Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Art Exhibition Extraordinaire

It was a privilege to be invited to participate in the first village art exhibition; to attend the preliminary meetings, where I always seemed to have plenty to say! And then to walk into the Church the day before set-up day and see where we had been allocated a space. I was thrilled with mine - out with the tape measure to find it was all of 5ft x 5ft, backed on two adjacent sides by white display boards, on a third by the wall of the early 14thC de Mohun Chapel, and the fourth 'the way in'. I wanted to create a little art room, and hit on the idea of it being at the top of a castle tower (Stokesay in Shropshire sprang to mind). Back home, I measured furniture (all made by my dear Raymond over the years - and as he was exhibiting too, it was an extension of the space he had not been given, but that's another story).

Finished mixed-media journals: paper and textiles; old maps - and
many other recycled materials and artifacts
Next day (Friday) came the unearthing of my chosen pieces, the carrying downstairs, the loading into our trailer, the lifting out and carrying up the long path into the Church, the manipulating down the aisle and past the lectern and another exhibitor's booth into my available space. Exhausting (and we knew we had to dismantle it all at the end of the day). It would have been easier had the chapel door alongside been open, but the key was missing!

Working sketchbooks and illustrated journals
Well never mind, I eased our tables into place and then set about arranging the work I wanted to show, and the artifacts I had created for sale - proceeds to be added to the window-repair fund of this ancient Church - village history is fascinating; details appear in my great-aunt's book on medieval architecture. A beloved lady from whom my love of history first sprang (and that, too, is another story!)

Items created for sale: label tag-notebooks, pocket note-holders with
my own 'pressed-flower' printed notelets; bookmarks and blank
travel journals made from altered antique maps fused to textile covers
And so my castle turret became my workspace for the Friday evening preview, and the Saturday show. I did not want it to be something static; I wanted to create the feel that my map-trails, illustrated journals and textile books were ongoing living things (indeed they are) and so positioned myself with my pocket-sized diary and mini-paintbox to continue the miniatures I sketch when away and rarely have time to finish. There was time to chat, about what I did and why.

Working in my 'castle turret' (5ft x 5ft space in the de Mohun Chapel)
Time to share with others my joy in creating; not to show off, but to show that anyone can begin with a single word, a first scribble, and from that what you do can grow, and - as I discovered to my delight - give pleasure to others. It was a wonderful experience, demonstrating something I love doing so much, in snatched moments. Actually my life-line in times of stress (and that is yet a further story).

Close-up of my work table and display of finished travel trails

Work in progress: Malvern Map Trail -
words, sketches, fused napkins and photos
relating to working visits to the stunning
Malvern Showground (with thanks to TCAS)
Let me end with my 'artist statement' which we all had to produce for the show catalogue:
"An Unfinished Journey: My life as an amateur mixed-media art-maker has evolved alongside my work as a published writer on travel, gardening and craft. I have moved through many genres and phases over the years, involving paper, yarn, fabric and stitch, documented in my illustrated journals. I am currently working on a series of decorated map trails and quilted books. 
From writing diaries and journals on an almost daily basis since childhood, I have only recently progressed to adding sketches and illustrations; and, for certain items, transferred and stitched photographs, hand-embroidery and patchwork. Articles on some of my mixed-media work have appeared online and in a number of magazines. "     

The exhibition was for me one of those unexpected life-changing moments; something that in my declining years I now plan to weave into my daily life in those fleeting moments of snatched creative bliss. Stay with me, I still have a whole world of creativity to explore ...


  1. Great article - wonderful photographs! Wish I had the chance to visit the event, Ann.

  2. What a beautiful, inviting space you created. My fingers are itching to explore it. Your hard work certainly seems to have paid off.

  3. beautiful creations and space... it looks like it was a wonderful day!

  4. Ann this is WONDERFUL!!!! The Malvern Map Trail is incredible...I know you are so proud

  5. What a wonderful thing,I loved your post,you are a very clever lady.

  6. What a wonderful insight of what seems to have been a fabulous day. Your work is beautiful (as is Raymond's furniture!).

  7. The sketchbooks and journals all looked very enticing: I want to get in there and have a really good nose around! Here's to finding new worlds to explore always.

  8. Oh Ann...I can't imagine a nicer place to be at this moment than sitting in your "castle turret" (tho' there really isn't room, is there?) pouring through your wonderful journals. So inspiring. You really achieved what you hoped to, it looks like.

    Happy December,


  9. You can be very proud. And what a perfect place to be a castle turret,

  10. I SO wish I could have attended this fair! Your booth looks so warm and inviting...

  11. Oh, what a beautiful setting for your art. Your journals look beautiful, I wish I could hold one in my hands and pour through it. And you love to garden too! Thank you for stopping by at my blog and again, for your lovely comment.
    Wishing you happiness this December.

  12. Malvern as in Malvern Hills, Worcestershire/Hereforshire/Gloucestershire, correct? I would love to hear more about this!
    (ex-RAF hubby from Worcester)
    Happy New Year!