Welcome to the Gallery

Imagine is set in the Suffolk village of Long Melford.
This is an attempt to record the daily trials, tribulation and pleasure of running an art gallery.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

After an exhausting few days we are all now recovering from the
'Maureen Minchin' exhibition.
In every respect it was unlike any other that we have held.
The quality and quantity of ceramics which arrived just a couple of days before the were a little overwhelming, not just the thought of having to price and catalogue the work but how to go about displaying such a varied and beautiful mixture.
There was literally "something for everyone", from beautiful egg cups to gigantic plates and dishes. It is almost impossible to understand how one person can produce such intricate work.
I know that she has a team of friends and helpers who work with her, but the decoration is all Maureen's.
Drawn with a needle.
Even a humble mug must have hours of work involved in its creation.
One person commented to me about one of her framed tiles
" that's almost like a miniature work of art".
I corrected him.
"No that is a work of art. If it was on paper many artists would be demanding very high sums for such a piece".
But it seems that all of the work and many, many extra hours demanded to create this picture on a piece of ceramic mean nothing when compared to "oil on canvas".
Funny old thing the art world isn't it.

The opening of this exhibition was a rare experience.
People were waiting outside for hours before the door was opened
There was something of a carnival atmosphere about it all, much of this was helped by Paul,
a neighbour, friend and owner of the nearby Hairdressing Salon.
He, like many is a great fan of Maureens work and was determined to purchase a number of pieces and he appreciated that friendship aside this would involve a long wait, so not only did he turn up with a garden chair to sit on , but he also brought several others for the people who waited with him until the opening.

Inside the gallery I was still panicking and rushing about trying to put the final touches to the show and I envied the strangers sitting outside in the sun laughing, drinking and becoming friends.
It was a very unusual day.

Once the door was opened at 12.00 Noon [on the stroke] bedlam was unleashed.
It was terrible, for once I had to work hard instead of socialising.
For the first time I understood how much Rebecca and Irene have to do while I talk and drink,
and talk.
This was hard work.
People were snatching up pots and holding onto them so that others couldn't buy them, some were demanding "Red Spots" so that they could reserve a piece before someone else spotted it.
It was madness , then suddenly,
it calmed,
people started to behave in a more normal manner.
The reason?
Because almost everything had sold.
"What a day", I thought as I poured myself a long overdue glass of wine.
I was wrong, it wasn't a day it was only 1.20 pm.
I couldn't believe it, so much had happened and so much had sold in such a short time.

At any exhibition that we hold it is impossible to predict the outcome or how many people will attend, all I can do is put every effort into each show and then wait.
So what makes Maureen so special and so sought after.

I think that it is to do with her integrity and the amount of work she puts into each piece she creates, but not just that. I think that in her work she shows a side of life and the countryside that we all long to see and experience.
For instance I had asked her "do you ever see any basking sharks"?
"Oh yes lots, and Minke whale, killer whale, lots of Dolphin and of course the Otters and Puffins all the time".
Her pots reflect her life and everything in it that is of importance to her.
They are a 3D representation of where she chooses to live.

I have tried in a simple way to illustrate with my pictures above where her inspirations come from and what makes her create what she does. I hope that they help give an insight into her beautiful world.
I think what sums her work up comes from her own words.
"To step outside my door and be able to walk in any direction is very important to me".

Maureen will show with us again one day but not until 2015.
" What, I will be dead by then", I told her.

"Don't be silly that's what you told me five years ago".
It seems like yesterday.


  1. Extraordinary! What a tale, and I do love her work.

    It is so strange, indeed, how the art world categorizes and prices work. Functional vs. non-functional, drawings vs. painting, and, of course the "lordly" oil paintings... I love how you responded to the comment "that's almost like a miniature work of art". I'm constantly amazed at how little others understand about the creative process and what goes into the creation of art - materials, technique, not to mention the hours of labor.

    Sounds like a very intense opening, wow, but to sell out right away, how great for both you and the artist, wonderful!

    I think I remember you writing that Rima Staines is having a show in May, I hope the same happens for her!

    Many blessings from the New England forests,

  2. Wow! What an amazing one and a half hours you had, selling all her glorious work so quicky!You have such a beautiful gallery! X

  3. Such beautiful intricate well wrought work, thank you for sharing! I love visiting your gallery so far away and yet nearby (to misquote Georgia O'Keefe) from here on the other side of the world.
    Sydney Australia

  4. There are some artist to whom painting is a kind of meditation. I would bet she's one.

  5. Thank you for all of your lovely comments.
    I never know how to respond to people as most of the time I just feel that I am writing to myself, so when a comment is left I feel a little "thrown".
    I want to respond, but it feels so very strange.
    Thank you for all your kind words and observations.
    I have just spoken to Maureen who is back in Scotland, and I tried to explain to her how I felt.
    The exhibition was so many years in the planning, and now it has gone.
    It is such a strange experience, I am still wanting to enjoy the experience it all, but alas all of the lovely work has vanished.
    Still I mustn't complain about that, in these very uncertain times I have to consider myself very fortunate, to have exhibited her art, and then to have sold it all.
    It is what I have dreamt of for so very long.