Sunday, 23 April 2017

Framing Original Artworks

Last Friday's meeting of the open studios committee was taken over by framing the original artworks donated for the Lottery we're holding at the Arts Centre during the Swindon Festival of Literature which runs from 1May until 13 May. There's lots happening on 1 May, Bank Holiday Monday, including the fabulous Dawn Chorus, starting at 5.30am, but the first Arts Centre event is on 2 May when you'll be able to see the wonderful works of art you can win, and buy Lottery tickets
For various reasons, only three members of the committee were able to work on the framing, Susan Carr and Nancy Elliott can be seen below working as a team on the framing:
It took a while, but we got almost everything framed, there were 53 pieces framed, and Jo McAree's ceramic piece which couldn't be framed. Keith Panting's plate couldn't be framed either, but I photographed that and framed the photograph!!
 I was keen to lay out the framed pieces on the table, and did so quite hurriedly, it's not really possible to see the pieces clearly, but you get the idea that they are really lovely. For those following the plate, it's top left on the photo below:
Susan was kind enough to bring Terry Humphries original artwork along to the framing, it's a gorgeous painting:
Susan also produced a great poster advertising the lottery with explanations of how to take part, she's used Kareen Jackson's bold artwork which really draws attention to the poster:

 Hopefully it explains clearly what to do, and we'll raise lots of money for the wonderful TWIGS who had such a successful open day today.
The draw will be held after the last event at the Arts Centre on 13 April, and winners of the 53 artworks will be notified as soon as possible. I will post a list of winners on the open studios website
and on here.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Marlborough Open Studios Preview Show

Last night, I went  to the Marlborough Open Studios Preview Show at the Mount House Gallery in Marlborough, adjacent to the art department on the main road to Avebury, running by the College.
There were lots of people there, lots of wonderful paintings, ceramics, sculpture and jewelery on show, and a lovely welcome outside the gallery:
 I was drawn to work by people I know, like the lovely Simone Dawood who from their website I see is in charge of brochure logistics. Simone had examples of her latest work , I loved this linocut 'Harvest Hackpen Hill', it works really well.
 I rather liked this group of paintings
 particularly the one on the left by Jenny Pape seen below slightly more clearly
 Cinder Row seen below are an example of Kareen Jackson's delightful driftwood creations. There were quite a few around the exhibition, all of which had sold. I have visited Kareen's studio, and would recommend a visit. Kareen was also kind enough to donate a piece of artwork for our Original Artwork Lottery, see next post!!
 Another familiar name is that of Kim Pethybridge who has also taken part in SOS
 showing a couple of pieces including this beautiful Running Moon Hare seen below
The gallery was packed
Pink makes a wonderful background for paintings
 Rather like these bronzes Big Bull and Little Bull by Jane Rickards
 Some of Bryan Hanlon's beautiful paintings among others
 This was a lovely group of work, I liked  Deborah Husk's 'Hellebore, a Study' photograph bottom left.
 Another photo of crowds!
I had to leave early to make sure I got back in time to host #SwindonHour which is on Twitter between 8-9pm every Thursday.

Quenington Rare Plant Fair

The third Rare Plant Fair was held at the Old Rectory in Quenington a couple of weeks ago, it was attended by crowds of people, with a tremendous selection of nurseries attending and a great selection of plants. A sculpture exhibition is held in the gardens every other year, and there's always a lovely selection of sculpture to see.
This year there was a fountain sculpture in the river
 Lots of lovely anenomes
 I loved this boar
 I took a few photos of the stalls

 I particularly like the swimmer in the lawn:
and over the road, the church has particularly fine carvings around the doors:
 and the cherry blossom was glorious.
There's a bit of a gap between fairs, the next one is 14 May in Birmingham, my next one though will be 28 May at Kingston Bagpuize House.

Primulas in Profusion

If I like a particular variety of plant, I like to get lots of different sorts of those plants. This spring I realised I have been buying lots of different sorts of Primulas, Rare Plant Fairs are fabulous for this, they have so many different sorts. I also find I buy the same ones twice, forgetting I already have them. Often plants at plant fairs are slightly ahead of what's flowering in the garden because they may have been grown under cover, and it's only when mine flower I realise I already fell in love with them last year. It's been a while since it rained, so my Primulas are now definitely past their best, but this is what they looked like a week or so ago:
 Above a wild sort of Primrose growing very well in my rich garden soil, below a Cowslip

Above Primula Avondale: Irish Primrose, the Biking Gardener has written a whole blogpost on that Primrose, well worth a look. The one below I bought this year and last year, it's called Hall Barn Blue
 Below is a very dark leaved Primula with a distinctive yellow stripe down the flowers called Primula vulgaris Dark Rosaleen
 And this one below is one of those gorgeous silver laced Primulas
 This one below is I think an Oxlip, it was in my garden over 35 years ago, and I've moved it three times since then with great success
 Below a double Primula, a very pale pink colour
 and another Avondale
 Below Primula veris Sunset shades, a beautifully scented cowslip flowered dark red colour, bought last year as well.
 This one was bought at the Westonbirt plant sale is Primula Don Keefe
 below is Primula Moerheimii very small so far
I've also bought Primula Port wine and Primula Barnhaven Cowichan seen together on a bench before being planted out.
And last but not least, the exuberant Primula Johanna:
Amazing really how many different delightful Primulas there are to collect.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Evenley Wood Rare Plant Fair

Rare Plant Fairs offer a wonderful opportunity to meet growers who specialise in certain plants and are experts in growing them. When you buy from them, you not only buy reasonably priced, healthy, home reared plants, but can also get advice on where to grow them, and if they are liable to thrive on your soil and location.
The plant fairs are also held in glorious gardens, so in addition to the plant buying opportunities, there's also a great garden to look round. Evenley Wood hosted a plant fair last weekend, and I visited for the fourth time. Coinciding with my birthday, it's always a great opportunity for a day out with my daughter. This year the season is quite advanced and the Narcissi were past their best in many cases, but the Magnolias were looking fabulous. Although we arrived before the fair was supposed to have started, there were already lots of people there
 I loved this Magnolia, I think it's called Black Tulip
 Sadly the weather was dull, so the photos haven't turned out very well.
 Above Anenomes and below that stinking plant that grows beside water was flowering.
 Snakeshead fritillaries were flowering
 Glorious Narcissi
Cherry tree blossom
 More gorgeous Narcissi
 The famed Scilla carpet
 A vibrant Rhodedendron which looks bland here in the dull weather
On eof the many beautiful Magnolias
 and one more..
 And here's what I bought, seen in sunshine
Next plant fair tomorrow at The Old Rectory, Quenington 11am-4pm