Monday, January 26, 2009

The Works 4 - November 2008

News from the studios...


A doodle for a drink, a fair swap indeed! October saw the first of Mushroom Works’ BIG DRAW events.

Nearly two hundred visitors came to see Bethan’s doodles, drawings and paintings and to make their mark on Bethan’s gigantic room shaped canvas. Bethan’s exhibition provided the perfect opportunity for young and old to get involved, some even came with their own doodling apparatus!

Thanks to everyone who donated to the paper amnesty. If anyone’s stuck for a surface to scribble on please feel free to pick up a sheet or ten from the corridor at Mushroom Works.

Mushroom Works were one of over 1000 UK venues participating in the Big Draw, the national campaign to get everyone drawing.


New Faces

Ilana Mitchell

We’d like to offer a really warm welcome to Ilana Mitchell to The Brick Works

Ilana is literally moving into studio 12 as the newsletter goes to print. Ilana ‘s an artist working in Live Art.  She’s currently working on several projects , one of which is as a freelancer developing the new as yet unnamed festival for the North East. More details on this can be found at

More information on Ilana will follow shortly as she’s in the middle of updating her website and contact details.


Lara Robinson

October saw the start of a new Development Manager for the Mushroom Works.

Lara’s settling in nicely after joining the Mushroom Works just over a month ago. Her role is to help to develop the gallery and both studios whilst supporting the creative folk that inhabit them.

Lara joins us from the North East office of Arts Council England where she worked as both Visual Arts Officer, Media and as part of the Cultural Sector Development Initiative team.  

Lara has also worked at Tyne & Wear Museums, Museums, Libraries & Archives North East, DLI Museum & Art Gallery and Globe Gallery.

She loves being surrounded by creative types so if you’re walking past the office and have a spare five minutes she’s love you to pop in and say hello.

(Oh, and she likes baking… keep an eye on the MW kitchen!)



People Places

The Mushroom Works gallery presents a joint exhibition of work by Newcastle based painters Claire McAlister and Jim Edwards from Saturday 8 November to Sunday 30 November. The exhibition will consist of previously unseen work by both artists.

Jim Edwards is best known for his depictions of iconic buildings and bridges of the North East.  His work falls into two genres, contemporary cityscapes and abstract paintings inspired by manmade forms and buildings. Both styles follow a theme of architecturally inspired structures and dominating linear form. In this latest exhibition, his paintings are looser, more abstract, whilst holding onto a sense of familiarity

Claire McAlister’s new body of work focuses on the human form. Each piece of work has been strategically composed to accentuate light on the figure within the frame. Claire wants to create contrast between decorative detail on the clothing with a soft, more blurred background. It is not the artist’s intention to focus on the figure’s character or facial expression; more so the environment and moment in which the figure is placed.

Claire and Jim’s preview is Friday 7 November. Hope to see you there!

 Other News

Ooh la la!

We say bon voyage to Nick James this month as he packs his bags and heads off to St Etienne on a designer/maker research exchange for four days at the end of November. Designed & Made and Collectif Designers+ have coordinated the 10˚N 10˚S Design Exchange project, which supports the exchange of four British designers with four French.

The French research trip coincides with the 5th International Design Biennial whilst the Brits will return their hospitality during DE09.

St Etienne University has generously offered to provide interpreters and a film crew for the exchange. The film will be shown at the 2010 biennial.

More info on Nick’s adventure can be found on the exchange blog  


There’s a new boss in town…

Joanne Wishart is expanding her business one hundred percent with the introduction of a new employee. Joanne’s husband, Ross will be providing the extra pair of hands from now on. Ross’ role is to develop the business side of things allowing Joanne to pick up her paint brush and do what she does best!  By all accounts the pair look to make a fantastic creative/commercial duo! Congratulations Joanne, we wish you all the best!


Celebrations all round

Firstly, Happy Birthday Tonto! Tonto Books is now officially three years old! (I’m told all cards, cake and alcohol will be generously accepted).

A second congratulations on all the marvelous press The Non-Beardy Beer book has been attracting, 4 star reviews in The North East Times and features in The Crack name a few.

Third and finally, all the best with your latest venture,, The NUFC TOON DAIRY.  A must-have for Newcastle United fans, this useful and fascinating diary is packed with facts and information compiled by's Mike 'Biffa' Bolam. Tonto have book signings taking place across the region at Borders book stores. Check out there website for more details

 The Toon Diary is available from Tonto’s website and 
(and all other good bookshop of course!)


A GLOWing profile

The Preamptive boys are planning to be all over the toon this winter. Well, their impressive work with the Northern Lights Film Festival will be. They’ve won the commission to create an ident to promote the NLFF in the month leading up to the festival (30th November – 6th December) The ident will be shown before all screenings at the Tyneside Cinema, Star & Shadow as well as being screened on a loop in the Tyneside Cinema lobby and Box Office.

 In another of their guises, NOVAC, the boys are participating in one of NGI’s most successful annual events, The Winter Festival. As part of Glow, the boys have converted a van into a truly audience engaging mobile wonder. The van will have three plasma screens, a Nintendo  Wii and participatory projects such as art graffiti. It recently went through a child friendly MOT as part of Juice, the first North East festival for children and young people


Sarah Blood update

“Sarah is heading into kathmandu in search of a hot shower and the first beer in a loooooong time…”

For those of you who aren’t on Sarah’s list of facebook friends she looks to be having a fantastic albeit rather chilly time. Sarah’s currently spending three month trip to Nepal where she will help girls who have been rescued from Human Trafficking. For more info visit Sarah’s blog


What's coming up?

Perfect Presents - Mushroom Works’ Christmas Show

In the run up to Christmas we will be have a show which has been advertised as having ‘stunning and individual Christmas Presents’.

The exhibition will aim to provide unique Christmas presents with an element of affordability.  A present bought at the show could mean the world to someone but not cost the earth.

To encourage as many visitors as possible we’ll be having three late night openings – Friday 5 (preview), Thursdays 11 and 18. We’ll have live music and a glass of fizz on offer so tell as many people as you can.

This year the front gallery and corridor will be open to residents and non-residents (for a fee non-residents can rent a 4x4ft sq area however there will be a selection process). These spaces, front gallery and corridor, will be for lower price ranges around £5-50 mark. Spaces are free of charge to residents.

If you would like be involved with the exhibition please contact Lara Please be able to have the work ready by 1st December.

Living North Fair

Joanne Wishart is again exhibiting in the Art and Craft Hall at the Living North Christmas fair, Newcastle Racecourse. The fair is an annual event full of fabulous food, interiors, art and gifts for all types of visitors

Joanne creates quirky images inspired by her love of the British coast.  Her cheerful paintings are rich in texture and splashed with colour. 

Open Studios 2008

Probably the most creative weekend 2008 has to offer!

The last weekend in November sees the return of the much-anticipated Ouseburn Open Studios event. The annual opening, which promises to be bigger and better than before, offers the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes at several of the region’s leading studios and galleries. Over a hundred artists from the Ouseburn Valley will open their doors to welcome the public into their working environment.

This year, the eight partners have organized a coordinated approach to opening their doors. The new identity for the weekend (see below) has been featured in various regional publications. Due to the diverse nature of the partners involved we’ve adopted a simple brand with flexibility that doesn’t compete with the artwork. Look out for the new leaflet – A2 in size, it provides a great guide to the weekend, for visitors old and new with a map, venue information and details of special events.

January Sales

We’re opening our doors to all those frenzied sale shoppers who are out to grab a bargain or two in the cold month of January. We’re inviting people to banish their January blues by visiting the Mushroom Works, where they’ll be able to buy all the yummy things they really wanted for Christmas at super affordable prices

If you’re interested in making a bit more room in your studio get in touch and we’ll sort you out with some wall space and a couple of neon stars! (No, seriously! Sale banner and bags a-hoy!).

Our January Sale will open on 9th January.