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.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

OK, I told a little white lie.
It is the day after tomorrow that I am showing you the wood carvings by Stephen Henderson.
I am still trying to sort out the photographs but I think they are worth waiting for.

It amazes me that work of such fragile beauty is carved from driftwood and other pieces of wood and metal that have been discarded by the rest of us, things that have cluttered up our lives all find a way to be reborn under the hands of Stephen.
But, then he is in an ideal location for a man of his talents.
He lives in a building that was once an old 'PUB', which is hard to understand as it is in such a remote location with no road that leads to it, just a dirt track that takes you for miles until you arrive at what was once [many years ago] a thriving port.
Perhaps "port" is too grand a word, but it was certainly the centre of a thriving community.
Trading barges used to arrive daily from London, navigating there way up the tidal creek until they arrived at the wharf which is his home.
It is now so desolate and remote with only a few timbers showing where the jetty once was it really is hard to imagine, especially the idea of an Inn in such an uninhabited location.
But "back in the day" the waterside inn must have been a very welcome site after a long journey.

Now the only inhabitants apart from Stephen and his family are birds and water creatures.
These are the source of his art and the materials used to create it are found on his daily walks along
the shore and over the marshes that surround his house.

The home where he was born and has spent his entire life.

Unfortunately I have never taken a photograph of his studio [I'm sure he would call it a workshop],
even though I have visited many times and on every visit with the intention of doing so.
It is a beautiful wooden building set just yards from the creek and with a view that stretches for miles.
"Breathtaking" is a word that comes to mind, every visit I stand mesmerised looking at the scene.

The scene inside the studio is no less dramatic,
apart from the wood burning stove every conceivable table, floor and wall space is covered with sculptures in various stages of creation.
Many finished, some awaiting assembly or painting and many still as crude shapes of wood with outlines sketched upon them.
Outside the door are piles of driftwood, pieces of old boats, weathered timber from various parts of the country and various discarded bits and pieces, all awaiting to be converted into objects of beauty.

With these sculptures alongside the dynamic work by Sam MacDonald,
I just know that I am going to have a few weeks of pleasure enjoying my own private collection.
Of course they aren't mine but until the exhibition they are mine every day.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I think to myself.
"This job is better than working for a living".


  1. Nothing like being surrounded by that kind of beautiful work.

  2. Oh! please take photos of Stephen's studio next time you're there! sounds like a piece of paradise on earth, the dirt track, remoteness, an old port with ghosts of barges, no neighbours except the fish and the birds... ah dream on girl... one day I will see your gallery and travel a few of the byways round the Isles.

  3. Lovely, lovely! I think wood carvers have super natural powers or something!

  4. Beautiful. And, I would love to see photos of your artists in their studios too.

  5. Gorgeous...so delicate yet dynamic. I must come visit your gallery one day.

  6. Hollis
    You are right, but sometimes I forget how special some of the pieces are that we show, then every now and again I think this is lovely, just how lucky am I?

    Hey, I'm waiting to come and see where you live, for me that would be really different.
    But your mental images of "barges and ghosts" at the old port are not far away from how it actually feels like.
    I think that if the location was in another country I would find it staggering. It is only because I can reach there within an hour that stops it from being totally magical.

    Although it is really.

    Last summer I visited and Stephen said "if only you had been an hour earlier we could have had a swim in the creek".
    My thoughts were
    " No thanks, I have seen what lives there in your sculptures, and even they scare me".
    Which I know he wouldn't have understood.
    For him it is all nature.

    I know what you mean.
    How can someone create this from a lump of wood?
    At least with ceramics we can go bak a step and "smooth things out or add a piece of clay," but with wood you can't do that.
    But, I have yet to see a sculpture in wood that is better than a "ceramists" work.
    Maybe it's because us potters can go backwards and change things,
    and perhaps that is why you feel that these people have more powers than the rest of us.


    Thank you so much.
    I read what you said then thought "I know what you mean, I would love to see photos of our artists at work in their studios.

    From that thought I have decided to have an exhibition next year of
    "Artist's in their studios".
    The intention is, to choose 12 artists whose work I show and admire and to produce a gallery [limited edition] book showing them working on maybe three pieces of art which would then be the focus of a joint exhibition.
    With the book showing the pieces being created in their studio's.

    Thank you for the inspiration, you had better attend the opening.


    I will look forward to that day.

  7. Sorry to everyone about the bad grammer.
    Blogger would not allow me to correct things.

    Truth is I'm an idiot.

  8. Very nice, thanks for the information.
    Anna @ rental mobil