Each year in September the market town of Melbourne in Derbyshire holds a festival over a full weekend and includes an art and architecture trail which my fiance and I were more than happy to go along to.
The exhibitors and artists had their stalls located throughout the town in the churches, the halls and many of the local town private houses – kitchens or living areas and gardens not normally open to the public are used as areas for effectively pop-up shops or exhibition space.
Many of the pubs or halls or gardens also had musicians or performing artists putting on shows including family activities – this festival is a celebration of creative and performing arts of all genres and as a consequence attracts visitors of all ages. My fiance and I really did not know what to expect and so went along purely for the afternoon – in 2017 we are allowing a full day as there was so much to see and do we realised 3 hours was not really enough time to fully appreciate all there was to see and do without rushing and also allowing for a picnic lunch!
Melbourne is what I would consider a small to medium sized market town and not difficult to navigate but it is remarkable just what it could pack in! Regarding the actual art and architecture trail – entrance is by a sticker style ticket which also provides you with a guidebook, which frustratingly as I type I have mislaid, which gives you information on all the artists and where they are located …. each house or church is numbered on the outside which helps hugely and the whole festival and trail was wonderfully organised.
Susan makes a wide variety of textile pieces including the fabulous watering can which can be seen in my photograph along with an array of bags or vessels which are suitable to have a glass vase or plant pot inserted plus also a variety of buttons, fabric covered mirrors and broaches amongst other things. All of Susan’s work is stitched in bright fabrics with heavy machine stitching but it is the three dimensional objects that intrigued me most and I was delighted to see in person.
Please note any photographs I post I obtained permission the of the artist at the festival to do so and due to mislaying my guide I am also only posting the images in which I can rightfully credit the maker.
Near to Susan Trevor was a print-maker called James Green whose work we both really loved as his work was vary varied from town/cityscapes to animals which again ranged from sketchbook style to folk art or whimsical style.
James Green’s work includes lino cuts, screen prints and poster prints and having tried the first of those I was in awe of his skill – lino-cutting takes practice and time and considerable patience to learn never minding just keeping fingers out of the way of those blades! Mr Green was one of the nicest people we met throughout the afternoon and was more than delighted to talk about his work as well as really encourage me to keep persevering with the technique and was happy to give advice.
Kerri’s work responds to man-made urban and industrial spaces which I found really appealing particularly considering I have previously thought I was more of a landscape art fan.
I loved how Kerri uses colour and line to create form and texture but also atmosphere too – one of my favourite pieces is the one in the top right of my photograph because it feels as if you are peering through a gap in a fence or wall to the street beyond. The art work has a slightly abstract feel about it but still feels familiar evoking differing emotions depending on the piece and a little bit of research into Kerri’s work reveals that she is working with abstraction as she explores the various aspects of the painting process. It is interesting to note that each of her pieces starts with sketches and photographs which is very much at the centre of my own work during my studies at present – I personally am finding photographs useful in capturing a moment or a particular angle that I can reference when at my desk if I am not able to sketch quickly enough at the time.
I cannot help love the flower images that Keith creates – all are delightfully feminine and soft and are art works I would love to be able to afford to have in my home.
Keith’s website reveals his love of marks or patterns that may have been created naturally or by mistake and in urban environments or nature and his skill lies in transforming his photographs into abstract photomontages in which his original source is not always immediately obvious. I have been increasingly drawn to abstraction due to the studies of this course and personally I like semi-abstract works rather than total abstraction and this is another reason I like these works – if you look closely at some of the other pieces you can work out what the object or the original scene was but it can take a little thought or viewing from maybe a different angle.
In addition there was a beautiful gypsy style caravan which had been set in a Wind in the Willows scene – there was a trail on this theme around the town for children and their parents or families to follow. This caravan was transformed into a delightful story telling area with shade and seats to sit on on a very warm and sunny day.
Justine’s work was relatively varied covering jewelry, textiles, ceramics and also art. I particularly loved her use of colour in these two landscape paintings combined with the strong use of line which creates very atmospheric and emotional works.
Rather stupidly I had forgotten to put my camera battery on charge the night before so was limited in how many photographs I could take but before it died totally was able to capture the work of Mark Gordon in whose paintings my fiance and I immediately recognised many locations – including this one of the stables at Calke Abbey which we had visited for my art history module.
Mark’s work displays his considerable skill with oil paints and his ability capture the atmosphere of the houses or buildings he paints and also the landscapes or seascapes. As we discovered some of his work includes the interiors of properties including the local National Trust properties whereby he captures not just the details but something that goes beyond what you immediately see – the artist statement on the Tarpey Gallery website describes his work as capturing the memories and lives of those who have lived in those properties and this I totally agree with.
It is of no surprise to learn that Mark Gordon was named the best young artist in Britain aged 17 and went on to study drawing and painting at the Ruskin School in Oxford – his talent is evident and his works are in a variety of collections throughout the UK as well as the education department of Nottingham Castle.
Interestingly on Mark Gordon’s website is a page devoted to mobile phone photography – I say interestingly because this is a relatively new genre of photography as our mobile phones become ever more sophisticated. Mark has an incredible eye for capturing a moment or a scene that may or may not be developed through photographic manipulation or editing but results in images that have an ethereal or ghostly quality about them and also have an aura about them of a time gone past.
This is just a snapshot of the festival but other works included metallic sculptures, ceramics, hand crafted jewelry and art works of every genre and media from oil paintings to pastel to watercolours – there really was something for everyone. The vast majority of artists were friendly and welcoming and happy to talk about their work and answer any questions and there is no doubt all the homeowners who opened their doors are instrumental in this festival being the success it is. One day I want to be one of the artists exhibiting and selling there such was the impression it has left on myself and my fiance.
Gordon, M. 2017. Mark Gordon [online]. [Date Accessed: January 2017]. Available from: http://markgordonart.com/
Green, J. 2016. James Green Printworks [online]. [Date Accessed: December 2016]. Available from: http://jamesgreenprintworks.blogspot.co.uk/
Melbourne Festival. 2017. The Melbourne Festival of Creative and Performing Arts [online]. [Date Accessed: January 2017]. Available from: http://melbournefestival.co.uk/welcome-to-melbourne-festival/
Nettleton, J. (date unknown). Justine Nettleton Artist and Maker [online]. [Date Accessed: December 2016]. Available from: http://www.justinenettleton.co.uk/
Peak District Artisans and Respective Members. 2017. Keith Wright Artist Biography [online]. [Date Accessed: January 2017]. Available from: http://www.peakdistrictartisans.co.uk/artist/keith-wright-2/
Pratt, K. (date unknown). Kerri Pratt [online]. [Date Accessed: December 2016]. Available from: http://www.kerripratt.co.uk/
Tarpey Gallery Contemporary Fine Art. (date unknown). Mark Gordon Derbyshire, UK [online]. [Date Accessed: January 2017]. Available from: http://tarpeygallery.com/artist/mark-gordon/
Wright, K. (date unknown). Keight Wright – fine art photography [online]. [Date Accessed: December 2016]. Available from: http://www.keith-wright.com/