Monday, 4 February 2013

Back to Nature - wildlife and nature exhibition 9th to 30th March

Winds of Change Gallery starts off the year with 'Back to Nature' exhibition which welcomes the return of Shelly Perkins illustrator whose work is inspired by the countryside around her. 

There will also be a wide range of work by British artists and makers whose work is also inspired by wildlife and nature of the British countryside.  Work will include ceramics, jewellery, glass, sculpture and much more.

Obelisk Opportunists
Shelly Perkins

Friday, 5 October 2012

'Paper Works' - 27th October to 22nd December 2012

Winds of Change Gallery and Winchcombe has celebrated its fine history of wool and now we are embracing Winchcombe's history of paper making! Winds of Change Gallery will be showcasing contemporary paper cut fine art but before mentioning more about what can be seen in the exhibition, here is a brief history of Winchcombe's papermills, once again courtesy of Jean Bray Sudeley Castle's archivist.

We take you back to the 17th Century when the industry of paper making in Winchcombe is recorded.

The River Isbourne flows North throughout its length, rising on Cleeve Hill and continuing north for 20 miles through Winchcombe and surrounding area's before entering the River Avon at Evesham. The importance of the River Isbourne is that is it is free from iron making it very suitable for paper making, especially of filter papers and at one time there were many small mills along its banks.

In the 17th century the Durham family lived at Postlip Hall and owned the paper mills which had been converted from corn mills previously owned by Winchcombe Abbey.

 As early as 1725 John Durham was watermarking and finishing paper manufactured in Holland. By 1734 he was paying rates on Upper Mill and Lower Mill and in 1745 on Middle Mill. John died in 1759 whereupon his son William took over the business and ran it until his death in 1803. Well before then paper manufacturing started at the 3 mills – writing paper at Upper Mill, brown or packing paper at Middle Mill and blue or sugar paper at Lower Mill.

Before the arrival of steam-powered machinery paper making was a laborious process largely carried out by hand. Linen or cotton rags were the main source of raw materials which had to be sorted out, cut into small pieces and converted into pulp. The pulp was produced by beating the rags on an iron platen with an iron, shod wooden mallet, a process which could take all day.

In the early 19th Century the Winchcombe Tovey family became famous makers of 'dandy rolls'. The wire rolls which print the watermark on to the still wet paper. Old Mr George Tovey, wearing a tall silk hat and having fortified himself for the walk, steering a somewhat uncertain course, would carry his precious dandy rolls himself through Winchcombe and up to the Paper Mills. His trade is now extinct and the workshop in Chandos Lane is now a Roman Catholic Church. After William Durham's death the Postlip Mills were leased by a partnership of the brothers Nathaniel, Edward and Thomas Lloyd, who ran the business until 1824, when the owner, Lord Coventry, sold the mills to William Searle Evans, who had been a surgeon in Tewkesbury for many years. The Lloyd brothers appear to have run the business in a spirit of patriarchal benevolence and it provided vital employment for some of Winchcombe's inhabitants. Nathaniel also operated the smaller Sudeley paper mill at the southern end of Castle Street, which used water from the Beesmoor Brook and produced a fine quality handmade writing paper, but this did not seem to have survived his death in 1845. It is now part of the Sudeley Castle country cottages complex on the eastern side of Castle Street. Postlip Upper Mill is the only one which still makes paper, now in particular filters for the automotive and aircraft industry and these are made now using wood resin rather than the rags of old.

Moving on to the present time, the gallery will be showcasing the wonderful work of Belinda Durrant and Lucy Hellberg.

Belinda's work was featured on 'Show me the Monet' where from across the nation artists were invited to submit their work before the 'hanging committee, made up of a panel of 3 renowned art experts, Charlotte Mullins, David Lee and Roy Bolton. The initial application of over 1000 was narrowed down to 35 including work by Belinda, whom amongst the other artists work chosen, was  invited to exhibit at the Royal College of Art in London.
Belinda also regularly exhibits her work at the Royal West of England Academy.

Lucy Hellberg draws her inspiration from a multitude of influences, from folk art to nature, the macabre to Gothic. She has always busied herself sketching and experimenting in all manner of media but lately her focus has been on developing her shadow cuts, drawings and photo etchings. Lucy was drawn to shadow cuts from her love of traditional fairy-tale silhouettes when her mother had given her a silhouette-cut of little red riding hood which is exquisitely intricate and beautiful but despite this it had dark and rather unsettling undertones. Lucy has attempted to capture this in her own work using white paper and shadow mounting to create a softer lace-like quality.

 Paper cutting is one of the oldest surviving crafts dating back to the 6th century and is as popular today all over the world.
'Goldcrest Corset' by Belinda Durrant (currently being exhibited at the Museum of Lace & Fashion, Calais)

                                                              'Deer' by Lucy Hellberg

Thursday, 14 June 2012

PICK UP A PENCIL - The work of Laurence Fish

Having now lived and run the Gallery in Winchcombe for many years, I have met and made so many very interesting friends. One friendship that has blossomed and I am privileged to have made, is that of Jean Bray, Sudeley Castle's archivist. Having already written and had books published such as The Lady of Sudeley and the Mysterious Captain Brocklehurst, Jean is about to have yet another book published titled 'Pick up a Pencil'. Not only having lead a very interesting life herself, with a previous career as a publicist in London working with iconic celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Errol Flynn. Jean's late husband, Laurence Fish had equally lead a fascinating life. This book, due out soon, covers the work of this extremely talented artist. From serving with the RAF during WWII, seconded to MI5 as a technical specialist in explosive devices, a commercial illustrator, commissioned by many famous British Companies to designing wonderful colour illustrated British Railway Posters many of which capture beautiful ladies in bathing costumes to which Jean fondly refers to as 'his cheesecakes'. In later life, when Laurence was able to shed the constraints of commercial work, he enjoyed painting in an impressionist manner working in oils and watercolours. His subject matter often capturing scenes of harbours, towns and market places in popular and less familiar locations abroad. As well as regularly showing in the Cotswolds, he exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Show and at the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour and the Royal Society of Marine Artists, as well as many provincial galleries. He is also represented in several corporate collections. As to the title of the book, you may wonder how this came about. Jean decided to use a quote from one of Laurence's favourite sayings “sooner or later someone has to pick up a pencil”.......... The launch of this beautifully illustrated book will take place at Winds of Change Gallery, where you will have opportunity to meet Jean Bray who will be signing copies of the book. There will also be an exhibition of Laurence's posters and original paintings some of which will be for sale. Should you wish to hear more about the book or come along to the launch please contact the gallery...... . More information coming soon.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Wool In Winchcombe Exhibition

Having sourced some wonderful artisans here in the Cotswolds, Coln Valley Cushions, Woolsoft, Felt Special and more all working with British Wool and some of which having a farming background, I was also delighted and fortunate to meet Julia de Gruchy East, who is a new resident to Winchcombe and oringally from Jersey.

A few weeks back Julie and her husband Andrew walked into the gallery clutching her artwork. Once I was able to view Julie's work, not only were they perfect for the wool themed exhibition in that her canvases where made up of vintage British wook blankets but I loved the story behind her unique style of work. Working with an old sewing machine with no fancy settings, just backwards and forward movements, Julia's worked portraiture of local butchers into the blankets, the loopy stitches created from the tempremental machine, made the effect all the more interesting.

Her focus was centered around the local tradesmen particularly that of the butchers, respecting the work they do in a particularly physical demanding profession.

Julie says "Winchcombe is just lovely with its historic buildings and beautiful surrounding countryside, it is impossible not to be inspired. By linking traditional vintage blankets with unusual working methods, I aim to represent aspects of the area in a different light, the people who make up the town, the individuality of the tradesmen who make it so unique, the rolling hills and the incredable wool trade heritage".

On my part its a reminder of the importance of supporting local independant business and the pride they take in their professions.

Julie's work will be shown throughout the three week selling exhbition at the gallery.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Wool In Winchcombe - A Celebration of Winchcombe's Wool Town Heritage - 14th April to 5th May

Those who know, live or work in Winchcombe will appreciate it is a town made up of many interesting facets of history, intrigue and eccentricities.

Having had the idea of highlighting Winchcombe's wool connection on the back burner for a couple of years, I finally set the wheels in motion last year for 'Wool in Winchcombe' not realising that it would raise such enthusiasm from so many people who wished to take part or be involved.

Jean Bray, Sudeley Castle's Archivist, helped a great deal in sourcing historical information such as an extract taken from Thomas Baskerville's Journal (1677-78) which reads.....

"As to the town of Winchcombe, when the castle had its lord and the abbey its abbots and monks to spend the estates and income of both places here, then here was more to do than at present, yet the town for the bigness is very populous and the people of it in their calling very diligent to get their livings.

Here in a morning at 4 o'clock I saw many women of the older sort smoking their pipes of tobacco* and yet lost no time, for their fingers were all the while busy at knitting and women carrying their puddings and bread to the bakehouse lose no time but knit by the way...

....We lay at the sign of the Bell, Mr Houlet, a very respectful man our landlord and his wife who gave us very good entertainment and seldom fail of good ale, for they have very good water in their well....Here is one fair church, a small alms-house and some ruins of the abbey yet remaining. 

Prior to the ruin of Winchcombe Abbey, it is known that the monks kept a flock of 8,000 Cotswold sheep only 2,000 less than that recorded for Gloucester Abbey.

This even may well even develop further over the course of the next few weeks but the main enthasis is that everyone can be involved.

*tobacco was also grown in Winchcombe but thats another story for another time.......

Dates of events to follow.....

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Wool In Winchcombe - 14th April to 5th May

A unique heritage event celebrating Winchcombe's importance as a Wool town with a collection of events to be shared and enjoyed by textile enthusiasts, children and adults.

Winds of Change Gallery will be showcasing an interiors exhibition to include British Wool and natural yarn products by Wool Soft, Coln Valley, Rachel John, together with sculpture, pottery and art.

Contemporary textile artist and inventor of Extreme Textiles, Rachel John, will be demonstrating Extreme Knitting -

Rachel has worked on commissions for British Wool Marketing Board and the Campaign for Wool, Stella McCartney and Oasis . Throughout 2012 Rachel will also be taking her exhibitions on tour, making TV appearances, holding demonstrations and workshops throughout Europe.

Gretel Parker, children's illustrator, toy maker and needle felt artist will be demonstrating needle felting followed by a workshop.

Fibreworks from Chipping Norton will also be taking part.

The BIG knit will be taking place at St. Peter's Church where everyone can take part.

'Wool I Never' knitting for beginners at the Old Tea House, Winchcombe

Performances of village songs and historical talks on Wool by Shepherd's Crook.

Spinning and weaving demonstrations and much more....

A full schedule of dates of events and updates coming soon.   Anyone wishing to take part please get in touch....the more the merrier.