Monday, January 26, 2009

The Works 3 - September 2008

News from the studios

Love is in the air…

There is somewhat of a mystery in our two favourite Ouseburn buildings and questions are being asked. Is there something in the water? Has someone called Cupid secretly taken up residence?

Six, yes SIX different couples have got engaged in recent weeks :  Nick and Bronwen, Mark and Kelly, Fiona and Jim, Bethan and Matt, Lucinda and George and Eva and Ross.  It may not have been much of a summer weather-wise but to this lot it’s been one hell of a summer of love. 


New Faces          

Angela Kennedy

We’d like to offer a warm welcome to Angela Kennedy who has just moved into The Brick Works. Angela works as a Multi-Disciplinary Artist and, as well as painting, her practice includes sculpture, installation, movement, dance, performance and site specific work.

See Angela’s work at Chroma, a solo exhibition of paintings at the new atrium space at Dance City.   These recent oil on canvas paintings are an attempt to make connections between the use of improvisation as a device to make movement and dance, and the exploration of that inner process through mark making, gesture and colour.  CHROMA is a manifestation of these investigations.

Amanda Rabey

Also this month, Amanda Rabey moved into Mushroom Works. Amanda is an oil painter who trained at the Slade. She is returning to the world of painting now her little boy is going to school.

Her work investigates the varying aspect of micro and macro scales in the universe.

Amanda also has work in the Collection of 20th Century Women artists

Other News

Newcastle Gateshead Art Fair

Jim Edwards and Joanne Wishart are joining forces with ex Mushroom Works painter Bernie Wisniewski to exhibit at the NewcastleGateshead Art Fair.  Their stall will be called Edwards Wishart and will be situated in the Northern Rock room in the Sage.

The NewcastleGateshead Art Fair will be a must for all visitors, art lovers and collectors along with those interested in browsing for their first investment. Visitors can look forward to an extensive range of unique art works. Exhibitors can expect thousands to view their works, with collectors and art lovers looking for a deal and the next new thing.

This year’s event will also feature a seminar programme in the run up to the Fair. A series of talks on buying art and building a collection will be held in conjunction with the BALTIC centre for contemporary art. Details will be placed on the website


Edwards Wishart.  Joanne Wishart creates quirky images inspired by her love of the British coast.  Her cheerful paintings are rich in texture and splashed with colour.  Jim Edwards paints recognisable cityscapes of raised perspectives and bright colours, and newer work of bold outlines and dominant abstracted forms.  Bernie Wisniewski is a self taught artist.  As a native of the region, he paints things as he sees them.  His work is simple, well executed and full of vitality.


The Big Draw

Big plans are afoot for one of the most ambitious Mushroom Works projects to date, The Big Draw.  Bethan Laker, Nick James and helpers will transform parts of the building into one giant canvas.  Schools will be asked to submit drawings for the corridor walls and families will be invited to attend Make Your Mark, a special drawing workshop for children from 10 – 4pm on 11th October.  

There will also be an evening session for grown-ups called Drink and Draw.  Participants will be given a drink for every drawing they do. 6-9m on 11th October. 


The Big Draw is part of a national campaign to get everyone drawing.  It was inspired by the visionary Victorian artist and writer, John Ruskin whose mission was not to teach people how to draw but how to see. The Campaign for Drawing proves that drawing can be an enjoyable public activity as well as a private passion and is the perfect medium for observation, self-expression and fun.  Over a thousand UK venues from scout huts to national museums will take part. 

As a build up to the Mushroom Works events on October 11th  Bethan and Nick will be announcing a paper amnesty calling for scraps of paper, wallpaper, etc. from a variety of local businesses including printers and of course YOU! So get saving all of your paper.


Open Studios

Open Studios this year will be, as usual, on the last weekend of November 29th and 30th. We will opening Mushroom Works starting with a preview on the Friday night of 28th.  This year there will be 8 venues taking part with the bus running between them all over both days.

Based on the success of previous years we will be doing 20x20 again, so get those thinking caps on to come up with some new ideas and make as many as you can! We will be doing teas and coffee in Studio 4 and hope to provide some colouring sheets for children to do whilst they are here. Any of you who would like to contribute an image which we can use as a colouring sheet please email it to


Opportunities on a plate

There are a limited number of places still available for the Opportunities on a plate dinners.  The dinners provide an innovative way to bring people from different walks of life together for debate in an informal setting.

Whilst being wined and dined guests will be given the opportunity to discuss new opportunities and ways to deal with the environment, apathy and learning.  Guests include not only people from the MW and the BW but also from universities, funding organisations and other creative fields including architecture, performance, etc.  The ideas discussed could be anything from big commercial initiatives to small projects involving individual artists but the intention is that these brainstorming sessions will only be the start of the process.  The participants will be invited to attend a series of workshops on 30th September to learn how to put some of the ideas generated into practice. 

The dinners started last Thursday with the ‘environment’ where a selection of invited guests, Mushroom and Brick Workers enjoyed a few glasses of wine a some food whilst discussing what was getting their knickers in a twist. This made for and enjoyable and thought provoking evening where we talked everything from bike rides to builders.

Who knows where these ideas could lead?  Don’t miss out on this excellent opportunity to give your input into ways to change the world.  The remaining dinners are on 11th and 18th September at 7 pm and only have a few places left.  If you are interested in booking  please contact Nick on


Neil Wilson Design strikes again!

Following on the huge success of Le Beado's flagship store in Durham a second store also designed by Mr Wilson will open in a month's time on Acorn Road in Jesmond.

Neil has had a great year as he is also enjoying a double life as a design associate for the Design Council's Design and Demand.  He is also a director of A: Design Association which promotes the use of design in the North East.


The Non-Beardy Beer Book

Tonto’s latest offering - ‘An alternative to beardy and boring real-ale guides, The Non-Beardy Beer Book is a humorous and no-nonsense guide to Booze Britain's favourite drinks, featuring irreverent reviews of 100 of the UK's bestselling brands of beer, lager and cider,  plus bluffer's guides to the most popular wines, alcopops, spirits and cocktails, lovingly put together by a panel of completely independent (possibly inebriated) reviewers.

Following on from Tonto’s news in the last newsletter Ashley Hames, TV presenter and author of ‘Sin Cities, Adventures of a Sex Reporter’ will be speaking at Cambridge Union Society in October.   Paralympian and writer Stephen Miller is currently in Beijing competing on 11th and 15th September.   Tonto Press’ Toon Diary will be released in October. 


The Lost Rainbow

The Lost Rainbow' a children's book illustrated by Bethan Laker, was launched on 27th  August at Seven Stories with Helix Arts and YNOT? If you didn't make it to the preview the book is available from Seven Stories and Baltic.


Canvas & Cocktails

It’s official.  Art and alcohol do mix and rather well if Sarah Blood’s recent ‘Canvas and Cocktails’ fundraiser was anything to go by. Sarah said, “It was a pretty relaxed evening and everyone got stuck in with no inhibitions, even the ‘non-arty’ attendees although I think the margaritas may have helped with that!  Everyone took home canvases that they were happy with and some even had time to paint two.  Most of the feedback was about how nice it was to do something different that you wouldn’t usually make time to do.”

This event was put on by Sarah Blood who is fundraising for a three month trip to Nepal where she will help girls who have been rescued from Human Trafficking.

Other fundraising is also being supported by Cohda Design  who have donated two specially made red chairs from the RD Legs series which are to be auctioned with all monies being donated to Sarah’s trip. For more information visit

Further a field, Leicester bands are holding a benefit gig and donating all profits.  Further details can be found on Sarah’s blog (see web news).


Special Mention

Congratulations also go to Mark Jobe and Kelly Richardson who are expecting their first child in January.  They have just returned from a trip to Canada for Kelly’s exhibition Twilight Avenger at Birch Libralato in Toronto.