The forthcoming ALICE exhibition is very much in my mind at the moment , but I thought it about time I mentioned something about recent events that now seem long in the past,
even though only a few days have passed
from when they were occupying all of my mind and time.
We are now in the middle of an exhibition titled 'All Creatures Great & Small'.
Not that original I know, but what the 'heck' it makes sense of the work displayed.
The star of this exhibition is a young talented sculptor named Brendan Hesmonhalgh.
I suppose it would be easy to describe him as a 'Ceramic Wildlife Sculptor' but to do so would "water down" conceptions of his incredible talent.
Brendan sculpts all life, human and animals, in fact perhaps the best piece of his work that we have ever shown was a life size 'ICARUS', something totally unusual and beautiful,
it literally "stopped people in their tracks".
It now presides over a garden in Shropshire, set high above the lawn where eventually he will fall to earth.
There is only one problem with Brendan, he is too popular.
His work is in demand everywhere, from galleries and public alike, which makes it very hard to
to get a sufficient amount to make a good display,
and it was for this reason that the exhibition was conceived.
What artist could resist a solo show? I asked myself.
So a year ago I asked. Brendan agreed, and we have spent a year in anticipation of the large amount of sculpture that would be on show.
Unbeknown to me other galleries must have planned the same.
So it was, that a week before the opening when I found that another gallery was holding an exhibition with 'his' work in their show a "little" bit of panic started to creep in.
Unfortunately I am one of those people who always look on the dark side of things.
I am a born pessimist, I justify this by saying "I'm always prepared for the worse and if it doesn't happen then I'm ahead of the game".
Perhaps not the best way to approach life, but it's mine.
Little wonder my wife is always telling me to "lighten up a little, smile more".
I can't I'm a pessimist.
So, with this being my nature I approached my good friend and talented sculptor Karen and asked if she could help out "just in case".
Although she has more than enough to do Karen [as always] told me not to worry and that she would somehow get something new to me on time.
I'm sure that Brendan just likes to make old men worry,
but he didn't let me down, his sculptures arrived just in time, on a truck.
They needed a truck to deliver them because of the shear scale of the work, I don't think that anyone has ever told him that "less is more".
To Brendan "more is more" and I can vouch for this as I struggled with two [passers by] other
people to carry a magnificent life size 'Pig' into the gallery.
Where for the last week he has drawn crowds of people to the window.
Add to this, dogs, hares, seals and giant
pelicans the gallery soon filled up, but what was missing were smaller delicate animals.
Then "the cavalry" arrived, in the form of Karen's smaller delicate animals.
The combination of the different works made for a really well balanced show, but I must admit my nerves are getting a bit frayed with each exhibition, wondering, "will they won't they"
in respect of getting work here on time.
At the other end of the spectrum we have the sculptor John Maltby
booked for an exhibition in July.
Alongside Emma Rodgers, Herman Muys, Claire Curneen and Eve Shepherd
he will be part of our
'Ceramic Sculptors' exhibition.
Although it is still months away he contacted me earlier this week and asked,
" how many of my sculptures do you need, what size do you want them and when by"?
This was followed by a telephone call asking if I needed photographs to promote the exhibition.
Almost unheard of.
I suppose it is because he pays so much attention to the important details that every show he does is a 'sell out'.
I feel privileged that such a "legend" has agreed to contribute to this exhibition.
From tomorrow I hope to be back to current events, but until then here are a
few samples of what I have been talking about.
The beautiful Kestrel is by Karen.
I will mention here that although I was lucky enough to have an Owl as a member of my family
[you can't call a wild animal a pet] for fifteen years my lifelong ambition has been to have a Kestrel. Not to own, but to share its life with us.
Having the Kestrel made by Karen here for a few days is the closest that I have come to that dream [hey, Karen it's my birthday this week], it really was so very life like.
The Rhino's head and Whippet are by Brendan [no picture will do them justice].
The wall sculpture is by John Maltby.