It’s not often you get to pick up an artist’s sketch book and turn over the pages (unless they are your best mate or you’re married to them I guess) but at the new exhibition, ‘Inspiration’, at the Hodgson Loom gallery in Laxey you can do just that. Leafing through the sketches and doodles you really get to appreciate just how wonderfully creative the artists’ minds are. I was turning over the pages in one sketch book thinking ‘well I’d frame that’ and ‘I’d frame that one too’ and ‘Ooooh yes, I’d definitely frame that one’ – and those are just the sketches! 

Julia Ashby Smyth

I had a lovely chat with Julia Ashby Smyth who has curated the exhibition. Julia said that although some of the sketch books are under protective covers she will be selecting different pages for public viewing each day. This, and more work yet to arrive, meant that there would be a dynamic, changing element to the show. Julia’s own work – in a box that you can rifle through (with care, of course) – includes sketches of dragons, faeries and mythical beasties. It’s very evident that her knowledge of Manx folklore has grown through a simple, honest fascination for the subject. In the photograph behind Julia you might recognise the Christmas stamps she designed a few years ago.

Neil Milsom

Neil Milsom popped in while I was there. Neil told me in his lovely soft Irish accent about his passion for pre-history. I hadn’t appreciated at first that he had actually crafted the pin on display using the rudimentary tools on the plinth below it. Neil had seen such a pin crafted in gold on a visit to his home town of Dublin and in his words he had ‘become obsessed by it’. Much of Neil’s work (when he’s not working the day job) is mineral based and reflects the runes and symbols found at ancient sites. You can see more of Neil’s work on his website:

Grace Cain (left) and Rebecca Odessa

I loved Rebecca Odessa’s framed collages. I found the cut, crisp edges and simple backgrounds very pleasing indeed. Rebecca told me that she loves the cutting but is not so fond of the sticking! Nevertheless, she’s done a wonderful job of it and created some really interesting and thought provoking pieces.

Julie Roberts

Julie Roberts also called in but I didn’t get a chance to talk to her about her work. It was lovely to meet her though, albeit briefly, and I did manage to snatch a photo of her standing in front of one of her works. Apologies for the quality of the pictures – I just snapped them on my phone.

Other exhibitors include Rosie Wood, Noelle Quinn, Pat Kelly, Kathy Craig, Kirsten Penzes, Helen Tate, M G Moffatt, Jan Cottier and Cas Powles. The Exhibition is on until 16th April so there is still plenty of time to visit this fascinating insight into the thinking and ideas that go towards producing some of our fabulous local artwork.

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‘Inspiration’ Exhibition is a Rare Treat
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