Go West: a few days in Bridport
If you read this blog regularly, you will know by now that I have fallen in love with Dorset, and more precisely, West Dorset (just have a look at THOSE PHOTOS and you will understand...)
Last Sunday, we set off for West Dorset on a last minute flash visit to our favourite county; it was a business trip of sorts. We went to visit a venue down in West Bay... We hope to reveal more about this in a few weeks if it all works out...
It was a really positive trip for us: we chatted to quite a few people who live and work in Bridport. And yes, we are thinking about making this lovely, dynamic town our base in the future. It will be hard work and a very slow process, but we will get there in the end. At the moment, it is really nice to be able to explore and discover the area and get a feel for it. And the feel at the moment is very, very good.
I have posted before about the Arts and Vintage Quarter based within the St Michael's Estate in the heart of the town and the redevelopment threat it is under (see my blog HERE). I can reveal that I am now a proud shareholder in Enterprise St Michael's, a fantastic local initiative which aims at buying the land and turning it into a business, arts and heritage hub. It would be the perfect place for us to develop our design and publishing ventures as well as the small indie bookshop/literature and music hub I have in mind...
I have re-posted below the film "Made in Bridport" which I blogged about last September. It explains what the St Michael's Estate is all about and what their vision is... certainly not the planned housing development!
Matt ArtPix has already found his favourite bakery: Leakers!
On our list of things to do was the Theatre of the Soul exhibition at the Bridport Arts Centre.
It was "An exhibition celebrating Imaginary, Visionary and Surrealist Art" which featuring 11 West Country-based artists.
It was a truly lovely exhibition full of fantastical landscapes and scenes inhabited by a range of characters: dreamy-eyed maidens, darkly twisted creatures, grinning fairies, two-headed beasts...
The artists were inspired by ancient times, legends, superstitions, myths, religious imagery, wild natural landscapes, tales of mystery and curious deeds.
I don't really like to have to pick favourites as I genuinely liked everything and thought the works by all the artists worked really well together... But I could say that I was intrigued by the small scale paintings by David Marl - the religious symbolism mostly escaped me, but I loved the colours and the composition of the scenes - I could read a narrative in each small frame. These are real little gems.
We were very impressed with Katarina Rose's work (she has also worked over twenty years as a sculptor under the name Lisa Lindqvist). As stallholders regularly attending vintage and antiques events, we had truly never thought about using vintage/antique items (boxes, suitcases, clocks, jewellery, even stuffed small animals!) the way this artist does. We adored her "The Last Ballet" - a whole ballet stage set in a vintage suitcase, complete with stage lights!. This artist creates her own self-contained colourful, busy, rich, often (darkly) humorous worlds and it's rather thrilling! Have a look at the video below...
Another favourite of mine is the complete opposite of Katarina Rose's work: the stark, minimalist, nightmarish work by Cornish artist Kate Walters. The images are full of shadows and twisted limbs - creatures half-human and half-animal inhabit dark forests, caves and wombs; we witness extraordinary metamorphosis and symbiosis of inscrutable characters. The artist's creations are beautiful and graceful, at the same time transparent and saturated with an ink that sometimes looks as if she had shed the blood of her extraordinary creations. Really intriguing.
Imagine the tales these images tell!
I have always loved pottery and ceramics, and was immediately drawn to Amanda Popham's expressive and individual characters. I love the textures and the colours of her work. Inspired by church carvings, medieval bestiaries and illuminated manuscripts, she explores an imaginary world where "anything can happen and things are not always as they seem and there is nothing new under the sun."
As I say, I won't detail everyone's work in this blog, but I liked everything. Every artist had their own distinctive style.
Do go to the exhibition if you are in the area (it is free and runs until 28th February !)
The other artists featured are below (I have linked their websites if I have managed to find them):
Of course, we couldn't go to West Dorset without paying a visit to St Catherine's chapel, one of the stars of my third novel, The Right Place.
Imagine my shock when I finally got to the top of Chapel Hill! One of the windows of the chapel had fallen to the ground...
What an awful sight! I do hope this will get repaired quickly... The poor resident doves must find their abode a tad draughty these days...
I hope to be able to give you a few more details about our plans in Dorset soon... Watch this space!
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