#222 theoldmortuary ponders

©Michael Jenkins

Not exactly sunrise to sunset, but not far off. The curating and hanging teams for the Spring Exhibition, including me, worked hard all day to hang all the 2d and 3d work submitted for the Spring Exhibition. 12,000 steps on a hard concrete floor are enough to make your feet shout for a break, but that was not an option. All the works were hung and the space beautifully tidied up by the time the doors opened for the Private View. Then the owners of the same exhausted feet made sure that our guests had drinks in their hands and delicious canapes in their mouths. Lovely conversations were had and sales negotiated. Gilly our treasurer had her hands full with Pimms and payments all happening at once. All in all a good day was had.

©Michael Jenkins

#221 theoldmortuary ponders

©Mark Fielding

Setting up a group art exhibition is exhausting but the thrill of unpacking other peoples creativity is an enormous treat. The other great pleasure is meeting and talking with the artists as they arrive, weighed down by their precious creations.

©Sue Richardson

After the last two days of setting up and installing we have a week now of being open to the public and plenty of time to chat. Anyone local to Gunnislake or the Tamar Valley, we would love to see you, there will always be a warm welcome.

©Sarah Grace.

#184 theoldmortuary ponders

Bobbers and their dogs left their usual Atlantic location and travelled up the River Tamar last night to celebrate an evening of live music and Coach Andy’s birthday. Bobber Helen was performing after recovering the lower register of her voice, the upper one having been temporarily disabled by Covid.

Bobbers always celebrate birthdays in the sea but Coach Andy is a special bobber because he never gets wet. So a landlocked celebration at the Who’d Have Thought It suited him very well.

Covid has robbed us all of so much but the curiously named pub exactly reflects the sentiments of last night.

Who would have thought that fifteen people, most of them strangers to one another, would have created such a bond because of a pandemic. During the dark days of lockdowns in England people were only permitted to travel short distances for exercise. Open water or the sea was the only place that swimming could happen. Crazy as it seems now Bobbing started when we even had to keep our distance in outside environments including the sea. Bobbing requires us all to struggle in and out of our clothes on a public promenade, Coach Andy keeps an eye on piles of clothes and the bobbers in the sea. We swim in an area with very tricksy currents. During lockdown even though travel was restricted to essential or exercise some people saw this as an opportunity to steal phones and valuables from swimmers clothes piles. There was also a Voyeur who would casually cycle up and down the promenade in a high visibility jacket hoping to catch an eyeful of damp flesh as we struggled in or out of our clothes. At one point Coach Andy was supplemented by members of the Police Force who showed the Voyeur the error of his ways and he cycled off never to be seen again. Although as his disguise was a high visibility jacket that statement is not strictly true. Someone, somewhere else is almost certainly seeing him. Coach Andy is an absolute master at wandering off and staring at the horizon for long periods when we get to the damp flesh bit of bobbing. He is also pretty good at a good old natter when other people come to visit the bobbing zone to marvel at the madness that is cold water swimming in all sorts of weather. His emergency finger is never far away from his phone whatever situation he finds himself in

Who would have thought you could put 15 strangers into a very unusual situation and then turn them into friends.

Who would have thought that three dogs could listen so attentively to a night of the Blues . I suspect no high notes may have been the secret.

#70 theoldmortuary ponders

Sharp December sun was a gift that just kept giving. Even Miss Spearmint was not going to miss a moment of it.

I took a trip up the Tamar to Cotehele, a Tudor Mansion on the Cornish Bank of the river. Cotehele is a regular pre Christmas trip. Rarely in such gorgeous sunlight though. The Christmas Garland in the Tudor Hall is a longstanding Advent tradition. COVID has had its destructive way with the Garland and things are not as colourful or vibrant as in a normal year. The home grown flower heads could not be grown in such enormous quantities, with lock downs and lower numbers of available gardeners on the estate.

The Garland is still pretty impressive, but because it was less grand and attention seeking than normal it was easier to notice the smaller decoration details of the Great Hall. Simple Honesty bunches captured in the last, bright, shards of the afternoon sun.

A great picture to give a little digital tweak to.

And just like that it was time for the sun take its leave.

Pandemic Pondering #525

Friday in the first week of September in the second year of a pandemic feels like a strange place to be. The end of another summer of uncertainty with summer traditions modified or cancelled. One regular event of late summer that is going ahead with appropriate Covid-19 precautions is the Drawn to the Valley Open Studios event. 9 days of art and making locations, open to the public throughout the Tamar Valley.

Locations and opening times can be found in the virtual brochure on our website.

Home

There are 3 more days to visit studios. I’ve spent my free time this week calling in on artists and catching some beautiful art and conversations along the way.

All the artists have been very welcoming but one welcome was very special.

Pippin in Bere Alston gave the most enthusiastic welcome so far.

Pandemic Pondering #465

Bobbing with bubbles is not a regular piece of behaviour at all but this had not been a normal bobbing week. Even more unusually we managed to use a Winston Churchill quote in the after swim nattering session. Friday bobbing is the most regular session and happens at about 10:30 each Friday morning.

This was our first Friday swim since moving house. Apparently we need to hurry up because the water is lovely once you get in!

Our first Wednesday day swim after moving featured a pod of Dolphins. Friday featured Pol Roger Champagne!

Bobbers getting giddy before noon is definitely not normal. New house owners getting giddy before more unpacking is surprisingly effective. Although not in all corners of a room.

A tidy sofa is essential for a little post-bob, post Pol Roger siesta. It is almost certain that Winston Churchill would not have needed a siesta after drinking Pol Roger in the morning. It was his favourite champagne and he drank it with a traditional Full-English breakfast often. Thankfully we don’t have his responsibilities or the budget for such a lifestyle. But just once with the lovely Bobbers after a sparkling swim was just perfect. Our bobbing friend Helen provided the Champagne. She also gave us the chance to hear her sharing her voice in a graffiti- decorated disused grain store not far from our Bobbing Zone.

Follow the link below to hear her voice paired with great acoustics and gorgeous Street Art.

Jenny of Oldstones performed by Helen Bobber.

A remarkable day in the Tamar Valley.

Pandemic Pondering#456

Visiting artists in their workspace is a multisensory experience. One I always have mixed feelings about beforehand but nearly always come away enriched in so many ways. Not always arty embellishment of my soul either. My mixed feelings are caused mostly by an inate shyness and reticence about walking into someone else’s creative space. Yesterday I visited three creatives participating in the South Tamar Art Trail. All in a small hamlet in the Tamar Valley known as Rising Sun.

My first visit was to Gudrun’s fused glass studio. A buzzy place with a bead making workshop going on.

Bead making is mesmerising. Fire, dexterity and concentration are significant factors in the magic of fused glass bead making. Gudrun also fuses ideas and creativity with her neighbour John who creates his craft in a woodshed filled with equipment and wood for recycling into wondrous objects.

Gudrun walked us over to John’s workplace. The smell of freshly drilled or cut wood was intoxicating as we first entered. John recycles wood from all sorts of places and the fragrances from unusual woods create a heady brew. From John’s workshop we walked to Suzy Billing Mountain’s unit on a small industrial unit nearby.

Suzy has been making fluid art for a couple of years. Walking into her unit blasts your eyes with colour. It is everywhere, including on Suzy. She gave us a demo of her style of working and we nattered a lot. Having said that our eyes were blasted, I’ve chosen a really subtle piece to show her style. Mostly because it sums up the colours of walking in the Tamar Valley in early summer.

South Tamar Art Trail runs until Sunday 27th June.

Pandemic Pondering #430

©Sarah Brown Drawn to the Valley

Today, Saturday is the last day of the art exhibition at Tamar Valley AONB. It has been a remarkable exhibition with good visitor numbers and many sales. Every time I’ve been there has been time to concentrate on different areas of the exhibition. Hares were my thing on the last visit. The sleepy one above and the mythical one below are so peaceful.

© Gilly Spottiswood Drawn to the Valley

The mum and leveret below make me smile.

©Shari Hills Drawn to the Valley

Stewarding at the exhibition has been a great chance to meet and talk with visitors and artists, and we have heard some fabulous comments and conversations but the real take away from this first post pandemic ( we hope) exhibition is the smiles and happiness that doing something normal  has given people. There has also been plenty of chance for a good natter when the exhibition has been quiet

©Sue Richardson Drawn to the Valley

But this afternoon it will be time to call in the hard hats and take everything down.

© Julia O’Dell ( detail) Drawn to the Valley

And all head off for the Hills.

© Allie Cole Drawn to the Valley

Or the quiet waters of the Tamar Valley.

©Clare Law Drawn to the Valley

The remaining unsold works will appear on our website very soon.
https://drawntothevalley.com/.

Pandemic Pondering #368

This is the last photograph I took in March 2020 before the first Covid-19 lockdown in Britain. It was mid afternoon at Cotehele and I was recovering from a nasty virus. My last virus as it happens, a welcome benefit of adhering to Covid restrictions is that @theoldmortuary we’ve been virus free for a year now despite doing public facing/touching jobs.

In colour this picture is nothing much. Reeds on a managed flood plain on a typically greige day in the Tamar Valley. What the colour picture would never have shown was the amazing sound that was produced as the wind blew through the reeds. I took the picture just to remind me of that sound. True Whispering Grasses.

Really the original picture was nothing much, just a diary note to remind me of a lovely serendipitous sound on a walk that was being done more out of a sense of necessity and desperation than for pleasure.

I tinkered about with the image altering the contrast and then converted it into black and white.

Ta Da!!

A dull photo has turned into a sound. Not perhaps the gentle sound of whispering grasses, although I can hear them when I look at this with an imagined low volume. If I switch it up to medium volume I hear the interference on a television in the eighties or nineties when the signal was lost. Up a notch again and it is the feedback on a performers mic ( when ever have I felt nostalgic about that piercing scream ) it could also be, currently, two people having different Zoom meetings with their laptops too close together. My final auditory assault from one picture is this.

Imagine sketching it in chalk on an old school blackboard.

I’m fairly certain that last suggestion was not kind. The link below is a gentle salve to give you a good earworm for Friday. The mellifluous Sandy Denny.

Whispering Grass

Pandemic Pondering #338

I am very lucky, one of my responsibilities within an art group is to manage the groups social media output. Part of that role is to keep an eye on the groups Instagram page. Another friend does the same for Facebook. During the Pandemic, Social Media, Zoom Meetings, a Newsletter and a fabulous new website have been the groups only way of keeping in touch and sharing their creative outputs with members and the wider community. In normal times there would be Workshops, Drawing Days, Exhibitions and Open Studio events.

Checking the Instagram page of Drawn To The Valley daily is an absolute pleasure. Our members and other artists work appear on our feed. It took no effort to find these great images from todays feed.

Our Social Media team meet monthly to plan what we need to promote for the group but we also work out ways to increase engagement and attract followers to our pages.

For 2021 each month will have a # that brings the art created in that month together in a grid. #januaryinthevalley, #februaryinthevalley and on for every month of the year.

So far #februaryinthevalley is looking good.

We’ve really had to reconsider how best to use social media to support our members during the Pandemic. We are lucky that Drawn to the Valley adopted social media early and effectively a long time ago, we have some vibrant and effective wisdom in our team. Zoom meetings are never dull.

The pandemic has forced us to shake things up a bit.

Below is a link to our website.

Home

We can also be found on Instagram and Facebook.

There is some lovely art.