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30 December 2011

It was a very good year.

As we say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012 I congratulate you for surviving another year of cliched blog post titles. Hopefully they won't have put you off reading some of my ramblings which have documented just some of the inspiring artistry that our artists from Somerset and beyond have had to offer.
It has been a very good year, and for those of you who might have missed it (why would you!?) then here is the SAW blog review of the year 2011!
January/February - 'Exhibition of the teenager' at The Brewhouse Theatre and arts Centre, Taunton
Kelly Smith, a merry band of enthusiastic college students and me participated in organising an exhibition, event and project that involved a wide range of the community. The aim of the project was to challenge and make people question/reflect on 'what is a teenager? throwing the stereotype out of the window. After weeks of collecting art work (in the form of some very creative but also darn heavy mannequins), interviewing people, recording vox pops, building an installation of a teenager's bedroom, dance floor and organising several bands to perform on the opening night, the 'Exhibition of the teenager' was born!
March - Opening of The Crescent Contemporary, Taunton
On Saturday 19th of March Taunton's new contemporary art gallery opened with an exhibition of Gordon Faulds' drawings and mixed media paintings. This marked the first of what has been many more exhibitions this year showcasing some of the best contemporary art from local artists and further afield. Look forward to seeing what this gallery space has to offer next year!
April - 'England, my England' at The Brewhouse Theatre and arts centre, Taunton
A beach indoors at the Brewhouse, what fun! Set around the time of the Queen's birthday and the royal wedding, the 'England, my England' festival was a great way to explore all things English and put my beautiful (but deadly) pinwheels all around the theatre.
May - 'Outside space' at The Brewhouse Theatre and arts centre, Taunton
Yet, another offering from the Brew! What can I say? I live in Taunton so the Brew is my most local art facility, if I wasn't involved in what they do then quite frankly then something would be wrong! 'Outside space' saw the theatre open its backstage areas to the public for the first time with a few added surprises from local artists in the form of installations, paintings and participatory works. This was a fantastic project and I remember really enjoying the work on offer.
June - 'Ad Lucem and the end of year shows at Somerset College'
No review of the year would be complete without highlighting the annual end of year degree shows from the illustrious Somerset College. Always a pleasure to see and this year was no exception. Prior to this in May was the second year, Fine Art Show in the Collar Factory in Taunton (watch this space next year!...)
May/June - My regular visits to 'The Somerset Heritage Centre' as a part of the 'Professional Development Opportunity' with SAW
What an opportunity exploring the artifacts in storage in the SHC was! The tools that I found there became the basis for a body of work I made that was to be later shown later in the year during art weeks. Not only access to the tools themselves but to the expertise and knowledge from the curator who works there. Truly inspiring stuff.
July - 'Homecoming' at The Regal Theatre, Minehead
In July I ventured out of Taunton.
After months of suspense and build up, Hannah Bishop's multi-disciplinary, art, music and theatre extravaganza 'Homecoming' finally arrived and it did not disappoint.
July - Willow Cathedral opening ceremony, Longrun Meadows, Taunton
It might have rained but we still had a good time when hundreds of people came out to celebrate the official opening of Taunton's very own willow cathedral. The Albion Horns led a procession from the Oak barn to the cathedral where the festivities continued until the rain came!
July - 'Jamaica Street artists' Open studios, Bristol
August - Pitt Rivers, Oxford
In August, at last, hooray! After years of speculation and failed attempts at getting to Oxford in August I finally managed to see the 'Pitt Rivers' museum! This was still part of the 'Professional development opportunity' I'd begun embarking upon earlier in the year and proved to be far better than I had ever thought it would.
Later in August I had my first solo exhibition in the Hot House Gallery in The Taunton Conference Centre.
September - 'A Night of Light', Hestercombe, Taunton
(Pictured Chloe Brooks' 'Plans for Portals')
I now realise these photos aren't exactly in chronological order, this photo was taken in September, but the 'Night of light' event happened as a part of the end of art weeks of which the photo of that is yet to come in this post. No matter. 'Night of light' (organised by SAW and Reveal)featured several film, light and sound installations from artists such as Michael Fairfax, Sue Palmer, Simon Hitchens, Tim Martin and more.
September - '10 Parishes Festival' -The Recessionists', Wiveliscombe
An exhibition in the dark, with torches! Another innovative use of an abandoned building, the Recessionists group pulled off another cracking exhibition as a part of the 10 Parishes Festival. Pictured above is one of Fork Beard Fantasy's creations.
September - Somerset Art Weeks 2011
(Pictured above, Marte Bless Liland's work at Somerset College)
This year's art weeks took the form of exhibitions and events with around 400 artists participating at around 100 venues, I did my best to visit as many as possible travelling from Porlock to Yeovilton and Wells and a significant number of places in between. SHEDS in Hemyock by Bhaam! (Blackdown hills artists and makers) was definitely one of my personal highlights. It was also the first time I'd exhibited in art weeks on my own which was a really daunting at first, but turned out to be a great experience allowing me to meet a lot of interesting people. More importantly, people who were also interested in tools!
Registration is still open for art weeks 2012, click on the link below for more details:
September - Bath Artists' Studios, Bath
October - 'British Art Show 7', Plymouth
I missed the previous six and would have missed the seventh had the British Art Show not come to Plymouth, which it did, for the first time this October giving myself and many the opportunity to see (what could possibly be my favourite art work of the year), Christian Marclay's, 'The Clock' plus many more contemporary art offerings.October - 'The Big Draw: Street Carpets', Taunton
The weather was fantastic for this event in which I, Helena Haimes, Jo Lathwood and Neil Musson were the project artists on the 'Street Carpets' project in Taunton's High Street. This was a great learning experience for me personally as well as an opportunity to gain some creative and valuable insight into what the public would like to see on the re-development of the High Street. Please click on the video link below for a film that explains the project (filmed and edited by Dan Gale):
November/December: 'The Museum Show Part 2', Arnolfini, Bristol and 'The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman', British Museum, London
This year really has been the year of the museum and artists/curators have responded by creating fantastic shows using the Museum as a site and source of inspiration for making work.
The rest of December has been pretty quiet allowing me to focus on other things like being able to reflect on the year to write this review for example, there are many more exhibitions and events that happened this year, so many that I haven't been able to include them all in this review but have mentioned in previous posts throughout the year in this blog. With one year of my MA in Fine Art done and another to go I'm continuing to learn about art academically and in the 'real' world. A big thank you to everyone who's been following the blog, held fantastically inspiring art exhibitions, organised projects and met me for drinks this year!
I wish you a very Happy New Year, with the 2012 Olympics and a few exciting projects and exhibitions that I'm beginning to hear about in the pipeline it looks like its going to be even better than this one!

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