Saturday, March 14, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake!

Preview Evening - Friday 17th April (6pm - 8pm)

In this credit crisis of 2009, the Mushroom Works celebrates the frolicsome side of life during a difficult time by hosting an exhibition exploring the frivolousness of food. We'd love you to join us in raising a tea-cup (filled with fizz) to the mighty cup-cake and all its sugary goodness!

Special events include a Tea dance (18th April) and sugar craft workshops- Have your cake and eat it! During the Late Shows (Friday 15th and Saturday 16th May, 5-11 pm) Catherine Hodgson will be hosting sugar craft workshops for all ages. Come along and craft your very own culinary masterpiece and then watch it disappear! Exhibition sponsor, Lottie McPhee, will also be selling her amazing cupcakes during the Late Shows. 

Just don't eat the gingerbread men. Don't tell anyone but they're made of fabric.

Sustainable Environments

Preview Evening Friday 5th June (6pm - 8pm)

A show which looks at how designers, artists and architects are responding to our current environmental conditions.

A call for work will go out late March via several regional channels. If you would like to take part in Sustainable Environments please speak to Lara.

The Works 6 - March 2009

New Faces

George Munton 

By George!

George joined us at Mushroom Works back in November 2008. The talented young man shares a studio with his fiance, Lucinda. He can usually be found (often napping) in his studio and working on his landscape paintings.

Luke Bevan

Luke at that!
Brick Works welcomed another talented studio holder into the mix last month. Jewellery designer/maker Luke Bevan moved into the Brick Works this february. Luke's planning on moving in lock, stock and barrel during March/April time. Pop in and say hello if you see him about.


We're putting together a bank of volunteers to help out with a variety of things related to the gallery. This includes, technical help with exhibition changeover, admin support, marketing assistance, event stewarding and gallery invigilation. If you know of anyone who may be interested in gaining some experience of working in a gallery please give them Lara's details. 

Who do you think you are?

Mushroom Works looks into its past...

Nick's been doing a lot of digging over the past few years, he's been looking into the previous lives of both buildings, trying to find out what they were used for before they were filled with creative peeps!

Whilst the Brick Works name is an obvious one, the naming of the Mushroom Works still remains a bit of a mystery. Nick's managed to trace the history of the building back to the 1800s, when the building was a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.

Although we know that the St Lawrence Road area was called the Mushroom, we still don't know why. Some say the name mushroom was given to the area because of a large mushroom shaped crane which dominated the area. Others say it's because of the shape of the river, the mushroom shape allowing boats to turn around. There's even the
 suggestion that the name came from the exportation of mushrooms from the area, setting off for foreign lands via the Tyne. Who knows! 

 To help Nick with his plight we have recruited Amy, an MA Museums and Galleries student. Working mainly from the archives and record office, Amy will be popping in and out of the building over the next month or two, reporting back on what she's found out about the Mushroom Works.

We'll also be approaching the press to see if they can help by putting out a call to the public for memories, general information and even objects relating to the Mushroom Works.

The fruition of the history project will be displayed for all to see. As soon as Amy has enough information, she's going to produce a series of interpretation panels which will hang along the corridor leading to studios 1 and 2.  

Bridge Room with View

Jim has finally put the finishing touches to an epic four panelled painting (polyptych), commissioned by Gateshead council. Measuring 50 x 160", it took the best part of two months to paint, and stretched from one end of the studio to the other. The painting is Jim's interpretation of Gateshead, featuring familiar landmarks such as the Shipley art Gallery and the Tyne Bridge with Newcastle in the background. As with all of Jim's paintings, the composition is worked out from memory. Certain buildings are altered, moved or forgotten, giving the painting a unique perspective. Over the next month, Gateshead Council will be unveiling the painting in their newly refurbished 'Bridge Room', at the Civic Centre.

Culture Club

 As of this march we're starting a partnership with the Journal's Culture Club. The club has a diverse membership of around 1,5000 members. This month the club is re-launching, removing the annual fee to encourage even more members.

Nick's first up, giving a talk and small demonstration about his designs, his career to date and a little about what the future holds for him as a designer/maker. The talk's taking place on Tuesday 17th March (6-8p.m) and will be advertised in the Culture magazine and the journal's daily Culture pages. 

A few people expressed interest in giving artist talks during the 1-2-1s. If you are interested please let Lara know as she's putting together a programme of talks for the next six months. 


Janet Collin and her partner have given birth to a lovely little boy! And he is gorrrrrrrrrrrrrrgeousssssssss!!!!

James Sebastian Edward James was born on the 2nd December 2008. Janet tells us he has a lot of creative genes from two very creative parents!

Finlay Jobe (aka Galactic Jobe) was born January 28th at 12.10p.m weighing 7lb 10 ounces. His hobbies mostly include drinking milk and sleeping. So far his super powers have not been fully established but we have our suspicions.

There was this weird incident where out of the corner
of my eye I could swear his moses basket was levitating...

Mark Jobe

Set of Drawers

Bethan Laker's been very busy of late, not only exhibiting her work, taking on commissions and planning a wedding, she's also the founding member of a NE group of illustrators. Set of Drawers is a small community of regionally based illustrators of all different styles and sizes. The community came about to promote their love of cutting, sticking and drawing to the North East of England (and beyond!).

New (Hole) Editions 

Lee has quite a few new additions of late. these include work by Anne Vibeke Mou, Laura Lancaster and Andrew Wilson (image right). Both Anne and Laura's work can be seen on Lee's website right now, however Andrew's work will be a little later in coming as he's creating it live at his preview event on Tuesday 3rd March at the Hatton Gallery. Andrew was awarded a Publishing Prize at the 2008 Fine Art Degree Show. This prize allowed him to come into the studio and make a series of lithographs. 

Check out the new works at

Well done, Sarah!

Sarah Blood has had her work selected for publication in New Glass Review 30. New Glass Review is an annual global survey of contemporary glass art and is published every year by the Corning Museum of Glass, New York. This year a total of 1,047 artists from 43 countries submitted 2,974 images of their work for consideration, as only 100 pieces are published in the Review, the selection process is rigorous and to be included is a great accolade.

This will be the second time Sarah's work has been included in the review, the first being two years ago (New Glass Review 28) where she was given special mention by Tina Oldknow, Curator of Modern Glass, Corning Museum of Glass, New York.

New Glass Review 30 will be published in April 2009

Digital Developments

Congrats to Joanne and Jim on their new blogs. You can keep up to date with all their going ons here...

Show me the money!

Excuse the big smiles in the office this week. We've just been awarded a grant by Arts Council England, North East to deliver our pilot programme over the next year.

The grant will help us develop the public spaces in the building, create a flexible education space, contribute towards marketing costs and fund the first phase of our children's art club for 2009.

Thanks to everyone who helped shape it during our consultation meetings. We're already thinking about next year's programme and all ideas are welcome!

If you have any ideas for what you'd like to see in the Mushroom Works gallery please speak to Lara in you 1-2-1s.

Studio Surveillance

Ever felt like someone's watching you? 
Paranoid Big Brother's spying on your every movement? 

Well, for studio holders Bronwen Deane and Michael Armstrong, that would certainly be the case! Both studio holders are participating in Surveillance, the first in a series of exhibitions that offer an insight into the inner workings, practices and methodologies of Designer Makers in the North East. The exhibition provides a real-time view into the daily activities of a select group of Designed and Made Members via live webcams set up in their workshops and studios. These projected images will be presented alongside members products. 

Surveillance will be showing at Designed and Made Gallery, Live Theatre, Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne from Friday 6th March until Friday 8th May