ITU Commission – ‘Art for Life’-Musgrove Park Hospital Hospital, Taunton, Somerset
‘Take me to your secret garden’
I recently finished the commission I’ve been working on for the ITU at Musgrove Park Hospital, and delivered it last week. The three pieces are now installed in position on the ward corridors and the courtyard visitor garden. The works consist of kiln fired glass panels mounted in light boxes; an ambitious project, stretching my working methods in a new direction.
The aim of ‘Art for Life’ is to cheer up an otherwise long, dull corridor and to offer diversion to patients, visitors and staff. My brief was to produce pieces which could translate a sense of calm and tranquility for the patients whilst creating visual stimulation for the diverse hospital audience. I have experimented with whimsical scale, flower and fauna imagery intertwined with poetic text. I really hope everyone enjoys looking at them!
Creative Residency – Croome Court
I’m currently working as a creative resident at Croome Court, which is part of the National Trust’s ‘Croome Redefined’ project. My brief has involved choosing a significant individual from Croome’s long history of inhabitants, and communicating ‘their story’ through the resonance of shoes.
Croome Redefined is a four-year project where the house is to undergo repair and restoration as well as involve creative practitioners of all disciplines to work and respond to the heritage site. This will ultimately improve the experience for the visiting audience and re-launch the property in an exciting contemporary way.
The ‘Soul to Sole’ installation is housed in the basement of the house within the shoe boxes, once used by the boys who were at Croome Court when it was a Catholic school. This has been a perfect project for me as like many (most) women I am completely obsessed with shoes! I have a huge collection of them in all shapes and styles and from different periods …when I was first an art student my shoe choices would range from the ‘Dr. Marten Gibson’ shoe to the vintage 1920’s Mary-Jane worn with obligatory Levi 501’s and my passion and craving for shoes has never ceased. It’s in my genes…. my mother as a young woman wore hand-made shoes and often tells me her memories of the shoe maker called Mr. Savva who had a workshop in Marylebone, London. In fact Mr. T Savva made all the shoes for the TV series ‘Brideshead Revisited’ and notably for others such as Paul O’Grady in his Lily Savage days! Some of the shoes he made for my mother, including her wedding shoes, I have in my studio on the shelf, which I like to admire and covet on a daily basis! Needless to say, sadly, in a Cinderella kind of way these shoes are too small for my short wide feet!!
I am so excited to be working on the project with the talented shoe designer/maker Maud Van den Broecke, who graduated from London College of Fashion, last summer. Maud works from her studio in London and Croome and is the shoe maker working on the ‘Soul to Soul’ project. We are planning to make a collaborative work, which aims to combine the disciplines of leather, glass and porcelain. The use light and sound will also be utilised in the piece, which will be contained within one of the tiny shoe racks.
The woman I have decided to focus on is ‘Wendy Hogarth’ who was in the WRENS at Defford based at Croome in 1944-1945 and next week I am going to meet her!! I know a little of ‘her story’ and her time at Croome but I’m really looking forward to learning more! In recent weeks I have been in conversation with Eileen Clement who is part of Croome Oral History who has very kindly arranged the meeting and has been allowing me access to information about Wendy’s story!
“Soul to sole is an intricate installation, where up to 144 creative practitioners over the next four years will be offered the opportunity to encapsulate a character as they explore themes of loss and survival’ within a pair of shoes, which will be presented in one of the show racks located in the basement. With decades of history Croome still holds an echo of its former self and everyone who has ever lived there”
I am a regular visitor to Croome Court, a wonderful National Trust heritage site, which has a fascinating history of inhabitants and stunning landscape garden conceived by Capability Brown. This week I was delighted to have been included in the project ‘Croome Redefined’ and the group of artists whose brief it is to respond to the previous inhabitants of the court through an interpretation of a pair of shoes.
I’m planning to base my response to the women who served in the RAF during World War Two and afterwards and were based at Croome. I am fascinated by their legacy and the contribution they made to the important developments and understanding of ‘radar’ and it’s significance.
The catalogue for the exhibition ‘Grow’ has just come out which documents the Pop Up! exhibition in Edinburgh in August 2013.
I visited Winchcombe today to have a look at this exhibition which features a range of my glass pieces. The gallery is a wonderful space and specialises in hand-made applied art and craft and well worth a visit if looking for unique christmas presents.
The Exhibition ‘Presents of Delight’ is now open at ‘The Winds of Change Gallery’ in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. The exhibition features a range of new work including jewellery, box pieces and plant markers.
“Grow! is the pilot exhibition by Pop Up! Edinburgh, an organisation created to bring art to unique and unexpected places within the city. This show is about recognizing the spirit of Edinburgh during the August festival season, and uniting glass artists with a connection to Edinburgh. The show will consist of innovative work that has jumped off the plinth and into the unique environment of the glass houses at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.”
I was up in Edinburgh last week during the start of the Festival to set up my work for the exhibition. If anyone is going up to the festival the venue and exhibition is well worth a visit. The glass houses are just outside the city in the Botanic Garden and make a beautiful change of pace to the frantic city
It’s been a great week for my work as I have been selected for 2 projects I applied for. Firstly, the Grow! Pop Up! Edinburgh exhibition at The Royal Botanic Gardens and secondly ‘Craftsense’ at Bilston Craft Gallery. ‘Lost Pockets’ will be on show for a year from September this year until 2014.
‘Craftsense celebrates the links between local historic manufacturing skill and modern craft practice. The exhibition focuses on five media that are significant in the historic trades of the Black Country: metal, ceramics, leather, glass and enamel. Contemporary loans of craftwork in these materials are featured alongside examples of excellence in regional manufacture from the 18th 19th and 20th centuries, such as Bilston enamels, and locally made steel-cut jewellery. Craftsense is an interactive and multi-sensory exhibition so the majority of the contemporary pieces are on open display, inviting visitors to explore the qualities of the work through touch.’