week we decided to have a week’s R and R; so we took ourselves off to The Barn at The Bakery in Moniaive, Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland – probably not the obvious choice in March – but we only had one day that was a wash out! The journey home was another matter…

The Barn is perfectly placed for exploring the glens and lochs of the area as well as the beautiful Solway coast. The view from the back garden isn’t bad either and the neighbours aren’t much trouble!

View from The Barn

The neighbours!











It goes without saying that the weather plays a large part in shaping the landscape and as we explored the beautiful countryside I fell in love with the moss-covered stonewalls – nature reclaiming mans’ intervention!

Moss-covered stone walls

Forest plantations abound in this area and even though we couldn’t help noticing that there were lots of dead trees, it was fascinating to see that, even in their dead (or in some cases, dormant) state nature still saw fit to decorate them with lichens – sparkling in the watery sunshine like a faded christmas tree.

Lichen decorated trees

Brighouse Bay on the Solway coast is gorgeous; a great place for a stroll and a bit of beach-combing – oh the driftwood – if only we had a bigger car!

Brighouse BayNear a waterfall called Grey Mare’s Tail (I think) we found this fantastic moss covered tree that looked as if it had been placed across the water in some Andy Goldsworthy type intervention – beautiful!

Tree across the water

We even managed a couple of picnics – one at Brighouse Bay, and one when we had travelled over the glen. All in all we had a great week in Scotland – I even managed to get my paints out! On the way home though we experienced every type of weather imaginable – snow, wind, hail, rain and sunshine with the obligatory rainbow! Although it made for hazardous driving conditions at times, it did provide some fantastic scenes across the North Pennines and down through the Yorkshire Dales!

North Pennines

Yorkshsire DalesNow I’m home and it’s only a week before we start installing the exhibition! Along with a last minute trip to the museum, I am now in the process of ensuring all the signs are ready, ‘blurb’ done, mirror plates on photos…all those things that can be done at home in order to speed up the installation process. It’s about this time that I begin to hope that everything still works…

Connecting Threads will be at The Charnwood Museum in Loughborough from 5th April – 1st June – if you are in the area do pop in!

Extending the branch line…blog update

Yet more opportunites to network arose yesterday when I attended a Creative Leicestershire seminar, in association with Loughborough University Arts. The seminar was led by Jack J Hutchinson, artist, musician and journalist – to name a few of his talents! The seminar was a very relaxed and informal discussion about the different forms of social media, its various uses as well as advice on the dos and don’ts of this way of communication! Anyone who knows me will be aware that I am not considered the most social media savvy person on the planet, but as the seminar progressed it began to dawn on me that I knew more than I realised and wasn’t quite the novice that I had imagined!

Jack was a very informed, engaging speaker and his talk was peppered with funny, personal anecdotes about the perils of social media! He provided many useful hints and tips – I particularly liked the idea of pre-programming tweets in the run up to an exhibition – when you have so much else to organise it would be great to know that your PR machine is sorted! I shall definitely be investigating some of the websites and tools he mentioned.

The seminar was also useful in that it provided yet another opportunity for face-to-face networking. Two of the artists that I met at the EMVAN workshop, plus the workshop co-ordinator, were at the above event along with a familiar face from the uni! I also exchanged details with another artist and of course, I now follow Jack and Creative Leicestershire on Twitter!

In other news – I am now in the run-up to my exhibition of Connecting Threads at the Charnwood MuseumCharnwood Museum, Loughborough in Loughborough (5th April – 1st June), so am busy finalising last minute details – all the paperwork, organising vans, and scaffolds, checking the equipment etc. I have come to the conclusion that the sound equipment is a bit like Christmas tree lights – no matter how carefully I pack them away, there’s always one that doesn’t work when you get them out again – grrrrrrrrrrrr! It’s about now that I begin to panic and think I will never be ready and it won’t be installed on time – thank heavens for my patient ‘other half’ who always supports and reassures me! How do the rest of you keep calm in the countdown to the opening of an exhibition?

Oh well, on with the list-making and paperwork….

Connecting Threads

Branching Out…blog update

If you have been following my blog you will be aware that in order to ‘regain my mojo’ I set myself some monthly goals – drawing exercises, visiting galleries, workshops…

Well so far, so good! Aiming to visit at least one exhibition a month, I have so far manged to visit ‘Uncommon Ground’ at the Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, the ‘Pop Art to Brit Art’ at the Lakeside, Nottingham, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and most recently, ‘Creating a Scene’ at The National Centre for Craft & Design in Sleaford – so I don’t feel I am doing too badly with this goal!

I only managed a whistlestop tour of ‘Creating a Scene’ – I was actually at ‘The Hub’ for a workshop but more on that later! This exhibition takes set design as its theme and is a collaboration of all the various disciplines involved in set production. Entering the space between the hanging ‘screens’ it certainly gave one the sense that you were about to set foot onto a stage just as the curtain is about to go up – the dimmed lighting, the expectant hush… the delicate tracery and images, the muted colours on the ‘screens’ really drew you in, just as the designers intended! It was fascinating to see the ideas come to life, from the original sketches, to more detailed designs, through to working models. Reminded me of the work involved in Connecting Threads – my original sketch, the maquette and the video animation – not that I am comparing myself to the artists (Richard Deacon, Derek Jarman, Bruce McClean to name drop a few..) involved in this exhibition, just some of the processes! Wish I had had longer to absorb more of the atmosphere…perhaps a return visit is in order – the exhibition is on until the 20th April.

Creating a SceneAs I mentioned earlier I was actually at The Hub to attend an Artists Development Workshop run by the East Midlands Visual Artist Network (EMVAN). Co-ordinator Elizabeth Hawley took us through a series of exercises and discussions intended to help us reflect upon; profile raising, working practices, networking and connectivity, knowledge sharing, resourcing a practice and markets and audiences. Whilst the exercises were useful in helping to pinpoint the areas I needed to focus on, what was really good was meeting up with other artists – networking in other words – something that I haven’t really been doing! It was great to learn that I am not alone in feeling lost… I came away from the workshop with renewed resolve to be more pro-active rather than re-active – even made a start, I bought a notebook to jot down all these websites I signed up to! I am even going to another workshop later this month – Unpicking Social Media at Loughborough – I might know what I am supposed to be doing with blogs, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter…

The exercises from The Drawing Book certainly helped me overcome my ‘white paper syndrome’, and following a renewed interest in the’great outdoors’ and trees in particular, I have begun drawing my own forest! Here are some of my efforts…

Carolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsFuture ideas involve working these drawings up into larger ones, paintings even – and what would be really great would be to produce some form of installation or intervention in an actual wood. Now there’s food for thought!