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.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Lots of new things to show and I can't believe that I haven't been displaying them here,
but I have come to understand that I don't enjoy writing and showing things when I feel down.
Unfortunately there has been one prolonged ongoing incident that has been really annoying me and I find it amazing that one bad feeling undermines all of the good things that happen.
But such is life.
I won't mention the subject of of my recent cause for disappointment at the moment as it would detract from what I will write about, and that is not fair for others.
But I will just say the problem was caused by bureaucracy and small minded
"jobsworth" people.

Because of the long lapse I am really behind in talking about current and future events,
one of which is almost upon us.
Anyone who has read things that I have written before will know that we always have on
display some of the original paintings by the Artist, Author, Illustrator
Jackie Morris.
Next week sees the publication of her 28th book [well I think it's 28].
She not only writes and illustrates her own award winning books but also produces the covers of books for many famous authors.
In fact it was only after we started showing her art that I realised that much of it I was familiar with without ever having known that she was the creator.
In fact anyone who has been into a bookshop in the past ten years will probably recognise her art as it is featured on the covers of so many "best selling" books.

So next Saturday we are going to do something that we have never done before,
we are holding a book launch.
Well actually it's not just a book launch it is also an exhibition.
Jackie's new book is an illustrated collection of children's nursery rhymes, so it was decided
[probably by me]
that we would hold an exhibition based upon the theme of "Nursery Rhymes"
to accompany the launch and book signing.
Book signing?
Well that will be something different again because Jackie being the unusual person that she is
doesn't "just" sign her books, she always draws a unique sketch in the front of each book
which makes each unique and collectible in its own way.
So it's Jackie, signing and drawing plus a very unusual exhibition.

I admit that this event is bringing more than its fair share of stress
[referred to at start of post]
and is going to be "close to the wire", as I kept thinking of different people that I would like to participate, as a result there have been lots of late calls made and there is still work being
created by different people.
I know it will all come together at the last minute but at the moment the next week looks like it will disappear in a flurry of trips around the country.
In fact while I am writing this I have just thought of another sculptor who I think would
be interested, but of course it's far too late to contact her, isn't it.
No, yes, no, "oh, don't be stupid John of course it is".
Right that does it, as soon as I have finished this I will call her, after all she must know by now that I'm mad, and would expect nothing less.
Mad and excited by beautiful things, that's me.

Beautiful things?
The new book by Jackie Morris is titled 'The Cat and the Fiddle' but this was a last minute change by the editor as for a long time the book was to be named
'A Rhyme in Time'.
Indeed Jackie had painted the front cover and it was this that became the inspiration
for the exhibition.
The cover was to show her painting of a "magical clock", a clock depicting many famous characters, animals and creatures from nursery rhymes.
I fell in love with the painting of the clock as soon as Jackie sent me an image.
"If only it was a real clock", were my thoughts.
Now it is.
An old friend from childhood who is now an incredibly talented jeweller was persuaded to create the clock as a real working timepiece.
Jonathan Mayle.
I know that Jon understood exactly the amount of work that he was committing to, but for some reason he agreed to "have a go".
Have a go, in Jon's language means "you will get the best clock you can imagine",
and we have done.
In fact it became a collaboration with his artist/sculptor wife Jan, as it was she that undertook to paint the brass figures to replicate the original painting.

Of course the book editor decided to disrupt all of our plans and two weeks before the book
went off to the printers "she" fell in love with another painting and decided that this would be the cover, and guess what?
The title didn't fit the painting so she changed that also.
So the clock painting became the "end plates" for the publication.

I admit that it was a long time before I had the courage to call Jonathan and tell him the news.
Still why should he mind? He had only been working on the clock for two months.
It says a lot for his nature that he took it in his stride, there were no ego problems here.
He continued working on it and finally with the additions of Jan's painting it was finished.

The painting brought to life.
A real working clock, created from copper, brass, silver and gold and including precious stones.
It is now in a case hanging in the gallery and it looks beautiful.
Next week the original painting will hang alongside Jon's creation,
I would love to think that they will find a joint home, they deserve and should stay together.

In memory of the original title and as a dedication to Jonathan's countless hours of work
our exhibition is called "A Rhyme in Time".

As well as many unusual pieces of art there will be other clocks on show,
but none that took as long in the creation as this.

The pictures above show the invitation cover depicting Jackie's inspiring painting.
The clock in the "early" [six weeks] stages.
The back cover showing the clock before being secured in a case.
The inside of the invitation showing various works by different artist's including the one that
has been the cause of my recent upset.
But I will tell you more of that as the artist really deserves
recognition for the effort that she took to be involved in this exhibition.

If anyone wants to order a signed book with unique illustration let me know as we will only
have a limited number and we are expecting a lot of Jackie fans at the opening.


  1. I love Jackie's work, seeing that wonderful clock painting & the hand made clock together in the one room will be amazing. Look forward to seeing all the other treasures you are bringing together for this exhibition (albeit virtually) thank goodness you have this blog and put your shows online on your website, you & your gallery are a constant source of inspiration.
    BTW you're writing about how the UK customs people held up the delivery of work from overseas that was made for your Rime of the Ancient Mariner exhibition helped me get my book to an exhibition in the US on time, it was held up in customs for 9 days but I sent it three weeks early just in case... you are such a treasure on the planet!

  2. Oh, why can't you be in North Carolina in the USA!!!! I have to get to your gallery one of these days. I love everything you ever blog about! This looks like a wonderful show, what beautiful artwork :)

  3. Thank you both for the lovely comments. It does seem strange that people so far away read this, but what is more strange is that I feel I know you.
    Funny that you should mention UK Customs Mo, they are the cause of the problems again, and as a result some pieces are on their way back
    to America. They got as close as 20 miles to us, but were stopped and
    sadly will never be shown here.

    One of the pieces is the strange "Owl & Pussycat" teapot that can be seen at the top of the invitation.
    If it wasn't for you Tracey I would never have known about this.
    On your blog you showed a picture of a teapot exhibition, and there very small and amongst others I could see a very strange pot.
    From there I searched and eventually found the creator, and as a result she has spent a long time creating pieces for the show.

    I might mention what happened in another post but at the moment
    I am still too upset by what happened and don't want to talk about it.

    Best Wishes to you both.

    P.S. Tracey, I start each day with your blog.

  4. I've been tracking this show, both here at over at Jackie's blog. Wonderful. The clock is stunning, doesn't matter to me that it got put inside as endplates instead of front cover, the collaboration is really so unique and the end result so, well, amazing. Good luck with the whirlwind week and I do hope you called the sculptor, you never know what goodies will fit right in that already exist, no?

    Blessings from the misty forest,
    Valerianna & Pasha cat

  5. ps - I'm in the midst of an intense project/process, and what I've learned (sometimes the hard way) is that I no longer want to work with people who lack vision, creativity, generosity, clear communication, imagination and a hearty dose of joy. Not that I will get to choose all the time, but what this project has taught me not to settle for less. Its such a joy when we work with people like Jonathan, we avoid so much unnecessary angst. But, of course, you already know this, I'm sure, its just that I just took a big step in committing myself to the highest integrity in all my choices and not to let myself down.

  6. Oh man, I really need to clean up my mouth if folks are starting the day with me! I feel like I know you as well, isn't blogging great?! Now I wish I had photographed more of the teapot show. When I got home I realized I had done too much viewing and not enough photographing. How wonderful that an artist got to you just because I went to the show!