an artists' view

an artists' view

Friday, 23 April 2010

Arthouse and Chapelhouse!

SUCCESS on many fronts today!
the morning was spent at the Arthouse, talking to Heather about next weeks' seminar I'm attending there; then getting some help from Paul Airy, who has a studio in the building.

Paul very kindly helped me to iron out a few of my teething problems with this here blog-technology! Ones that turned out to be more about my lack of experience, than the actual blog itself.
He helped me to upload the photo I took at the Hepworth, Wakefield on the last Artwalk in March, and was very patient with me. Thank you Paul!
He has some lovely tee-shirts in his studio - I was particularly taken by the one with the dandylion clock. Look on his website,

After the Arthouse in the morning, then my studio in the afternoon, I went to Westgate Chapel to meet Kate Taylor, the Secretary of the Chapel, which is situated between the Arthouse and Westgate Railway Station.
We met up to talk about the show I'm curating for the next Artwalk; 'Hymnal'.
More news to follow soon!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Hepworth, Wakefield

On Wednesday 31st March, I went on the Wakefield Artwalk.
This takes place on the last Wednesday of every other month.

Usually, I open my studio, up at Westgate Studios, but this time I wanted to go down to the Hepworth, down on the river Calder. It was the first time this new-build gallery was open to the Artwalking public, although there was no art to be seen.
There were lots of artists from Westgate Studios down visiting whilst I was there, all looking at the spaces.

The Hepworth is not completed yet; lots of wires hanging out of walls - unfinished surfaces - details not attended to. It's still a work in progress.
But the heating was on, and it was a great relief to step out of the wintry wind, blowing off the Calder and the river frontage, and step into the warm gallery!

From the outside it's a squat, bulky, heavy, almost stolid concrete building. The concrete is tinted with a pale grey/plum/blue pigment - but this doesn't hide the fact that it's made from monolithic concrete.
I'm not a fan of concrete: and although I've been a supporter of the concept of the Hepworth, I've not been persuaded of the quality of the building's shape, design, or materials.

Once inside, the building takes on a Tardis-like quality, however.
What, outside, appears bulky and heavy, turns into an airey, high-ceilinged, subtley-lit, spacious sequence of galleries.
With windows. Big windows, rising from the floor, that feel as if you could step out through them, into the landscape beyond.
The star attraction (because there is no art up yet, to distract visitors) is the River Calder!

I can see the beauty of siting this gallery beside the Calder. During the Artwalk, all of us visitors were drawn to the windows - to watch the white, foam-flecked wier of the Calder, racing away to the sea.
The constant movement of the river contrasted with the stillness within the galleries. Future exhibitions are going to have to compete with that body of water. It was magical on Wednesday, watching the eddies of the river, and the fall of light, as it grew steadily darker.
It will be facsinating to visit the Hepworth (or Bab's Building, as my friend Shannon described it to me!) when it is fully open next year, and see the effects that the river has, upon the spaces, and the artwork.

I saw the river last night, as I've never experienced it; from viewpoints hitherto unseen. I came away excited by the possibilities - the river of possibilities.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Mesolithic interventions

Last week we visited York.
It felt out-of-kilter to go on a weekday; normally we go on Saturdays, when the streets are rammed solid with people.
Called into the Art Gallery, where it's always a treat to have a looksee.
I picked up a flyer for an upcoming exhibition there called 'Mesolithic Interventions' - coming up 19th April - 2nd May.
Find out more about it at

I'm going to make an effort to go. The installation is based on a visit made by the 4 artists, to Star Carr, near Scarborough, which in the mesolithic era was a site pf human settlement. The famous deer antler headresses/masks come from there, and it is a site I've long wanted to visit.

I'm inspired by the overlap between artists and archaeologist. An artist, I'm interested by archaeology, though I would never name myself such, though my bookshelves groan with books on the subject!
One particular book was called 'Seahenge', by Francis Pryor, and it is accessible to both professional archaeologist and the layperson.
He writes about his experiences in Flag Fen, in Cambridgeshire. Based on this book, I put Flag Fen on my list of 'places to visit'.

Whilst in York, I went into a woolshop; and bought more wool to use on my 'knitted book'. This is the final geological layer.....the millstone grit!
The wool is wondrously soft 100% wool, of a red/orange/brown colourway. Not quite the correct colour of millstone grit (or composition!) but a beautiful wool, of the right tonal value.
Once I've completed this final layer of the geology, I'll be able to start doing the images to fit onto the wool pages.
I also bought a couple of other balls of wool. My wool bag is looking rather good these days. I've got quite a few different ones to choose from.
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