I was absolutely delighted to be invited to the launch of the Manx Tholtans exhibition at the Manx Museum last Thursday which has been sponsored by WH Ireland. It was a very prestigious event with a lovely drinks reception and a chance to see the show, followed by dinner at the Claremont Hotel and a complimentary copy of Ray Kelly’s second volume of Manx Tholtans, which is absolutely beautiful. It was a most excellent evening with good company, good food and loads of networking opportunities, so grateful thanks to both Manx National Heritage and WH Ireland for the invitation.

I managed to catch Ray and Niamh for a chat at the museum and was fascinated to hear Niamh talking about making the fireplace and tree – a very different endeavour for her as she more usually works on a much smaller scale in clay. Some of her gorgeous ceramics are on show and she described the tiny ones as ‘her babies’.  I totally get it – you can see the love and care that has gone into making them. If you haven’t seen MNH’s timelapse video of setting up the show yet do have a watch – and more importantly, do go and see the show for yourself. It’s fascinating.

(Cover picture of a Manx Tholtan by Ray Kelly).

On the subject of artists and tholtans, Clare Balding was on Radio 4 last Thursday with a programme called “Rambling Walk from Glen Dhoo to Tholty Will”, coincidentally the afternoon of the grand opening of the MNH show. She was walking with local artist, Michael Starkey (in the green jacket) and guide Chris Callow. If you missed it you can click here to listen.  

Photo courtesy of Lucy Lunt

Saturday saw the launch of the ‘All things Loaghtan’ exhibition at the Hodgson Loom Gallery. I was a bit concerned about whether or not there would be enough art related woolliness for a whole show so was really delighted when I visited the opening to see that that there were indeed lots of sheepy and woolly things that have been produced by local artists including Nicola Dixon, Erika Kermode, Kasia Mirska, Chrissie Moss, Natalie Norton, Pat Kelly, Julia Ashby Smyth and Maureen Kennaugh to name but a few.

One of the most striking and quirky things in the show has to be ‘Ramon’, who has taken his name from the fact that his head comes away from the mount, so he can be either ‘Ram-on’ or ‘Ram-off’. For the show he is Ramon and I’m very pleased to say that he has been purchased by the Woollen Mill as a permanent and fitting piece of decor for the shop.

Here are a few pics of Kasia Mirska making Ramon which I thought would be fun for you to see.

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Of course there are all sorts of other lovely items to be seen and bought. I was very tempted by some lovely work by Anne-Louise Clague and might have to go back and treat myself. The 7th North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference, which is the reason for this exhibition, is on this week 12-15 October. You can click here to see the program of events which starts on Thursday evening. The show at the gallery is on now until 28th October. Here are a few more pictures from my visit at the weekend.

There is so much good stuff to see at the moment. Last weekend, 1st October, was the opening of Jeremy Paul’s new show at The Isle Gallery, Tynwald Mills. As expected there was a really good turn out. Jeremy is perhaps one of the Island’s best known artists and his work regularly appears on our stamps, the most recent “Coastal Birds of the Isle of Man” being his 11th set.  The original paintings from which the stamps are taken are on display at the gallery along with elephants, tigers, snow leopards and a whole ark-full of species.

He is such a talented artist that you really should make a special trip to see this one. Jeremy only exhibits on the Island every two years and whist you can buy his prints through his website, this is a relatively rare opportunity to see a body of his work all together which I think for any collector is very beneficial when it comes to selecting just the right piece, whether it be the original or a print.

Ceramic artist, Katy Mitchell, has announced that she is off to do some travelling in early December to look at some opportunities in Australia and the UK. In anticipation of this departure, Katy has announced that the date for this year’s ‘Christmas in the Yard’ will be Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th November at Lower Bishopcourt Farm in Kirk Michael, with PineWood Studio. Details will be confirmed in good time, but heads up: there will be a seconds and samples clearance sale (her first on the Island) as well as this year’s festive designs. Flo the Coffee Van will also be in the yard for the weekend to serve up deliciously festive refreshments.

Whilst Katy says she is not yet sure where she will land next year, and in what form KMC will relaunch, she has promised to keep us all posted – especially when she re-opens her order book for 2018!

I’ve mentioned in a couple of news posts over the weeks that Svetlana Cameron was generously donating one of her stunning paintings to the Gift of Life chartiy which supports children suffering from cancer. The gala event was held in London last week and Svetlana reported that is was a truly magical evening, and that she was humbled by the generosity of people who attended. The sale of one of her two ballerina artworks (the buyer could choose which one to take home) plus an opportunity to commission a child portrait in pastel raised £22,000. Svetlana said that she received a truly warm welcome and now has many new admirers of her work including actor Sergey Bezrukov, film director Anna Matison and Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko.

Natalia Osipova  the ballerina who is the subject of the paintings was busy performing Gisele in Germany for her part of the auction lot – a photo session with her and a backstage tour of the London Royal Opera House sold for £30,000 separately from Svetlana’s portrait which went to another buyer, so the joint contribution to Gift of Life charity came to £52,000. What a fantastic contribution to a very worthwhile charity.

News Shorts

..or perhaps News Shortbread in this case. Jeremy Paul’s beautiful work is now on M&S biscuit tins …. that Christmas sorted folks!

Phil Kneen has just published a new blog post, ‘Flat White’. Regular readers will know that I not only like his photos but I like the way he writes as well. Check it out here: https://philkneen.wordpress.com/2017/10/08/flat-white/.   And I concur – Allan certain does make exceptionally good coffee.


Eloise White’s animation “A Happy Medium” has been accepted into the Cardiff International Film Festival. Well done to her!

Dates for your Diary

On now ‘Painted Dreams’ by Eileen Schaer a the House of Manannan, Peel

On now until 12 November; ‘Wildlife – an Artist’s View” – Jeremy Paul at The Isle Gallery

Opening 14 October to 12 November – BC20FK17 at The Sayle Gallery

On now until 27 January 2018; Manx Tholtans at the Manx Museum – Ray Kelly and Niamh Kelly

On now until 28 October – All things Loaghtan at the Hodgson Loom Gallery in conjunction with the 7th North Atlantic Sheep Conference

12-15 October – 7th North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference. For full details go to viking-sheep.org

13 October – Arts, Craft and Demonstration Fayre at The Working Men’s Institute in Laxey – 11.00am – 9.00pm

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

Please remember to Share this post via your social media to help get the word out about our fabulous local Artists.

Have a great week!

Jane x

Isle of Man Art News – 9 October 2017

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