Pilgrim Poetry Workshop in the Crypt at Worcester Cathedral Worcestershire Literary Festival 2014
The Pilgrim workshop at Worcester Cathedral was shared between artist Sara Hayward and Worcestershire Poet Laureate Emeritus Maggie Doyle. In the atmospheric crypt the journey of The Worcester Pilgrim was discussed as poets and writers set about discovering their own pilgrimage. Ms Hayward brought along a piece of her artwork as inspiration.
john nettlefold (1866-1930)
this painting of john nettlefold sought to capture his steely determination as he not only had built the first house in birmingham to have electricity (winterbourne in 1903) but also went onto forge through dynamic house planning which would change the lives of many for the better. sadly he himself went on to suffer ill health thereafter which must have been a tremendous worry for his close family.
my exhibition winterbourne revisited opens on 01 february and as you can imagine i am putting the final finishing touches to and framing the 18 paintings which will feature in the exhibition. to wet your appetite here is one portrait study of john nettlefold which will hang in the main house, and hopefully in his study in a few weeks time. my stomach is turning as i anticipate the public’s reaction to my ten month residency. inspired by such an old and by now dear friend such as winterbourne has been amazing; thank you winterbourne for having me.
On a rare sunny day in mid June 2013 a short film was shot with Parul Punjabi, a scholarship student in film studies at Birmingham University, at Winterbourne House & Garden, Edgbaston, Birmingham. The film, Remembrance of Things Passed will be shown at Winterbourne from February 2014. Much planning and days of preparation paid off as on the day as we were able to film 4 hours of footage which Parul expertly edited down to 22 minutes. As Winterbourne is open daily it was difficult fielding visitors so that they were out of shot; I lost count of the number of times I said, “Excuse me, could you possibly…” The film features my daughter Sylvie Powis and Winterbourne gardener Phil Smith. Each were amenable and a joy to work with.
It is fitting that the current sound installation by artist Lucy Tomlins- composed of moments recorded at a Premier League football match and interlaced with recordings by Worcester Cathedral choristers- can be found in the Cathedral’s Chapter House, for its unique circular design creates near perfect acoustics. Normally one person talking can be heard from any other seat in this round building so it is an extraordinary experience to hear the whole of the West Bromwich Albion fan base juxtaposed with Worcester Cathedral’s choir in songs of praise and worship.
Familiar renditions of psalms and football songs are interwoven to create a new evocative sound piece which is mesmerising, haunting and at times startling. Laughter, clapping, chanting, and sudden silence capture the fervour, euphoria & disappointment of the football ground; the harmony and the discord.
This is a must hear experience especially to convert those who only see art as visual. Whilst I was there visitors commented, “profoundly clever,” “excited as a Baggies fan,” “loud.”
Built nearly a thousand years ago the Chapter House was once a meeting place for monks; now hearing the roof raised to both the angelic and raucous strains of Psalm 23 and When the Saints Go Marching In, I think they would approve.
March 5th 2013
Spring is in the air. Flung open the studio windows. Handed my snowy film footage to Anna so that she can try to save and show some film snippets when I’m not around. Planned out more compositions for my book looking at key outlines creating a frameork within which I can push colour around. Added further watercolour to A6 sketchbook studies. Attended a lunchtime concert at Barber Institute only to find it was at the top of the Bramell building so ran there to hear a recital of early music: Froberger, Sweelinck, Ramean, Moule, Verdi, Strozzi, Seiber, Rainaldi, Rossi and Rovetta. Some of the pieces were sung, others played on the harpsichord. Magical. Amazing contemporary space beneath the dome. awesome. Back in the studio I continued searching out arts and crafts decorative motifs around the interiors. Chatted to one visitor about the benefits of Reiki.
January 24th 2013
Drove up to Winterbourne with a car load of stuff; canvases, easel, tubs of paint and primer, art materials and a few books to establish my new studio space. No recent snow fall so the journey was easy and we sailed through. A stream of students were just leaving as we arrived for the private view of the new upper rooms at Winterbourne: there’s an Edwardian nursery, Nina the teenage daughter’s room, the governess’ room, also a hobbies’ room leading onto my studio. The staff were racing around making final adjustments and then at 5.30pm the first of fifty arrived for the reception. I chatted to the editor of Birmingham’s Gem magazine, two of Winterbourne’s volunteers, a Birmingham Councillor, an ex KES headmaster and his wife, the marketing manager of the Barber Institute, and the new director of the B.I, Nicola Kalinsky. Alison Derby made a short speech to us all from the stairs and announced my position as artist in residence as from Monday. Paul enjoyed seeing the whole wonderful set up for the first time and said I’d have a great time. We’re ready for the off!