A Creative Show & Tell Night….

Friday (28th July) night was ‘Show & Tell/ A Creative Talk Night’ hosted by Modern Painters, New Decorators (MPND). MPND started in February 2017 and is a not-for-profit organisation based in Loughborough, Leicestershire; art and community are at the forefront of their aims, one of which is to give artistic people the chance to come together for workshops, advice, talks, as well as provide artists with the opportunity to exhibit and sell their work.

The ‘Show & Tell Night’ is the second event they have staged, the first being their ‘Top Dollar Affordable Art Sale’ in June. Held at loc8me in Ashby Square, ‘Show & Tell’ brought together three guest speakers – all Loughborough based creatives working at both local and national levels.

The first was Chloe Hardisty who runs Cotton Clara; she designs, makes and sells colourful, bright, craft décor. On Instagram under the name cotton_clara as well as having an etsy shop, Chloe’s talk was about how she has finally taken the plunge and handed her notice in to go full time as a designer, maker and craft writer. Very honest in what she has sacrificed to get to this point, and making no bones about what a commitment the work entails, she then provided six tips that she had had to learn, sometimes, the hard way…. The one that really struck a chord for me was ‘just to start – forget about your perfectionist tendencies’ -(I got a nudge from my husband along with a knowing look at that point…)… Other tips included arranging a mentor/business advisor, developing your brand, saying yes to things as well as researching successful businesses, listening to creative podcasts and practice, practice, practice….

Second speakers were Kev and Gill, (apologies if incorrectly spelt) members of a consortium trying to regenerate (apologies for the pun) The Generator Building, Frederick Street, Loughborough. Originally owned by Loughborough College and now by Loughborough University, at present, the building stands empty, decaying…. The aim is to create an artistic and creative hub; a place that has workshops, studios, offices, café, exhibition space – a flexible space to provide maximum opportunities for the arts in Loughborough. This is the third time that an attempt has been made to gain funding for this – and the present climate of uncertainty doesn’t help – and both Kev and Gill were open about the hoops they have to jump through, the time and money it takes along with the frustrations…

It would be fantastic to have such a space in the town centre; there is such a vibrant art scene in the Charnwood area – Charnwood Arts being the local community arts and media organisation – and if this project came to fruition, it would be a real focus of attention where the multitude of artistic,creative people and endeavours could come together in one inspiring space….fingers crossed.

Last to speak was Liz Clark, Artistic Director of Turned On Its Head; Liz, along with Oksana Tyminska, created Turned On Its Head, a dance company specialising in creating creative movement and dance opportunities for young children and their families both in the community and theatre settings. The hearing loss of her young son, drove Liz, a dancer and choreographer, to look for alternative ways that he could engage with his surroundings. A workshop with Oksana lead to a light bulb moment and the rest is history as they say….

They now run workshops and classes in Loughborough, Leicester and Nottingham as well as performing their shows up and down the country, from the Drill Hall, Lincoln to the Barbican in London…

Question and answer sessions followed each speaker, and as the event was well attended, there were quite a few questions…..

The next event for MPND is the Sun Goddess Crouching exhibition, a solo show by Loughborough alumni Colette Griffin. The show opens on August 12th in Unit 33, Carillon Court, Shopping Centre, Loughborough….everyone welcome.

Modern Painters, New Decorators are on Facebook and Instagram (mpndprojects) – definitely worth a look!!



Looking….and Seeing

The weekend has been one of taking stock and making plans……more of which I will tell you when they come to fruition….(note I said ‘when’ not ‘if’… how’s that for positivity?)

I have also been reflecting on my art practice – having to write an artist’s statement does concentrate the mind – and where and how I draw my inspiration from…

I have always been an avid reader and at present I am enthralled by the writings of Robert MacFarlane. I love the countryside and wild places and having devoured The Old Ways I am now reading Landmarks.

I like these because, not only does MacFarlane have a wonderfully descriptive prose style, he has a love of language, for the forgotten words, the archaic turn of phrase, for local dialect. I too love words and learning the etymology of words….

How can you not be inspired by such descriptive terms as:

summer geese – steam that rises from the moor when the rain is followed by hot sunshine (North Yorkshire) or

ammil – ‘The icy casings of leaves and grasses and blades and sprigs were glowing and hid in a mist of sun-fire. Moor folk call this morning glory the ammil (Henry Williamson, Tarka the Otter 1927 Exmoor…)

(both of the above were taken from MacFarlane’s ‘Landmarks’)

Last night I read this excerpt from Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain quoted in ‘Landmarks’..

(Apologies for the wonky camera angle…)

These writings are making me stop and think about how I look at the world around me but sometimes don’t really see….

With these thoughts ringing in my head I took myself out for a walk…now I don’t live in a wild place, I live in middle England, Leicestershire where the drone of the A6 is a constant….

….but at the end of my road is the River Soar

..so I walked, I sat, I listened, I made notes….







Now I don’t profess to have the same turn of phrase as Robert MacFarlane but these are some of the words that sprung to mind as I sat, watched, listened, searched for the details…

reflection, glinting, ripples, sunlight, flow…

…although you can’t really see in the above, there was a wonderful ribbon of silver between the river and the far bank..

Reeds, shadows, pale, leaning, swept against the bank, seed heads..

Celandines (I think…correct me if I am wrong) and lichen..

and wonderful furry stars…

A country girl born and bred, my ability to identify birdsong is shameful…but I did hear the caw of the raucous crows, a magpie and the odd, ubiquitous gull amongst the ‘whee, whee’, chirrups and calls, some more strident…

..even spotted a lone crow atop a tree…perhaps on the look out for a nest site. Most of the trees are still skeletons..

..but their density provides a solid delineation between land and sky..

There was one however, a willow, clinging to the river bank, which was beginning to show signs of it’s green, sweeping curtain…

Con trails criss-crossed the sky, the church bell called the hour, the distant neigh of a horse, the honking of nearby ducks…

The difference between looking and seeing….detail, and with that I think the essence of the place comes alive…

..will be fascinating to see how the above develops in my work…watch this space..