In July, I curated an exhibition for Wirral Council called "de-junk, re-junk" at the Birkenhead Park, handing out junk and parts of my old kitchen to a group of artists, some first time recyclers, others die-hard eco minded artisans. The success of the show lead to my application for funding for recycling workshops to tie in with the 2012 de-junk, re-junk exhibition (now an annual event). I was awarded 75% of the grant I asked for, enabling 7 workshops with local artists at The Green Community Shop and Centre in the new year from Merseyside Waste Disposal Agency.
The networking event "With These Hands" that I have run for the last 2 years (at least) has been meeting once a month in cafes, community centres around Wirral and we get at least 20 people every time with at least 3 WTH virgins in our midst. I am really proud of WTH as it has spawned so many projects and has given confidence to many isolated artists. I feel we are one step closer to having a network across Wirral that can support all of us who work on our own. We are open to all artists living or working in Wirral, or to students, gallery owners, craftspeople, designers etc. We are a friendly bunch and open to welcoming more folks. We have just had our christmas do which was lightly attended but was still lively nonetheless, with an exchange of unwanted art materials as Christmas gifts. We heard of the success of some of our members in securing funding from the Empty Shop Fund (which we heard about through a visit from community engagement officers from Wirral Council at one of our With These Hands meetings).
In August, I was teaching during the summer at the Williamson Art Gallery, as part of the Every Picture Tells a Story and took inpsiration from Frank Cottrell Boyce's book "Framed". I took quite a traditional approach studying classic paintings featured in the book, giving good grounding in still life painting and portrait painting as well as using collage and 3d construction. I had hoped Frank Cottrell Boyce would be able to come to the opening but he wasn't able to in the end (as I was really the only one that knew he might, I was the only one who was disapointed....I love the hope and possibility of change through art in his book Framed)
I took part in the Wirral Open Studio Tour and found it to be a very enjoyable experience, not showing from my studio but sharing painter Xitina Ferres' wonderful home in Hoylake with Fiona Hardman, felt maker and wood carver. I am hoping to show closer to home in 2012. We also had a Christmas exhibition together.
I took time out from the Oxton Art Fair after participating in all 9 previous shows (8 annual shows at the Williamson Art Gallery and 1 at St Saviours Church as part of Secret Gardens of Oxton). The fair this year had 9 invited exhibitors to fill the spots of old timers liked me who needed a break.
I participated in a couple of shows with the Merseyside Jewellers and Metal Artists Network, Dinner for 8 in September and Sparkle @ the bluecoat in November. It was lovely to show with them again after a break for awhile and I made some spoon handles for some vintage spoon bowls.
I am currently in the process of contemplating a new move into a more community project. So more on this in 2012. It is an exciting if scary step for myself and my new business partner. As well as this I will be bringing together my community project "Welly Road Gets the Boot in!"
On a personal level, I will be exhibiting my work in the National Museums of Liverpool, at the World Museum from mid-December, tying in with a workshop I will be running in February. I have my work with one gallery only, The Stables Gallery in Brimstage as in this current economic climate it is rather hard to sell work so have tried to limit how much I am producing. I have also cut back on selling at art/ craft fairs. I am fortunate to have a job as Art Liaison Officer for 2Bio Ltd so have the freedom to move away from the more commercial work I have been doing for the last few years and welcome the challenge of new commissions and projects for 2012.
Websites:www.abscraft.com (my site)
Oxton Art Fair Blog
Wirral Open Studio Tour blog
Listing through the book Wire Magic written by Michael Ball
Craft and Design website
Art @ the incubator the blog for my work at MerseyBIO for 2Bio Ltd