We’ve just done our October course and i probably say this every time but it was my favourite so far. Steve came back for a second go and made another mobius strip this time as well as an obelisk for his garden. Sue only wanted to make a better dragonfly than the one she bought 15 years ago, easily succeeded with that and went on to make a fire pit and a tall garden flower. Sisters Josie and Steph were bought the course as a gift from their mum who even volunteered to look after their kids while they made metal sculptures all weekend. Steph got into her stride early on by making an elephant, quickly followed by a squirrel, duck, caterpillar, wader and a bird-table whilst Josie made a stag head candle holder, a fire pit and a stag head ornament. So you can see it was a busy weekend with everyone going beyond what they thought they were capable of making. The teas, coffees and biscuits flowed, as did the lovely atmosphere they all created. Next years dates are on the ‘courses’ section of my website.
I’ve got that much going on at the moment i forgot to mention i’d recently done the Staithes Arts Festival again. I must admit i wasn’t sure how it would pan out because it’s been organised differently this year and as a result there were less artists involved but i needn’t have worried because it was just as popular as ever. I had my usual spot in the front garden at Roraima House and took a mixture of indoor and outdoor pieces. The tiny dogs sold well as did some of the bigger outdoor pieces. One of the big birds on a block is off to a new home as too is the dog and bike. Having done every one of the festivals it’s been really nice to watch it grow over the years and meet lots of new customers in the process. Thank you to the organisers for all their efforts (often a thankless task i’m sure) and a big thank you to Jane and Jon Kilpatrick at Roraima House (obviously the best B&B in Staithes) for their hospitality.
I’ve just finished a run of sculpture workshops in Kirklees libraries and they’ve been really good fun. There’s something almost quite naughty about making sculpture in a library which is what i like about doing them, that and the fact that i get to see lots of different libraries, some i didn’t even know existed. I started in Dewsbury then Heckmondwike, Kirkburton, Skelmanthorpe, Slaithwaite and finally Honley. The staff at all the libraries were really supportive and quite a few of them joined in by making a piece too. Each workshop ran for 90 minutes and we made sculpture from all sorts of bits of junk plastic, bubble wrap, cardboard and wire, then we covered them in various colours of electrical tape. Everyone managed to make a piece in the time, some even managed two or three. We had ninjas, sheep, cars, mermaids, birds, i pads, dragons, robots and loads of others i can’t even remember.
I did a family drop in workshop at The Piece Hall in Halifax today and blimey was it busy. The sunny weather brought everyone out and in about six hours i worked with 106 kids making mostly robots and iron men but the odd super hero and a couple of snails. We used wire and plastic tubing i’d fished out of skips, plastic packaging and electrical tape to colour our creations. We actually ran out of materials a couple of times so thank goodness Wickes was nearby so i could re-stock. I’m doing some Kirklees library sculpture workshops over the next few weeks working in a similar way, here’s the link if you fancy coming along -https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/kirkleeslibraries
We’ve literally just finished our thirteenth course and we’ve all had a great time. As usual our students were surprised by what they were capable of making over the weekend. Aaron used up my last wok to make a flying bug and the sword i’d had for years to make a tall (wobbly) bird then made a quick nut and bolt man at the last minute. His dad Neil spent ages perfecting his chain figure light holder then dashed out a flower and a guitar playing frog. Elaine came along with some sketches of a tall, stylised bird and then brought them to life as a sculpture for her garden. Dan made a large, unique troll, from a kettle and lots of other bits of junk, a present for his girlfriend. We’re booked up for our last dates of this year but we’ll be sorting next years dates soon. So, if you fancy having a go at making a metal sculpture or you want to gift someone else the experience keep an eye out over the next few weeks.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks setting up my work for Holmfirth artweek because i’ve exhibited in four places this year. First up was the Civic Hall, where ‘Huff’ (pictured) didn’t sell again, secondly was Sculpture Lounge, thirdly i was in the garden at Somerton Art Space and fourthly i exhibited my collaborative pieces with Rebecca Appleby at Devour. Despite ‘Huff’ not going to a new home i did sell three other pieces at the Civic Hall and lots of the small cats and dogs on the market. At Sculpture Lounge we had the usual mix of 15 resident artists together with 6 invited artists, Nathan the ‘Plumber Drummer’ providing the musical entertainment on preview night, Renegade doing the music for our Chill Out Sunday, a bar, shop and mini cafe. Meanwhile outside, the beautiful weather provided lots of visitors at Somerton, such a nice setting for my outdoor pieces and the amazing wild flower walk at Devour was a great first outing for our joint abstract sculptures.
We’ve just finished our twelfth course and this one was a bit easier for Billy and me. We only had two students, David, an ex-engineer and Jake, an interior design graduate on the course so they were both very capable and had both done some welding before. It wasn’t quite a case of sitting about in armchairs watching the two of them get on with making some artwork, there were of course the tea & biscuit fuelled ideas stage, materials sourcing and then the welding and plasma cutting reminders. David made an excellent sign post with a weird bird on top for his garden and a mini kangaroo whilst Jake a deers head wall piece and a small sausage dog. Both of them surprised themselves with what they could achieve and we won’t tell you exactly what Jake’s dad said when he came to collect him at the end and saw the deer head but let’s just say it began with F. There’s one place left on our next course in July if you’re interested in joining us.
I’ve just finished making a huge piece of public art with David Mayne for our friend and fellow studio holder, Rebecca Appleby. Rebecca normally works in ceramics so she asked us to make the piece for her which is going to be sited opposite Kirkstall Leisure Centre in Leeds. The piece is the result of consultation work with local groups and is based on a broken, abstracted water wheel shape which reflects the areas former industrial heritage. For various reasons we ended up having to make the piece in seven days which was quite a challenge considering the scale of it and the great British weather but we managed it and both feel we need to make some teeny tiny pieces now for a change.
We’ve literally just completed our eleventh metal sculpture course and it’s been a very productive one again. The three novice students surprised themselves as usual with what they were capable of making. Mark made a very elaborate fire pit on a swift theme, Anne made a birdbath, garden sculpture and an indoor piece whereas Julie made a love heart trellis, three bluebells and five mushrooms for her garden. The hot drinks flowed, many biscuits were eaten and we all had a great weekend. There’s still some availability on our next course on June 22 / 23 if you fancy having a go yourself ?
I’ve just done my usual trip down to Aldeburgh to exhibit with my old school friend Rob Marrison over the bank holiday weekend. There wasn’t the usual buzz of day trippers, tourists and JUFL’s because the weather was really poor but i still did alright. Most attention seemed to be on the tiny cats and dogs which i’ve recently started making although i did manage to sell a big dog too. It’s always nice to catch up with Rob and see the sea but we could have done without the cold wind and the hail, it’s supposed to be May for goodness sake !
We’ve just finished our first course for this year and it’s been really good fun. Sort of a cross between ‘Mr & Mrs’ and ‘The Generation Game’ because we had two couples as our students this time. None of them had ever welded before and only one of them had an idea of what they wanted to make yet they all went home with at least two pieces of sculpture they’d each made. Spring is definitely in the air and that seemed to be the inspiration for the weekend with our guests making flowers, garden ornaments and giant insects. Our next courses are May 25/26, June 22/23, July 20/21 and October 19/20, some of these dates are almost full now.
That’s what it felt like anyhow. My two benches and a noticeboard are now sited down at the duck feeding area off the coop car park in Holmfirth and they were officially opened yesterday. They feature the artwork of around 30 local schoolchildren ( i managed to include everyone) and there was even an outright winner, chosen by myself and Ashley Jackson. I made a bee sculpture for her based on her designs. Later on that same day it was the siting and opening of Hannah’s memorial bench in Hade Edge play park and my first ever mini bench for kids. Both benches feature kids drawings of meaningful images based on her life. A both poignant and lovely project to work on.
We held our first ever Sculpture Lounge Christmas Show last weekend and it was a real success. Loads of visitors came to visit over the weekend and spent plenty of money on original artwork, particularly in our pop up shop which we installed in one of the newly built studio units upstairs. With our 10 invited artists, drinks, demonstrations, kids workshop, cakes and pizzas courtesy of Allan, it was a great weekend.
We’ve just done our last metal sculpture weekend course for this year and as usual it’s been a success. All the participants surprised themselves with what they were capable of doing and went home with their very own piece(s) of sculpture. I run the course with fellow sculptor and longtime friend David Mayne from our studios in the creative mill that is Sculpture Lounge in Holmbridge. Some students come along with firm plans, others have no idea what they want to make and that’s fine. We take you through the various stages of making your own piece of sculpture, introducing you to and letting you loose with our equipment whilst providing your lunches and endless hot drinks & biscuits. The next course will be March 23rd and 24th 2019.
Well we’ve just finished another of our joint metal sculpture courses and it has been great fun again. This time we had an entirely female course, four women who’d never welded before. Their initial ideas ranged from not really knowing what to make at all through to having very ambitious ideas and templates with laminated instructions and jigs. Once we’d gone through the basics of how to weld and plasma cut and use various tools their plans altered a bit. Then by the end of the weekend after we’d made countless hot drinks and lunches on both days everyone went home with a finished piece of sculpture made entirely by themselves (with a bit of input / guidance from us). Our next course and the last one for this year is on November 10th and 11th and there are still places available. We’ll definitely be doing more dates for next year once we’ve got 2019 diaries.