Monday, 14 May 2012

A day out in London.

Several months ago members of Somerset Art works SAW were invited to create a small group of Artists with a view to working together.The object of the exercise was to explore ideas for creating works together and expanding our understanding of different medias within the group.
It was intended that the group would also look at ways of presenting our works to make them more saleable and explore ways of getting more of our works seen by the public.
On our first meeting five of us turned up and have supported the group ever since .Our new group was made up of a mixture of three ladies interested in fabrics two lady ceramicists and myself a woodturner quite a nice mix.We have now had quite a number of very productive and enjoyable meeting at SAW's headquarters in Langport which is quite Central for all of us.
At our last meeting Jan our group organiser told us that SAW had decided to give us a grant to further the work of our group.After some discussion it was decided we would ask SAW if this grant could be used to fund a research trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Saw agreed to our request and things were set in motion.Tickets were bought for the train journey and arrangements made for Sunday the 13Th May.
In the meantime it was noted that there was two exhibitions going on at the same time in London one was in the OXO building on the embankment and the other at the Saatchi Gallery Sloan square.

The Oxo building was hosting The Handmade in Britain exhibition of contemporary crafts.
link here

The Saatchie Gallery was hosting Collect 2012 .
link here

We arranged for four of us to meet at Castle Cary train station and one of us from Taunton station.
Two of us arrived early at Castle Cary to be greeted by the information board saying our train the 9 50am was cancelled and the next one was at 12 30 pm too late for us as we were going to be pushed for time as it was.
We decided to call it a day but would wait and tell the other two the bad news.In the meantime there was another announcement saying our train was no longer cancelled and would still be running but an hour late.
We decided this would not be the end of the world and although we would be even more pushed for time we would make the most of our day out.
The information board kept changing about every five minutes but did eventually turn up as promised.
The journey to London Padding ton was quite uneventfully and we arrived about one O clock.Then we had the bit I really do not like the tube journey.Crammed into a tube train with hundreds of strangers rattling along at breakneck speeds is not my idea of fun.
Eventually after changing tubes several times and a long walk beside the River Thames we arrived at the OXO building and the Handmade in Britain Exhibition.If I like to be perfectly honest this turned out to be a bit disappointing and not in my opinion as good an exhibition as  the information available said it would be.There was 35 exhibitors crammed into what can only be described as too small a space.Some of the work was very well made and some was quite poor in my opinion.It seemed the only criteria for being able to exhibit and sell there was being able to fund the £600  00 for a very small space.To be fair everybody there was making the most of what they had and were very welcoming.
I think if we learnt anything from this exhibition it was that to present your works to their best advantage don't crowd your alloted space as it then starts to look more like a table top sale than a high quality exhibition.

Time was now moving on so we grabbed a sandwich and after a long walk and more misery on the tube we arrived at the Saatchi Gallery.What a place this is a fantastic building and an unbelievably amazing Exhibition.
This exhibition was totally different to the Handmade in Britain very very professional and of a very high quality.
The exhibition was not lone makers but Galleries setting up galleries within the building and individual makers within the gallery space.These galleries were from all over the world and we had the opportunity to see how the professionals do it.I would not like to guess the costs of setting up something like this but it probably runs into millions.
The exhibition area covered four floors and gave us the opportunity to see the makers of some of the best contemporary Art and Craft in the world.If we learnt anything from this exhibition it t was te reinforce the fact the real art is not crammed into small spaces but exhibited sympathetically.Another thing I noted here was how important lighting is.

We had intended making a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum at the end of the day but this exhibition was so good and we were also now running short of time we decided to spend the rest of our day there.
A visit to the Victoria and Albert will have to wait to another day for me but that is something else to look forward to.
We left the  Saacthi Gallery at approx six O clock and made our way back to Paddington station with time left for a meal and time to catch our train home which thankfully was on time.I arrived home at about 11 pm a long day but well worth it.

On our journey home in the train we discussed the possibility of the five of us doing a joint exhibition next year for the Somerset Art Weeks event.
We have to find a suitable venue and agree a theme for 2013 .As a group we have found this very rewarding and I feel sure we will be doing some good works together in the future.
Thank you Somerset Art works for giving us the opportunity to be involved in this venture it has in my opinion been a great success..

On our day out I took over 250 pictures some of them are here for you to enjoy I hope.

To enlarge the pics left click on pic. 


  1. Hi George

    You had a great time and thank you for sharing the pictures. Not sure about all those colourful sculptural pieces,! what can you use them for,? Can put pot pouri in them.? :-)

  2. Hi Mark.I know you are only joking.I hope to take inspiration from the colours and try and use them in future works.Thank you for commenting.

  3. Hi George,
    Obviously a good day was had by one and all! Great pictures with some interesting forms and colour.....

  4. Hi George

    Of course I was joking, the sculptures are beautiful and a lot of material to help develop ideas.

  5. Thank you Sue.
    Hi Mark.I just need to sort out the picture sizes now

  6. Hi George, so glad you spent your time photographing loads of textiles for inspiration..... I'm glad you were inspired

  7. Hi Wendy.I took pics of everything these are only a small selection.I found the colour combinations of the fabrics very inspiring.