Sculpting With Wool: Debie Deaton, Mixed Media Artist

Bird, bug and goldfish made from felt

Crow, bug, goldfish and tealfish wool art waiting for new homes

At Chimneyville Arts Festival in Jackson last year, one stand was a Shakespearean comedy, full of colour, reverie, laughter and life. Was it just in my imagination that Falstaff, Feste, Caliban and The Man In The Moon cavorted with felt acrobats, goofy-looking puppets, elves, Pod people, birds, bees and bugs?

A lady dressed in a bright jacket sat quietly by the stand, rising to greet visitors with a Duchenne smile. This was Debie Deaton, a member of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi. Continue reading

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show’s Twilight Zone

Cross-sections of a boulder fitted together to make a path

A 8ft meteor has fallen to earth, coming to rest in a garden. The impact has blackened the fencing, scorched vegetation and reduced trees and shrubs to charred branches.

The path is miraculously unscathed: not quite so old as the meteor, it has been made from a Caledonian boulder formed millions of years ago. Smaller boulders lie around, giving the floor added dimension and creating a lovely backdrop for the silhouettes of low growing plants and twisted embers of wood.

Charred, twisted branches amongst foliage and flowers

The dark planting scheme glows red hot in places: the chocolate-red cosmos and orange-red helenium firing up the green and pewter foliage, the burnt wood and the futuristic lilacs. This is the Elements Mystique Garden from RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2018, but the setting would not be out of place in an episode of The Twilight Zone.  Continue reading

Stone Angel

Angel's face

As a Doctor Who fan, I really ought not to like stone angels as much as I do. My sweetheart loves to visit cemeteries in his quest for tough plants (‘flowers even dead people can grow’). We often see cherubs but the more characterful angels, like this one holding out a lily in remembrance, are rare.  Continue reading

Life In Clay: Mixed Media Artist, Harold W. Miller

Wind figure by Harold W Miller

I’m a fan of Harold Miller, a contemporary sculptor, who works in mixed media with a focus on clay and ceramics. His largest works are staged on 3D surrounds that have more in common with a theatre set than a traditional frame. Heads and figures, often embellished with tin or jewellery, emerge from textural backgrounds made from clay, stone and/or beautifully stained driftwood.

These two smaller figures show Harold’s technique and storytelling ability. The figures look self-contained, but their silence is lyrical. The man above is one in a series of wind figures wearing stylised, windswept cloaks. It’s almost impossible for the viewer not to imagine the story of his life, as if the clay could have its own history.

Woman by Harold W Miller

But when I first saw Harold’s work exhibited at Chimneyville Crafts Festival, it was this lady, captured in prayer, that I admired most. Her slim frame seems vulnerable and she is rapt in her faith. Though she is made of clay, she overflows with humanity. I can’t tell you her story, but I seem to feel the strength of her heart.

Continue reading

Playing With Lines And Colour

Buildings, people and cars reflected in a metallic surface

This week’s photo challenge is a strange one at first reading. It’s about a different style of portraiture:

Explore silhouettes, shadows, orientation, and other ways to mask your subject… Explore the use of anonymity to express both that which is common to all of us and the uniqueness that stands out even when the most obvious parts of us are hidden.

I’m not a portrait photographer so I planned to sit this one out, until I remembered this series of pictures I had so much fun taking.  Continue reading

Outsider Art: Watts Towers by Sabato Rodia at Dusk

Watts Towers at Dusk

I’ve never liked the term ‘Outsider Art’, so why am I using it? Good question. It gives me a chance to take a pop at it a sentence or two later! Art, of all things, should be inclusive. Outsider Art seems to imply exclusion or at least condescension (“they’ve had no training, you know”), as if there is an overarching Art Club, but you have to be a paid-up member to lunch there.   Continue reading

Garden Art: David Harber’s ‘The Mantle’

Orb

I caught a bit of stick about the rusty found art I shared earlier this week, so I thought I’d go to the other extreme: a verdigris bronze sphere I’ve seen and admired at shows and exhibitions that is embellished with gold leaf. As it says on the artist David Harber’s website:

…the gold leaf constantly shimmers and glows, flooding the centre of the piece with light – soft and subtle light when the sky is overcast; bright and intense when the sun’s rays hit the piece.

Continue reading

Art in the Garden: Connected

How often do we sense a connection between two people but can’t tell what it might be?

Garden Art at Doddington Hall

Most of these figures don’t seem connected at all, though they are joined at the base of this sculpture. The lady in the background is staring into space: remote, self-contained, she’s oblivious of the others around her. But the man and the woman in the foreground… now there’s the connection I thought of when I saw this week’s challenge. There’s something that intrigues me in the way their eyes seem fixed together – perhaps they don’t really want to attend to each other quite so closely as they seem compelled to?   Continue reading