Wednesday, 3 June 2020

June newsletter from Willow Gallery, they hope to re-open in mid June

Dear Blogger

June newsletter from Willow Gallery - they hope to re-open in mid June.

If you are unable to read this newsletter, please go to


June 2020

Greetings and best wishes at this time of continuing uncertainty. It is difficult to grasp that at least 40000 people - equivalent to more than twice the population of Oswestry - have died as a result of this virus.

It is clear the return to normality will be drawn-out, but small and mid-size art galleries have been included in the 'non-essential retail' classification that are allowed to re-open (subject to infection rates falling) this month. 

After some essential preparations, we therefore aim to re-open around the middle of June when visitors will be required to follow a one-way system and maintain physical distancing. And while those most vulnerable to the virus will continue to stay at home or take care to minimise contact with others (indeed anyone unsure about the risks should err on the side of caution), 
we'll hope to see you all again before too long.

 Although we plan to reschedule our workshops, we can't offer any dates at the moment - while our live music and Nature Festival will remain on hold for some considerable time to come. Please refer to our website and other social media channels for updates.
Our current exhibition, Painting with Words, opened on 13 March, only 10 days before lockdown commenced on March 23 - and therefore, after we've re-opened, will continue for a further few weeks. This will be followed by our annual Shropshire Guild of Contemporary Crafts Exhibition, when the gallery will be full of gorgeous local crafts for visitors to browse and pick out their favourites.

At the same time we'll continue to present an extensive collection of artworks online as well as items from our shop, and can take telephone orders. And with our Own Art scheme, you can spread the cost over 10 monthly payments with no interest.
Gannets on Great Saltee
A haven for seabirds
Buttercup Meadow
Oil on board
Thanks to all those artists and crafters who responded to our recent Call for Artists and sent us photos and video clips reflecting what they've been up to during lockdown.  It is great for us to come together in this way, so please carry on sending us your clips which are all being presented as a series of virtual open studios on our website. Just a few examples below...

Pat Thatcher shows off her painting skills

Regular visitors to the gallery will be familiar with Pat's unique silver  jewellery. However, during lockdown she has not been making jewellery but painting - and in this video
(CLICK RIGHT) shows a lovely variety of works. 
Small hanging planter with matching decorative beads
Hand-painted landscape-themes vases

Visitors always enjoy seeing Emma's work at the gallery. At her lovely little garden studio in Meifod, Mid-Wales, she designs and makes ceramic pieces as well as painting in a variety of mediums. She also creates characterful pen-and-ink artwork and is a talented portrait painter. Her biggest influences are wildlife and the countryside around her. Click RIGHT to see her studio during lockdown. Says Emma: I have to admit lockdown for me, although worrying, has been lovely, with no interruptions and no traffic. All seems calmer and quieter, with time to sit, watch and listen to my surroundings - inspiration in abundance.
Artist Reg Turrell and wife Vicky, author and nature correspondent for the Shropshire Star, have been spending most of their time in the garden. Reports Reg: We are very excited to have a pair of spotted flycatchers back, and are mesmerised by these little birds. They are nest-building in the same place as last year which is in the climbing rose above the sunroom doors. This means our patio and doors are again out of bounds this summer! But we feel very privileged that this pair, who are on the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) Red List because their numbers are down by 90%, are using our garden again.


The flycatchers look as if they are keeping social distancing...


To capture the scene, Reg used multi media including a series of photos he took of the flycatchers in flight taking material to the nest in the climbing rose
Unable to go to school or play with friends, children have been some of the hardest hit by lockdown restrictions. We'e seen their rainbow pictures displayed in windows across the country, and now we're inviting young artists to submit artwork in response to Covid-19. This could be about their anxieties, how they've spent their time, what they miss most, even what we might all learn from it.

All the artwork will be on display at the gallery when we re-open and, in the meantime, can be seen on the Young Artists' page of our website. Some young artists might like to add a written note. 

Parents/Guardians are asked to scan or take a picture of the work and send it as an attachment to The original artwork can then be brought in when we re-open, all being well in mid-June. 
Chinese painting by Katie (aged 13)

I love to travel to different countries and I've always wanted to visit China. Because of the pandemic it's not
possible to go to new places. I thought by exploring Chinese painting I could bring a part of that place to me. Painting it made me feel relaxed and took me away from all of the news about the pandemic. It made me feel like I was somewhere else.

Charcoal drawing by Jessica (aged 12)

This drawing is made from charcoal and water. And it shows how I feel in lockdown because that is my imaginary world I have made up when I am stuck inside the house/garden. 

Amelia (aged 5)

Glue gun used to create shapes and watercolour paint
Kids of all ages enjoy making art out of pebbles and, along with rainbows hung in windows, pebble art has been quite a thing during lockdown, with children decorating small stones and leaving them on walls and gateways, along footpaths, in parks and other public places in town and country for neighbours and passers-by to see and enjoy. All it takes is a little imagination and a touch of acrylic paint and varnish to turn a pebble into an eye-catching miniature work of art - also a useful paperweight!

Scrappy Sketchbooks
Great for kids to make and use
Though it's easy enough to buy a sketchbook, some kids may like to make their own. Click on TERESKA LEFT to see some fabulous examples of how to turn scrap paper and recycled materials into a DIY sketchbook, combining art with natural history and adding personal touches to really make it one-of-a-kind. Also great as little gifts.

Tereska specialises in botanical subjects and is passionate about using her art to raise awareness of conservation issues. Hand-in-hand with her own creative work, she's a natural teacher, and we look forward to seeing her, together with all our other tutors, back at the Willow when we are able to safely resume our workshops. 

Share a Mindful Moment with Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery

The museums team have produced a series of short videos offering you a mindful exploration of artworks and objects held in the collection of Shropshire Museums. The videos are accompanied by a restful audio track by glass artist and educator Lindsey Kennedy (see also below***) which encourages you 'to look, to breathe and to be curious'.

The first videos of the series feature a blue and white Caughley china tea pot, a beautiful oil painting of an English garden and a silver Roman mirror from Wroxeter.  Please click here to view the videos.


Mosaic-maker Lindsey is also a regular exhibitor at our gallery. See RIGHT Mosaic Floral Bouquet Vase with flowers created from cullets (glass off-cuts). Handmade in Lindsey's studio, the work is part of her current upcycling/recycling project.

Lindsey runs regular glass mosaic classes at the Willow. She also undertakes unique glass art commissions made just for you. Please contact her at
The Repair Café is closed but is operating on a 'virtual' plane as described in the attached message from co-ordinator Elaine Locke.
New Banksy artwork celebrating the real heroes appears at Southampton General Hospital

Called Game Changer, the framed, largely black-and-white 1msketch shows a young boy playing with a toy nurse in flying superman pose, with discarded action figures Batman and Spider-Man consigned to a wastepaper basket. The work was left with a thank-you note for hospital workers. It will be auctioned to raise money for NHS charities - and clearly the price could rocket.
Tel: 01691 657575
Facebook: Willow
Address: 56 Willow Street, Oswestry, Shropshire SY11 1AD
Editor: Hilary Moorcroft \ June  2020


Welsh Poppies
Machine embroidery

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