Category Archives: Arts and Crafts

Remembrance 100 exhibition

ORG_DSC06986Great news! Both of Phil’s works have been accepted and will be two of the 100 selected artworks to be showcased in the Remembrance 100 exhibition at Carlisle Castle. The exhibition starts on 21st May and ends 2nd September.

‘Hope and Glory ‘ is a thought provoking painting and here is the narrative Phil submitted with his work:

‘Swifts screeching overhead herald the arrival of summer, returning each year to a landscape shaped by our ancestors. The country church nestled amid prehistoric earth works and medieval field patterns.

My childhood free from the traumas of war, minor cuts and bruises cured with a mother’s kiss, Germolene and sticking plaster.

Echoes of The Battle of Britain above the Kent coast, remind us of the sacrifice of others, who made this possible.

Many less fortunate, fleeing the horrors of their war-torn homelands look out across the English Channel, wondering whether this green and pleasant land will offer them sanctuary too.’

Part of the iconic ceramic poppy installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’  by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper which honours Britains war heroes who died 100 years ago is also heading to Carlisle Castle. It was first seen at the Tower of London and the original commission consisted of 888,246 poppies – one to commemorate every British or Colonial life lost at the front during the First World War.

The two sculptures ‘Weeping Window’ and ‘Wave’ containing 11,000 of the poppies are touring the UK. ‘Weeping Window’ will cascade from the top of the castle keep for 6 weeks from 23rd May until 8th July.

 

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Lest we forget….

This week Phil submitted work to be considered for the Remembrance 100 – Open Art Exhibition, which is being hosted at Carlisle Castle, 21st May – 2nd Sept 2018.

2018 marks 100 years since the end of the First World War and this Heritage Lottery Funded exhibition will consist of 100 selected artworks which have been made as a creative response to the theme of ‘Remembrance’. 2018 is the centenary of end of the First World War and the start of Remembrance as we know it today.

The brief was to consider the impact of Remembrance and to reflect on the question ‘What does Remembrance mean to me?’

During the First World War, Phil’s Grandfather had served in the Royal Navy as a Stoker 1st Class, aboard the Iron Duke Super Dreadnought-class ship HMS Marlborough.

At 18.17 on 31st May 1916, HMS Marlborough fired the opening salvos in the naval engagement with the German High Seas Fleet at Jutland. At 18.39 the Marlborough was struck by a torpedo fired by the German Cruiser Wiesbaden, tearing a 28 foot hole in the hull, about 20 feet below the waterline. The Marlborough continued in the battle at reduced speed and was eventually escorted by HMS Fearless to the Humber for temporary repairs.

Two of the crew of the Marlborough were killed during the course of the action;

Edgar George Monk – Stoker 1st Class

William Rustage – Stoker 1st Class

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Jutland. ‘Our children shall understand when our fate was changed and by whose hand.’ The Verdicts by Rudyard Kipling

Phil painted this picture in the 1990’s having been inspired by an oil painting of the Marlborough by his Uncle Norman. After he died, Phil was offered his oil paints, brushes and easels and when he went to collect them, saw for the first time a detailed pencil drawing of the Marlborough by his Grandfather who had served on her. The drawing was completed at Devonport Dock and is dated 1914.

Upfront Open 2017

Upfront 2017 Open Exhibition, Unthank Farm, Unthank, Penrith, CA11 9TG

Tuesday 24th January – Sunday 19th March 2017

The gallery has a vegetarian coffee shop and gift shop.

The Upfront Open Exhibition for 2017 welcomes entries from all artists. The purpose of the show is to exhibit a wealth and wide cross section of artistic talent. The panel of judges choose an eclectic mix of work in various media and styles, both 2D and 3D. The exhibition displays around 100 selected works at Upfront’s various gallery spaces.

Phil has had 2 paintings accepted. The judges will select a winner and award a prize.

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‘Nether Denton Roman Fort (Northern Topographic Series)’, Carved relief into board/metal leaf and oil paint, 607mm X 787mm.

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‘Hope & Glory’ Carved relief into board/metal leaf and oil paint, 595mm X 362mm

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Neo-Dada Constructivist Assemblage ‘Nativity’ …expialidocious !

This year’s Christmas card is of a Nativity scene constructed from carefully selected redundant tools. It was entered in the Christmas decoration section in the Armathwaite Village show but was unplaced.

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Perhaps the judges just  couldn’t see Mary cradling the baby  Jesus with an attentive Joseph looking on adoringly?

Arrow of Christmas trees

Last year we made our own Christmas cards. It took a bit of effort but we were pleased with the result. Phil had bought a collection of stone axes and included in the lot was a small bag of about 20  flint arrowheads, beautifully crafted by ancient ancestors. They are most probably North African in origin and date from 6,000-5,500 BC.

On Dancing Ledge

Back when we lived in Dorset, one of our favourite spots for dog walking was Dancing Ledge. It was quite a hike across fields and then down a very steep path and further down a very steep scramble onto the ledge itself. For this reason, you can often have the place to yourself and on this occasion, Phil took a trip there on his bike, just because.

Dancing Ledge is one of the many quarries in the region worked for the Purbeck limestone, which was used for building work here as well as much further afield. Some of the stone removed by the quarrying was transported by ship direct from Dancing Ledge, round the south coast to Kent in order to construct Ramsgate harbour in the 18th and 19th.


A swimming pool refreshed naturally by the tide was blasted into the rock for the use of local preparatory schools, sometime near the beginning of the twentieth century. The last surviving school (The Old Malthouse in Langton Matravers, which closed in 2007) and one of the schools for which the pool was originally created recently arranged for debris, including several large rocks, to be removed, making swimming possible once again. The sea itself is not suitable for swimming, as there is no shoreline, simply a rock shelf under which people have been pulled by the current to their deaths.


The stone in this part of the Dorset coast was laid down in layers, or beds, over the course of many millions of years. Kimmeridge Clay was the first layer to form, during the late Jurassic geological period and the Portland Sands were laid down on top of this, with the Portland Beds on top again.

Fossilised Ammonite on the ledge

After this, in the early Cretaceous period – approximately 155 million years ago – the Lower Purbeck Beds were deposited in shallow seas, brackish lagoons and freshwater. From fossils found in these rocks, geologists and palaeontologists have been able to work out that shellfish, shrimps and insects lived around the swampy marshlands at that time. Later, there were fish, amphibians and reptiles; and after them came the Purbeck Mammals. Over 100 different species of small vertebrates have been found in fossils in the Purbeck Beds, most of them the size of a shrew or a rat.


‘On Dancing Ledge’ Dorset. 2011   Raw silk, metal leaf, plaster and oil on oak panel. The oak had been taken to the ledge by someone to be used as kindling. They failed to light the fire. The swimming pool is on the left of the lower shelf being refreshed by an incoming tide.

This special place provided inspiration for others too….

HEARTS TOGETHER-  by John Betjeman

How emerald the chalky depths
Below the Dancing Ledge!

We pulled the jelly-fishes up

And threw them in the hedge

That with its stones and sea-pink tufts

Ran to the high cliff edge.
And lucky was the jelly-fish

That melted in the sun

And poured its vitals on the turf

In self-effacing fun,

Like us who in each other’s arms

Were seed and soul in one.
O rational the happy bathe

An hour before our tea,

When you were swimming breast-stroke, all

Along the rocking sea

And, in between the waves, explain’d

The Universe to me.
The Dorset sun stream’d on our limbs

And scorch’d our hinder parts:

We gazed into the pebble beach

And so discussed the arts,

O logical and happy we

Emancipated hearts.
(Poor little jelly-fish!)

Art and about

We have been visiting local artist’s open studios as part of the C-Art event and have seen some fantastic work by Brian Shields, John Anderson, Rosie Galloway-Smith and Ceri Allen.

Brian Shields’ work inspired by the poet John Clare struck a chord with us as one of his poems was read at our wedding in 2013 …

Love Lives Beyond the Tomb
BY JOHN CLARE
Love lives beyond
The tomb, the earth, which fades like dew—
I love the fond,
The faithful, and the true

Love lives in sleep,
‘Tis happiness of healthy dreams
Eve’s dews may weep,
But love delightful seems.

‘Tis seen in flowers,
And in the even’s pearly dew
On earth’s green hours,
And in the heaven’s eternal blue.

‘Tis heard in spring
When light and sunbeams, warm and kind,
On angels’ wing
Bring love and music to the wind.

And where is voice,
So young, so beautiful and sweet
As nature’s choice,
Where Spring and lovers meet?

Love lives beyond
The tomb, the earth, the flowers, and dew.
I love the fond,
The faithful, young and true.
Known as “the peasant poet” John Clare spent much of his life in and around the small Northamptonshire village of Helpston.

Born in 1793 he worked as a farm labourer and in the local tavern the Blue Bell Inn next door to his home.

His work focused on his natural surroundings, capturing the changing seasons and the nature around him but he struggled to make any impact as a poet in his early life.

Success came in 1820 after completing Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery. Visits to literary society London enhanced his reputation and increased his fame, but the tag “peasant poet” remained throughout his life, possibly because he lacked an academic background.

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‘The Patronage of John Clare’ Brian Shields

Clare suffered from bouts of depression and after suffering delusions, in 1837, he was committed to an asylum where he spent the last 26 years of his life. He left the asylum in High Beach Asylum in Epping Forest in July of 1841 and walked 80 miles back home later described in his book Journey Out of Essex. This didn’t stop his writing, however, and he continued to write poetry, becoming increasingly influenced by the work of Byron, until his death in 1864.

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‘The Betrothal’ Brian Shields

We met Rosie at Carlisle Guild Hall while she was working on her textile map of the Carlisle floods of 2015.

We own one of Ceri’s landscapes and it was great to meet her in person

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‘Heather Burn’ Ceri Allen

 

Surreal Afternoon…..’Eden Brows Armathwaite’with John Anderson and Brian Shields

The individual pendulums of John’s pendulum wave machine are timed over fifty swings and must be accurate to within three tenths of a second to work.

 

‘John’s Swinging Cementoids’can be viewed at…..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxK5cRHgYgY&feature=em-upload_owner

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From the outside looking in. One of Brian’s mirrors with reflection of bird table in the garden.