It's been a little while since I sent out a newsletter, but I hope that this seasonal one finds you well. It has been a weird Summer with hot weather in May and June and now again in September and we won't talk about the bit in between! Despite the recent hot spell, the light is starting to change and there is a subtle colour vibe going on with russets, lime green and bronze making an appearance. I am always interested in how these seasonal changes influence the colour palette of stained glass I start to choose. The Summer months were all about soft pastels and gentle pops of colour.
The past few months in Shrewsbury have been a hive of cultural activity. In early June I showed work at the Belle Vue Arts Festival, swiftly followed by a busy Open Studio. It was so lovely to see existing clients and new ones make their way to see the new Flowerscapes body of work on display, and lots of pieces finding new homes. These pieces were created using scrap wood from the B&Q off-cut bin, so materials dictating the design, which is always an interesting way to work! The long thin designs look beautiful above a headboard or above a door lintel and have a nod towards a lovely commission I had a couple of years ago.
On another note, I was invited to create a bespoke shop sign for Emily at Studio Vault in Settle in North Yorkshire. So we went on a little trip to stay in this gorgeous town and hear about the extension plans for the gallery. It looks like I will be leading a mosaic workshop there in April 2024 - which prompted me into having to buy a diary in May! And another stay planned.
And to top off an amazing few months, a piece was selected for the Open Exhibition at a new gallery in Shrewsbury called Mrs Jones Art Gallery. Run by the lovely Fay Pearson Jones, this small independent gallery certainly punches above its size, showing an exciting range of exhibitions. If you are in Shrewsbury please do visit this little gem.
There was also an opportunity to see the Jubilee Tree community mosaic from last year make another exhibition appearance with Lovelyland's show at The Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings. This was my first visit to the newly opened mill, the first iron structured tall building in the world and recently renovated through national and local arts funding. A fascinating place and one in my diary to go back and visit again.
A new theme that I have been working on this year has been proving to be well-received, launching at Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno, with more use of matt porcelain tiles and mirrored fish set in streams below pretty floral banks and blue skies. This design has been adpated for use as large 50cm diameter mirrors and clocks, and smaller 20cm panels. It's a design that I am sure I will keep returning to over the coming months.
Earlier this year I was approached by the charity Horatio's Garden, to engage with the patients, visitors, familes and volunteers in their Midlands garden at the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Hospital in Oswestry. The charity was set up to create beautiful open garden spaces within hospitals specialising in treating spinal injuries. Do visit their website to find out more about this amazing charity. The garden in Oswestry was designed by the well-known designer Bunny Guiness and maintained by a Head Gardener and his team of volunteers. They invite artists, writers and musicians into the garden rooms at each site. To be honest I was a little apprehensive, although having worked with many different community and school groups, this was uncharted territory. It has turned out to be an amazing experience, both challenging and uplifting in equal measure. To be honest I wasn't sure how making mosaic would work with people with limited mobility and motor skills, but the resilience and creativity shown has been brilliant. The inital one afternoon per week for six weeks has turned into twelve, with even the Padre coming to visit to see what all the fuss was about. Here is some of the work created.
Having recharged my batteries with a week on the Suffolk Coast, it's now full on with fufilling Christmas orders which is always a bit odd in July/August . There will be a new Christmas decoration design for this year too.
I'm also working on some larger pieces, trees still being inspired by the work of Klimt. Several large pieces have sold over the Summer and headed off around the country so the studio is looking a little bare. They will be replaced by lots of gold and coloured micro detailing so keep watching my Instagram account for updates. There is an upcoming exhibition film about Klimt in cinemas that I am really looking forward to getting immersed in soon.
I also need to start work on the proposal for a new mosaic piece for an exhibition in October 2024. I have been invited to create a piece in response to the work of stained glass artist Trena Cox, whose work began in the Arts & Crafts tradition in the late C19th and who continued designing into the late C20th. I have until February to get my proposal together for the exhibition at Chester Cathedral. It was flattering to know that I was one of only two mosaicists to be invited so no pressure there!
Dates for your diary
To keep you updated on events over the next few months, I will be showing work as part of the Shropshire Guild of Contemporary Craft's show Gorgeous at Enginuity in Coalbrookedale on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th November 2023. Entry is free and there will be great selection of the best in Shropshire handmade craft. It's my favourite craft fair and I am looking forward to meeting existing and new clients.
Winter Open Studios will be on Saturday 25 November and Saturday 2 December, 10am-5pm on each day and with lots to buy to stock up on great gifts, or presents for yourself. If you are unable to make any of those dates then the studio is open until 23 December by appointment.
A little thank you ...
As you know I am deeply appreciative of all your interest and support of my work. It makes the many hours of clipping away at small pieces of glass worthwhile. This year has been tremendous with work finding new homes across the UK. To say thank you there is a code AUTUMN15 to use in my website shop which will give you a 15% discount on any item listed until the end of October 2023. You can also use this code if you would like to visit the studio, although its always best to check the day/time to ensure I'm there.
As always with my best wishes,