Monday, January 26, 2009

The Works 2 - July 2008

News from the studios

Tonto Books - Launching two books in time for summer

Paul and Stu have two new books out just in time for us to pack them in our beach bags.

Stephen Miller, a paralympain and writer is having a busy summer, he is competing in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and his autobiography is out at the end of the July.  Stephen, who has Cerebral Palsy has won three Paralympic gold medals for field athletics including the club (javelin/hammer), discus and shot put.

Sin Cities, Adventures of a Sex Report by Ashley Hames is out on Monday 7th July.  Ashley is probably better known for presenting on Bravo TV but has venture in to the literary quarter for this investigation into sexual habits of some of the most extraordinary people on the plant.

Both books are available form Tonto Books, Studio 7, Brick Works.


The return of the Childrens’ Art Club. 

Over the school summer holidays we are running six workshops for children aged between 7 and 11.  These workshops are being run by the Brick Works very own Jane Armstrong, Bethan Laker from Mushroom Works and Clare Armstrong.


Sarah’s off..

In October Sarah Blood will be leaving the UK for three months and heading for the heights of the Kathmandu, Nepal where she will be working with the Ester Benjamin Trust, teaching sculpture to girls who have been rescued from people trafficking.

The EB Trust rescues trafficked Nepalese children from Indian circuses where they were exploited as slave labour in dangerous and abusive conditions.

Sarah’s role while there will to be to contribute to the rehabilitation and education of these girls on their long journey back into Nepali society, teaching art and sculpture skills which will enable them to gain employment in the creative sector, reducing the risk of re-trafficking or the girls becoming involved in the sex industry.

Sarah is planning a number of fundraising events over the next 3 months to raise £2000 for the EB Trust including ‘Canvas and Cocktails’, a social evening of painting, music and of course, cocktails at the Mushroom Works. Date TBC.

Hole again

It’s all going on for Lee at Hole Editions.  Back in May Lee held Hole Editions 3rd birthday draw.  If you bought a ticket, but haven’t checked if you a winner, or your just curious you can find the list of winners at

Lee has also been doing work with Allenheads Contemporary Arts Gallery –  he has been printing a book to accompany the exhibition “Draw a line, follow it” opening on the 4th July. The book includes prints by the seven artists in the exhibition; Alex Charrington, Rachel Clewlow, Nick Kennedy, Anne Vibeke Mou, Tuesday Nesbitt, Ginny Reed & Richard Rigg. The exhibition is supported by Northern Rock Foundation, Northern Cultural Skills Partnership, Arts Council, ACA & Dovetail. There will initially 70 books for the exhibition (5 text pages & 7 image pages), it is hand printed on a direct litho press from positive working photo-litho plates in one colour; the pages are hand torn and is hand bound with linen thread.



Just in case you haven’t heard our very own Nick has been listed as one of the Journal’s 500 most influential people in the North East.

Unfortunately the list was compiled alphabetically not numerically, so we will never know just how important Nick actually is…



Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone is by the resident artists of the Brick Works and Mushroom Works.  Exploring the idea of comfort zone has meant that artists are stretching their creative practice and exploring unfamiliar territory, for others this has meant staying within their comfort zone and showing the best of their work.   Whilst some have taken it in its literal sense and are examining what and how we find comfort. 

The exhibition features, Nick, Sarah Blood, Bethan and Jim who has, stretched his comfort zone and ventured into a figurative subject matter in an illustrative direction, and is very good!

Natalie has created a new sculptural instillation entitled ‘Herd’, where multiple, near identical soft sculptures roam the room. She hopes the viewer will find her generic animals both familiar and discomforting.

Architect Liam has shown a series of experimental line drawings of a family.  Liam looks at the family as providing an environment in which a person can retreat and be him or herself.

Nick has tackled the comfort zone challenge from a literal perspective and is showing a unique piece of furniture.  The Clothes Bench (left) is made from black walnut and ash, this bench provides not only comfort through creative design also has a dedicated place for you hang your clothes or, even your comfort blanket. 

There are 13 people exhibiting in total, they are: Jim, Susan, Natalie, Bethan, Kate, Lindsay, Lee, Lucinda, Nick, Bronwen, Liam and Michael.

The exhibition looks great, a big thank you to everyone who took part.

13 artists are exhibiting in total, they are:  Jim Edwards, Susan Macbride Stewart, Natalie Bell, Bethan Laker, Sarah Blood, Kate Sweeney, Lindsay Duncanson, Lee Turner, Lucinda Kelly, Nick James, Bronwen Deane, Michael Armstrong and Liam Newton.


Harbour Day

An exhibition of new paintings by Joanne Wishart.

Harbour Day is the August exhibition at the Mushroom Works, which opens on Friday 1st August, and everybody is welcome. 

Inspired by the coast Joanne portrays shoals of fish, colourful tug boats and quirky habour village scenes in her own fresh and imaginative style.  Joanne will be exhibiting a selection paintings and prints. 

Joanne’s paints onto canvas creating texture using tissue paper and gesso.  She has a very individual and highly recognisable style, using strong colours and simplistic imagery to create her own take on the British coast line.  

The exhibition is open until 16th  August.  Opening hours are:

Wednesday – Friday 12-5pm

Saturday 10am – 5pm

Bronwen at Contemporary Applied Art in London

Bronwen has a focus exhibition at the prestigous Contemporary Applied Art in London opening on the 17th July.  The exhibition will showcase Bronwen’s work as a new member of CAA.

Bronwen will be exhibiting her Architectural series along side some new work celebrating the delights of St.Lawrence café! (the greasy spoon next to the Mushroom works).

The exhibition is on until 30th August 2008.


What’s going on?


Shipley Lates

The Shipley Gallery in Gateshead is offering a free culture fix.

Shipley Lates 2008 offer an exciting after hours experience a one of the North East’s leading galleries of design and contemporary craft.  Each event will include performances, exhibitions, artist’s talks and even a bar!  And they are even providing a free bus to and from the Shipley.

THe next Late is on Friday 25th July, and the theme is China.  The Shipley will be hosting Out of China, an exhibition of Fecicity Aylieff’s monumental pots made during her stay in China.

DJ Lucasz Haras will be providing the Music and Gigi Chang, Assistant Curator of the V&As exhibition China Design Now will talk about the new culture of design at the heart of modern China.

Artist Lip Lee will lead workshops in Chinese lantern making.

There is something for everyone.


Yoshitomo Nara + graf

A-Z project at the Baltic.

Exhibiting for the first time in a UK public gallery, Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara and creative design team graf present the latest installation of ongoing A-Z Project.  Nara’s work embodies the defiant spirit that comes with a youthful optimism and belief that we can the world.  He is best known for his deceptively simple drawings, paintings and sculptures of the children with apparently innocent, ‘kawaii’ or cute expressions.  Nara is influence by popular culture including punk, rock ‘n’ roll, Manga and the American cartoons from his childhood.

For Baltic, Nara and graf have constructed three houses.  The third house, Baltic Castle, is specially designed and constructed for the exhibition using local reclaimed materials.

The exhibition is open until the 26th October and is well worth a visit.