156…Heading into summer

by frances doherty on June 14, 2016

It’s been a while since the last blog owing to six solid weeks of exhibiting which has left little time for other things. Earning a living as an artist means you have to earn when you can, and shows tend to be either spring or autumn.Spring is the busiest time, and everything for me is geared up to producing a body of work by early spring to hopefully last through the shows until late summer. Doing the shows means working away from the studio, so not much work gets made until some time towards late summer when it all starts gearing up for making a new collection for the following year.

This years Open House was relaxed and fun. We had a lovely collection of work  and artists in the house, and the work was received well. Following on from this I did a show at West Dean college. I hadn’t been sure about doing this show, but it is the same organisers as the Brighton Art fair, and this is so well run I thought I would give it a go. I’m really glad I did.

West Dean

West Dean

West Dean is a beautiful place, a private art college set in delightful grounds with a little river running through and a very well maintained vegetable garden. People coming to the show were making a day of it as their ticket allowed them full access to the garden and plenty of workshops on offer.

The marquee for the makers was set on the front lawn with the river not far away. We were able to go and cool our feet in it every now and then when it got too hot.             I showcased my new Artichoke sculpture within my stand,

Stand at West Dean

Stand at West Dean

and it got a very receptive audience. This sculpture was made in collaboration with Alan Williams metal artist. Last year we made a huge Echium together and at the moment it is in contention for a project at London Bridge….watch this space.  I also just managed to get my latest Eucalyptus sculpture framed in time,

red and white eucalyptus

red and white eucalyptus

I really like this one, there is something really exuberant about it.

In between shows I popped down to the degree show at Brighton Uni. I had a student who came to work with me last year showing her work down there,

lemon meringue bowls

lemon meringue bowls

and this is a small selection of her work. She is Alice Stewardson, and she will be showing in my Open House next May.

Before I came back to Brighton at the end of April, the garden was looking lovely and just about to burst into its summer clothing.

April garden

April garden

Unfortunately 6 weeks away has turned it into a jungle. All the weeds I had removed have returned with a vengence, and we have had to cut paths through the grass. So, at the moment I’m having to do shorter days in the studio so that I can spend an hour or two untangling my plants and clearing the veg beds. I need a team of workawayers right now.

Also while we were away, a huge branch from one of our beech trees came crashing down onto the road that passes by our garden. We heard about this by text whilst setting up a show in London, not ideal. I had horrible visions of it lying across a neighbours house…or even worse, with a corpse underneath it. Luckily a french friend was able to go and check it for me and arrange a local tree surgeon to clear the road,

H and tree

H and tree

and my brother and H came over at the weekend to cut up and clear the rest into the garden. This was the end of it, the rest has been moved into the garden and will be split for fuel. My neighbours actually saw and heard the branch falling. It was completely live and green, and we don’t know why it fell…..although there has been the most incredible amount of rain over here, maybe that had something to do with it.

Down in Brighton there is a work to rule going on with the trains, which meant that H wasn’t able to get here by bike at the weekend. And, as luck would have it, there are also strikes going on in France too. Yesterday H had to get back to England and had to try hitchhiking,

H with his hitching sign

H with his hitching sign

unfortunately he obviously looked too dodgy as no one picked him up, so he had to jump on my bike to Dieppe and leave it at the station. I have to wait until there is a train so I can go and get it. Grrrrrr, strikes!

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