We At the end of May Baxters will be transformed into a calm beautiful environment showcasing work from 9 artists and makers whose work will evoke the pull we feel towards the sea. Watching and being by the sea has a calming influence and Baxters owner Sarah Duggan has always felt that connection. She can spend many a happy moment just gazing at the sea’s horizon or at the mesmerising crash of waves on the shore. That first glimpse as you turn a corner heading towards a favourite spot is enough to send your shoulders down and create a sense of anticipation.
The work shown in the exhibition has all been specially created with this feeling in mind and will showcase gallery artists and several new to Baxters.
Paintings will come from Heather Howe and Ruth Taylor. Heather Howe started showing at Baxters last year and her work is recognised by many visitors from her home county of Cornwall. She has always had a strong emotional connection to the landscape and changing weather and strives to communicate this in her work. She recently came to Dartmouth and walked various sections of the Coast Path to sketch and get ideas for the show. The pathways in her paintings draw you through them and they are very evocative.
Ruth Taylor is a new artist to Baxters and Sarah is thrilled to show her work in this exhibition. Ruth’s training as a textile designer is evident in her work. She is inspired as much by a love of colour and pattern as by the English countryside, the moors, estuaries and views to the sea as well as the South Downs landscape of her childhood. Working in oils she applies paint directly to the surface, moving it around with brushes, combs and her hands looking to capture a particular light or the effect of the weather and seasons on the land.
Sarah is excited to welcome Jane Reeves back to Baxters with this show. Jane showed her glass panels in the gallery for many years before opening her own gallery in Padstow. She has put together a wonderful collection of her fused glass wave paintings. Jane has perfected her technique of using glass powders in a painterly way bringing together her two passions for painting and glass. She says:-
”The seashore, the place where the waves fall and ebb away is mesmerising, it is never the same, it’s endlessly changing. It’s a constant source of interest and surprise. The glass itself is the palette - the nature of the sea, the way the colours seem to be contained within the waves, suspended in that moment just before or after the wave has fallen - it just seems to work beautifully in glass.'
Gallery favourite Kirsty Elson trawls the beaches near her home on the south Cornish coast, collecting driftwood and other finds left by the tide. Led by the shapes and forms of these materials, she creates unique coastal themed sculptures. Her cottages with tiny windows and weathered wood roofs have a subtle, naive quality, and her work has a quiet charm that has a clever mix of nostalgia and humour.
Well respected Bristol artist Sophie Howard has taught sculpture for 30 years and has shown with Baxters since last year. Her pieces express thoughts about life beyond the purely visible. She works on collections of pieces exploring themes and materials, movement and stillness, bodies and patterns and has been excited to create a new collection specially for this show. The resultant beach people show instantly recognisable poses and positions whether feeling the sun on your face or just gazing into the distance. Having seen their development from first ideas to the sculptures before firing Sarah is excited to see the finished pieces.
Kathryn O’Kell works mainly in English lime wood, carving and painting birds from tiny wrens to swans. This time she will be creating a collection of sea birds. Her strong compositions have wonderful movement, colour and texture from the carving mark. When carving she work directly into the wood using hand tools and does not make finished designs first, preferring to respond to the carving as it develops. Kathryn’s work sold out quickly last time she showed with Baxters so be sure to choose your favourite early.
If ceramics is your love – Sarah is somewhat addicted herself – then 2 new makers to Baxters will tempt you for sure.
Jan Lewin Cadogan’s inspiration and influences come from watching crashing waves against volcanic rocks that push their way up through the sea, crunching the sea foam left behind on sand, looking at barnacles glistening in the sun, peering into the smooth mirrors of rock pools, sitting in sandy bays whilst looking at the amazing colours the sea has to offer and walks along the rugged cliff tops of the coastal path of Pembrokeshire where she lives. She enjoys experimenting with form, lava glazes and reactive slips often comparing patterns and surfaces through multiple firings to compliment the simple forms and clean lines.
Brought up just over a mile from the Dorset coast Juliet Macleod realises that the sea has always drawn her to it: from the early days of playing with murky, rust streaked clay gleaned from Ringstead Bay; discoveries of sea urchins in deep turquoise Mediterranean waters; to more recent holidays spent sketching on North Uist’s white sand beaches. She makes wheel thrown porcelain pottery for functional and decorative use. Her pots use seascapes as the inspiration for their patterning, with refelected colours both inside and at the foot reminiscent of the lichens and seaweeds found on the coast.
Finally, for a piece of jewellery to make you think of the sea whether by the colour of the semi-precious stone or the ammonite adorning it look no further than the wonderful creations by Tessa Sambrook. Showing with Baxters for over 10 years now, Tessa’s work is collected by her avid fans who love the quality of the stones she chooses but most importantly the fact that she doesn’t make the obvious. She wants to make individual statement pieces that use lovely stones with good clasps and which will be viewed as classics.
The preview pieces can be seen now and the remaining works will be on the website from 26th May.