Sunday 14 April 2013

a gallery crawl (no pubs involved, unfortunately ;) )

 I took my daughter (nearly sixteen) and my two nieces (nearly fifteen, and ten) on a bit of a gallery crawl the other day.  We started off at Unit Twelve Gallery near Stafford, run by the very talented Jennifer Collier.  The current exhibition is called 'Traditional Twisted' and features work by one of mine and Sophie's (Grammar?) favourite artists, Alix Swan as well as work by someone we know from our home town, Leah Fletcher.

Alix's work is based on traditional tales and I have a couple of her tiny books.  For this exhibition she had created wooden boxes containing elements from the stories, with a handle on the side to turn (which played music) and a book tucked in the back with a padded label stating 'pull me'.

 I love the way she reduces the stories to single words or snippets of sentences.

 And that long, thin book for 'Rapunzel' is just fab!  Sophie and I are already booked on her two day workshop at the end of May where we'll spend a whole weekend making a little hard back book and, I assume, putting some content in it.

 I'm struggling to decide which story, if any, to do as 'The Elves and the Shoemaker' is my very, very favourite, alongside 'The Three Billy Goats Gruff'!  But Sophie is doing 'Little Red Riding Hood' for her GCSE project and I'm loving the references to trees, the snippets of red for the girl and grey for the wolf; plus 'The Princess and the Pea' would give great castle imagery and snippets of fabric for the mattresses, and would really suit a long thin book. Hmmm.

 Other work in the exhibition included these lovely paper/cloth quilts by Maria Thomas.  Look carefully and you can see regular packaging for biscuits and cakes and other sweet goodies.

Leah Fletcher's work is a beautiful combination of vintage fabric, memories and porcelain.

From Unit Twelve Gallery we travelled West, just a few minutes down the road to Stafford where we saw the 'Mad Dogs and Englishmen' exhibition by Lauren Van Helmond at the Shire Hall Gallery (Sue, you'd love this!)

Lauren creates amazing metal sculptures of dogs and combines them with blokes!

I love how, with a simple bit of carving, wooden spoons can have such character!

The gallery shop is fabulous, full of way too many goodies.  There's a cafe too but we didn't have time for cake unfortunately!

Off on the road again we headed for the market town of Eccleshall, where a group of artists have got together and run a gallery called 'gallery at 12'.

It's a proper English town and the photo really doesn't do the main street justice, but how fab is that old fire station!

It was great to see work by Jo Hill in particular as I love her textile designs.

A quick trip to the old fashioned sweet shop completed our trip as my youngest niece had to get back to go bowling with a friend.  Cake would have been nice, but never mind, and there are lots of little boutique shops in Eccleshall which looked fabulous through the windows.


  1. you did find some wonderful places to visit Sarah. hope "the young'n's" appreciated it too! :)

  2. How great to have so much to visit in one day.

  3. Hey Sweetie! Looks like you and the girls had a great day. I love that Rapunzel book too, and those paper/cloth quilts are just gorgeous! I'm sure your book making workshop will be awesome! I'd love to see what you both make. Have a fun weekend, Sarah. xo


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