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.

Monday 14 February 2011

All or nothing.
It seems to be the case with almost everything in life
but at the moment I am referring to life in the gallery.
After an unprecedented fantastic start to the year I had started to find myself in the position where I was thinking "we could run out of art".
This is something that "couldn't" happen as we always have twice as much as we can show at any given time, so I suppose what I mean is the more unusual collectible pieces.
Although I don't want to sit on the fence and decide what is or not collectible.
What I am trying to describe are the different objects/art that I love but which I have recognised are perhaps a little too unusual, or only for the discerning taste.
Here I go again.
What I am trying to say is that the things that I love I have come to understand are a little unusual, and in fact you can't buy them elsewhere.
A strange thing is people love to buy what they have seen elsewhere, they start to believe that
this must be good because they have seen it before.
Don't ask me to explain it, I'm just an idiot who loves unusual things that you can't find elsewhere.

So it seems that my beautiful "things" are being recognized for the for the incredible art that they are, and suddenly the demand for them has gone beyond anything that I have experienced and it had started to play at the back of my mind that maybe "things are selling too fast".
What a dilemma!
I'm sure that if you spoke to any shop holder at the moment then this would be a dream come true. After all they only have to pick up the telephone and order "more of the same".
It doesn't work like that for us.
I love everything here and I really want it to sell, both for us and the artist, but when it does I always feel a sense of loss, and then the worry.
"How am I going to get "anything" to replace that?
These times are the best and the worst.
So having spent the past week worrying as I watched more and more pieces disappear,
then thinking "how can I replace them", nature has stepped in.
"Human nature", that is.
Different people have called me asking "are you OK or do you need something new"?
"Yes please", has been my reply to everyone.
So now I find that my cup may soon overflow [impossible].
New art from people like Paul Priest, Lucinda Brown, Gaynor Ostinelli, Tamsin Abbott.
All at once, plus the expectation of new pieces by the famous sculptor Emma Rodgers.
Add to this an imminent exhibition with sculptures by Anne Morrison and paintings by Lindsey Carr, I'm suddenly back where I want to be.
Too much beautiful work with not enough space to display it all.

On top of this, in the background have been some things "bubbling away", or to be more precise orders for various unusual sculptures from Karen. Her sculptures are always in demand but this is the first time that we have had a 'backlog' of commissions for her.
Time has been pressing as different buyers needed their sculptures by definite but different dates, which have all been drawing closer, and closer.
Unfortunately because of the distance between us Karen and I meet only a few times a year, but this meeting couldn't be put off any longer. So we arranged a "collection".
That of course is an artistic term for "meet you halfway down the A1 at a service station".
It's such a high life in the art world, I have just come to love motorway coffee.

This meeting was different, not only was I collecting pre-sold commissions but Karen had also decided to "have a play" and to give me some new things that she was "mucking" about with.

They were a breath of fresh air, so innocent yet beautiful.
Being a girl from "up't north", she had made me some northern wildlife sculptures.
I suppose they could be southern wildlife but these all had "attitude" and reflected the area where she lives.
An ex-mining community. Not "ex" by their choosing but by the decision of the past Tory Government under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher.
The time when there was a war against miners and the union that represented them.
I don't need to record my own memories of this as it is all now history, but sadly the unemployment that followed isn't.
Where she lives is a very sad "ugly" but "beautiful" location.
It is a photographers dream.
Watching the "old boys" sitting outside their allotment sheds, or releasing their racing pigeons, or even just pushing old prams along the road laden with salvaged building materials, wonderful but a sad place.
The reminder of a life gone by, what was a vibrant community now just a place of mass unemployment.
It is in this environment that Karen works, with a house and garden full children, animals and love. It is full of life and happiness, which is why they have so many visitors.
The door is never locked and when pushing it open you have no idea who might greet you.

Her latest creations are "animals of northern England".
I have them here.
They are totally innocent, devoid of any pretension and are made "because I wanted to".

We have Badgers, dressed up for a "night on the town", Robins wearing "cloth caps" and old "schoolteacher owls", all of them dressed up for the northern climate with their leather waistcoats, little scarves and polished boots.
Most amazingly of all she gave me a "Woodcock Pilot".
Never heard of it?
Nor had I, but apparently the Woodcock and the Goldcrest, both migrating birds arrive on the northeastern coastline from Europe at the same time each year .
The Goldcrest is far too small to have flown over the North Sea, so according to myth and legend they rode on the back of the much larger Woodcock, so arriving at the same time.
They were the "Woodcock Pilots".

As far as I know, but I will have to check with the 'Natural History Museum' we are the first
people to exhibit this phenomenon.

If I had time I would show more, but time I have little of so here are a very few of her
Northern Creatures.


  1. Are these made of clay?! If they are I might have to give up on my birds...

  2. I can see how these might become very, very popular. The owl is exceedingly popular with me.

  3. I love these! Especially the last one - the Goldcrest riding on the Woodcock. The Goldcrest looks rather like our Golden Crowned Kinglets, and are very small. I'm off to google Goldcrest. Fantastic art and natural history... what could be better!

  4. So the answer is yes, the Goldcrest is a kinglet, and, so in the same family as our Golden Crowned Kinglet. Such sweet birds. I love when they visit here....

  5. I'm glad you like them Dan, I have been following your own "bird" work.
    Lucky the Martin brothers are dead or they might have some competition. Hey! maybe an exhibition of ceramic birds should be on the cards.

    WOL: Now just "how" did I know that the owl would appeal to you.
    I must admit I would love to take it home myself. I spoke to Karen a few minutes ago and she told me that she had made a mistake.
    It should be holding a pen.
    Now that you don't see every day.

    That's strange because I had always thought of the Goldcrest as being a "British" bird.
    Which is silly because it wouldn't be migrating, but it's funny how some things you just associate with were you live.
    Last year we had two of them that would sit and tap at the window every morning. We couldn't understand why, it must have been their reflections that caused it.
    It was amazing because you could get within inches of them and they
    were still unbothered.
    We hope they come back. This morning we had everything at the 'bird table' from Wrens to Golden male pheasants.
    I can imagine your own outlook and visitors are a lot more exciting,
    especially a bear.
    The nearest we get to that is when one of the dogs takes a "teddy bear" outside to play with.

  6. I don't think our Golden Kinglets migrate around here... I read something about the European Goldcrests that live on the"edge" of the range migrate. Interesting, too, that you had a couple so close! I'm lucky if I see them still at all as they flit around all over the hemlocks outside my window. I recognize them more now for their movements than for their pattern, its very distinctive. Very acrobatic, tiny birds.

    And this morning there were about 20 wild turkeys wandering through the yard, though the bears are still dreaming.