SEPTEMBER SALE Welcome everybody to the September newsletter for Purbeck New Wave gallery, our first summer here has been great, thank you to all our patrons who have supported the gallery and signed up to our monthly newsletter. To truly go out with a bang this summer we are having a summer sale on selected stock. So make sure to come on down and grab yourself a bespoke bargain!
15th -22nd September -1 WEEK ONLY!
So much is happening this month and as we have so much to share we've decided to make an extra special extended edition for this month only!
This month. . .September promises to be a busy month here at the gallery, with new artwork additions to the gallery, upcoming autumn classes, a new guest artist exhibiting in the upstairs gallery space as well as introducing our new resident artist, Marion Spencer and her work in this newsletter!
One new addition we're especially proud to represent is Brendan Gallagher and his fantastic hand turned pens. They are stunningly beautiful and some are even made from wood that come from Swanage pier! Brendan lives in Swanage and makes furniture and these pens in his garden workshop, they are each completely unique and surprisingly affordable, a great gift opportunity!
Our guest artist this month is Landscape photographer Tony Cowburn, Tony is an award winning photographer and has been a photographer for over 50 years! His iconic, classic Isle of Purbeck locations can be seen on display from the end of September for 1 month.
Guest Exhibition . . .Tony CowburnTony Cowburn has been a keen photographer for almost 50 years. He developed his skills doing wedding photography during the 1970’s, but now concentrates on landscapes. He lives for most of the year in Swanage, handily placed for classic Isle of Purbeck landscape locations such as Corfe Castle, Durdle Door, Lulworth, Kimmeridge and the rest of the ‘Jurassic Coast’.
Tony won the Wanderlust magazine ‘Travel Photo of the Year’ award in 2015 for his landscape photograph titled “A stormy day at Kimmeridge Bay”, featuring a lone windsurfer battling a 50mph storm set against the backdrop of the dramatic Jurassic Coast cliffs.
The Wanderlust prize was a commission to take landscape photographs in Western Australia, for Wanderlust Magazine and the Western Australia Tourist Board. Tony has also won Daily Telegraph and Sunday Times travel photography competitions and had images used on the cover of ‘Dorset Magazine’.
Tony is Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society (LRPS) and an active member of the Winchester Photographic Society.
You can see Tony's exhibition from the 25th September till the end of October! This is definitely not one to miss.
Introducing . . resident artist, Marion Spencer . . .Marion Spencer (Mars), grew up in rural Somerset but now lives on a dairy farm in Purbeck where, after 15 years of barely touching a brush or lump of clay, she has returned to her first love of drawing and ceramics. From a creative background of writers, woodworkers and artists, there were many influences and mentors throughout her life, in particular Royal Academician, Tom MacArthur, who would give her drawing tips during many after school visits and her own mother, Rocking horse maker Margaret Spencer, a pioneer in the 70s.
She studied at Yeovil College under studio ceramicist Dave Brown and then took a BA in 3D Design Ceramics at Bath Academy of Art in the late 80s. After college, she collaborated with many local artists in and around her hometown of Crewkerne and was involved in the first Somerset Arts Weeks as well as selling work at fairs and retail outlets across the south west.
“I waivered at college between graphics and ceramics because I loved to draw, especially in fine pens so I did both in my foundation year but decided I was too messy to be a full time graphic artist. I prefer the process of hand building in clay and had always loved modelling things, since the Plasticine table at infants school. I was fortunate to have supportive parents who allowed me to follow my passion, we were a little unconventional by the standards of the day. My father was an electrical engineer but guitarist in a dance band at night and weekends.
My maternal grandmother was a northerner & had her own antiques business after moving to Hampshire, her husband was the rocking horse maker Andrew Booth so visits to them as a child were always fascinating. The house was full of antiques as the shop was attached to it and granddad had two workshops where he made and then restored antique horses. My paternal grandfather was a joiner and retired at 87. My mother had painted miniatures in her youth but took up the rocking making herself in 1967, a time when women in woodwork were not taken seriously and I watched her forge ahead, improving her craft despite constant put downs and being asked ‘where is your husband? the woodcarver’, even when demonstrating at fairs with chisel in hand! She was interviewed many times by national press and even television, because she was such a novelty.
Whilst successfully selling my own work, I had worked alongside Mum but didn’t get into the rocking horses as there were too many noisy machines and smelly paints and varnishes involved for me but I did help grow the accessory side of her business, doing admin, making leather tack and endlessly sewing tiny ribbon rosettes by hand. She wrote two ‘how to make a rocking horse’ books with her own plans based on the Victorian style horses. Over 10 years, we built a successful international mail order supply company for makers and restorers, all before the arrival of the Internet.
Shortly before moving to America in 2001, I had become disillusioned with the craft fair scene which had become stale and full of the same old hobbyists and so many shops were accepting my work on sale or return but then going under, owing me money. Getting into galleries was tough back then, ceramics was still struggling to be accepted as ‘art’ not ‘just pottery’. People just weren’t appreciating the work involved with hand made things and it seemed everyone had gone mad for cheap plastic and resin imports with which I could not compete. I was supplementing my income by becoming a massage therapist which I did successfully for 20 years, mainly for the elderly.
My life took a different direction for a while and through various changes and bouts of ill health I gave up ceramics and only drew occasionally for pleasure.
After my return from the USA, I spent nine years working as a photographer /journalist on the local free paper covering Crewkerne, Chard and Ilminster which was hectic but very enjoyable as I got to write personal profiles on local people and cover the positive news and became inspired by the apparent resurgence of interested in the arts as I reported on arts weeks ,workshops and gallery events. It was a fascinating time for me, introducing me to so many good people and a whole generation of school children. Voluntary redundancy came at the right time for me after emergency surgery saved my life. A second surgery led to hormonal crash, depression, muscle pain and exhaustion.
Moving to Purbeck, to be with my new partner and recuperating on the farm, surrounded by the wonderful Dorset hills, I have re-connected with everything that had fed my soul as a child and the need to express myself artistically, re-emerged. I took the step of becoming involved in Purbeck Arts Weeks, firstly as a ‘behind the doors’ photographer in 2017 and then exhibiting in Rollington Barn in 2018.
My mother has sadly just left this earth at 88 after several years of decline from vascular dementia which although it stole her skill and all memory of her achievements, never her will to draw, appreciation of art, or her sense of humour, she loved to draw cartoons. Her loss is a poignant reminder to me to get busy while I still can and I was grateful when Gina invited me to join the Purbeck New Wave Gallery as one of the resident artists. Putting my art back into the foreground, along with gradening, is helping my health and giving me fresh purpose.
My mantra is ‘Look with the eyes and see with the heart’; influences come from a deep love of nature and appreciation of the life force of all things, folk tales and parallel worlds have always intrigued me. I talk to everything around me, animals, birds, trees, plants and even stones. I love the eccentricities of the world and the people in it. My work is eclectic both in colour and form, techniques include hand coiling, slabs, sprigging and modelling. Even repeats I make from my own moulds are hand finished to make them unique. The clay leads me where it wants to go as I build with some things practical and some ornamental, I work in earthenware but also like the rougher stoneware bodies, particularly for the garden pieces. Drawing is with pencil, fine pens and pastels, paint is acrylic and watercolour inks. Lino cuts and screen prints are something I wish to return to.
Recently I have been experimenting with mixed media and am currently also illustrating a children’s storybook I have written and one penned by my sister Sharon. Watch this space!
I am happy to be back in the realm of creativity which made me who I am.
My tutor Dave Brown once told me I would always come back to ceramics as it was in my blood! Earth to earth…..”.
Upcoming workshops . . .Nicky is an illustrator/fine artist with two degrees in drawing. She has been teaching workshops and classes for about 2 years and runs Purbeck Painters which operates weekly classes both in the gallery and in Studland.
The Isle of Purbeck art club also runs weekly from the gallery as an informal weekly gathering on Thursdays 6.30pm-8.30pm
For more information on Purbeck Painters email Nicky at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 07940256377
Next month . . .
Find out about more upcoming workshops and events, there will be another guest artist and we'll have a look at some new work from our resident watercolourist Gill Williams.
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