The lovely Saltaire Arts Trail event is on this coming bank holiday weekend. I am opening my studio at The Butterfly Rooms as part of the Open Houses trail – we’re number 20 on the map. We shall be open 10 – 5 Saturday, Sunday, Monday (27th- 29th May). Do come along and see the space I work in. I will have a variety of framed and unframed work available, as well as books and cards etc.
If you’ve never been to Saltaire then this is the perfect excuse to visit the World Heritage Site, have a look in all sorts of buildings and houses in the village, meet some lovely people and have a generally arty time – I am a little biased as I was involved in organising the event for 5 years!
Today I’m setting up my work at the very lovely Fairtrader in Holmfirth. I was thrilled to be invited to be one of their two featured artists for the Holmfirth Artweek Fringe. We are venue number 19. There is a preview this evening from 6.30pm – all are welcome. The exhibition is on all week from Saturday through to 13th July and I’ll be there in that day to talk to people about my work (see the website for opening times during the week). Hope to see some of you this evening in Holmfirth…
The dust has settled after the Saltaire Arts Trail last weekend. It was a wonderful three days that were blessed with lovely weather and we had thousands of visitors to the various events happening as part of the trail. I had almost 2000 visitors to my pop-up gallery over the three days, which was amazing. I had some lovely conversations with people about the project too, which was great – until people came to see the work I really didn’t know whether people would ‘get it’, but they did! It was lovely to see children’s imaginations being sparked by the different shapes I’d captured and finding delight in recognising some of the items I’d used to print with.
I’ve had a few problems uploading things this last week or so but now I can catch up on a few of the things I was going to share about the Saltaire project
Wandering round the streets of Saltaire there are a whole range of carved marks in the kerb stones. I assumed these are masons marks and they seem to be referred to as those by many people. I found some discussion on line about whether they are benchmarks for the ordinance survey, but this seems unlikely. I then had a few conversations with people during my exhibition at and it seems that these marks indicate utilities: A little less romantic, but the most plausible explanation.
Some marks are in the form of letters, some are simple shapes. Whatever their provenance they make an interesting and sometimes playful-seeming addition to the pavement-scape.
These marks found their way into my collagraph prints for Gifts from the Pavement, recreated on the print plates by string that was found on the same streets.
I’m working on a new project. It started with my contribution to the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project (link to my book in the digital library on the right). I’m now working on an exhibition for the wonderful Saltaire Arts Trail which takes place in my local World Heritage site in May. I’m taking the ideas I started in my original sketchbook and the resulting work will form an installation as part of the trail around the village.
Gifts from the Pavement is a collection of textures, marks and shapes found on the streets of Saltaire: Subtle changes in the surface of the pavement; points of interest under foot; discarded objects like a rusty washer or squashed tin can, a dropped ticket or a scrap of something not-quite-discernable. These marks and shapes are collected and arranged, explored and developed into unconventional prints and displayed in surprising ways for the viewer to follow, discover, explore.
So I have been collecting, pavement combing, sweeping the Saltaire streets with my eyes. I have a whole bunch of wonderful photos of ironmongery, kerb stone marks and ephemera of all sorts. I also have a box of ‘gifts’ that I collected on my walks, some more beautiful than others (I avoided anything too distasteful – there were many cigarette stubs and a few other unsavoury items!).
This week I’ve been sorting through the images and items (some more of them are here) and preparing to print with them. They’re a strange mix of things: some with a history as long as Titus’s village, some dropped from someone’s pocket on a rushed journey to work a week ago.
What a weekend! (I’m still recovering) The Saltaire Arts Trail was a huge success once again and we had thousands of visitors milling round the village, brochures in hand, going round the various different exhibitions, activities and installations that were part of the event. Even the cold weather (is it really May?!) didn’t put a dampener on things and the Arts Trail ‘buzz’ was all around the place.
Because I’m involved in the organizing of this event as well as showing some work at it I was really busy in the run up and all weekend and I was poorly at the same time, so it is taking a few days to get back to the land of the living!
My work looked great in Paula’s lovely house. It is quite a big deal to open up your house to thousands of strangers who tramp through to look at the artwork and to have a nosey inside your home. Some of the people who agree to open their houses are selling their own work but others are not artists but want to be part of this lovely event. To be able to see artwork in a domestic setting, particularly in a heritage location such as Saltaire, really makes things accessible and interesting to people.
I was particularly pleased with how one of my little books looked on the window sill with the beautiful garden beyond.
I’m really pleased with how my tide marks series of work has turned out now it’s framed. I’ve been lovingly working at, adding to, sorting and revisiting these small pieces of dyed, printed, stitched paper over the last few weeks. But I always worried that they wouldn’t stand on their own as individual pieces. Somehow by placing these things into frames they are transformed into the precious items that I already feel they are: it says ‘this is what they are’ to any other viewer that hasn’t had the relationship with them that I have.
These are quiet pieces, subtle. I hope that whoever looks at them will be intrigued, drawn in by the play of different marks and textures. They invite you to look closely, study the lines, see where the stitches go. At least that’s how I feel about them. I want them to intrigue people, please them and perhaps puzzle them.
These, as well as other work, will be shown next weekend at 6 Harold Place as part of the Saltaire Arts Trail.
I spent a lovely weekend sitting at 6 Harrowby Road (hosted by the lovely Joanna) with my work and the work of various other artists adorning the walls. I met some lovely people, had some really interesting conversations and feedback about my work… and drank lots of coffee and ate lots of cake!
I do think that showing art in domestic settings can work really well. There is a relaxed-ness that you will never get in a gallery, and people get to see how something might look in their own home. Of course there is a certain amount of nosiness in being able to wonder round other people’s houses, and that is part of the attraction of an arts trail like this for many people. I took some stitching to do on the second day and have to admit that it felt very luxurious to sit on a comfy sofa all day, stitching and having pleasant conversations… back to the rest of life now!
I collected some work from the framer today, ready to take to the Headingley Arts Trail next week. I’m really pleased with how they’ve come out.
I’ve framed some of the thick felt pieces that were part of my degree final work. They originally made up one large work with 25 separate squares arranged together. Now, in their own box frames they have become separate works.
I didn’t want them to be behind glass, so they just have a simple wooden frame with space between the subtly painted wood and the felt so that you can see the depth of the felt.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how they will look on the walls of 6 Harrowby Road….