Friday 29th November saw the opening of our Christmas Craft Exhibition and Sale, with a late night shopping event, where mince pies and mulled wine were served. This coincided with the switch on of the Bampton Christmas lights, the tree being right outside the door to West Ox Arts.
Our Vice Chairman, John Barnes, awarded the prizes for the Children's Christmas Decoration Competition during the evening. First prize of £20 was awarded to Louis & Sebastian Vaughan for their double sided Christmas Tree; Second Prize of £15 went to Verity Robinson for her golden Three Kings and the third prize of £10 was awarded to Iona Nicholson for her Button Ball. Pictures of first and second prize are shown below:
The Christmas Sale runs until 4pm on Sunday 22nd December.
During October the Gallery hosted an exciting exhibition by Martin Beek, with ceramics by Aline Stanway and Barbara Murray. The Opening Reception was very well attended and very busy. I had my eye on two of Martin's pieces, but due to helping out at the Pink Ribbon Day in Witney, arrived 30 minutes past the opening time, only to find these (amongst others) had sold!
Martin will be using two of the walls in the Gallery during the forthcoming Christmas Craft Exhibition, where he will showcase artwork that has not been seen in the Gallery before. If, like me, you missed out during October, come along to the Christmas Exhibition and see what's new. I understand Martin will be putting in some winter scene work, so don't miss out.
WOA's First Social Evening
24th October saw the first of what we hope will become regular social evenings in the Gallery. The evening was intended primarily for WOA members to get a chance to meet and socialise with other artists and members, but the evening was also open to partners and friends of WOA and anyone interested in the talk that Martin Beek gave during the evening. The evening kicked off at 7pm and Martin gave a very informative and entertaining talk concerning his method of working, the work that has influenced him and, of course, working on the iPad, for which he has undertaken a couple of workshops here in the Gallery.
The evening proved so popular that we had to borrow chairs from the Village Hall and even then, there were not enough seats for all who attended, with some sitting on the worktops or standing at the rear of the Gallery. Refreshments were provided by way of drinks and nibbles, with a Donation box on display, to assist with the costs of providing the refreshments.
Due to Downton Abbey Exhibition, the Members Exhibition was later in the year than usual. Entries were varied, ranging from textiles to ceramics, watercolours to mosaic. Again the Opening Reception was well attend and several sales have been made. The Gallery was full to the brim with work, which presented a somewhat daunting task with the hanging, but I think you will agree that the layout proved very successful and we have had many positive comments, verbally and on the Visitors' Comments sheets.
Unveiling of Commemorative Picture & Plaque by Past Chairman, Gill Salway
The picture was given in memory of Margaret Ralston and of her husband, John Birkhead, who together founded the West Ox Arts Association in 1973 "because we need a bit of culture here"
We received so many pleasing comments about the presentation of the exhibition. Visitors welcomed the opportunity to see the fabrics and workmanship that went into making the clothes.
Our Downton Abbey costume exhibition was a great success. It was wonderful to see and meet so many enthusiastic fans, some of whom had travelled a long way to visit Bampton and the exhibition. Most of you will know that Bampton is used as the outside location for Downton village and parish church during the filming of the popular costume drama, currently set in the early 1920s.
Everyone at West Ox Arts is extremely grateful to Carnival Films, who loaned us the costumes, all of which were used in the filming of series three, and it is the first time that these costumes have been exhibited anywhere in the world!
There are so many people we would like to thank for helping us to stage the exhibition and for giving up so much of their time to make things run so smoothly. You all know who you are!
The Trustees would especially like to thank our administrator, Susie Henry and her husband Martin. Without them the exhibition would not have taken place.
Blue Wedding Suit
Mrs Isobel Crawley
Photo: James Wildman
On Wednesday 7 November, WOA launched its first Let's Talk! event: a documentary screening of two contemporary artists followed by a panel-led discussion with the audience. We are hoping to include a variety of topics under the Let's Talk! umbrella, including professional development for artists.
Being the first event, the panel wasn't really sure what to expect and we were all rather nervous - what if no one showed up? What if the audience didn't join in the discussion? What if, what if, what if...
It turns out all of our fret was for naught - the event was a great success! We started the night with a word association game where guests were invited to interpret a word (the choices were either "change" or "history") in any way they chose. (The image at the top left is a snapshot of the results).
The word game (which we named "Read & Respond" ) was a fantastic lead-in to our the first artist featured, Glenn Ligon, who uses text in much of his work; using an oil bar, Ligon stencils words onto large canvas. The text is difficult to read which forces the viewer to slow down and take their time to consider the words in front of them - something quite poignant in an age where we're constantly bombarded by media and imagery. He draws his text from African-American literature and by doing so, tries to make sense of America's difficult history and indeed, his own.
After a short wine break, we launched the documentary on El Anatsui, an African artist who uses cast-off items - namely metal can lids and bottle tops from bottles of alcohol - to create malleable sculptures which read like large tapestries. His work is an exploration of the history of the influence colonization had on his culture and how this has affected the local economy and, in return, the native community. The result is a rich blanket of colour, awe-inspiring in its size and the man-hours required in bringing these fantastic object to life.
We are eager to host another Let's Talk! event soon so if you missed this one, we hope you'll join us for the next one, which will be held in the New Year. I would like to thank my panelists Neil Butterfield, Jacky Mahony, and Kathy Philson whose input and involvement was invaluable.
This year's Annual Members' Exhibition has been a great success. With well over 100 submissions the installation took a solid two days, but all of the work was worth it. The show looks great! There is such a wonderful diversity of styles and the talent is extraordinary. If you missed Saturday's Opening Reception, don't worry - there's still plenty of time to see the exhibition which will be open through 2 September.
Portraits of the Queen - we made the news! Oh yea...and we've also got a bunting factory and voting station!
The Diamond Jubilee. Sixty years. Incredible. As an American I find the Jubilee celebrations quite fascinating. I'd like to think I "get it" but probably I don't. I mean I get all teary-eyed and emotional when I hear the Star-Spangled Banner but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't evoke that sense at all in a Brit. And why would it? But I digress. Point is, I think the whole Royalty thing is fantastic and I love the way folks are getting so geared up for a big celebration. I feel honoured to be part of it.
Here at the Gallery we've got our own bit of celebration going on - with free make & take art projects for kids. We've got the Fantastic-Festive-Bunting-Factory (shown left), Create-Your-Own-Amazing-Portrait-of-the-Queen-Table and the Go-Ahead-Make-Your-Own-Crown-Warehouse.
To celebrate the Jubilee, we're hosing an exhibition we call Portraits of the Queen in which we invited artists from far and wide to submit artwork of any size or medium that in some way features the Queen. The entries indeed have come from far and wide (we've got artists represented from Canada, the USA, The Netherlands, Germany, and Iraq!) and are incredibly diverse. The press was impressed enough to write an article about it - which of course if very exciting for us!
The exhibition will be on through June - we hope you'll drop by for a visit. While you're here don't forget to vote for your favourite portrait - there are 3 categories: Most Creative, Most Realistic, and Most Ambitious.
I love learning new things about people. Especially when it's something you totally wouldn't expect. Take my co-worker, Susie, for example. I know her as the organised and proficient Administrator; the lovely and inspiring cancer survivor. But then yesterday she shocked me with pics of these amazing little beauties! Now, she'd mentioned once or twice before that she was going home to bake some biscuits. And I just took it at face value. As you would. I had no idea she was this amazing, creative maker of sassy biscuits!
When I see these pics I want to do two things: make really cool cookies of my own and EAT them!
I don't know about you, but I think she should take a crack at making some funky cookies of the Queen to accompany our Portraits of the Queen exhibition this June - wouldn't they be a hit?! I think yes and YES!
On Monday, Jane O'Brien hosted a workshop in the Gallery which I had the great pleasure to observe. Jane started things off by summarizing the basic fundamentals of proportion, which is the gateway to setting up a successful composition, using the principles of the Golden Ratio as a guide. Jane quickly tasked the participants with creating three collages - one in neutral tones, one in bright colours and one in pattern - using the Golden Ratio diagram as a template. The results were quite interesting and everyone had a great time playing around with orientation of their works and commenting on each other's success. Then it came time for creating an collage on their own and that's when the real excitement began. But sadly, with so few hours in the day, the workshop ended just as everyone's creativity was reaching its peak. Hopefully the participants stored their creative receptors to max capacity with all of the fantastic information imparted by their dear guide so they can continue the exploration of textile collage on their own!
WOA's current exhibition, Losing the Thread, opened on Good Friday with a viewing held the following Saturday. The artists and I were in a bit of a fret, wondering exactly how many people might show up for the Private View. As it turns we got a bit anxious for nothing, because the turnout was great! There were nearly 100 people that showed up on Saturday as either part of the PV or to take part in the demos being offered by the artists afterward. Below is a slideshow of pics taken during the PV - enjoy!