let there be light…

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Wishing everyone who reads my blog and website a very happy festive season, and end of 2015 (a year which seems to have flown by) whatever festival you choose to celebrate or if you celebrate none.

It’s been a very busy and exciting year, and the momentum will continue into 2016. Prospective projects include music, writing and performance, art and exhibitions.

For example, I will be working with the Skylarks Community Choir, Helen Champion, from Goldsmiths, University of London,  Woodchester Primary School, Cam Hopton Primary School and will be running art workshops in a number of locations as well as at my studio in Stroud. The first Coaley Piano Festival is due to take place on 8th May, and I will be involved in the Dursley Festival later in the year.

So if you’d like to get involved in any way please do contact me. There is always the need for people to help with admin, helping with research, putting up flyers, setting up halls etc even if you don’t want to be on stage performing.

Thank you once again for your support this year.

Catherine

 

 

 

 

 

Vorsprung durch Technickers- Hardwick Gallery

Exhibition 9-18 December 10am-4pm Hardwick Gallery University of Gloucestershire

 

First of all I’m going to apologise for the terrible quality of the photographs. My mobile is in the process of dying, and this is the result. If I believed in Santa, perhaps she’d get me a new one, but I guess I’ll just have to buy one myself!

Having spent 2 years at the university and picked the brains of various technicians over that period, it is good, for once, to see them as artists in their own right and not just there to help the students.

 

Lisa Lavery taught us how to work with cyanotypes as well as film photography- her images are always fresh and vivid, and make you look at the everyday in  a new light. Her photogram of a fold-up bike is an example of this- unfortunately the colours are poor but hopefully you’ll get the general idea…

Ashley Benson-Wilson is the 3D technician who also was a star in helping with perparation for exhibitions- making shelves, plinths etc- so it’s wonderful to see his work, so tactile and exciting.  Unfortunately my photographs of Matt Frederick’s subtle photos were too poor to put up, but you’ll just have to go and see the exhibition in order to appreciate them.

Emma Evans has 7 illustrations in the exhibition- whimsical, detailed and colourful, it’s easy to imagine them on the pages of a quality magazine or in a book.  Paul Muncaster exhibits a marquette which is so perfectly executed it is a pleasure to look at it. His drawing, in pencil, is equally precise and full of clarity.

We are used to seeing Mark Unsworth’s lively and bold posters advertising the Exposed Club (contemporary and experimental music) but to see the originals in a glorious  exuberance of colour (not at all apparent in the photos) is wonderful. I’d go to see the exhibition just to enjoy these- so uplifting.

I’ve never met the textile and fashion technician, Jamilla Ives, but her tweet jackets were stunning in simplicity and cut. I loved the muted colours and the sophistication of them.

This is not a large exhibition, but if you’re passing by, or in Cheltenham before the end of the week, it’s definitely worth taking a look.  The gallery and Hardwick Campus is quiet at this time of year, so many of the students have gone home, so you may even get a parking space!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colston Hall- Uptown Funk

I know from running my community choir, that one should never prejudge what people may like in terms of music. This evening it was wonderful seeing a sea of white hair (the expensive seats in the front stalls definitely had an over 65 air to it…) letting go, dancing and joining in with Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk , and clearly thoroughly adoring Laura Mvula’s Sing to the Moon, Alicia Key’s Try sleeping with a broken heart to Eric Whitacre’s gorgeous Seal Lullaby (written for Disney and never used as the planned film was canned- Disney’s loss, our gain!) and James McMillan’s O Radiant Dawn.

Voices is a very young ensemble- most of the the singers have only recently completed their studies at music college or university, but this doesn’t mean they don’t know their stuff. The versatility of their voices, being able to beat box, sing pop and hip hop as well as various shades of classical and standard choral singing and their clear love of performance and acting, not just standing and singing, and above all their professionalism, is very impressive.

The sixteen members remind me of the eponymous “The Sixteen”, well known for their renditions of renaissance and contemporary classical music.  16 is a good number for a choral group- but not the only number, so I wonder if the choice is a little dig at the conventions of choral grouping. “the Sixteen”, I suspect, would not dream of performing in the style of Voices,  Tonight we had a medley of snatches of Christmas songs, being gently mocked, with added costume changes and reindeer and sledges being chased round the stage, and, in a change of pace,  Gareth Malone and Harriet Syndercombe Court sitting drinking tea and crooning Beetles numbers.

Of course, the highlight of the show is Gareth Malone himself. He reminded the audience a number of times of his great age (40- I wish!) but behaves on stage like a hyperactive teenager pretending to be an old fogey. It is appealing to see a conductor/choral director who really doesn’t want to stand still- his body dances to the music even as he looks as if he is desperately  trying to keep two feet on the ground. He leaps and bounds round the stage- his body language conveys his love, enthusiasm and passion for what he does- and it is infectious.

There were some of the older members of the audience who either had a train to catch or really weren’t big Mark Ronson fans- who snuck out early from the show, but they missed a treat. The fans would not go without an encore, although the clapping and calling had to continue some time before dragging the performers out again. Nobody does it better, from the spy who loved me, with stunning lighting effects brought the house down.

I’m looking forward to the next tour- I’ll be booking a ticket.  And it’s got me thinking about challenging my community choir to do more, and do different.

 

 

 

 

 

 

mark making

Children are so interesting to watch as they mark make, cut and stick, and talk about what they are doing. I only had a short time at my reception class today, where I’m artist in residence, but it was so worth while listening to them talk as they made very individual pieces of art. These are just a few examples which include a shark that eats people,  a flower garden with a tap that’s made a flood, lots of detailed shapes, filling in as many gaps as possible, lots of beautiful collage and a stunning red abstract which would make a great sculpture!

As I sat and watched it occurred to me how a number of their pieces would make incredible textiles or even large scale wall pieces. Something to plan for the future..

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girls’ night out

I found some photos of these plaster and found object sculptures I made while at Stroud College the other day. Must dig out the original pieces and take some new photos…

The concept in creating them was thinking about the preparations for a night out- the make up, the nails, the varnish, the drinks to get in the mood, etc and the wire signified the potential for danger, violence, abuse and contraception/abortion. The one with the tweezers has the ovaries/fallopian tubes shape as well… not planned but I do love a bit of serendipity.

There are 4 pieces in total- I’ll upload some good photos this week.

I’ve always intended to make a “morning after” sequence to go with these- the broken glass, the used condoms , the sordid reality of it all…

Maybe now is the time!

Friday morning workshop

Experimenting with sumptuous new paints- golds, silvers and bronzes-as well as acrylic inks and relief printing inks, was the order of the day today. In a smaller class than usual, we had ample space to try out new products and play- exactly what this class is about. The work is unfinished so far, but that makes it more exciting as next week something new will emerge from today’s endeavours.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next….

And I had time to play as well- I made a lino cut based on one of the metal studs on Balsall Heath Baths, on the pipework. I’ll be adding further details once the prints are dry;they might make good Christmas cards or just pictures. Who knows?

 

 

time for tea

This project dates back to when I was studying at Stroud College. Time for Tea was one of the first food inspired installations I prepared- it included the scent of overly sweet sugar and icing on a cake which had been sprayed with gold edible paint, bling and sickening at the same time. The colours were chosen to be pretty and pastelled- Cath Kidston was very in at the time (is she ever not?) but this was a social commentary on all that isn’t pretty and fine in the reality of relationships. I was partly inspired by the many years of work I had undertaken as a family lawyer- at one time I was called the injunction queen as I was in court most days trying to get protection for victims of domestic violence. I worked with local refuges, experienced the pain of clients being in intensive care, one dying and one committing suicide. Yet so much of what goes on behind closed doors is still unspoken.

This work pays homage to all those who suffer in silence, who try to make relationships work when they are abusive and destructive and those who are brave enough to take the tough steps to extricate themselves.

Stacy Field took most of these photographs- for which I’m really grateful!