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26 July 2013


Following on from my last post here are five more venues that caught my eye -


The name that leaps out to me from those exhibiting is that of Richard Holt, who I know from my days at working at Somerset College of Arts and Technology. Always full of great energy and enthusiasm that was incredibly infectious I am hopeful that the other artists involved with this exhibition prove to be just as inspiring - Richard is also behind the new Creative Innovation Centre in Taunton.

According to the guide Seven artists will be exhibiting work ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous featuring paintings, installations, ceramics, sculpture and performance. A range of workshops and activities which the public can join are also planned, these will include drawing, poetry, painting, dance and music. 

Artists: Mike Tarr, Richard Holt, Mark Bond, Caroline Preston, Debbie Stevens , Ausra Petraviciute, Phil Dudman.

The exhibition is to be held at the Lamb and Flag in Blagdon so you can always have a refreshing pint whilst you view the art!

With ten artists exhibiting in such a wide range of media there surely must be something here for all tastes. Plus I couldn't resist the line - 2 big friendly dogs - sorry!

Chris Brewchorne - Potter.
Nicky Clarke - Watercolours.
 David Crawford - Thompson - Reclaimed lamps.
Pippa Hill - Ceramic animals.
Sheila Holness - Silver Jewellery.
Heather Hughes - Semi precious jewellery.
David Metcalf -Wire sculpture.
Robert Parker - Wood.
Will Shakspeare -Blown Glass.
Claire Waters - Fused and stained glass.


From the guide this would appear to be the most 'painterly' of all the venues - so if you love paint, for it's 'simplcity' of brush marks, mark making, colour, texture and form, then this is the exhibition for you. 

A Sense of Place' is inspired by Worthy Farm, home of Glastonbury Festival, and the Red Brick Building, a transformation from derelict industrial space into Arts Centre. 

Artists: Fay Hutchcorft, Patricia Gould, Alessandra Alexandroff, Sarah Bovey, Katinka Harrod, Juliet Duckworth, Rose Britton, Hilary Arnold, Jane Manning and Rein Innes.

The reason I have selected Venue 48 is that it is to be held in a new gallery soon to opening in Langport. As the name suggests Taunton based glass blower Will Shakspeare is behind this exciting new enterprise so do pop along to wish them well.

A vibrant, exiting group of artists are joining them for their inaugural exhibition.

Ashar: manmade landscapes, legends, history.
Emily Colenso: local landscapes and drawings.
Nick Durnan: alabaster sculpture.
Linda Green: mosaic and mixed media.
Angela Holland: works with words.
Mary Vanderplank: seascapes, landscapes.
George Hider: metal sculpture.
Laurel Keeley: internationally recognised ceramics.
Matt Dingle: forged ironwork and sculpture.
Shakspeare Glass: new work

And as one would expect there will be glassblowing on site most days.


See more glassware at this venue in Buckland Dinham , no I've never been there either but this is where art week excels, it makes you explore the county you thought you knew. This appears to be a highly professional group of artists with a diverse range of specialisms - 

Ian Marlow ARBS: One of Somerset’s leading sculptors, recreates natural forms in stainless steel.

Karin Campagna: Surfaces, textures and colours from the natural world inspire abstract collagraphs, etchings and collages.

Steve Frey: Carved glass sculptures inspired by soft curves and natural forms, create mesmerising optical qualities.

Christine-Ann Richards: Garden ceramics and thrown porcelain are influenced by her journeys to China & Japan.

Erica Sharpe: Precious jewellery combining colour, emotion, personality- each piece brings an entire story of life.

18 July 2013

SAW MUST SEES 2013 - Part One

The brochures for the 2013 SAW Festival have arrived in all their eclectic, colourful glory! Following on from Natalie's 'Most Wanted' post last year featuring her top picks I felt it only right to choose my selection from this year. So enjoying this wonderful Summer weather I relaxed in the shade and perused the guide. With a total of 109 exhibitions featuring the work of more than 400 artists this is no easy task. Some instantly leap from the page, those with more images instantly draw your eye, others take a little delving to read and to appreciate what is truly on offer. Last year I planned which venues that I was going to visit, one hadn't caught my attention from it's picture in the guide but I passed it's yellow sign en-route to another and decided to call in - it turned out to be my favourite venue. So be flexible, follow the yellow signs, explore creative Somerset and go buy some art!

I love my Corvids so this really has been chosen from a personal perspective - indulge me!

Cruciform against blue skies, soaring and tumbling, silent, raucous, always here or there, coming and going: crows, jackdaws, jays, magpies, rooks and ravens command attention and demand representation. As a group of five artists we celebrate the sound, sight, image, texture, and movement, shape, and character of these paradoxically ubiquitous but enigmatic birds. 

Artists: Alice Crane, Michael de Friez, Hilary Dixon, Sarah Hitchens, Nigel Vincent.

Everyone's favourite last year as it won 'Most Favourite Venue 2012' as voted for by the visiting public. So no pressure this year then and surely a must visit in 2013.

Jane Mackey- Printmaker Artist: Original woodcuts, screen prints, etchings, monotypes, linocuts and paintings celebrating the Somerset landscape.

Rod Dyson-Painter: Working with plaster and acrylic to produce a series of innovative abstract pieces merging colour and texture.

Sue Dyson-Photographer: Exploring the shape, colour, form and texture of landscapes and nature in colour and black and white.

Tony Smith- Landscape Weaver: Wall hangings and rugs woven on a vertical loom using mainly hand spun wool and vegetable dyes.


If you only get to visit one exhibition this year then I think it really has to be Make the Most in the wonderful house and grounds of the National Trust's Barrington Court. Alongside the Abundance Trail this surely has to be the flagship of SAW 2013.

The exhibition will celebrate contemporary makers, skills, materials and thinking about craft. It also features Somerset based raw materials suppliers and producers recognising their contribution to the local ecology, economy and enabling of craft practice.

Five contemporary makers have collaborated with local suppliers and producers of willow, paper, wood, leather and stone. The new work demonstrates imaginative and innovative use and manipulation of materials and is also made in specific response to the context of Barrington Court. Makers are Laura Ellen Bacon, Maeve Clancy, Thomas Appleton, Laura Youngson Coll and Gary Allson.

In addition, ‘Treasures of Somerset’ features a selection of work by six local makers to highlight the vitality and wealth of craft practitioners whose work is not always seen locally. Makers are Mike Dodd, James  Horrobin, Tom Kealy, Caroline Lytton, Patrick Reyntiens and Jacy Wall.

Visitors are invited to meander through the ‘Old Kitchen’ filled with a large scale installation created by Laura Ellen Bacon in collaboration with Musgrove Willows, Bridgwater. The Great Hall will be transformed into a paper environment. Maeve Clancy in collaboration with Two Rivers Paper Company, Watchet.

*Please note normal National Trust admission fees apply.

After the recent SAW blog post featuring Gillian Widden how could I not include this venue. I have a considerable amount of respect for this group of artists -  their professionalism and unending energy for seeking and delivering new projects. The building itself is also a must see.

Skills Unearthed’ explore the crafts and industry of the Blackdown Hills encompassing the interests of those living and working in this area of outstanding natural beauty. With themes such as: nature in industry - teasel cultivation and hand weaving, local folk traditions - corn dolly making, farming history and managing the land, ecclesiastical architecture and World War Two airfields past and present. A number of events are also planned.

Having created art installations within woods myself during past Somerset Art Weeks I find this exhibition highly intriguing and alluring. It is also refreshing to have an exhibition that will be under open skies.

The 62 Group of Textile Artists have taken up the challenge of working in the beautiful woodland environment that is known as Pink Wood. Their work is normally exhibited in galleries so this 'outdoor gallery' will no doubt push their skills to create some innovative installations. They describe the project as an adventure and the public are invited to walk along the grassy paths, discovering the art work amongst the trees – they may meet an artist or two still busy creating.

I do urge you to look at their website

Well there's five to get you started, I would love to hear which venues are on your must visit list for SAW 2013.

If you haven't got your FREE guide yet simply post a S.A.E (postage value £1.10) to 

Town Hall
TA10 9QR

and you will receive one  by return post. They are also dotted about numerous locations in Somerset so do keep your eyes peeled!

9 July 2013

Contains Art!

The sun shone, the elderflower champagne was popped and the Contains Art Studios were declared open. The setting for these three iron ladies is quite stunning particularly on a warm Summer's day. In the shadow of the passing steam trains and directly on the harbour side the bunting and Contains Art flags only add to the holiday atmosphere. However this is also a working dock and there has been a huge amount of time and energy invested by the local creative community to transform these dark, cold, echoey metal boxes into light, airy studio spaces. 

Understandably the boat owners were a little wary of relinquishing an area of their boat yard to a group of artists but on witnessing how the contains art team have been literally hands on doing the build themselves they have come to appreciate and understand that maybe they are not so different - for they too are busy grinding, sanding and painting their boats and there is a mutual understanding of hard graft and getting a job done, one hopes that in time the two will feel that they cannot 'be' without the other. Comparisons are naturally drawn with St.Ives where the artists set up their studios in the net lofts of the local fisherman, to this day the two trades still share the same building and the working fishermen regularly attend many a private view. 

The Contains Art Team: Naomi Griffith, Sue Lowe, Melanie Deegan, Angela Wood, Alison Jacobs,
Jason Robinson, Dot Kuzniar, Christopher Jelley and Chris Ferris

The artists involved and the project's board of directors were exhausted and naturally elated that the first exhibition was now open to the public. Since March there has been a clarion call on the wind calling for postcards. And they came from all over the globe, from all ages, all artistic abilities and in a diverse range of medium. Between 250 to 300 were received and they are currently on view for all to see and perhaps even purchase. Priced at £20 each the proceeds will be fed directly back into the project. Displayed anonymously you will just have to trust your artistic judgement and buy what truly catches your eye. I am sure the keen eyed among you will spot some of our regular SAW participants!

Currently there are four studios, there are plans to add more in the future, even add a second floor by placing a fourth container on top. So whose 'bagsied' the first studio spaces? 

Angela Wood

It is now mainly up to these four to maintain the momentum and ensure the life remains at the containers and it becomes the artistic hub that is envisaged - for they are to be it's public faces. I am sure the board of directors will remain behind the scenes and am in no doubt that a project that even brought passing holiday makers on board to help with the build, plus up to forty local volunteers will remain infectious and all those that have invested time -  whether it be fitting insulation or popping by with much needed tea and cake will watch and help this venture grow. The test will be the winter months, but these containers have no doubt travelled in many storms, and when there are fewer holiday makers and only your seasoned dog walkers passing by well that is surely the time when the artists within will be less disturbed and do what they are truly there to do - create!

The Wish You Were Here exhibition runs until Thursday 17th July 
Open daily between 10am - 5pm closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

The Containers will also be Venue No19 for Somerset Art Works 2013 and will showcase paintings, prints and drawings by seven local artists. For exhibition details visit the SAW website by clicking here 

If you would like to become involved, rent a studio in the future or exhibit at Contains Art do contact the team who wish to encourage artists nationwide to be part of this creative space.

Enjoyed this post then you may be interested in reading about Natalie Parsley's (former SAW Blogger) visit to the opening over at her Spanner in the Workz.

And for my more personal take and further images do visit Chapter Seven.