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‘Song of the Earth’ Spring Exhibition 2024

‘Song of the Earth’ the Spring Exhibition 2024 at Old Chapel Gallery opens on Saturday March 9th and continues to the end of April.

Each piece inspired by nature, encompassing a unique collection of hand picked, desirable contemporary British fine art and craft including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, stained glass, jewellery, mosaics and wood we hope this latest exhibition strikes a heartening mood of optimism. 

Artist Sue Hayden brings a glorious new collection of seascapes and landscapes to our Spring Exhibition, painted whilst on location in Pembrokeshire, Ireland and Shropshire. Sue is excited by the relationship between texture, shape, light and space and paints with acrylics and pastels on paper that have been layered up beforehand with paint and paper creating a collage effect. This adds energy, randomness and interest to the subject. Her work is created from sketches and notes based on her impressions of what she is looking at and feeling. She rarely refer to photographs.

New to the gallery is artist Ann McCay whose paintings convey a sense of space and have a strong narrative element. Settings are theatrical, often portraying man-made structures within natural vegetation. The eye is led along paths, through windows and into doorways. The familiar is made strange through the use of intense colour and light. The juxtaposition of images and archetypal nature of the figures inspires the viewer to create their own story.

Toff Milway has been a maker since childhood and has always tried to invent useful things, and creates salt-glaze pots that are not only beautifully elegant, but are also highly functional and useful. His own enjoyment of food makes him want his pots to inspire people to make good food, present it on or in interesting pots and to eat it in convivial company. In his own words, ‘Let’s live life with style and enthusiasm! I am a born enthusiast and want to encourage everyone. As a country potter I like to create pots that have an old fashioned country feel to them yet still retain their elegant lines.’ 

Saffron Guy hand builds pottery in a small studio in the Welsh Marches. Most of her sculptural ceramic vessels are hand built using slabbing, pinching and coiling methods and decorated with coloured slips, glazes and underglazes. She takes inspiration from both natural organic forms and also from the laboratory – vessels that she might have come across while working as a chemist and biochemist. She likes to work with symmetrical, even shapes, in some instances altering their surfaces with wax resist and erosion or carving before decoration.

John Mainwaring left school to become a carpenter. Private art tuition led to him selling cartoons to agencies for publication in magazines and newspapers. Having discovered woodturning in the early 1970s and finding wood carving more satisfying and rewarding he now produces carved and painted pieces of great character, charm and complexity. 

Rachel Bailey has been a jeweller for over 20 years. She studied at Portsmouth College of Art in the late ’80’s and then went on to West Surrey College of Art and Design in the early ’90’s taking a degree in three dimensional design – specialising in metals. Her work explores her love of wild creatures, our native animals and birds and magical realms. The semi precious stones she uses are an integral part of her inspiration as they suggest landscapes in which the creatures inhabit. Each piece is individually made and therefore unique, in sterling silver and Hallmarked in Sheffield.

Frans Wesselman, who grew up in the Netherlands, moved to England in 1979 where he has worked and exhibited widely. From the delicacy of his etchings and watercolours to the strength of line and clarity of colour characteristic of his wood/linocuts and glowing stained glass, his enigmatic images often tell an intriguing story.

Morag Archer’s urge to create magic from lost items led her into the world of mosaics. She found she could combine lovely old broken vintage china with clay to make little picture treasures. Birds are her main inspiration. Each element plays its part. Tiny up-cycled paper fragments lovingly added layer upon layer; accents of ink, paint and gold leaf are stirred into the eclectic mix.