I’m starting late on writing the news today (and indeed a day later than usual) because a) I’ve been galavanting around the island taking in as much of the Creative Network’s Art Festival as possible and b) it’s a glorious bank holiday Monday and taking my dog for a walk along the beach in the sunshine won hands down in the importance rankings. Having said that, I haven’t been sat around twiddling my thumbs all day. I’ve been to Glen Mooar Cottage Retreat in Sulby and the Tea Barn Artists’ and Crafters’ Loft, the last two locations on my art trail for this year. I thought I’d get them ticked off the list and be back home in around an hour but I was enjoying myself so much in the glorious surroundings and fabulous company at Glen Mooar – and then had such a lovely chat to Cherie Collier and Michael Starkey at the Tea Barn – that it actually took me over three hours…..well, “Whatever”.
I think it’s safe to say that the Festival has attracted a lot of people again this year. The Artists have been telling me that they’ve had plenty of people passing through and that they’ve been getting great feedback on their work. Alice Quayle for one was keeping a notebook of suggestions and ideas. For me it’s a great opportunity to catch up with lots of Artists I don’t often get to see and to hear their latest thoughts and to find out what they are up to.
I started out on Saturday morning at Slieau Whallian for the tour of the DEFA building organised by the Isle of Architecture which was fascinating. It’s a lovely building in an idyllic setting and ticks lots of my aspirational boxes for my forever home in terms of being eco-friendly. It’s probably as well I don’t work there because I’d never get anything done – I’d be too busy gazing out at the fabulous view.
From Slieau Whallian we headed into Peel (me and Sarah that is, my partner in crime, who is incredibly patient while I rattle on to people at great length and for which I am most grateful). The House of Manannan was host to Bruno Cavellec, Celine Appleyard, Jaqueline Dawson, Val Galpin, Pat Kelly, Di Beckerson and Pat Tutt. Click on the pictures to view in the Lightbox.
After partaking of sustenance at The Creek (and very nice it was too) we popped along to see Helen Fox’s installation at the Sailor’s Shelter. Although it was only the first day Helen had made significant inroads into her installation and was several hundred shells into the 4,500 she had cleaned and prepared. It was looking great but only when Keith McIntyre moved the supporting frame slightly did I really get to appreciate it. It made the most glorious, wondrous shimmering sound. Helen hopes to relocate the work to some different events and venues in the coming weeks so if you didn’t get a chance to see it this time there will hopefully be other opportunities.
After that we took the scenic route to Grenaby. There really wasn’t much choice with the road works in Foxdale but we managed to route through St. Marks. It was great actually as it was a good reminder for me of just how many lovely little roads there are on the Island that I just don’t think about due to my standard Ramsey / Douglas commute and few reasons to venture more widely. At Grenaby we caught up with Nicola Dixon, Claire Pearse, Pauline Quaye and Mark Boyd. There was a lovely vibe there with Flo the Coffee Van, bunting and general good cheer with lots of people visiting, milling and chilling.
By this time it was getting late so we called it a day. I was later kicking myself for not realising that the Crow’s Nest at the Sea Terminal was only open on the Saturday. I remember eating in the restaurant there as a child and still feel disappointed all these years later that Government claimed the space. It really should be a public space of some description.
Sunday saw another trip to the south of the Island, this time without my wing-lady, to see Petrina Kent. I actually missed her as she had popped out when I called but her husband, Roger, kindly showed me around.
After that I trotted off to the Civic Centre in Castletown….
And a few photos from there too. Some really talented Artists at this venue and a nice space to show in – I’d never been in there before.
Through Douglas, though I didn’t stop and call into the Sayle having already visited the show. It looks like they had fun doing the workshops anyway. Annoyingly I missed out on Bryan Moore and Neb in the Henry Bloom Noble Library on Saturday as well as the Crow’s Nest. Note to self: must plan better next year. To be fair though, I was rather thrown off piste by going to Slieau Whallian as that kind of dictated the route the day before. Hey ho.
I packed a lot in on Sunday. From there I went to the Hodgson Loom Gallery where, as ever, Julia Ashby Smyth has worked her curating wonders and put on a fabulous show. Colleen Corlett was there when I arrived demonstrating her pyrography – sounds like she might have inspired a few people to give it a go – and it was lovely to see Claire McMahon whose work is looking fabulous. It was also great to see Karl Garrett’s paintings in the flesh as I’d only seen them on the internet up until then. There’s heaps of energy coming from them. Niamh Kelly’s ceramics are quite stunning and I’ve chosen one of her pieces to use as the featured image this week. She was very successful in the Hodgson Loom open art competition that I helped to judge earlier this year.
I rounded off the day on home soil with a visit to Alice Quayle at the Tram Station and a quick look at the Town Hall exhibits – by which time it was nearly 5.00pm. Phew!
What a fabulous weekend. I do hope everyone got to see lots of the venues and to chat to the Artists (and stock up on art lovelies). Do feel free to comment below – good or bad – as all feedback is helpful and will hopefully improve the event in years to come. If your comment doesn’t pop up immediately don’t worry – it will just need to be released from the Admin panel which I’ll try to do asap.
In other news, Jeremy Paul – who was based at Castletown Civic Centre – was delighted to find out that his painting of Keel-billed toucans (from Costa Rica) has been selected for the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year 2017 award. The final judging takes place at the exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London in June with 50% of any sales going to conservation projects. Jeremy had this painting with him and it was lovely to see it in real life – the colours are awesome.
To celebrate the launch of Manx National Heritage’s new “This Is Summer Exhibition” you are invited to join well-known local personalities Charles Guard, Valerie Cottle and Bill Dale on Friday 5th May from 7.30pm – 10.30pm at the House of Manannan, Peel, as they recall the heady days of Manx journalism in the 60s & 70s. Retro refreshments are included. Tickets are £10 and available from the House of Manannan or by calling 01624 648090.
Dates for your Diary
3 May – Sarah Hendy’s arts show ‘Spotlight’ on Manx Radio, 5.30 – 6.00pm (and every Wednesday)
On now – The Sayle Gallery – Cut from the same Cloth – Julie and Alice Fayle
On now – Jimmy Duggan’s ‘False Idols’ at The Isle Gallery
On now– REM-EMBERS EMBLAZONED – David Maddrell at Studio 42
On now – Hodgson Loom / Isle of Man Art Festival show featuring 14 Artists
5 May – An Audience with Charles Guard, Valerie Cottle & Bill Dale – 60s & 70s Manx Journalism – House of Manannan
6 May – “This is Summer” exhibition launch at the House of Manannan
12 May – Preview of ‘Thirty-Seven and Three Quarters’ at The Sayle Gallery, time tbc but if you get there for 7.00pm that should be about right!
13 May and throughout the TT period – ‘Thirty-Seven and Three Quarters’ – photographic exhibition by James Marvin at The Sayle Gallery
14 May – Hand Printed Fabric and Surface Pattern – Adult Workshop – The Isle Gallery
Have a great week!