Posts Tagged 'environmental art'

A Toast to the Hosts!

This week I am enjoying the hospitality of Adele and Mike Yates, in their wonderful historic home ‘Mallards’. Their son Ben Yates has his Adele and Mike Yatesstudio there and we have taken over the barn and woodland for a week, with a fabulous art exhibition. We are open every day until Sunday 10th August. Click here for details

There are 5 artists showing their work in total (and I will post about the others later), but today I am going to focus on the magical world of Ben’s Electi-Citiewpid-20140805_114640.jpgs and Photocubism.

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The Electri-Cites are being displayed in a blacked out room! For good 20140805_114707reason, they all light up with hundreds of LED lights and are made entirely from discarded electrical goods, from bits of old washing machines to 20140805_114818DVD players. These are fascinating micro worlds, complete with tiny people and the dark room is like a big magical disco!

Photocubism it Ben’s other concept. Here he makes 3D20140805_115107 pictures made up of many small square digital photos, to great effect. Keep up with Ben’s wonderful creations here20140805_115113

Art in the Sun Poster

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Checking on the sculptues

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It’s summer on the South Devon coast and the 10th year of TRAIL (Teignmouth recycled art in landscape). I enter every year and this year I have made 3 exstinct birds from broken washing machines and old junk. They are (from the left) a Great Aulk, Do Do and Solomon Island Crested Pigeon. Every day we go check on them, make sure they are happy in their roosts and that their solar light eyes still work. My kids have never known any different. An annual ritual as ingrained as leaving a snack for Father Christmas. http://www.trail.org.uk

The big reveal!

looking up at Mountain Ash in situThis year for Devon Open Studios I decided to have a change of scene and participate in a couple of sculpture trails. As a result, Yarner Wood has been the main focus of my work for a while now, its a English Nature reserve outside Bovey Tracey on the edge of Dartmoor and is being restored to a Western Oak Wood. The theme of the trail is man’s relationship with the environment and I have taken the history of the wood as inspiration for my pieces which combine cross sections of tree trunk from Yarner Wood (48ish year old Douglas Fir) with fused and mosaic glass. Speaking to the staff at the woods gave me the idea of the wood being at the heart of all the human activity in the woods and in turn human activity having shaped the woods use and appearance. This is turn led The bomb that saved the wood, detailto the idea of taking the core, or heart out of the discs of wood and fill them with glass pieces; the juxtaposition of the natural wood and the very modern man made glass is very appealing to me. There are 10 artists exhibiting on this fabulous trail from conceptual to sound artists and everything in between and I am very excited to be part of such an interesting project.

I picked the tree trunk up in 3 and 6 inch cross sections, with quite a lot of wild life attached and I must confess it was a bit daunting….but then my ever useful Dad arrived and looking up at Mountain Ash 2cut all the central cores out of the slabs of wood, many thanks to him, I would never get any sculptures made without his patience! Each of the sculptures is cast to the size of the individual holes and are made from recycled waste glass. This series of sculptures is my largest series of sculptures to date and I am very pleased with the results.

green man 2The first piece on the trail is my take on the age old Green Man ‘Welcome to the Woods’, it is right at the start of the trail and is there to welcome people to the woods, reflecting man’s symbiotic relationship with nature and the timeless cycle of life.  The first firing of this piece cast all the scraps of clear, green and yellow glass into a disc shape, then I painted the design on and fired it again.

Becoming Autumn is the second piece on the trail. Again I used recycled waste glass (this time Spectrum 96 series), and depicted oak leaves changing Becoming Autumn in situcolour as the season changes. The trail starts at the beginning of autumn and it seemed like a great reflection of human enjoyment of nature for leisure, a very modern use of the natural environment!

My third piece on the trail is also inspired by the modern use of woodland for peace and reflection. ‘ Looking up at Mountain Ash’ takes inspiration from the wonderful Rowan trees in the wood and the simple pleasure of looking up at the shapes and light of the woodland. As with the previous piece this one is fused with small scraps of Spectrum 96 glass. While I was installing this piece I had a fabulous interaction with a young male deer (whose antlers were still small and fuzzy) who came bounding through the wood, regarded me and then turned and bounded on through the undergrowth.

copper blue in situThe wood has not always been a tranquil retreat from the pressures of modern life and 150 years ago a very active copper mine was on the site, lots of charcoal burning and the lord of the manor owned the area and exercised his horses on the wood. The next piece ‘Copper Blue’ riffs on this history, the blue glass is copper bearing and the cast disc has copper sheet inclusions and is hung between two fence posts, a prolific sign of how humans have shaped the wood!

In World War II the wood was earmarked to be cut down to assist with timber for the war effort, however, when a German bomber discharged his last bombs after a raid on Plymouth (in order to get home faster) the wood was hit and many of the trees then grew twisted and damaged, no good for timber manufacturing. This has inspired the next piece ‘The Bomb that Saved the Wood’.  Here 2 pieces hang one above the other. The top one has 2 discs of glass bang! detailwithin it to give a sense of depth and fire and the one below has a fun Pop Art feel with the word BANG painted across it.

The trail now turns a corner and the piece of the woodland really encompasses you, this is where I have placed my last hollowed wood piece, ‘Tranquil’. Tranquil cast acorns detailI have used various pieces of blue and sea green scrap glass to create the disc and then cast a separate acorns and oak leaves from crushed cast glass which have then be attached to the disc.

I continued with cast glass objects for the next piece, ‘Which came first?’. Here I have mosaic waste white and cream scraps of glass to the shape of the central core of the wood, which is happily egg shaped and then attached my cast glass bird. I am very pleased with both my cast pieces and this is a skill I am very much still learning this complicated area of glass art! which came first

cogs in situMy final serious sculpture on the trail is ‘Cogs’ made to express how we are all part of the great machine of life I have taken 3 of the cores my Dad removed from the wood and created different coloured bands which match up with the tree rings below.

All this serious art work is all well and good, but we all need a bit of fun and to add this to my trail I have made a child side bird house from recycled marine ply, which I got from the fabulous Bristol Wood Recycling Project. Permanent markers will be available for visitors to decorate the bird house as the pass it and lots of colourful material will be inside for children to make their own birds nest.

The trail opens on Saturday 7th September and is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until the 22nd September, refreshments are available in the woodland centre and the trail is free and only 2.5 km, so a child friendly distance! click on the link for more details http://www.artecology.co.uk/page2.php

Our preview is Saturday 7th September and all the artists will be on hand to talk about their work and show people round the trail.

 

 

Ground up glass experiments

This week I have been making and then painting with frit. Frit is glass which has been smashed and pummeled into small fragments which can be used like paint on glass to add details or paint whole pictures. I got outside on a concrete surface (steps at back of house) with scraps of glass wrapped in newspaper and thick brown paper and smashed them to smitheries. This smashed glass can be graded into different sizes by sifting through sieves with different size holes, but for my purposes this was not essential. I then went about gluing these tiny bits of glass to a larger piece of fusing compatible glass base glass, to create pictures to be fired in the kiln today. 

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Art for Charity’s sake

My Under the Weather sculpture installation had a month or 2 off after its summer on the seafront at Teignmouth as part of the summer TRAIL recycled sculpture exhibition but it is now installed at Exeter Northcott Theatre (Exeter University Campus). The staff were most helpful, especially the Front of House Manager Philip Sowton who had to really stretch his job description 3 metres up a ladder with a large mosaic cloud!

It took me 5 and a half hours but I eventually hung 80 recycled fused glass raindrops from the afore mentioned mosaic cloud; made from an old bit of chip board and small pieces of cloud coloured stained glass and mirror pieces stuck to it.

Each of the raindrops is made entirely from recycled glass; small shards of which I have fashioned together into raindrop shapes and fired in the kiln to fuse them together. The look great hanging in a sunny window, or outside from a tree or garden structure. They are for sale individually for £ 8 with half of the proceeds going to The Helen Foundation, a wonderful local charity committed to supporting young people in the arts through a variety of bursaries and arts involvement schemes. My sculpture is up until the 4th December, so if you are at the university please take a look and you can also see my fellow Devon Artist Network members artwork as the autumn exhibition has been extended till December.

 

BIG Mobiles

I have finally finished one of 2 large mobiles, entitled ‘Where are all the fish?’ this one is intended for the Indside TRAIL  Exhibition starting on 17th March at the Ariel Centre, Totnes.  The idea of the mobile is to highlight overfishing; the boats look and move like a shoal of fish waiting for the first catch of the day, but where are all the fish? The beauty of the reflections of all the boats on a white wall is even better than I had hoped; I don’t think these photos really do it justice, hopefully I will get some better ones when the exhibition opens. I am busy making a sister piece to this for Otterton Mill to add to my pieces in their  ‘Going Green’  exhibition, which runs till after Easter.

I make a wide range of boat mobiles, all shapes and sizes and all made entirely from waste and recycled glass, please contact me if you would like me to make one or take a peak on my Folksy shop. They make excellent gifts and are a very affordable way to have a little piece of art in your home.


I am a stained glass artist working in Exeter and a busy mum of 2; trying to carve a path through the tide of washing and children's toys that stands between me and making beautiful things.

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  • Got a bit more painting done today, I am quite pleased with my stag. I don't have a good track record with livestock :-D 2 months ago
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