The willow Earth and workshops based around it, initially part of the May 27th ‘Sculpture in the Woods day’, were successfully staged at the Timber festival over the 5th-7th July. We were able to rebuild the earth structure at Timber and run an extended set of workshops there. Visitors were encouraged to write positive healing thoughts on ribbons of muslin to hang in the ‘Earth” – these became symbolic roots to protect the Earth as well as acting like prayer flags to take these messages away on the wind. Adults and children took part in this, writing, then tying their message in the Earth. Over the weekend more strips were added to the installation, a space where visitors could go inside, read positive thoughts and contemplate our place in nature.
It became particularly beautiful in the evening as the sun set through the willow, illuminating the colours in the muslin, as they moved in the wind. We installed some of the tree spheres from the outwoods in adjacent trees, and ran 2 drop in workshops to make small willow earths. These ran over both afternoons and proved very popular. In the mornings we held sewing workshops, sewing meditative words on prayer flags to take away. Both these were for adults and older children, or families working together. Around 130 people wrote on muslin, 60 people made a willow sphere and 10 people sewed prayer flags.
ArtSpace workshops at the Into The Outwoods Sculpture Trail were declared a great success. Despite the challenging weather at the sculpture trail opening event, around 700 visitors, adults, children and families, worked together and enjoyed getting creative willow weaving, felting, monoprinting, making woodland mobiles and weaving yarn. Hundreds more attended the ‘Sculpture in the woods day’, with workshops taking place at 5 locations along the trail.
Here are a few photographs to remember the occasion ……
Over six weeks this spring an estimated 20,000 – 30,000 visitors experienced the ArtSpace ‘Into The Outwoods Sculpture Trail’.
Nita Rao completed 20 days working as ‘artist in residence’ in the Loughborough Outwoods. In addition 13 commissions were given to local charnwood artists, mostly ArtSpace members, to add to Nitas’ residency work to make a mile and a quarter long trail.
Continue on this blog to take a virtual walk along the trail ……
Click here to visit Nita Rao Art to see some of her more ephemeral work from her residency.
If you have visited the Sculpture Trail and/or taken part in our drop-in workshops please complete this quick survey for us. It will help us feedback to our sponsors, help with funding for future projects and help us provide better projects. Thank you very much!
How to find us ….
ArtSpace are inviting the public to come along to the Loughborough Outwoods on 27th May for our ‘Sculpture in the Woods Day’. Get creative in a series of free sculpture drop-in workshops spread along the Sculpture Trail. Eight drop-in trail-based workshops will run between 10.30am and 4.30pm allowing visitors to both make work to take home as well as work on a larger collaborative piece to remain on the trail.
Workshops will aim to inspire, engage and challenge adults, young people and children, enhancing their opportunity to experience and be inspired by the sculpture trail and reconnect with this ancient woodland. Try felting a pebble or contribute to making a fantasy woodland landscape using clay and natural woodland materials. You will also be able to make your own fish from willow withies and much more. The full program for the ‘Sculpture in the Woods Day’ is posted below.
The workshops are all part of the Into The Outwoods Sculpture Trail, an ArtSpace initiative which will see a 1 1/4 mile sculpture trail weave its way through the Outwoods for 6 weeks, from 27th April to 9th June. Find the ‘Keeper of the Woods’, giant felted bluebells, willow tree spheres, an owl, jumping willow horse and much more!
Twelve commissioned artists created and installed their work in the woods over the Easter holiday period, 15-26th April, allowing visitors to observe the process and talk with the artists. Work is figurative as well as abstract, using natural materials, felt, willow, ceramic and metal.
The opening event for the sculpture trail on the 27th and 28th April was a great success despite the howling gale at the start. It included two days of free public drop-in workshops.
ArtSpace are a Charnwood based group of professional and semi-professional artists that formed in 1997. The Project has been generously supported by Arts Council England, The National Forest and Charnwood Borough Council.
May 27th Workshop Programme
Create a mini landscape 10.30 – 1.00 with Lisa Denham
Come and join in a collaborative workshop and help to create a mini landscape. Add as much or as little as you want using clay and things found in the woods. The woods will be the inspiration, the creatures that could be
found there, or ones from
Don’t Mess with Mother Earth 10.30 – 1.00 with Jacqueline Palmer
Re-using the material of the piece which is imbued with the elements Air, Water, Fire (Sun) , Earth and Spirit, this workshop expresses respect for the environment and will contribute to its protection through your Memory Bundle.
Earth 10.30 – 1.00 and 2.00 – 4.30 with Nita Rao
Help create roots to symbolically heal and hold our Earth together. Write down positive thoughts on ribbons of muslin and tie them inside the willow ‘Earth’. Wrap branches and twigs to create trees to take home as a reminder of these healing thoughts.
Felting with found objects 10.30 – 1.00 and 2.00 – 4.30 with Susheel Rao
Come and play with felting! Find a fallen stick, a stone or something similar and cover all or part with felt. We will have some pebbles if you prefer, a selection of coloured wools, and warm water to felt it all.
Make a fish with willow withies 10.30 – 1.00 and 2.00 – 4.30 with Jo Sheppard
In this workshop you will use willow
withies and recycled materials to
make two and three dimensional fish.
ArtSpace have won national funding to stage the biggest woodland art event to happen in Charnwood for decades, perhaps ever! Mountsorrel artist Nita Rao, main creator behind the event, has undertaken an 8 week ‘artist residency’ in the spectacular woodland setting to wet the public appetite and set the scene. This will be followed by a six week long sculpture trail leading through the woodland featuring artworks from eleven commissioned artists.
The Sculpture Trail in Charnwood’s Outwoods, just outside Loughborough, will be opened with
a weekend art event, including free creative drop-in workshops for the public, on 27th and 28th
April. The Trail will be open until the 9th June. Nita’s residency started on 18th February and will
continue until the opening of the Sculpture Trail.
Mountsorrel based photographer and ArtSpace member Tony Thory, said ‘last year’s smaller
event was such a success, and because the public appetite for opportunities to be creative
outdoors in beautiful natural surroundings was clearly so large, ArtSpace members decided to
go all out and stage a bigger and better event that would last longer and meander through a
large part of the woodland.’
As artist in residence, Nita will spend 2 or 3 days a week developing new work in the woods
from natural and found materials, taking inspiration from the Outwoods itself.
The eleven commissioned artists will be creating and installing their work on site over the Easter
holiday period, 15-26th April, allowing visitors to observe the process and talk with the artists.
The opening event for the Sculpture Trail will include two days of free public drop-in workshops
developed in response to work in the trail. During the six week trail further free workshops will
be held during a ‘sculpture-in-the-woods day’. Four day-long drop-in trail-based workshops will
allow visitors to make work to take home as well as work on a larger collaborative piece to
remain on the trail.
The Project has been generously supported by Arts Council England, The National Forest and Charnwood Borough Council. For further updated information see facebook – Into the Outwoods Sculpture Trail.
Our latest exhibition is at the Stamford Arts Centre
1st to 18th June 2017
18 members of the artists’ group Artspace Loughborough explore the theme of ‘Odyssey’. Each artist has responded differently and with a variety of media to the theme of a journey.
Several artists have chosen to explore actual journeys: narrow boat journeys in central England, photos from a train in India, the journeys of refugees to a safer life, Australian aboriginal songlines, wallpaper seen in an old cottage in New Zealand, shoes and other objects that remind us of travel.
Some journeys are imagined: the possible aftermath of a shipwreck, the exploits of a travelling circus.
Other work has a more metaphorical quality: the artist’s own journey to develop their art or to find meaning.
I went to Sudbury, Suffolk recently, to see Gainsborough’s house. Very interesting – we devised a slightly alternative version of his life, piecing together the concrete information. I reckon he had quite a stressful working life, going to London early on (the right place for middle-class patrons) – whilst there he would have been obliged to get a posh studio in the right area whether he could afford it or not – posh clients wouldn’t want to be seen in a poor area. Then he went to Bath – maybe that was a bit cheaper, but still posh – we wondered why he moved? Then he returned to Sudbury and we wondered if that meant difficulties, not only in terms of making ends meet, but also he wasn’t entirely in line with Joshua Reynolds, the first principle of the R.A. Looks like his brother (who had made enough money to live elsewhere) moved out and allowed him & family to live in the house their father had originally bought. Looks like Gainsborough felt under pressure to keep up appearances as it were, and we did notice an increase of more ordinary local people in later portraits, so maybe he felt he had to take whatever work he could. What really inspired him though was aristocratic ladies with a bit of va-va-vroom, like ‘Mary, Countess Howe’ – now there was a fabulous woman!
I have been a member of Artspace Loughborough for a decade now having been a member, moving abroad, and come back so I thought it apt to write a few lines about belonging to an art group.
As artists, we tend to work in a fairly solitary manner. However in order to evolve, it is essential we communicate with like-minded people every so often, to support one another and divulge ideas.
One thing which I particularly like about being part of the group, is the diversity of the work of our group members. We often have positive critiquing sessions before we collectively exhibit. These are useful, insightful meetings where we show our work, conceptually, part way through, or finished and talk it through with others.
Skill sharing is another positive feature, which allows us as artists to evolve. We all use a wide variety of media, and can learn and share other skills on a didactic level as well as really useful things like setting up an exhibition (and all the jobs it entails!)
We all share a common interest which is a love of art in all of its’ forms. I highly recommend to anyone who is considering it. Find your tribe and stick to them.
This is a fabulous retrospective of ben Nicholson’s first wife at Djanogly Gallery at Nottingham University. First and foremost she was a terrific colourist, and also as an older person I found her inspirational as she remained so inspired, positive and interested in all things beautiful. Her subjects are often flowers, typically in a jar on a window sill, but then she was left with four children to look after while Ben went off with Barbara Hepworth – so are we surprised her subjects are often home-based? Anyway, I found the colour a real WOW! It’s inspirational, and her flowers are thick gutsy affairs, playing beautifully against the immediate surroundings. There are also her letters (nice friendly open handwriting). This show lifts the spirits – and it’s free.