Work at Arts and Minds

Ivy jug painting

I’ve just dropped off a few paintings to the Arts and Minds Gallery at Harper Street in Middleport opposite Middleport Pottery. I have asked them to do some cards from them and they have also taken the pictures to sell for me. It’s really pleasing to have my work included there. The galley has a wide range of beautiful art work. It also is part of a network that supports local veterans and their families. I have been able to show and sell work there because my hubby has a link to the military.

The gallery is warm and friendly and are always supportive. I think it helps that it doesn’t feel exclusive and snobbish. It’s in a great place too, helping to expand the creative area around Middleport pottery in Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

Spode planning application

The old Spode factory site in Stoke-upon- Trent, the town the city of Stoke-on-Trent is named after, is due to be developed. However the intended development has changed since it was suggested several years ago. The place was due to be an Artisan quarter. With places to eat and buy art, and making an area in the town that would bring tourism in. I think it was even suggested that a supermarket could be built on part of the site. Then a hiatus, one half of the site nearest Stoke Station was sold off and knocked down. All the historical buildings were seen as useless and a great swathe of land was sold off to developers, then, nothing. I think they probably bought it so they would have an asset they could develop later or sell off for more money? In the meantime studios were developing on the side nearest Spode museum. The council has already disposed of a great number of ceramic moulds that had been stored at the factory. A hotel called the potbank opened up and shops were refurbished in Stoke along the frontage of the building. There is also a restaurant called the quarter. But times are hard and the development didn’t really go far. Now there is an application to convert some of the old buildings into 113 apartments a gym and a cafe among other things. I would say great, but there is already a lot of traffic in the area and no doubt this will cause more. The river Trent runs nearby also has caused flooding in the past. There was an article in private eye magazine questioning the company who intends to do the work. Anyone who wants to object needs to contact Stoke City councils planning department by 18th December 2022.

New work at Harper Street

I’ve just taken some of my paintings up to the Arts and Minds Gallery at Harper Street in Middleport. It’s opposite the Middleport pottery entrance. Some of them had been on show at Etruria, and one of them is an abstract painting of Jessie Shirleys Bone and flint Mill at Etruria Industrial Museum in Stoke-on-Trent. This is because the museum has reduced opening times in the winter and I wanted to show my work to a larger audience.

Salts Mill

A grey day in Yorkshire. Salts Mill at Saltaire. Looking at this old mill with its huge chimney you wouldn’t think there was an amazing bookshop, a cafe and restaurant and gallery’s there with work by world famous artist David Hockney.

Saltaire is near Bradford and Leeds, it is an old area of Shipley and the mill is surrounded by small stone terraced houses that only have a main room, a kitchen and a small bedroom and bathroom. Saltaire featured in a recently updated version of the classic film the railway children.

The mill sits between the railway on one side and the canal and river on the other side if it lower down the hill. The small houses are a beautiful example of a historic area. Saltaire also holds a food festival in the summer which attracts international visitors.

I wish Stoke on Trent had the courage to create something like this from its own historic buildings. This would be a blueprint we could build on.

Town or City

Town/City full of buildings sketch. There are many historical buildings in Stoke on Trent but a lot of them are derelict and falling down. Where places like Manchester have had investment old buildings are refurbished and turned into apartments or restored to their former glory. Here in Stoke they languish, are bought up by out of town businesses that allow them to fall down, get broken into or in some cases have unexplained fires. Severs properties in the North of our city have had fires over the last few months. Is it wrong to be suspicious about that? I do wonder and worry that one of the most important areas of industrial and vernacular architecture is not being cared for. We could use the better properties even if we only keep the facades. But our local leaders seem hell bent on stripping back the past, losing a heritage that could be supported. You only have to look at Etruria Industrial Museum to see somewhere that has worked. But I despair for so much of our surroundings.

Preparations

I will be at studio 21 at Spode tomorrow for our annual Open Day. Come and see me painting in the studio or visit the makers market where I will have minature paintings for sale. Then during the day I will try to complete a new painting of a bottle oven (a pottery kiln).

It’s been two years since I’ve been there properly. My fear of Covid, then illness and bereavement have kept me out. But everyone was so nice today. I’ve entered some of my minature paintings for the craft Market. I thought people might use them as Christmas stocking fillers. There’s everything from a tiny giraffe with an abstract background to a small Jupiter with great red storm and a moon passing by. Maybe I will sell a few.

Spode Open day

I’m going to go to Spode Open Day on Saturday. It’s part of being a studio member at the old Spode Factory in Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent. I might be selling small paintings, but it’s been so long since I’ve been there that I have really got out of going in. With the pandemic and then illness and then a recent bereavement it’s been hard to pluck up courage to go in. My mind just got stuck in park (if that’s the phrase) and its been hard to get out of that feeling, but I think I’m slowly making progress. Anyway the painting is called Green Man, it’s a favourite subject of mine. Something serene and mystical about this mythical character (maybe not this particular one though).

Open studios

Spode studios are having an open day this Saturday so I hope to be there to show off some of my newest ideas and paintings. It’s sometimes quite cold though so I will have to dress warmly. This horse painting has a pot for the potteries hidden in it. I’m not sure if I will stay in my studio or set up a little market stall so I can try and sell a few things. I will have to decide.

Three years ago…

Three years ago I was an extra in a film called Humanus, this is me made up for the preview which was featured on local TV. It was a comedy /rom com/horror /mystery and it was fun to be in! The cast were members of the inter- theatre company and the director was Steve Mitchell. If you look it up you might find Humanus, or at least the trailer on YouTube. It was especially good because part of it was filmed in the Leopard Hotel in Burslem (sadly destroyed by fire earlier this year). Better times…