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Isle of Man Art News – 28 May 2018

Gosh there’s been so much happening recently I’ve been struggling to keep up with what’s going on in our ever busy art scene here on the beautiful Isle of Man. We’ve had the Isle of Man Arts Festival at the beginning of May, Islexpo and personally I’ve been busy with opening The Engine House in Castletown (no it’s not a pub, it’s a co-working space focusing on the arts, tech and media sectors). I’ve been dashing around like a mad thing for the last few weeks so have decided to take a break over TT to rest, recharge the batteries and hopefully come back with much more energy to deal with an ever increasing workload. So really what I’m saying is, sorry, there’s no art news for the next couple of weeks but please bear with me as I hope to get back on track in June with my regular weekly updates.

Of course TT is now upon us and the island is alive with bikes and visitors. Thank goodness the sun is shining – let’s hope we get a good fortnight. This is a great time of year to showcase our local arts, crafts and artisan businesses which are so important in marking the island out for its uniqueness. The Fynoderee Distillery is one of the newer local companies which not only produces their own gins (and now vodka) but also uses local talent for their labels. They posted up that they are delighted to be part of the amazing fortnight of live bands, events, great food and drink at Bushy’s from 5pm, Saturday 26th May and will be unveiling their new purpose built ‘Fyn-Bar’ (built by Macro Metals of Ballasalla) in a great location within Bushy’s stunning set up at the Villa Marina. They will have their Spring Edition – Manx Dry Gin with Fever-Tree mixers and a wonderful range of garnishes to suit all tastes – and will also be showcasing their latest addition to the Fyn Family… the new Bumbee Manx Vodka with a tiny touch of pure Manx honey, again with a range of mixers. Recognise the artist? It’s that very talented lady Julia Ashby Smyth. Don’t you just love the bike?!


Staying with TT for a minute, the Keird Collective is going to be part of Bushy’s TT Village 2018. Along with a handful of other independent local businesses, they will be at the Villa Marina for 11 nights from Wednesday, 30 May to Saturday, 9 June, from 5-9pm. I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have the stamina for that but I’m absolutely delighted for them – well done and have lots of fun young people!!

• Illustrated home goods from Alice Rose Fayle Design
• Unique vintage clothing sourced by Flamingo
• Adorable crocheted crafts from Yarny Gráinne
• Live speed portraits from Kim Gee Studio
• Custom plush toys by Quinn Shipton Illustration
• Handmade clothing and cushions created by Reap What You Sew


Alice Quayle has produced this fab new Manx Food picture for DEFA. She said she loves to be asked to do pictures that are ‘a bit useful and a bit fun’, so was very chuffed indeed to be asked by Isle of Man Food and Drink – to make this picture to help promote Manx Food. It’s just ‘gone live’ ahead of TT and it’s also going to be used at the Agricultural shows and Food Festival too. Let’s hope it helps our fabulous local producers a bit. Oh, is that another bee…? 🙂



Moving to a show off-island, the amazing Stephanie Quayle has created a magnificent group of chimpanzees for Animals & Us which has just opened at Turner Contemporary in Margate. The show runs until Sunday 30 September 2018.

Animals & Us is a major exhibition exploring artists’ reflections on the relationship between humans and other animals.

At a time when scientists warn that humans may be causing the sixth mass extinction on earth, how do we see and relate to other animals? 

Focusing on contemporary and 20th century artists and including historical artworks and artefacts, Animals & Us explores our lives and encounters with animals, and how these have been reflected in art. Animals painted in prehistoric caves were the first subjects of art, reflecting our closeness to them. The artworks in this exhibition explore both our closeness and distance to animals, from our relationships with our pets, to zoos and animals as food. 

Installed across all Turner Contemporary’s first floor galleries, Animals & Us encompasses a wide range of media, from painting and sculpture to video and installation. Drawing on subjects from biology and evolution, to anthropology and technology, it asks questions about how we relate to or differentiate ourselves from other living beings.

Photos by Darren Jackson.

Artists featured: Cory Arcangel, Keith Arnatt, George Bernard Shaw, Joseph Beuys, William Burch, Marc Chagall, Marcus Coates, Mark Dion, Charlotte Dumas, Tracey Emin, Barry Flanagan, Laura Ford, Lucian Freud, Henri Gaudier Brzeska, Conradi Gesneri, Laura Gustafsson & Terike Haapoja, Paul Hazelton, Mishka Henner, Candida Höfer, Andy Holden, Marguerite HumeauKiluanji Kia Henda, Permindar Kaur, Laura Knight, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, Stephen Melton, Alice Neel, Pablo Picasso, Kananginak Pootoogook, Beatrix Potter, Stephanie Quayle, Paula Rego, Michal Rovner, Khvay Samnang, Roelandt Savery, Raqib Shaw, Ernest Howard Shepard, Maria Sibylla, Shimabuku, Gilbert Soest, George Stubbs, Andy Warhol, William Wegman, JMW Turner.


July has been designated ‘culture month’ for 2018 Year of Our Island and Culture Vannin​ has quite rightly being given the opportunity to help shape it (strongly suggest you follow their Facebook page – there are some really interesting facts on there…. did you know for example that there’s a link between Bram Stoker’s novel, ‘Dracula,’ and the Isle of Man?).

July is already packed full of community events and workshops, so rather than create lots of new events, they are keen to hear from you if you know of anything cultural that they can add into the mix, so that they can help promote it and perhaps encourage people to try something new. The image below shows the starter list, but what is missing? What can be added? If you want to add something cultural to the list for July, get in touch. 

More about 2018 Year of Our Island can be found here:


Rebecca Odessa recently posted up this gorgeous new piece of work, ‘EDEN – 12” x 12 hand-cut collage’. I think what caught my attention about this one though is the story which goes with it which I have lifted from Rebecca’s post…

At the southern end of the Sapphire Coast, nestled in Twofold Bay (one of the deepest natural harbours in the world), is a town called Eden. The area has a fascinating whaling history that stretches back millennia. Every year, Baleen whales migrate to and from their breeding grounds, their path cutting directly in front of the bay. At one time, lying in wait were predatory Orcas (from the Latin Orcus, meaning: demons from the underworld) – also known as Killer Whales (despite the fact they are actually dolphins).

Although such behaviour is typical of Orcas the world over, those of the Twofold Bay area were unique, in that they developed a symbiotic relationship with the Katungal (coastal people of the Thaua tribe) who originally lived there. The Orcas would drive Baleen whales into shore, then alert the tribesmen, who would spear and kill the Baleen, leaving the Orcas to feast upon their lips and tongues (a favourite delicacy), taking what was left for themselves once the Orcas had finished. It was a sacred relationship which continued for successive generations; indeed, the Katungal considered the Orcas (whom they called, Beowas) to be ancestors that had returned to provide for the tribe.

When the British arrived and took over the area, setting up whaling stations in and around Twofold Bay, one station-owning family made use of the Katungal relationship with the Beowas; eventually destroying in less than 100 years what it had taken the Katungal thousands of years to develop.


News Shorts


Manos Kalaemnios, a former student of UCM, says he’s very proud to be selected to represent Greece as part of the European Ceramic Context in Denmark this year. 27 countries 51 artists! Well done Manos.


Janet Lees has had one of her beautiful pictures ‘Haunted’ taken at Cregneash featured on ‘Feature Shoot’ in an online article entitled ‘A Trip around the World in 13 Architecture Photos‘. 

Bruno Cavellec has a new show opening at Artreach Studios & The Isle Gallery from 17 June – if it’s anything as good as his last show you’ll need to get to the preview early as there were red dots everywhere!


Dates for your Diary


On now – Bushy’s Exhibition at The Sayle Gallery

On now – 10 June – Magical Island at The Isle Gallery

On now – 17 June – Awakening Art Exhibition – The Methodist Art Collection in the Isle of Man (various locations, see link)

On now – 5 August – ‘Have I Got News for Yessir’ by Phil Woodford at the House of Manannan

On now for a season – Inner Space at Studio 42, Dr Julie Anne Denton

10 June – Exhibition on Screen – Manet Portraying Life at the Erin Arts Centre, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

17 June – ‘Dare the Moon’ by Bruno Cavellec at The Isle Gallery

June – Year of Our Island: “Our Seas and Shores”

July – Year of Our Island: “Culture Month”


Here’s this week’s round up of images from Social Media. Click on the pictures to view in the lightbox.

Have a great week!

Jane x

Keep up-to-date by ‘Liking’ the Facebook Page or by ‘Following’ me on Linkedin or Twitter@manxart or Instagram @manxartdirectory or Pinterest. To get in touch please email:


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Mannin Quilters

As many of you will know, I’ve been pretty busy recently launching The Engine House in Castletown (, a new co-working and incubator space for new and emerging businesses in the arts, media and tech sectors. We’ve had a lot of enquiries this week so I haven’t had much time to devote to the weekly news update. However, I am very pleased to be able to share with you some information about the Mannin Quilters, who again impressed me greatly at this year’s Isle of Man Arts Festival. There were some amazing pieces of work. I took a few pictures and have included them here so that you can see how amazing some of these quilts are.

Rose Mary Coase of Mannin Quilters very kindly sent me this information which I hope you will enjoy in lieu of the news this week.


Mannin Quilters’ home is in the Isle of Man. We were the first quilting group on the island, starting when a group of ladies attended evening classes and decided they would like to carry on doing patchwork and quilting. Eight of them started meeting in their former tutor’s house in 1990. They made an inaugural quilt in 1991 adapting blocks to represent Island Life and 21 years later we made ourselves a birthday hanging, again depicting different aspects of island life. 

Now we have about 80 members but are still a group of ladies with a shared love of sewing who meet to quilt, embroider, chat, share tips, eat cake (usually home made) and drink tea! 

The group is open to anyone who enjoys sewing – you don’t have to be ‘a sewist of a certain standard’ – and they can come along to a couple of meetings to see what we do before joining.

We have two meetings every week – Wednesday afternoon at St Columba’s Catholic Church in Port Erin 1.30-4pm and Tuesday evening at Ballabeg Methodist Chapel 7.30-9pm.

Mannin Quilters has always been involved in community projects. For our Millennium project in 2000, instead of making a big quilt we started making tiny quilts for babies in the Neo Natal Unit (then SCBU) at our local hospital. The parents choose a tiny quilt to brighten up the incubator and when the baby is big enough to go home, the quilt goes with them. We make between 100 and 120 every year.  

We also made a cover for the travelling incubator which cuts out noise and light which can be stressful for the baby while in the helicopter flying to hospitals in the UK and then a couple of years ago we accepted the challenge of  making new bright covers for the incubators in the Unit.

During the early years of visits from the children from Chernobyl (who came over to the island for a month’s  respite care) we made lap quilts  – each in it’s own little bag – for them to take back with them. The first year, the children carried them everywhere!

Every 2 years we hold  an exhibition of our work where we showcase things made at workshops as well as quilts made at home. We don’t have an exhibition every year as it takes us 2 years to make enough items for a good exhibition – 150 exhibits in 2016 and 148 in 2018.

We also make a group quilt to be raffled for charities, relevant to and  chosen by, the group, which takes a year from design to completion.

For the past 3 years we have also made cushions for island ‘Live at Home’ schemes which are given out as presents at Christmas, much to the delight of the recipients.

Mannin Quilters has its own website too:

Charities supported since 2000

2000 – Started making baby quilts for the Neo Natal Unit; Exhibition at Ballabeg; Made a replica quilt for Harry Kelly’s cottage, Cregneash; Made lap quilts for Chernobyl children to take home

2001 – Made 24 lap quilts, each in their own bag, for Chernobyl children – each had a Manx cat or 3 legs on somewhere 

2002 – Exhibition ‘Stitches in Time’  at Ballabeg

2004 – Exhibition at Ballabeg – Hospice care £1,000

2006 – Exhibition at Ballabeg – Alzheimers Society / Rebecca House £650 each

2008 – Exhibition at Ballabeg  -Parkinsons/Breakthrough Breast Cancer £650 each

2010 – Exhibition at Ballabeg  – Robert Owen House/ Hyperbaric / Hospice £500 each.

2012 – Exhibition at Ballabeg  – Manx Cancer Care/ Parkinsons £620 each; 50 lap quilts for Hospice

2014 – Exhibition at Ballabeg – Alzheimers/Macmillan Nurses £1,000 each; Made 93 cushions for Southern Befrienders

2015 – Made 64 green jerseys for start of the Tour de France in Harrogate; Made a Manx patchwork quilt for the North American Manx Association homecoming

2016 – Exhibition at Ballabeg  – Hyperbaric/Rushen First Responders £1.000 each; Made a new travelling incubator cover for Neo Natal Unit; Made cushions for Laxey and Lonan Live at Home

2017 – Made Christmas bunting for Neo Natal Unit; Made cushions for Western Live at Home scheme

2018 – Raising money for Macular Society Isle of Man and Multiple Sclerosis Society Isle of Man


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Michael Sandle: Monumental Rage

I’m delighted to bring you this week a press release forwarded to me by Michael Sandle, RA, about his forthcoming major exhibition in Chester which opens this Friday 18th May in the Grosvenor Museum. 

Michael told me in his email “Weirdly a very long time ago when I was doing my National Service in the Royal Artillery when aged eighteen I was stationed in Chester and some evenings I was able to attend the local art school as an evening student –  now this very same art school has become the Grosvenor Museum – a nice bit of symmetry I feel.”

Winner of many prestigious awards Michael has also produced numerous public commissions. The two local ones you might be familiar with are:

  • 1997 “The Viking”, Port Erin Arts Centre, and
  • 2001 Monument to Sir William Hillary, Marine Gardens, Douglas.

The exhibition runs until 7 October 2018 so if you are planning a trip across this might be an exciting show to add to your itinerary.