Friday, 29 October 2010

Own Art by Phone

Up until now you had to come into the gallery to make a purchase using Own Art. From now on you can do this by phoning us in the gallery. So, if you see anything on our website which you would like to buy with ten interest free (0% APR) payments, you can make your purchase by phoning us on 01556 502468.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Oh Sew Basic, So Sew Pretty!

I had lots of fun on Monday night at the So Sew Basic sewing class in Glasgow. Carrie Maclennan and Clare Nicolson of Made In The Shade - a wonderful shop just off Byres Road - run classes from their HQ at the famous Barra's Market. The class was taken by Leah Halliday, seamstress extraordinare. I loved the class so much I've signed up to make my own gorgeous dress from a 1950s Vogue pattern. It'll be ready just in time for Christmas, yipee!

Here's a picture of the vintage fabric cushion that I made at the class, looking very at home on my chaise longue already.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Autumn Window

Autumn has been kind to us - the weather over the weekend was gloriously sunny and then the mists descended, which I actually quite liked too.

I've made an Autumny window for the gallery. Bridget Drakeford has just sent us a delivery of her beautiful pots. I chose a luscious, full bodied red jug and a fluted bowl for my display. The copper red of the pots looks fantastic with David Sinclair's 'Plum Centre' - his oil painting of plums in a basket. The only two works we have in the gallery that feature Autumn leaves are Anita Kein's 'Falling Leaves' and Aliisa Hyslop's 'The Autumn Leaves' so they went in the window along with Allan Craig's copper 'Arts and Crafts' mirror. My friend Jools suggested that some real Autumn leaves would finish off the display nicely. I brought some Witch Hazel leaves from our garden, Jools was right - they look great.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Sue Dunne - Starry Inspirations

Sue Dunne came to the gallery yesterday, she needed to top up supplies of several pieces of pottery, as her current exhibition with us has been so successful. Here she is enjoying a cup of tea while we chatted about her next project for the gallery. It was lovely to see her when we weren't rushing around preparing for a show.

It is times like this that are probably the favourite part of my job. Sue is taking part in our 'Galloway' exhibition in December. This year I have asked makers if they would like to exhibit pieces inspired by Galloway's 'Dark Sky National Park' status.

Sue has been collecting seed heads and flowers that have a natural star shape. She brought some samples from the molds that she's made (pictured above) and the results have been extremely pleasing. Many of them have an absolutely perfect star shape.

The ideas Sue had for the exhibition were brilliant - I loved chatting with her about her creative process. As Martin Creed said, in his recent talk at Wigtown Book festival, he feels very strongly that the process involved in making art is as important as the outcome. I agree; there is nothing like the feeling you get when you are totally immersed in the process of making. However, if the results of the creative process are as beautiful as Sue Dunne's work, then the outcome is a delight for all to enjoy.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Galloway Forest Angels

I've just finished painting this year's gallery Christmas card. They are Galloway Forest angels enjoying the wonderful dark starry sky that we get round here. I had a lot of fun making this painting. I used oil paint on a gesso primed board but made the wings from fabric. I dyed the fabric with turpsy oil paint and then once I'd stuck them on I also painted over the top.

I'm getting the card layout ready now and the cards should be back from the printer in the next couple of weeks. It seems that Christmas cards arrive in the shops earlier and earlier every year. Nobody actually writes them in October do they?

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Andy Priestman - Potter and Painter

While we were at the Wigtown Book Festival we visited Andy Priestman's beautiful studio, deep in the heart of the Galloway Forest. What a magical place! I actually went twice, once on my own and then for a return visit with Jill because I was so keen to show her where Andy's work was created. Andy recently built a three chambered wood fired kiln so we got a tour of that too.

He brought some of the pots from his first firing to the gallery so I could see them earlier in the year and I loved his glazes (often from locally sourced clays) and his light, balanced pots. We exhibited his pots in August and we both really appreciate the subtlety and sophistication of his work - in fact I drink out of one of his tea bowls almost every evening.

Here are some photos of his studio - it's well worth a visit - the drive there quite literally takes you far from anywhere.

A lovely owl carved by Andy and set into the building which adjoins his studio.

The window Andy looks out of when he's sitting at his potter's wheel. Look at the amazing bonsai trees - some are over thirty years old.

Andy and Roger in the garden with the building which houses the wood fired kiln in the background.

I loved this red window with orange squash clustered on the sill.

 The third chamber of the wood fired kiln with pots waiting to go back in for another firing.

 The interior of the wood fired kiln has developed a beautiful lustre glaze.

 This is Andy's potter's wheel, what a view!

 Andy, Jill and Roger in the studio. It's a very calm considered space, perfect for exhibiting his paintings. I particularly like the pair in the left in the photo.

 This is the amazing view of the Galloway Forest Park from Andy's studio.

 At the end of the day I had a lovely cup of Darjeeling from the new wood fired tea bowl that Andy gave us. The glaze sparkled through the tea like gold in a peat burn.

Monday, 4 October 2010

John Byrne @ The Wigtown Book Festival

John Byrne at The Wigtown Book Festival
It was the final day of the Wigtown book festival yesterday. I spent three days there in all, and had a brilliant time.

The last speaker I heard, John Byrne, definitely made the festival end on a high - he had us crying with laughter at points in his talk. What a fantastic story teller he is, with incredibly charismatic looks and personality - you could feel the whole audience enjoyed every word he spoke.  I am looking forward to the publication of his children's book 'Donald and Benoît - The Story of A Cat and A Boy' next year. Donald is a black cat who wears silk Boxer's Shorts and baby bootees. He lives with Benoît, son of a french mariner, in Fishertown, Nairn, Scotland. Benoît comes up with lots of adventures and Donald the cat chooses what they are going to do. He talked of how this story was originally for his two youngest children.

I went to eight different talks at the festival, apart from John Byrne my favourites were Alastair Grey, Irma Kurtz and Martin Creed.

One interesting observation - when Alastair Gray and Martin Creed were asked about why they make art they both gave the same answer - almost word for word - that they wanted to be loved, and liked by people.

Alastair Gray talked about how as a child he noticed what great attention he got when he produced a drawing, and how it has probably driven him to make art to this very day. How very interesting, perhaps that how it starts for a lot of artists?

Congratulations Amanda!

Both Jill and I would like to congratulate Amanda Simmons on winning a GOLD AWARD at Origin  2010 for innovation, creativity and potential to export.

Here's a photo of Amanda receiving her prize from the Crafts Council and UK Trade and Investment. Amanda will be using her award to visit New York in Spring 2011 and explore the American market. She said '“I’m very excited about my research trip to the states as I haven’t visited for over 15 years and it will be interesting to see the changes and experience the applied arts market on a larger scale. I hope I will be able to export a little part of Dumfries and Galloway to America.” How exciting!

We are lucky enough to have Amanda's work in the gallery and she will be exhibiting in our special Christmas exhibition which will celebrate Galloway being awarded 'Dark Skies National Park' status. Her work is perfect for this theme so I can't wait to see what she makes.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Michael Scott Memorial Exhibition

Last night I went to the Opening of Michael Scott's memorial exhibition at the Roger Billcliffe Gallery. The exhibition is on until the 26th October so if you're in Glasgow I recommend a visit.

I absolutely love his work and if I'd had enough money I could have taken at least four of the paintings home with me. If I had to choose just two, it would have been 'Circe' and 'She Moves Through The Fair'.