Wednesday 10 July 2024

Willow Gallery, Oswestry great events in July

Dear Blogger

Message from Willow Gallery - we are so luckty to have so many talented artests and craft workers in the Oswestry area.

Newsletter July 2024
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Mirror with glass mosaic surround [detail]
Saturday 29 June – Saturday 17 August

See a wide spectrum of handmade craft pieces. During the course of the exhibition, you'll also be able to enjoy watching some of our talented makers demonstrating their skills and techniques.

Saturday 29 June – Saturday 17 August
Textile artists Alison Holt and Suzette Smart show off their very distinct and different techniques and styles

On painted silk and using a standard Bernina sewing machine and just two basic stitches (straight stitch and zigzag), Alison creates landscapes and seascapes of immense depth and detail. She is also inspired by gardens. Recent work includes scenes from an aerial perspective.

Suzette builds a story through layered fabric collage, using fabric scraps, machine and hand stitching, print and mixed media, producing tapestry-like effects. She especially enjoys working with vintage and recycled materials. Birds often feature in her work.
A chance to get to know our designer-makers better
Furniture maker

Saturday 6 July, 10am-3pm
Bob's furniture is based on traditional designs but often using the character of the wood to create an unusual, contemporary twist. Windsor chairs of all shapes and sizes and Welsh stick chairs are his favourites, but he also makes all sorts of other freestanding furniture.

Saturday 13 July, 10am-3pm
Sue designs and handweaves scarves and wraps in natural fibres - silk, wool, cashmere, linen etc. Some of the yarns she dyes herself. She also has a small range of interior textiles in cotton, linen and wool.
Sculptor & ceramicist
Saturday 20 July, 10am-3pm
Caroline creates a range of figurative and free-flowing sculptures for the house and garden. She works principally with clay and employs a wide range of techniques, from coil and slab-building to throwing and slip-casting.
Textile artist
Saturday 27 July, 10am-3pm
Jenny works predominantly in batik (a dye-resist technique using wax) on tissue paper and on fabric, often combining this with machine embroidery. Her work is inspired by the landscape of Shropshire, its colours, patterns, textures and shapes.
Saturday 3 August, 10am-3pm
Joining Sue today, Nicola is a weaver, hand-dyer, spinner, knitter, crocheter, teacher and all-round textile enthusiast.
Saturday 10 August, 10am-3pm
Through the gentle art of natural dying, Jane eco-prints on fabric, creating a range of garments and accessories.
Saturday 17 August, 10am-3pm
Nicola specialises in weaving on multi-harness hand looms, loving the variety of patterns available. She particularly enjoys weaving twill patterns and exploring double weave cloth.
Master embroiderer Alison is inspired by the texture, light and patterns of the natural world. Drawing with a basic sewing machine directly onto her silk paintings, and building layers of colourful textures, she creates richly-detailed studies. Her work is the result of years of exploring the strengths and restrictions of the machine and making her marks by experimentation.

Alison studied embroidery at Goldsmiths College, is an author and international tutor, and has exhibited widely in the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

Suzette lives and works in a rural hamlet in North Shropshire, and is known for her multi-layered mixed media textile works with a wealth of detail. 'The birds and animals outside my door, as well as the familiar journeys along the towpath close by, are a great source of inspiration for stitching and storytelling. I never manage to tell all in the first layer, preferring to build a story through mixed media, collage and thread.'

Suzette also delivers talks, workshops and summer schools at a variety of venues throughout the UK as well as further afield.

This is one of those watercolours that had a life of its own! I started using carefully-applied washes of orange, yellow and grey, quickly realising the orange was out of control - but I liked the drama of a sky seeming to be on fire, so went with it. The foreground was a meadow bursting into life with oxeye daisies. I used blobs of white ink with Indian yellow centres. Because I watched this sunset in Norfolk with its low horizon, I used two thirds of the paper for the sky.
May and June 2024

As always, Borderland Visual Arts offered a broad range of works at their annual summer exhibition. In addition, this year's Open Studios, with 26 talented local artists across 11 venues in and around Oswestry, drew a good mix of visitors from near and far (even one or two visitors had taken a long hop over the Pond). For our artists, there were lots of positive vibes and feedback - and it is very pleasing to see Open Studios, an important sales channel, grow in popularity over the years.

At the gallery, three participating artists Judith Harrison, Graeme Storey and Sandra Thomas, each with their own eye-catching work, created a great buzz, enjoyed many engaging conversations, and did well in terms of some well-deserved sales - as Graeme reports below:

Judith, Sandra and I had two very good weekends at the Willow. Each weekend saw many more visitors on the Saturday than the Sunday, possibly due to the café being closed on Sundays. Most visitors were keen to talk and discuss our work with us. We did have a lot of locals calling by, but also several who had made the trip from further afield, specifically for Open Studios and taking in several of the studio locations. Our first Sunday saw visitors from Sweden who bought two prints. I was particularly pleased that people who had seen my work on display at the Willow in previous exhibitions had come specifically to see me. Judith and Sandra had the same experience: it's a very rewarding feeling.

Whilst we clearly benefitted from being in a central location like the Willow, I'm sure that Open Studios brought more visitors to the gallery - and hopefully we added a bit to an already congenial atmosphere. The standard of BVA works on display alongside ours was very high - and not only did we make sales, but several thousand pounds of other members' work sold over the two weekends. Personally, I sold three paintings and five prints and am very pleased with that. Just as importantly, I made connections with other artists and buyers, which hopefully will grow over time.
The two weekends were very enjoyable, and all three of us intending to be back next year.
Graeme's giclée print Looking West from Old Oswestry Hill Fort
(Other copies available at the gallery)

Also in June, it was a pleasure to have pupils from Oswestry's Holy Trinity CE Primary Academy visit the gallery. We viewed the artworks on display and discussed how artists find inspiration and make sketches of the world around them. Pupils then spent the morning creating sketches of their own from the works on the wall, using shading and tonal techniques - and resulting in a range of wonderful sketches.

Gallery curator Anthony Smith also talked to the youngsters about the large range of careers within the fields of art and design - animation, film production, the game industry, architecture, interior design and fashion design to name just a few, as well as teaching, art conservation or working in an art gallery. Says Anthony: 'Most children love exploring their own creativity, and there are lots of children out there who are creative and possibly considering pursuing art in some form. When children are exposed to new things, they'll discover some new interests and passions.'
We are most grateful to everyone who came along and supported our June Craft Fair. Also, a big thank you to our fabulous makers (below): it was great to see such well laid out tables, and we hope you were all pleased with your sales.
Upcoming at the Gallery

Autumn Open Exhibition
Including Ped4ir Môn Photography Collective
Saturday 24 August – Saturday 12 October


Borderland Visual Arts & Cheshire Artists Network
Saturday 19 October – Tuesday 24 December

Whether you're a beginner, want to refresh your skills or to advance your knowledge, we offer many different kinds of art and craft workshops - and are always adding new ones. Places are limited to a maximum of 10, with plenty of opportunities for individual support and advice. Full details on our website.
Seascape Acrylic Workshop
with Mark Warner
Other Local Events & Information
Repair Café
Oswestry & Borders
Saturday 13 July, 12-3pm
Oswestry Memorial Hall
A team of skilled volunteer repairers give their time and expertise for free to help people fix items that might otherwise be thrown away. Please book your item in beforehand at, so organiser Elaine knows which experts to invite and what tools they need to bring.

Don't forget, you can also bring your repairs in to the Midweek Mend sessions at the Climate Action Hub in Bailey Street
(Wednesdays 11am-2pm)

Art World
Discover Degas and Miss La La
At the National Gallery until 1 September

For several successive evenings in January 1879, Edgar Degas attended performances at the Cirque Fernando by one of the most famous circus performers of the time, an aerialist known as Miss La La. For her extraordinary act, Miss La La was slowly hoisted nearly 70 feet into the circus's domed ceiling, suspended solely on a rope clutched between her teeth.

Degas produced a number of studies - drawings, pastels and an oil sketch - of the performer and the circus building before creating his celebrated painting, Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando. The exhibition brings together for the first time Degas's remarkable painting and nearly all the preparatory works. Also on view are images of the Cirque Fernando by Degas's contemporaries, photographs of Miss La La and her troupe, and posters and other printed material.

Miss La La was born in 1858 in the former German/Prussian territory of Szczecin (now Poland) and christened Olga Brown. Her mother was German, her father an African American who probably came to the Baltic region as a sailor. Their daughter began performing at the age of nine, and became proficient in the high wire, flying trapeze and iron jaw act.  Her most extreme stunt, even crazier than the one Degas painted, was to hang upside down from a trapeze with a cannon suspended by a chain from her teeth as it was fired.

Turkey rejects claim Lord Elgin had permission to take Parthenon Marbles

The 2,500-year-old sculptures adorning the Acropolis in Athens were removed in the early 19th century by Lord Elgin, Britain's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire which ruled Greece at that time. They are now housed in the British Museum. Greece has long campaigned for their return.

The museum maintains Elgin removed the sculptures legally after the Ottoman authorities granted him an imperial edict, or 'firman', allowing him to do so. But archaeologist Zeynep Boz, head of the Turkish Culture Ministry's anti-smuggling committee, reported at a recent meeting in Paris of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property, that no such document has ever been found. 'Therefore,' said Ms Boz, 'I do not think there is any room to discuss its legality, even according to the law of the time.'

Turkey deconstructs the British argument on the Parthenon Marbles

While ties between Greece and Turkey are often strained and the two countries are at odds over a wide series of issues, including territorial claims, both seek the return of cultural artefacts removed from their territories and currently housed in museums around the world.

Jonathon Yeo's portrait of Sir David Attenburgh unveiled at the Royal Society, London, 25 June 2024, marking the broadcaster and naturalist's four decades as a Fellow

A vibrant, not-for-profit art space packed full of contemporary artwork from local and national artists. We host exhibitions, art classes, craft fairs and other community-focused events - bringing together creative individuals and art lovers from our local communities and beyond.
Tel: 01691 657575
Address: 56 Willow Street, Oswestry, Shropshire SY11 1AD

Gallery/Café open Tues-Sat 10am-4pm (3.30pm café last orders)
Closed: Sundays/Mondays/Bank Holidays

Editor: Hilary Moorcroft
July 2024



Swallows by the Sea
Mixed media

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