GUNBY BLOG - Exhibition Open
Well, after months of making and planning the Collected, Captured, Cast Exhibition is open to visitors at Gunby Hall. I can’t believe it’s nearly two weeks ago that I travelled up to Gunby Hall in Lincolnshire, where Su France, Helen Wilde and I spent the day hanging work and making the gallery ready for visitors.
The preparations and plans for the exhibition have been evolving over the best part of six months. Both Su France and I have made several trips to visit the gardens and house to take photographs and gather material (literally in Su’s case as she has cast some of her metal work from seed heads and other material from the gardens) and and get an idea of the gallery space. Seeing the changes to the landscape and gardens over this period of time has helped shape the work that has been made in interesting ways. By returning somewhere, you get an idea of an overall impression, but start noticing all the little details as well, that help give a place it’s sense of identity. Most notably, the trees in the parkland, now in full leaf, were stark silhouettes at the beginning of the year - and inspired a lot of my pieces.
The trouble I had to start with was knowing where to begin ... there is so much beauty in the house, gardens and grounds ... I didn’t want to leave anything out.
Initally, I was really unsure what work to make from my visits. There is so much to take in - the house (the building and it’s contents) has a wealth of family history, beautiful objects and architectural details. The gardens and grounds have a different set of inspiring views, details and shifting perspectives through different seasons. In the end, I decided to stick to the exterior - the gardens and parkland. I kept being drawn to certain views and parts of the gardens and these ended up featuring in my work.
There is such a haunting ‘sense of place’ at Gunby – it draws you in and gets under your skin ... you can’t help but be inspired.
To help unify the whole exhibition I designed a logo for the exhibition and some graphic elements. I used the same font set throughout the exhibition and the border for the picture labels draws reference from the room names in the house. There are lots of common threads that naturally run through our work, but as a result of spending time and Gunby and with fellow-artists (especially Su France) my work has developed in new ways as a result of the collaboration.
After grappling a bit with the hanging system and working out how to label work when you can’t stick anything to the walls, it eventually all started to come together. Su France’s jewellery was all displayed on plinths with lids and Helen Wilde’s work also used a plinth for display. All my work is wall-based pieces, I didn’t have much difficulty in filling quite a lot of wall space. I was surprised, because I’d imagined that the gallery would look a bit empty, but in the end the balance was just right between work hung on the walls and in display cases.
There is a quite a varied mix of different making techniques in the work on display. Silver jewellery, cast bronze, photographs, prints (drypoints and linoprints), hand and machine embroidery and drawing.
This is the most work, to date, that I’ve had in one exhibition (thirty-nine pieces) and it’s been a quite intense process getting it all ready in time. I didn’t realise when I agreed to take part in the show that I would be home-schooling my daughter for five months, so I’ve had to fit making work in where I can. There was no way I was going to pull out of the exhibition, but having your child at home everyday makes finding the time and headspace to be creative is quite a challenge, to say the least. However, despite some low points, overall this has been one of those experiences that has taken the form of a journey and I definitely feel the better for having been on. It’s given me a certain confidence in my abilities and how working with the right people really makes a difference.