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We will remember them.

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This month I visited a place a little closer to home – exhibitions at The Vale & Downland museum. The are a number of exhibitions throughout the year as well as a permanent museum about the Vale and its surrounding area which I have enjoyed visiting many times. I have a lot to thank the museum for as they were the first stockists of my cards and also inspired me to exhibit my book called ‘Journey‘ giving me a confident boost.

I saw Notes from a Potter’s Diary by Jo Bosley and Lyn Harrison who are both potters. They draw inspiration from the countryside and then interpret their images into ceramics. I loved the way they made sketches and notes but found that the pottery objects lost something of their loose, fluid lines and became a bit ornamental. I thought their best works were when the subject matter was most stylised.

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I also popped into the exhibition of the Wantage Art Group –  a group for practicing artists, beginners and those who are trying to start. It was good to see people ‘having a go’ and I know from experience how important it is to finish a piece of artwork, not just try different techniques. Having an exhibition to aim towards is an excellent impetus. Through the Trees 2 by Amanda Hislop using paper, acrylics, and stitching caught me eye with its gorgeous textures.

About this post: My 2014 resolution is to visit a creative place every month.
January – The Ashmolean: Malcolm Morley
February – Oxford School of Photography
March – The Ashmolean: Cézanne and the modern

April – The Jam Factory
May – Art in Ardington
June – On Form exhibition
July – Crossing Borders
August – David in Florence

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We caught a train down to southern Italy which was  very run down and the train station looked a bit like Pompeii. Vesuvius, however, surpassed all expectations as there is something very raw and primeval about climbing a volcano and looking into its crater. We travelled up in army-like jeeps and then climbed the last 30 minutes to see spectacular views with the whiff of sulphur and hint of danger. The children kept wondering if it would erupt but we reassured them that it was monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and there was an evacuation plan for the area. (Most of the 800 thousand inhabitants don’t know the plan and without a great infrastructure how it would work in reality is debatable). I certainly wouldn’t live permanently under a live volcano!

Pompeii was interesting to visit as it was something I had always longed to do but it was so very hot and dry that we all wilted. All the artifacts are in the Naples Museum, so you only have half the story when walking around the site. I liked the fact that there are stepping-stones across the road so that when the roads were sluiced down of debris, the citizens could still cross without wetting their feet. You can also see the ruts between the stone made by the waggons and their width set our current day railroad gauge. Twinkling quartz stones set into the road acted as cat’s eyes. It was certainly a very advanced city.

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My brother Andrew Kerr has spent the last 8 months working on an app where children ‘choose a colour’ on an iPad or iPhone and finger paint a dinosaur. They can then pose and take a photo of themselves with their dinosaur that they have just painted.

Please download this free app and rate it and help make it happen so that the ratings and comments do well on this weekend’s BIG Launch. Just click on Let’s-paint-dinosaurs.

The first three dinosaurs are free and for this weekend  T-Rex is free as well.

To rate it – you need to download it, then go back to the link, and you can write something and give some stars. This follows his first dinosaur app Dinosaur Zoo a couple of years ago which consistently won ‘Best kid app’ awards and got five-star ratings on the Apple App store.

The photos are of my cute little nieces ‘playing’ with dad’s dinosaurs.

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jam factory2 jam factory3I could say that the fourth excursion was back to the Cézanne exhibition as I returned to enjoy his art with my three children where they became quite animated in their discussions. But that felt like cheating so this month I visited The Jam Factory in Oxford to take pot luck in what was being exhibited. There are so many layers of pleasure here from interesting art to quirky décor to the story behind the building as this was where Frank Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade was made until production moved away in 1967. It is now a café, a meeting place and an art venue. As I wandered around, a group of mums with young babies gathered for coffee looking very NCTish which sent me down my own nostalgic path. But on with the art…

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Wait ’til it settles by Sarah Craddock

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Wait ’til it settles by Sarah Craddock

There were three exhibitions being held and my favourite was ‘Inspired by the Canal’. It is an exhibition of children’s art, professional artists and art from the community using Oxford’s canal as their inspiration. Starting in Banbury, the canal to Oxford wanders through Wolvercote ending quietly at busy Hythe Bridge Street in Oxford and is a secret byway waiting to be explored. I enjoyed the children’s boats, the hilarious tea cosies, the excellent etchings and found the contemporary installation thought-provoking.

Sarah Craddock had bottled and ‘packaged’ canal water from different spots that had witnessed stories – a birth, a drowning, an attack, a draining. The labels on the water provide a tantalising hint to the history and stories that the canal could tell. If the containers were not in an art gallery they would look like rubbish but their situation makes you think deeper and harder about water and the canal. As the water in the containers settles the good rises to the top and yet the history and sediment is also there to be acknowledged. Allowing situations to settle helps you to see things clearer and to extract the good from a situation. Even our English language alludes to what water teaches, “Don’t muddy the waters”.

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Tea cosies inspired by canal boats

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Etchings by Caroline Maas

The Canal Exhibition is only on until the 27 April 2014 but there is always something interesting to see and do at The Jam Factory – ‘Anyone for scrabble?’jam factory4jam factory1

About this post: My 2014 resolution is to visit a creative place every month.
January – The Ashmolean: Malcolm Morley
February – Oxford School of Photography
March – The Ashmolean: Cézanne and the modern

 

1up1down colI was asked to design a logo for a 10km run in the Oxfordshire area. Because the run is local to ‘The White Horse’, I used the beautiful, stylised shapes of the chalk horse that is engraved into the hillside as inspiration. The run will be up and down a hill so I based the logo on the profile of a hill and two people running with shapes suggested by ‘The White Horse’. The colours are contrasting with a bold, legible text. Better start training!

Concept Board for client

Concept board for client

photo challenge luncheon photo challenge luncheon2A delicate luncheon of nectar!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Each week WordPress provides a new photographic theme for creative inspiration. We take photographs based on our interpretation of the theme, and post them on our blogs anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme is announced.