Tag Archive: Oswestry Library


Hillfort Creativity Group Meeting

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The next meeting of the Hillfort Creativity Group will be on Wed. May 8th at 11am in the Meeting Room at Oswestry Library (not Hermon Chapel, as we thought). All creative-minded people are warmly invited: visual artists, musicians, writers, makers, crafters, etc.

We’ll start with some brief information about upcoming exhibitions and events, and then short updates from anyone who has been working on creative hillfort-related projects. We’ll then have our inaugural “creative talk” – not a lecture or a presentation! – from local historian, archaeologist and illustrator John Swogger about the hillfort’s long life-story. These talks are meant to be a spur to creativity, so you are invited (encouraged!) to write, sketch, knit, doodle, etc. during the talk, as well as press the speaker with creative questions.

Look forward to seeing you all there!

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Making it up as we go along!

Like it was made yesterday - Inside out art activity day at Oswestry Library. Soon to be a regular event?

Like it was made yesterday – Inside out art activity day at Oswestry Library. Soon to be a regular event?

Another great art activity day at Oswestry Library timed to coincide with Apple Day on the Bailey Head and the culmination of this year’s “Oswestry Makes” festival.

Well-supplied with almost twenty kilos of scrap fabric (courtesy of Inside Out’s favourite mystery artist) Sue Mann, Freja and myself set up two tables at the front of the library and spent four enjoyable hours creating. We had a steady stream of kids through the morning, making costumes with Freja, sewing apples with Sue, and making rag plaits with me. By the end of the afternoon we’d turned out waistcoats and wizard capes, two branches worth of fabric apples (now hanging up by the Poe-tree display) and ten metres of rag plait!

Outreach is an important part of what it means to be an artist. Locking oneself and ones creativity away can end up being a bit selfish. It’s important to recognise that if we want to be part of the community at large, we have to get out into that community sometimes. Galleries and open studios and exhibitions are all very well, but these venues can still be very intimidating and alien spaces to some people, despite the best intentions of artists. The “outside” part of Inside Out is about getting art (and artists) “out there” – getting art in shops, like our Mind, Body & Spirit exhibition; or outside shops, like Marja’s and Jim’s murals; or above shops – like Jas‘ sculptures; in places like pubs – like Geoff’s digital photo exhibition in The Griffin; or in the library – like our Art and the Word exhibition for National Libraries Day.

This was only our second time doing an activity day like this in the library, so we’re still learning – learning how to best set up and publicise the events, how to organise them and structure them, and what sort of materials and activities work best. I’m now putting a lot of this garnered wisdom together and will be liaising with Debbie at the Library to organise these activity days into a regular, possibly monthly event – and you’re all welcome to get involved! Of course, not all of us are cut out to be teachers, but in a group it’s easy to take part at your own pace and in your own way. And what’s great about having different artists get involved is that each brings their own, unique take to the activity.

So I’ll be posting more information about this new “Make and Do” project soon. In the meantime, anyone interested in getting involved should get in touch!

Richard III and the art of history

"Pembrokeshire Lane", Audrey Johns (from "Postcards from the past" at the Pure Art Gallery, Milford Haven Marina (via walesonline.co.uk)

“Pembrokeshire Lane”, Audrey Johns (from “Postcards from the past” at the Pure Art Gallery, Milford Haven Marina (via walesonline.co.uk)

Inside Out’s National Libraries Day event at Oswestry Library was in the Shropshire Star again this week, mentioned in an article about John Swogger’s comic on Richard III. The comic also features in an article on the University of Leicester’s press pages talking about the various comic artists and writers who have been inspired by the discovery.

There’s an important point to be made about narrating history, here. It does seem to be the case that successfully presenting the past requires more than just text – that it needs a visual “hook” as well. If that’s the case, what does that say about art’s relationship with time, memory and landscape? Is there something unique about the way that art taps into the past? So many artists seem to want to consciously evoke or present their own connection to the past in their work. Is there something perhaps about the creative working process that captures something significant about time?

Our latest exhibition at The Hand is entitled Ceiriog: Past, present and future, and I’m hoping that the works that go up in the dining room will reflect this ability of art to capture the flow of history within a landscape. Certainly this sense of a place with a deeply-rooted past is one of the things that visitors find so attractive about the valley – and art very much seems to be one of the things that can unfold that story for people.

Inside Out – coming soon!

IMG_0211We’ve already got a full schedule of events and exhibitions for the rest of the year. We discussed some of them at the meeting yesterday – here’s a summary of what’s coming soon:

  • Mind, Body & Spirit – The exhibition is now up in Rowanthorn, and should be up in EnergyCreative next week. We’ve had one short note in the Oswestry Advertiser about the exhibition this week, and we’re getting a longer article and a photograph in next week’s ‘Tizer. As the exhibition lasts for three months, we’ll be switching some of the work around half-way through (mid-July). There are fifteen artists taking part at the moment, but if anyone else wants to take part, please get in touch, as the mid-July switch-over will give you a chance.
  • Rowanthorn – Mike at Rowanthorn is looking for other exhibitions to take over after the Mind, Body & Spirit exhibition finishes in September. He’s particularly looking for interesting and intriguing work  – stuff that’s a bit different. He had work in the shop by Jim Fox earlier this year – really unusual constructions made out of skulls, bone and dolls, and is looking for similarly off-beat works. Anyone interested, get in touch with Mike directly.
  • Creepy House, Oswestry Library – The library’s Summer Reading Challenge theme is “Creepy House”. There’s an activity day scheduled for July 13th, when an illustration/construction creepy house will be drawn/built in the library. The library will be providing all the necessary materials. Anyone interested in taking part should let us know and then come along to the library on July 13th. I’ll post more details later in the month.
  • Ceiriog, at The Hand at Llanarmon, Llanarmon D.C. – We’re installing the last part of our year-long exhibition on the Ceiriog Valley and River at The Hand. This third part is themed: Ceiriog: Past, present and future. The exhibition will last through the summer. Anyone still wanting to take part should get in touch in the next couple of weeks.
  • Art & Poetry, Oswestry Library – Next National Libraries Day is in February 2014, and we’re thinking of doing something connecting local art and local poetry. Collaborations, partnerships, connections – there are a whole bunch of ideas about how we might bring art and poetry together. We’ll definitely be doing another art day in the library in February, and we’ll set up some kind of exhibition beforehand. Nothing’s set in stone yet – we’re going to be thinking about this idea through the summer, so if you have any suggestions, do get in touch.
  • Underhill Farm – Lots going on at the farm, including pretty elaborate plans to build kilns to fire the local clay. Plus Paul Stocking’s bamboo arch has been sited next to the newly-planted willow wood, and Wilf’s “Woodline” continues to evolve as the seasons change. Plenty of reasons for return visits through the summer – and we’re planning to hold July’s Inside Out meeting at the farm again, just so everyone gets another chance to spend some time at the farm. We’re also planning some more art and activity days through the summer, and we’ll continue to talk about ideas for next year’s Art & Craft event, including the suggestion that we should build some kind of “symposium” into the event.

Meetings:

  • Our July meeting will be at Underhill Farm, and we’re hoping that Brenda Sandilands will spend some time talking about her recent work. The remainder of the time we’ll spend doing some art!
  • Our August meeting will be at Wilf Thust’s Studio, and he’ll be showing some ideas for fixing and exhibiting, rather as he did at his workshop at The Willow last year.

As usual, meetings are at 2pm on the first Wednesday of the month.

Sketching Days:

We’ve no sketching days planned, but I was wondering if we might want to do a market-town day in Oswestry, perhaps? If so, we could tie it into the Mind, Body & Spirit exhibition and sit for a while outside Rowanthorn – it’s lovely there in the sunshine. Anyway, just an idea; we’ll keep you posted.

Boo!

Things That Go Bump in Oswestry Library! illustration by Jean-Marc Labal.

Things That Go Bump in Oswestry Library! illustration by Jean-Marc Labal.

Anyone want to help make a big illustration of a creepy house?

Creepy House is Oswestry Library’s summer reading challenge theme this year. On Saturday July 13th, between 1 – 4pm, Heather and Debbie at the library will be helping kids make a big “Creepy House” illustration for the library wall. It will be designed so that kids taking part in the reading challenge can put their photos into the illustration poster once it’s finished.

Debbie was wondering if some of the group might be able to be on hand to help out and give the illustration some genuine artistic creepiness!

As usual, anyone interested please get in touch – I’ll also mention this again at our meeting next Wednesday at Underhill Farm.

Jim Heath at Oswestry Library

Guarding the Stairs - Jim Heath.

Guarding the Stairs – Jim Heath.

Jim Heath is holding two art events at Oswestry Library this month:

Meet The Artist: Friday 24th May 11am -1pm. A chance to meet local artist Jim Heath and talk to him about his May exhibition of acrylic paintings of RNLI stations around the country.

Painting with acrylic inks: Thursday 30th May 10am-3pm. Workshop – charge: £30. For those with experience as well as beginners. Bring sketchbooks/sources of inspiration. Boards, inks, brushes/tools will be provided. Please book and pay for your place via Oswestry Library 01691 677388. Tea and coffee provided. Bring and share lunch.

Two great events – particularly for anyone wanting to introduce someone to working with acrylic inks, or wanting to have a go themselves. Please pass the dates around to people you think might be interested!

 

Thing That Go Bump at Oswestry Library

Even more Inside Out at Oswestry Library!

Even more Inside Out at Oswestry Library!

Great to see everyone at yesterday’s Notebook Meeting at John’s studio. A couple of things we didn’t get around to talking about regarding Inside Out art at Oswestry Library:

  • This autumn, there’s going to be a Textile Festival in Oswestry, and Inside Out has been asked to take part. With Debbie at the Library, we’ve organised a Textile Art Activity Day at Oswestry Library on Saturday, October 19th. This will be very much the same as our National Libraries Day event in February – we’ll set up tables and do various art activities to do with textiles, fabric, wool, string, etc. We already have some scrap fabric collected, but if anyone has scrap fabric they can donate to the day, you know we’ll make good use of it!
  • Secondly, Debbie emailed to say that the library is running a Keep Reading scheme through the summer, and the theme is “Creepy Houses”. If anyone has any art that relates to the theme, or any art activities that might relate to the theme, then get in touch. We can find exhibition space around the library for art, and we can liaise with Debbie for a day-slot for activities.
  • Finally, don’t forget our ongoing Art & the Word exhibition at the rear of the library. We’re continuing this until the end of the year, and this is the place for any book-, text- or word-related art – including book illustrations, illustrated poems, etc. – that you might produce. (Speaking of illustrated poems, does anyone do creative writing or poetry? Perhaps there’s an opportunity for some collaboration?)

More Art & The Word at Oswestry Library

Making Oswestry Library a real local arts hub!

Making Oswestry Library a real local arts hub!

Our Art & the Word exhibition at Oswestry Library has moved – and expanded! We’re now occupying the area immediately above the computers between the DVD racks and the kids’ reading area – directly opposite the main desk.

The exhibition has both 2- and 3-D works by Aimee Henderson, Rob Baur, Diana Baur, Freja Evans and John Swogger. The exhibition of book- and word-related art will last all year, and works will be rotated in and out as people bring them to me. I’m hoping that later in the summer we’ll have an exhibition on some of the work from Underhill Farm and Holy Trinity School. I’m also hoping that we can do something book/word/Christmas related for December.

Debbie at the Library said that people have been extremely enthusiastic about the exhibition, and positive comments still come in about our event for National Libraries Day. The library are now actively encouraging anyone with any interest in doing art workshops, demonstrations, working days or activities in the library to come and talk to them. There is working space available for rent in the library building for one-day workshops, and they can always find space for demonstrations or working days.

I’m also now setting up a Word Art Roundtable for anyone who’s interested in taking part in a regular get-together at Oswestry Library to work on book-/word-/library- related art. Please email and/or comment on this post if this sounds like your thing. I’d like to start in May.

Thank you from Oswestry Library

library_picAn email came through this afternoon with a big thank you from all the staff at Oswestry Library to everyone who helped make our National Libraries Day event work so well. The library collected feedback from everyone who came. Lots of really positive comments, and some of the most frequent were:

It was fun…

We learnt something new today…

We would come to a similar event…

Debbie says that staff also had a great time – and really enjoyed the atmosphere on the day.

If anyone has any ideas for future events at the Library, just speak up – the Library would love to have us back! Here’s to helping to make the Oswestry Library a real hub for local arts!

A Great Library Day

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Thanks to everyone who came and made our day at Oswestry Library a huge success! Everyone had an absolutely fantastic time – loads of nice comments from both visitors and staff. Great to see the library so busy and so full of people having fun making art!

I think we can all agree that we should really try and do this again sometime very soon. There are negotiations underway to create some student residencies at the library in partnership with the Fine Arts department at Glyndwr, and Debbie Marais is hoping that we can do a similar event sometime in the autumn. And yes – we’ll definitely do this again for next year’s National Libraries Day!

In the meantime, we’ll be putting up a new exhibition in the library of work from today – and we’ll be expanding it through the spring and summer with new works which bring together “Art and the Word”.

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