Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Christmas Exhibition

Hello lovely folks,

Now who doesn't end up in a little bit of a panic at this time of year? Well, we can solve your problem with some lovely artworks and home-made gifts. And here are some of the works and some of the artists...

Graham Dean

Graham has been taking photos since he was 12 years old and was a junior member of Darwen camera club. At that time Graham worked in black and white and used a darkroom but he often wanted to manipulate the pictures to tell the story he wanted.

(I sincerely hope you are imagining the music off the hovis ads to this bit…)

When digital came along Graham started to scan slides and make them into different images, Brief Encounter is an examples of this!

Brief Encounter by Graham Dean

It was five years ago when Graham had his first exhibition and when he started to sell his work; he enjoys digitally enhancing and changing the images – sometimes this more than taking the pictures!

Time for tea is one of his newest works. This particular image was 3 years in the making. Graham did have a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve but he didn’t get the image right until now.

Brief encounter is one of Grahams bestselling works; he took the image years ago for a competition about photos that depicted film names and at the same time the café on Carnforth station where they filmed Brief Encounter was to be reopened. It took Graham two visits to get the exact image he was after. At the time, he had to wait for his pictures to be developed to see what he had captured.

(That is a great idea; can you see Star Wars next to Toy Story and Angels and Demons all depicted by images? Potential future exhibition here…).

I asked Graham about titles and how he chooses them; Graham explained that sometimes he begins with a title; it can be easier that way.

Setting for a Saucy Rendezvous
(told you it was coming back!)

Graham usually works on a laptop in his living room, and he works in 10-15 minute slots per image as he has a short attention span! But it does mean that he has time to develop his ideas. He does however have an office where he keeps all his printing equipment.

West Pennine Winter

View to a Stream

Under the Rainbow

Crispy Couture

Crispy Couture is a new enterprise from Lorraine Dickinson. She has started the business this summer after finishing at Nelson and Colne College. The course she has just finished was a BTEC National Diploma in Art and Design, and the last project was all about recycling.

For her first try at the recycled materials project; Lorraine tried making an outfit out of packaging materials (you know, the ones that look like wotsits) and investigated lots of different materials. Lorraine settled on crisp packets as she needed something with longevity. She really liked the colours and the fact they stitched together well. For the project Lorraine made a dress and as she had lots of leftover pieces she made a clutch bag to accompany the dress.

Close up of the materials

People then kept asking Lorraine to make them a bag and the business began then!

A selection of Lorraines purses which are currently selling very well, so hurry if you want one! They are only £10.

How are they made? Lorraine talks us through the process…

“First I start with washing the packets by hand, there isn’t any wastage, I use all the bits. Each purse takes an hour or so to sew and each bag takes around 3 and a half hours worth of detailed sewing.”

I asked Lorraine where all the packets come from; does she just eat lots of crisps? She said that she does now buy crisps specifically for the packaging, so it has had an impact on her shopping habits. Giddykippers do give Lorraine all their old crisp packets. So it is possible that the bag or purse in question was first used at a children’s birthday party. Now isn’t that a lovely way to recycle?

For more information go to Crispycouture 


Viridian are a group of three ladies who all met while doing a HNC at Craven College (I used to work there! Lovely place). They exhibit together a couple of times a year and only meet up occasionally as they all create work individually. They like to exhibit together as most of their work is inspired by landscapes and flora and fauna and so the works 'work' together.

I chatted to each artist and here they are with some examples of their work...

Denise Wheeler says "a bright sunny morning where I wake up refreshed" is her inspiration. Poor Denise this week - dark, grey, hail and wind! Denise generally sits in the conservatory to create work and she is very ordered and organised. I asked her about her titles and she explained that she is generally descriptive with her landscape work, she likes people to recognise the places although with her other work she tends to create and name them more emotionally, as they are feelings based works.

Blue Delphinium



Adrienne Cole is the messy one. (Ah, after my own heart). She describes her work as "expressive, gestural brushstrokes. I am a gardener and have an allotment and am inspired by the weather and the environment, the changes in seasons and the changes in colour this brings and overall the atmosphere." Adrienne tends not to include figures in her work, she likes landscapes to be empty and isolated, and dramatic.

Summer Moor

Shore from Boat

Winter Scrub IV

Susan Duffey is again inspired by the natural world, particularly trees, rocks and flowers. Susan is also a gardener and finds flowers a source of infinite pleasure, providing a feeling of joy. Susan likes to work in printing and mixed media and finds herself drawn to texture and colour. She explains "I like to experiment, although I start with a suject and then see where it takes me. I am always drawn to colour and texture".

Heather Moor

I grew up near Ilkley and still have fond memories of the Cow and Calf rocks - and the heather is great to fall into as a kid!

Bluebell Wood, Ilkley

I used to go on School trips to the Bluebell Wood in Ilkley
(happy memories - thanks Susan, wish I could afford this one!)

Scarlet and Cream Tulip

The price range is from as little as 60pence. The exhibition is on until Christmas and The ACE Centre is open 10-4, Monday to Saturday until 23rd December. Come along and treat you family, or your friends or treat yourself!

Ta Ra


Monday, 7 November 2011

Give us a Sign


Here are the images from the current exhibition, a collection of funny, humorous and poignant church signs from across the UK. The exhibition is called Give us a Sign.

All the works are by Paul Floyd Blake and are C-type prints. It is well worth a visit in the flesh. All are for sale at £200.

This sign is very small so I added a close up below...
This exhibition was hung on Friday, the day before Jimmy Saville died. RIP

This sign was up during a European match and England lost, which Paul was sad about as he is a big football fan.

This shot was taken on Valentines Day.

Again, hard to read so I added a close up

I hope you enjoyed the collection.

Ta Ra


Paul Floyd Blake


Our latest exhibition features Paul Floyd Blakes photographs and I thought you would like to get to know him a little better.

We have a history, Paul and the ACE! Paul came and took part in a project we ran when we opened the building back in 2009. Paul took photos of people in Nelson and then we had them on display in the ACE for about 6 months.

Do you remember?
ACE Centre reception in 2009

This was also the year that Paul won the

National Portrait Gallery's
2009 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

Well done Paul.

And now... we welcome him back with the exhibition 'Give us a sign' and I did talk to Paul about himself and his work as we hung the exhibition.

I asked Paul where it all began for him. He told me a story...

"When I was 13 years old, my mum came home and told us we were going to Ramsgate in Kent for a holiday. This was our first ever holiday and we were beside ourselves with excitement. The train journey alone had us in raptures and the thought of a two week holiday too was almost too much. It was a brilliant holiday, where even my mum and dad got on well together and were happy. I took a photo of Ramsgate over the harbour as the sun was setting. When we got home the photo brought back all those memories and it was the first time I realised a photo had the power to change your feelings."

We did have quite a wide ranging chat about Paul and his work; he says he is sometimes pigeonholed as a portrait photographer, because of the prize (hmmm, should I maybe have mentioned that later?) but he loves to mix up his work, for example by taking landscape pictures. Paul doesn't go out with a set image in mind, he is looking for a bit of magic, the elusive x factor.

Paul thinks of himself as a social-documentary film maker and takes pictures which are an accurate record of what is there. He composes his photo carefully and this is why Paul likes to use film as you have to think about what you want, compose carefully and then take the picture rather than snapping away.

Paul does still use film cameras and usually uses natural light and works with what is there. I asked him what his essential out and about kit was; his camera, a light meter and a bit of money. That's it!

Give us a sign, the current exhibition is a collection of signs outside churches, mostly hand-made. I asked Paul why church signs?

Paul explained that he was in college when he took the first picture, 'Use god as your steering wheel' was taken in 2004 as "it tickled me" and then Paul saw more and then he thought this would make a good project. He liked the home-spun idea, the thought of the vicar sitting there scrawling away to make them. Now Church signs are nearly all done professionally so it was a moment in time that has passed. A Heath Robinson type moment. (If you don't know what that means click here).

The project started off with the humour in the signs as the driving force but as he started to accumulate them he found the pathos there too, the signs started to look a little forlorn and he started to realise the way the churches were struggling to keep pace with the instant gratification of today. Paul has now taken over 100 of these images and says the messages have more impact for him as he collected more photos.

Furthermore, the signs are now more boring than they were and Paul thinks some of the magic has gone. Plus a lot of churches have been re-developed, and these are the churches still standing.

I asked Paul how he found them; was it just wherever he went or was it planned. Paul said mostly planned and mostly in the North of England apart from the odd one from London or Norfolk from his holidays. Paul would grab a friend and pick a place and buy an A-Z. He would then plan a route around to include lots of churches and mark each one off with a highlighter pen as they were done.

I asked about using film, sometimes you don't get what you expected or imagined and how Paul reacted to that? Paul likes the waiting, it's exciting for him and there are usually a couple of images that he can't wait to see how they turn out. Sometimes he is wrong too; expecting a good one and it's rubbish or being really amazed by one that he didn't think would be full of magic. I asked if he went back to re-do any? He says not often, occasionally he has if it was a technical error but on the whole Paul is trying to capture a moment and when it is gone, it's gone.

Here is Paul putting up the exhibition.

Paul Floyd Blake

Thanks for talking to me Paul, and if you want to find out more about Paul, check out his website, next up I will post pictures of the exhibition.

Ta Ra


Thursday, 3 November 2011

Open Arts - The Feedback

There were some lovely comments and I wanted to post a selection....

'What a talented lot of people we have'

'First time I've been but would come again, really interesting and fab artwork all round'

'Extremely well presented. Such a variety of talent from all ages'

'As always, a very high standard of work. Everybody should be proud including the organisers'

'Great variety and some excellent quality work. (from) Briercliffe Art Group'

'Gets bigger and better every year. Thankyou'

Really enjoyed looking at all the art! Amazed at the talent in the young artists, particularly the sunset'

'Trish Tomlinson you've outdone yourself'

'Very interesting exhibition. Always enjoy it. Freda Reeves I love your stuff!!'

'Our first time, enjoyed it very much, see you next year. Anne and Jim Newchurch'

'Very talented people, enjoyed it very much, Sue Martin'

'Sorry, not as good as in previous years'

'Not very happy about the 'Ace Centre Favourite'. This will influence votes. Unfair!! Melanie Cocker's paintings are the best'

I should probably say here; the ACE Centre Staff favourite stickers were my idea, and it was to get all the staff in the building more involved in the exhibition, with the hope that they would tell people how wonderful all the work is. I gave each member of staff (managers, waiters, cleaners - all) a sticker and asked them to choose their one favourite. This seems to have caused some controversy and I have had an equal number of people loving the idea and hating the idea. To compromise, I will do it next year, but not add the stickers until the public vote closes on the Sunday. Hope that is ok with everyone?

'Well worth a visit'

'Very good exhibition and amazing that is is free, and allows the community to see local works, also the donation is a good idea'

The donation, by the way, is to try to cover some of the costs as the event is subsidised by Pendle Leisure Trust.

'This was an awesome exhibition, enjoyed looking at all the talent from around the area'

'Brilliant exhibits! Good inspiration to get arty!'

'Enjoyed the exhibition very much, difficult to vote as I had so many favourites, Sandra'

'Really enjoyed myself, most fun time I've had in a long time, thumbs up'

'Great exhibition, lots of talent BUT the whole exhibition would be more accessible to the elderly and disabled if the cafe had been open all the time to enable people to have a comfortable rest and decent coffee between doing other sections'

This comment about the cafe was repeated twice and I will ensure that these comments are passed to the hospitality manager.

So overall a pretty promising critique of the exhibition, especially with regards to the quality of the artwork itself.

And I promised to include a picture of Megan, our photography winner... here she is...

Popular Vote Winner
Megan Cox with her winning photo

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Open Arts - The Popular Winners


We asked everyone who visited the exhibition to vote for their favourite pictures in each category and the overall popular winners are the lucky folks who win prizes. 250 people voted this year ( we can't quite convince all the visitors) and of those not every person voted in each category, but the majority did.

Here are the winners with our Chairman, Keith Folley.

The winners

Young Artist Aged 7 and under category

Popular Vote Winner
Ethan Oakley Lockton

Ethan was also the overall winner, congratulations! His picture got more votes than anyone else, a whopping 58% of the public voted for this to win. But it isn't just about the winners, so I am going to show you some of the other images that did well too.

Harrison Wareing
Football at Bullholme

This picture also recieved a number of votes.

Young Artist Category aged 8 to 11 years

Popular Vote Winner
Nicole Kirkbride

Well done Nicole, you won with 41% of the vote.

Ella Parker
Snow Queen

This picture came second in the votes, isn't it a lovely one?

Young Artist Category aged 12-16 years 

Popular Vote Winner
Lily Fontaine

Congratulations to Lily who won the judges and popular prizes.

The Bridge
Ruby Haworth

Ruby won the judges prize with her other picture but this one was more popular with the public taking 16% of the vote.

Textiles and 3D Category

We actually had a tie in this, which is very rare! Luckily I had a spare prize...

Joint First Popular Vote Winner
Lesley A Best
Calico Garden with Hand Made Bear

This is not one of my best photos (you all know the problems I have with reflections)- so I added a close up...

Close Up
Lesley A Best

 Joint First Popular Vote Winner
Juliet Tomkins
Room with a View

Again I wanted to show you a close up of Juliets work.... 

Close up
Juliet Tomkins

Both of the above artists received 19% of the vote but there was another work that recieved 14% and that was...

Boot House
Mr Harvey-Morgan

This house took some making, Mr H-M told me it collapsed in the kiln no less than 9 times and eventually he had to study some architectural drawings to get it sturdy enough. It is based on the story of the 'Old woman who lived in a shoe' but is a boot rather than shoe so the curve of the boot is used to provide strength.

Photography, Edited Category

Popular Vote Winner
Moira Hunt
Rydal Water: What Lies Beneath

Moira took this prize with 17.6% of the vote, narrowly ahead of Heather Sheldricks Bancroft Mill, Pre and Post demolition which received 17.5%. Commiserations to Heather, but she did get a judges award for her other work.

Portraiture Category

This is one category where the judges and the public perception differed wildly!

Popular Vote Winner
Joyce Kerton
Miss Attitude

Well done Joyce, you received 32% of the vote and as I was sat near this piece of work during the exhibition I kept hearing people say how wonderful it was and a number of them thought it was a photograph at first.

Enid Dyson
Sixteenth Century Lady

This was a lovely piece of work, and one I had my eye on buying, but someone else got there first and it sold within an hour of the exhibition opening! Enid, 16% of the public voted for this to win.

Dorothy Turner

Well done to Dorothy too, lots of people voted for this one, 14%, and there were a number of conversations about who he was and how good looking he was. And a few more about how he looks like the ACE Centre receptionist, Shane.

Photography, Natural Category

Popular Vote Winner
Megan Cox
Not as it seems

Megan couldn't make it on the Sunday ceremony and was thrilled when she popped in on Monday to collect her pctures. I took a pic of her smiling with her pic and her present, and will upload it after this post as she isn't in the winners photo.

Jean Crick
Derwent Water in Autumn

This picture was also popular, with 13% of the vote. You all know my frustration with reflections but Jean these are beautiful!

Landscapes Category

Popular Vote Winner
Mavis Nuttall

It really has been Mavis' exhibition this year and this picture was a clear winner with 54% of the vote.

Open including Abstract Category

Popular Vote Winner
Kathryn Sutton
New Life

Well done Kathryn, another win!

Astor Border
Maureen Arnold

Maureens picture came a close 2nd in the popular vote, and won the judges vote. So the public and the judges do agree on a few points.

Pendle in Paint Category

Popular Vote Winner
Mavis Nuttall
The Tackler, Bancroft Mill, Barnoldswick 1960's

Now you see why I mean it was Mavis' exhibition. Well done Mavis and as I said to you, I just wish they had been for sale as we had so many people loving your work!

John Rickard
Nelson Street

John did very well again in this category and received 28% of the popular vote. Congratulations John.

Maureen Berry
My Name is Bilbo Baggins, I live in Nelson

I just wanted to mention this little chap, he got 12% of the vote and I think it was the eyes, just look at them and tell me they don't make you want to vote for him... all together now... ahhh!

So there we have it, the popular vote winners and open art is over for another year. For all those who did enter, here are my top tips for next year.

1. Size does matter, larger pictures tend to do well in the popular votes (but don't forget the size restriction)
2. Put your work up for sale, people do want to buy art
3. Framing and presentation is really important, frames should either directly complement the work or be quite simple top tips here or if you want to DIY top tips here
4. A good piece of mount board is better than a bad frame
5. For young artists in particular, pictures on card or canvas tend to do much better than those just on a piece of paper

Ta Ra