Sunday, 12 November 2017

Sandra Orme - The Purple and Grey Interview

Sandra Orme is an established artist working from her studio in Buxton she regularly exhibits with  Peak District Artisans , she has won a national art competition, The Buxton Spa Prize, exhibited with UK's best pastel artists at The Pastel Society, Mall Galleries, London and taught a sold out workshop at University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum - a testament to both her beautiful art work and her expertise.




Could you describe your typical working week?

I always try and get into the studio every day, but sometimes life gets in the way and I also have to do school run so I'm usually in the studio by 9.30 but out of it by 3.00 pm. I’ll draw most days but I also teach in the studio on a Tuesday and Thursday morning so sometimes after that, I only have times for admin like emailing and website / social media updating. Then at weekends, I sometimes am at a show or teaching a full day workshop elsewhere. On average, I’m actually at the drawing board being creative probably 3 days a week. And of course, being creative doesn’t always go smoothly…


What has been inspiring your art you have been making recently?

I’ve been very interested to exploring new ways of working with charcoal and pastel. I don’t always produce work using the same techniques with charcoal and pastels but like to experiment and push materials in different ways to see what effect they can have. I can only spend time doing this if I don't have a show coming up though.  so in a way I find the materials themselves inspirational and I let them lead me down different paths.


You had a SWOT chat with us was there any advantages in assessing your career thus far?

It really made me think about ways forward with my work - particularly with how to present work at a show. I have struggled to move forward with a couple of excellent ideas - solely due to either financial constraints and raising my daughter and building a studio - but now she is at school and the studio is up and running, I am planning to apply some of the excellent ideas. It also helped me clarify what I was doing on social media and work with that properly - which led to me becoming an associate artist with Unison Colour.


What changes have you made in the last couple of years that have benefited your art business?

I have built a large 24 sq m studio which has had a huge impact on my work and productivity as well. I can now teach from home as well so  I can run regular classes.



You have won some major awards in the past year could you tell us what they were and would you recommend others have a go, what outcomes have you had because of them?

Winning the Buxton Spa Prize has very much raised my profile locally and helped me develop contacts nationally. I would say that people have nothing to lose. I entered because I love the challenge of working on a piece that is location based and would be a different scene to my normal choice. The outcome was my wonderful studio space - truly life changing.






How do you see your practice progressing over the next year or so?

I hope too move forward in a couple of directions. I’ve just discovered that my favourite paper comes in an even larger size so I am keen to work on a bigger scale and see where that goes. I’m also hoping to produce another series of works. Having just completed a commission where I produced set based on the area Ingleborough. I really enjoyed this process and am keen to repeat this with an area in the Peak District.



Please visit Sandras website: 

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Purple and Grey Interview with Chantal Kelly


Chantal Kelly has been a supporter of Purple and Grey since the very beginning and it has been wonderful to watch her career as a Stained Glass Artist flourish, Chantal is also the founder of the craft group Medley who show together twice a year.


You are a stained glass artist but before that you were a geography teacher that’s quite a leap how why when! ?

How? Why? When?
I have to say I ask myself these questions as well and it’s perhaps easier to answer them in reverse order.
The ‘when’ is easy, it was about seven years ago when I first learnt the basics of stained glass.
Then the why…….., I was still teaching geography part time time when we moved into our house which needed a lot of work doing to it, after 6 months with electricians, plumbers and plasterers it was the decorating phase which took me three months as every room needed doing from scratch. When it was over I stood back and realised what the Edwardian house was missing was stained glass internal doors so I did some research and costed it. I soon realised we could not afford to get it done and had a ‘lightbulb’ moment……try to make them myself!!
And so that leaves how, I simply looked up courses and happened on one in Sheffield which was a small group workshop of just four people taught by a marvellous teacher Martin McAssey. I was so lucky that my teaching timetable was part time, and so with quite a bit of juggling I organised my course dates to fit in with my teaching commitment. I travelled to Sheffield each week for a whole afternoon to learn the basics and did this for two ten week courses……by then I was hooked and was working on pieces at home as well…the rest as they say is history!



We notice you seem to work in themes does this help?

I definitely have three different strands of work, I love doing larger figurative pieces showing recognisable local landmarks such as Heage Windmill or Crich Stand and am always looking for new local landscapes to translate into glass. I also continue to be fascinated with making larger abstracts and constantly try to see how different colours and textures react with each other. I also enjoy making smaller decorative items, anyone who has ever been to one of my shows will know my fascination with making butterflies and other smaller pieces for people to enjoy and to give as gifts.



Where do you take inspiration from?

I had been to Iceland years ago and had been overwhelmed by the beauty of the abstract leaded windows in many of the cathedrals and ordinary churches, the way the light burst through them at different times of the day throwing glorious patterns on the white walls inside the churches and the way the changing light affected the colours.
The colour and texture of glass is so amazing and so varied that inspiration comes from there; one of my favourite things is to open a package of glass and suddenly see the possibilities unfold literally with each piece I unwrap. I revisited Iceland three years ago and went to Reykjavik cathedral which were stunning. Last year I was lucky enough to see the glass windows in the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s unfinished cathedral in Barcelona and I was blown away by the modern use of glass. I can honestly say it was so beautiful it made me cry… I will never, ever reach those heights but both those buildings are inspirational.



Has it been easy to break into the market so to speak any frustrations along the way?



I think everyone involved in the Artist/Maker business will say it is not easy. I have reached a point where I am breaking even and what I sell covers the considerable costs of materials, insurance, stall fees etc. For me at the moment that is a positive result. Perhaps the most important thing is to realise that there are lots of ups and downs and don’t be frustrated by expecting to be paid for your time when you start out ……..just because I have spent 40 hours on making a piece, including the hours gathering materials and designing it does not mean someone will want to pay you for your trouble. It just doesn’t work like that so price things realistically and swallow your pride to some extent. When you have reached an audience and gained a following with collectors your prices will be able to reflect your efforts but until then…..



You have attended many networking sessions with Purple and Grey have they helped you in anyway  at all, what else have we been able to support you with?

Purple and Grey have been brilliant…….I’ve gained so much from sessions on using Social Media and website design, neither of which I had a clue about. They were so helpful and approachable I didn’t feel the total idiot I actually am when it comes to technology! The free networking sessions are also amazing; to meet up with people who are on the same journey, perhaps a little further along the road gives you confidence to keep going and it’s lovely to keep in touch with them when you meet at shows… a ready made circle of support at new events.


As this is your second career how are you managing your time to suit you what plans have you for the next couple of years?

Time is always an issue for me…if only there were 28 hours in a day I dream I could keep up with all my commitments, however, sometimes I need to stop and think before making too many commitments that will just stress me out later in the year. Finding time to make pieces to sell, experiment with new designs as well as market them, attend shows and organise Medley is a challenge. Having said that my plan is to try to expand my geographical range and perhaps trying some larger events for the 2018 season! Watch this space!

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Fresh and Unframed 2018


Hard to believe it but we are thinking of June 2018! Actually we have been thinking about the whole of 2018 and we have some exciting plans for you all.
But for now lets concentrate on our big annual exhibition Fresh and Unframed after the success of last years event we are holding it again.

Fresh and Unframed 2018
Friday June 29th Open Evening Meet the Artists 5.30 pm - 8 pm
Saturday June 30th 11 - 4 pm
​Tansley Village Hall
Entry is Free for the Visiting Public.

Fresh and Unframed is an Art Exhibition aimed at both emerging and established artists. The idea is that by exhibiting unframed works, the prices can be kept low, and that people can choose to have original artwork on their walls.

Artists can enter either five works for £15 , or fill and bring your own browser with your work £35.
The works are not to exceed £100 in value. Works can be any 2D apart from photographs and reproductions must all be original.
See website for entry form and terms and conditions. HERE


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Big Draw at Cresswell Crags

Thank you to all that came to our 2017 #bigdraw event it was lovely to know we were just one out of over one thousand #bigdraw events world wide and the aim of getting people together to draw worked perfectly at Creswell Crags that has the oldest rock art in Britain.

We spent the morning walking and sketching around the gorge then met for coffee in the wonderful cafe to share our work and thoughts (mainly on how great it is to be outdoors with like minded people.)
See below some of our photos we had balloons and certificates all provided by the Campaign For Drawing.








Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Big Draw at Creswell Crags October 11th

 

Join Purple and Grey for a big draw event at the historic scenic Creswell Crags home of the UKs first rock art.



Be inspired by this wonderful gorge, bring your sketch books and own drawing materials, and spend time exploring the Creswell area and discover a diverse range of cultural and geological sights and attractions.
Creswell Crags is a limestone gorge honeycombed with caves and smaller fissures. Stone tools and remains of animals found in the caves provide evidence for a fascinating story of life during the last Ice Age between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, Further evidence became known in 2003 with the discovery of Britain's only known Ice Age rock art.



Meet Purple and Grey outside at the visitor centre entrance at 10.30 am and spend a few hours in the grounds drawing the sights in your chosen medium. Return around 12.30 - 1 pm around the cafe area for a cuppa and share your drawings with each other.



About The Big Draw Festival
The Big Draw Festival is for anyone who loves to draw, as well as those who think they can't! It's an opportunity to join a global community in celebration of the universal language of drawing.



From 1-31 October, every year, thousands of enjoyable and experiemntal drawing activities connect people of all ages with schools, galleries, museums, libraries, heritage sites, village halls, refugee organisations, outdoor spaces - allsorts of places - artists, scientists, designers, illustrators, inventors and each other.

Since launching in 2000, the festival has taken place in 28 countries around the world, engaged over 3 million people and even clocked up two world records.

Anyone can get involved in the festival. Some famous folk who have supported past events  include award-winning author Philip Pullman, Children's Laureate Chris Riddell, artist Tanya Raabe-Webber, illustrators Oliver Jeffers, Posy Simmonds and Sir Quentin Blake, and many more.
http://www.thebigdraw.org/event/Purple_and_Grey_Big_Draw_at_Creswell_Crags/7276

October 11th 10.30 am
Creswell Crags Museum & Heritage Centre
Crags Road, Welbeck, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, UK, S80 3LH

If you are using SatNav, please be aware that most devices do not direct people to the centre accurately. Please use the postcode S80 3LH and then follow signs when in the vicinity.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Free Networking September 20th

Beechenhill Farm Organic Dairy Farm in the Peak District National Park may seem an unusual venue for a Purple and Grey networking event but when you learn that one of its residents is Sue Prince an award winning folk artist and soon to be Chair of Peak District Artisans it all becomes clearer. The venue has played host to many very successful art events and is the go to destination on the map of Derbyshire Open Arts.
Beechenhill Farm is perched on the south facing hill above the picturesque village of Ilam on the Staffordshire, Derbyshire border within the Peak District National Park 5 miles north of Ashbourne. The views are absolutely spectacular and if nothing else it is worth coming just to take those in.



Our networking event is free and includes refreshments we look forward to seeing you all and getting to know a bit about you and what you do.

http://www.beechenhill.co.uk/
September 20th 10.30 am -12 pm
Beechenhill farm
Ilam,
Ashbourne
Derbyshire,
DE6 2BD


There is limited car parking at the farm- there is parking for around 15 cars on site and an arrangement with the National Trust car park in Ilam, where participants can meet park and car share to the venue. (Non NT members would need to pay for the day's parking). Please consider car sharing if meeting a friend.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Interview With Encaustic Artist Sue Wharton

One of our artists we have been lucky enough to work with is Sue Wharton who proves that its never too late to follow the career path many of us should have done in the first place but as is so often the case a teacher or parent steers you in another direction. Grab a cuppa and enjoy her journey.




Tell us a bit about your work history and your journey to becoming an artist.
When I was a child I just loved to draw, paint and make things. I would design elaborate dresses, knit, dressmake, embroider – anything and everything, I loved everything about art and crafts. I wanted to be an artist or designer when I grew up but when I applied to enter 6th form at school to do art ‘A’ level the 6th form tutor said ‘No!’ That was that, I did biology instead and went on to train as a nurse. However, you can take a person away from art but you can’t take the artist out of a person! Decades later at the grand age of 50 I finally went to art college and gained a diploma in Art and Design. Not wanting to be thwarted again I took up residence in West Studios in Chesterfield and set about becoming the artist I always wanted to be. Better late than never!

Your work is quite unusual in that the techniques are very interesting describe the process and equipment needed to do what you do.
I work exclusively with encaustic wax. This is a very ancient medium first used by the Egyptians and the Romans over 2000 years ago. It is a very tough and enduring medium and many paintings, known as the Fayum mummy portraits still exist today and are in good condition:
Basically beeswax is combined with a resin, such as damar resin, and is coloured with pigment. This encaustic paint is heated until it melts and can then be applied to the support using stiff brushes or tools such as a low temperature iron or a heated stylus. If applied with brushes the wax is kept warm and malleable using a heat gun and can be fused to the support board with a blow torch. Both smooth and textured effects can be obtained. Since most encaustic artists are self-taught each has developed their own unique processes with the wax.



You work at West Studios in Chesterfield what opportunities do they provide for you and what could they provide our readers?
I was very lucky to get studio space at West Studios, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time! All the studios are shared spaces so I share with another fine artist, John King and a potter, Deb Langer. However, we have a range of creative industries represented not just artists and makers. We also have a shop, café, gallery space and meeting rooms for hire. We also benefit from having dedicated staff who manage the studios, run the shop/café and organise a range of events and opportunities for both West Studios tenants and other local artists/makers, so we serve the local artist community as well. The drop-in studio is available for hire by any creative person or company to run workshops, rehearse for performances, have meetings or have a public exhibition of their work. West Studios tenants also have access to facilities in the art department of Chesterfield College such as the photographic studios, print room, textile equipment, kiln room and metal work room. External artists can also gain access to some of these facilities by becoming associate members of West Studios. There is also a dedicated social media officer who provides social media training to tenants and external artists at very reasonable cost. West Studios has allowed me to have the room and support to grow as an artist. Working with wax is messy and requires quite a lot of equipment – I really couldn’t do this on my dining table anymore!



 We are very grateful to have supported you this last year what aspect of Purple and Greys portfolio has benefited you the most?
Thank you very much for your support. The business side of becoming an artist is the hardest and support with this is very much needed as this doesn’t come naturally to us artistic types! I first did the SWOT chat with you to try and help me sort out what I was and wasn’t as an artist and what kind of art business I wanted. This led to a lot of self-reflection and pointers to where to look for opportunities and all sorts of other things that artists need to know to put themselves on a professional footing. I remain a work in progress as far as this is concerned. One of the hardest things for artists to decide upon is how much to price their work – what are you worth when you first start out and no-one knows who you are? So, I came to you for a price chat. This gave me a variety of different formulae for working out what my work is worth. I still juggle with pricing to find my point in the market but at least I can do it in a systematic way rather than a random way now, so thank you. I have also enjoyed coming to some of your networking events which is a great way to meet other artists and find out how they do things and give the benefit of my experience too. You often meet up with the same people and a feeling of camaraderie builds up. I think this kind of support is important for new artists, particularly if they are working from home as it can get very lonely on your own. I’ve always been impressed with how helpful and supportive artists and makers are to each other, even when they are commercial competitors!

 Congratulations on being selected for some very prestigious exhibitions lately, what are your plans going forward for your art business and any tips for new and emerging artists? 
Thank you. I do feel that things are starting to take off for me this year. I felt very honoured to be selected for the exhibition for the Lichfield Prize 2017 and proudly took my mum to see my painting hanging in the Emporium gallery in Lichfield. My plans are to keep entering other local open exhibitions/competitions – The Thoresby open is my next target! I am also planning to attend more art trails/art fairs as I think face to face events with customers are more fruitful than just selling online. I’m also looking for more commissions for my pet portrait and wildlife art paintings. What would I advise new and emerging artists? Well, I’m no expert so I can only reflect on my own experiences: Be seen and meet with your potential customers – all sales of my original paintings have been at art fairs/markets. Have an online presence to let people know you exist and what you do but go with what you are comfortable with, I have a website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and I have just started a LinkedIn profile. I personally don’t get on with Instagram but you may. I also have a YouTube channel to show my time lapse videos! Expect there to be a fairly lengthy period of trial and error as you work out what works and what doesn’t – give yourself time to grow as an artist as well as a business person. My branding has changed quite a lot as I have evolved to concentrate on pet portraits and wildlife art. Finally, expect it to take time to start making any money, it takes time to build a reputation and get a customer base. If you are not selling very much it doesn’t mean you are a rubbish artist it means you haven’t found your customer base yet, so, keep believing in yourself and persevere until you succeed.