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23 April 2013

Ignite the Romantics - Artist Opportunity.

As a practising artist are you passionate about landscape and the environment? Are you inspired by the Romantic poets that trod the Somerset landscape, do you share their vision of the sublime in nature? If so you are invited to join fellow artists who too are inspired by this rich heritage and who also wish to keep the spirit of these visionaries very much alive. 

Somerset Film and ARTlife are hosting a green screen film shoot for artists on 
Saturday 18th May from 10am to 3pm

This event is your opportunity to create a short film about your work, your inspiration and your ideas.  Supported by Arts Council England and delivered by Somerset Film, the event is free. 

Participating artists are invited to a light lunch and networking session between 12pm and 1pm at The Engine Room Cafe in Bridgwater.  During lunch there will be a screening of three short films recently made by Ignite Somerset, featuring three artists currently working in West Somerset and inspired by the Romantic Poets: 

If you wish to attend you must book your twenty minute slot beforehand, so preparation is the key. You will then be filmed in front of the green screen, describing or performing your work - the green screen will then be replaced with an image sequence or video of your choice. Each artist will then be provided with a DVD and a link to their film on line. 

This is a fantastic opportunity which will help promote your individual practice, a great resource for sharing your identity on line whether it be via your blog, Face Book page or Twitter feed. It may also come in handy when applying for those all important future funding streams.

For bookings and further information contact:


For all you true romantics, some you may also be interested in a very special outdoor screening of Pandemonium at Fyne Court this summer on the 6th July. 

Pandaemonium, tells the turbulent tale of Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth's friendship, an addiction and a devastating betrayal during the French Revolution.

Julien Temple will be speaking about the film, his life as a film director and answering questions before the screening, you can then watch this fantastic film, spotting all the locations in the Quantocks where filming took place. 

I've packed my hamper already!

16 April 2013

Westcott Farm: Walking & Talking with Trees.

Snowdrops had greeted us when we first visited Westcott Farm in February, but as we turned into the yard, a vibrant display of late daffodils bobbed their heads in the warm breeze.

This was to be the last organised 'artist walk' on the farm, however those artists involved are encouraged to return throughout the forthcoming months to paint, sculpt and sketch, inspired by the landscape encountered on these jaunts. The warmer months ahead will no doubt be more conducive when it comes to sitting still and fully absorbing the finer details, and apparently it was so cold during a previous walk that one of the artists' cameras failed to work.

We took a different route this time, entering under a natural curtain of ivy, a steep incline took us through an avenue of tall straight trees, past ancient hedgerows - branches and routes entwined   creating window frames onto the fields beyond. Busy chatting we blundered, realising we had to make our way across the shallow stream we headed towards it's banks, naively unaware of how boggy the mud was, let's just say a few of us got rather muddy! Once recovered from crossing the stream we scrabbled up the naturally terraced slopes; Lyn explained that the lower meadow was once where farmers would 'catch hay' and how the stream would have been actively managed to flood after the first hay harvest to encourage a subsequent crop to grow.  A little bit of ancient agricultural wisdom that future farmers will sadly be unaware of...

On our previous visit the cows had been housed in the large barns, but now they were grazing with their young calves in the final field that we needed to cross before returning to the main house. We stayed together, skirting the field edge, ensuring that we didn't walk between a mother and her young; not wanting to frighten or upset the protective parent. Back at the farm yard I had a quick look in the birthing shed where a young calf was snuggled in the straw and couldn't resist taking a photograph of the farmers scribbled blackboard birth chart.

It was then time to hose down our muddy boots and Lyn lent me a pair of clean trousers - I was far too muddy to step indoors where everyone was heading to enjoy homemade mushroom soup.

Whilst the main group had been exploring one side of the farm Gordon Field had ventured off in his own quiet way to meet with the trees on the horizon that can be seen from the kitchen window. Gordon's work has for a long time been imbued by his meetings with trees and as a result of being immersed in this natural environment for such a long time, a new dialogue has evolved between the artist and his subject. Encouraged by his wife Geraldine, Gordon attended a workshop on dowsing and has discovered an instinctive talent which he now harnesses within his practice. On hearing that Christopher was planning to work within the orchard for art week the two of them went to 'talk' with the apple trees. 

When I last wrote about the proposed SAW exhibition at Westcott Farm the line up of artists had not been confirmed but I can now inform you that those taking part are:

Once the daffodils die back Christopher will return to mow the orchard and the maze that he visualises will begin it's journey, Sue plans to sketch the crumbling walls inhabited by spiders  - which will then be translated into prints. Lyn is busy 'collecting the creatures' that inhabit her ancient hedgerows and the others, well like me, you shall just have to wait until September to see.

6 April 2013

With Love to Watchet! x

*Please note that the postcard exhibition now opens on  Saturday 6th July - Entries must be received by the 1st of July.

There is a clarion call on the wind that blows from Watchet - 

"Watchet has caught three shipping containers, snatched from their global wanderings, they stand hobbled but proud on the Watchet harbour side. Soon to rise from the rust to become four artists studios and an exhibition space. These iron ladies have roamed the four corners of the Globe and have enabled safe passage to all manner of precious products. But now it is their turn to rest, to be refitted, spruced up and have good work come to them.

So we must all welcome these iron ladies into Somerset, and what better way to celebrate their convalescence than a decent prescription of art!

So sharpen those pencils, fluff those bristles and send the ladies an art postcard, draw it, sketch it, scratch it, snatch it, burn it and wax it, just go create and post it to Contains Art, The Harbour, Watchet, ready for the opening exhibition in *May. But don't just send one, send eight, send in a whole darn crate, but make them fabulous for all to see for the launch exhibition will be made of these."

Now my partner, Christopher, is part of the committee responsible for this innovative project and author of the words above, so how could we not send postcards? Contains Art have printed plain postcards designed especially for you to adorn, but if you don't come across these on your Somerset wanderings then regular plain postcards will suffice, just make sure you send them to the right address:

Contains Art
East Quay
TA23 0AH

The exhibition will run from the 4th until the 17th May, but it has been suggested that the containers would love to continue receiving postcards afterwards - all summer in fact! It's traditional to send postcards from your seaside holidays and Watchet would like to be on the receiving end this time around.

We recently spent a week in St Ives, it was so, so cold that we sought warmth huddled by the fire in The Sloop, drank beer and wrote and sketched our cards. It seemed quite apt sending them from the harbour side in St Ives to Watchet's East Quay.

We are yet to encourage our children to embellish a postcard or two - perhaps you are running out of ideas to keep the family entertained this Easter break, why not all design a postcard to send. Artistic or not, be inspired by this quote from author Kurt Vonnegut and  
"Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something." 

And Watchet waits to see your creations...

Interested in following the progress of the Contains Art project?
Have a look at their Facebook Page.