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19 April 2014

Friends of SAW Spring Soiree 2014

Last Tuesday was a perfect Spring evening filled with the promise of a full Pink Moon, it was also the annual Spring Soiree for the Friends of SAW. Sir Ben Slade was our generous host providing not only the the wonderful venue at Woodlands Castle but also the complimentary drinks and canapes - so an art felt thank you for his ongoing support.

Guests were free to mingle, to not only meet up with other like minded patrons of the Somerset Arts but also meet with the artists involved in last year's successful Abundance programme. Many will have met with them at last year's Soiree when the project was launched with the promise of exciting new work to come. This year's evening ensured that the project would remain in the mind's eye for that little bit longer with the launch of The Abundance publication, everyone went home with their own copy.

Artists who have supported the Friends Quarterly Draw by donating artwork as prizes were also given a platform to showcase and sell their work during the evening. They were painters Kate Noble, Peter Messa, Lucy Lean and Simon Ledson, ceramicists Pauline Watson and Jo Luxstead and photographer David Partner. Providing between them a range of styles, scale and medium and an opportunity to see work that may have missed your radar during the packed agenda that is on offer during Somerset Art Works. 

On behalf of the SAW team I would like to thank those Friends of SAW who brought friends along who left as new Friends of SAW! We welcome you as a patron of the arts in Somerset. Thank you also to Taunton Deane Mayor Libby Lisgo who is one of our newest Friends of SAW.

If you too are interested in becoming a Friend of SAW, supporting and nurturing the arts in Somerset, keeping up to date with this year's projects and individual artists' practice then further details can be found by clicking on the link here. I can assure you there are some great plans ahead for SAW 2014 and surely you wouldn't want to miss out on being party to that creativity?

12 April 2014

Art Awakes

It would seem that the Somerset art world is beginning to wake up, Spring is showing tentative signs, in fact I saw my first Swallow today and the artists that have been beavering away in their studios are beginning to exhibit and share the new work created during the winter months. SAW is celebrating the new season with it's Spring Soiree later this coming week and if you are a Friend of SAW you will have received your invitations in the post. 

The artists based at Contains Art in Watchet have just completed their first exhibition of the year and opened their second in quick succession, in fact they have a packed and diverse agenda planned for the coming months, blink and you may miss all that is on offer.

When Contains Art opened last July the concern would be that the testing time for such a project would be surviving the winter months especially January and February - quiet times when the cold weather deters visitors, when everyone prefers to hunker down and hibernate. However the team are to be congratulated they sustained the momentum, the weekly How To Workshops and artist's talks proved popular and the amazing blip of sunshine in early March meant the containers got a fine covering of bright paint - new energy emerging from the fallow times. 

The current Contains Art exhibition features new work by Jenny Graham and is open until the 21st April. Other SAW members who will be exhibiting over the summer months are Leah Hislop, Leo Davey and Fiona Campbell. Visit the Contains Art Website for further details. The studios also have an intriguing self portrait exhibition planned for the September Art Weeks so definitely lots to look forward to.

So why do I feel that the art world in Somerset is waking up now?

Well today I have just returned from the second Poetry Pin workshop walk, as I mentioned earlier the Spring Soiree is imminent and also this week we are selecting the candidates for the Levels to Moors Bursary - so a busy, creative week. I have just also returned from a buying trip at The British Craft Trade Fair and a visit to York where their Open Studios was in full swing. The latter though I was not aware of and so I was very disappointed that I missed the golden opportunity of visiting Mark Hearld and Emily Sutton in their home and studio, another time, another visit. 

Being amongst creative people on the Poetry Pin walks was and is quite a catalyst, my main role is as the project's photographer so when I returned from the first walk I never expected that I would be moved to write not one but two poems to 'pin on the trail.' Others who joined regularly write poems and so went with the specific aim of creating new words. Others had not written a poem since their school days but were curious about the innovation behind the project and it's location at Hinkley Point. Others came and sketched happy to work in their familiar medium, and of course as the poetry trail grows an audience is required so you can go visit at any time and read the poems as they appear along the path. So are you intrigued? Perhaps you would like to join one of the free workshop walks? I have only skimmed the surface of this in-depth project which runs until March 2015. You can discover more by visiting the Poetry Pin website and during Art Weeks there is to be a special family orientated workshop walk that will hopefully get all ages involved, writing poems that will capture and document the dramatic changes about to impact on this stretch of the West Somerset Landscape.

The days are brighter, warmer weather follows on the wings of the swallows and no doubt like me you too are looking forward to the promise of the coming months. I will do my best to  keep you posted with fresh developments in the budding, creative  environs of SAW.