Thursday, 30 July 2009

Jane's Colourwall of Natural Dyes

Jane Deane - Jane Deane Textiles

Whilst Anne is using her exciting new machinery, and others are making jewellery, embroidering, felting, painting and weaving, I am happily playing with fibres and yarns in my studio at Duchy Square Centre for Creativity.

I have several students coming for spinning, weaving and dyeing courses, and next week I have two Dutch ladies coming to learn creative yarn design. We will spend four days designing and spinning yarns from source material that they will bring with them or that we will choose from the moor. These sources might be found objects: flowers, pine cones, stones, etc., or they might be photographs, sketches and the like. We have masses of coloured fibre to work with, as well as naturally coloured fleece, and have a variety of different fibres, too. Apart from wool, I have cotton, flax, bamboo, tencel, recycled plastic bottle fibre, camel, yak, possum, silk....the list goes on!

On Saturday 8th August there is an Indigo Workshop, 10-4. We will be trying out different ways of stitching, tying, clamping, rolling and otherwise torturing cloth before dyeing it in the vat and seeing what happens. When we have done lots of samples, students can choose which they like best and use that technique on a silk scarf to take home. There are still some places available on this course, so if you've never experienced the magical and dramatic indigo experience, now might be your opportunity! Places can be booked through the Gallery.

The following weekend, 15th-16th of August, I will try to bring some silkworms up to the studio. I have a student coming to dye madder with me, and he is very interested in my silkworms, as indeed are many people. So I thought I might take this opportunity to bring a few to work.


Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Anne Middleton - Part of the Country

People ask what goes on at Duchy Square Centre for Creativity - how long have you got? This is my first blogging experience and I hope it will give an insight into the busy, varied lives of artists and craftspeople. We turn our hands to a lot of things and love it. So here we go - behind the scenes!

I have a workshop at Duchy where I have my equipment for framing pictures, I am working towards my qualifications with the Fine Art Trade Guild. I publish artists' work, put on exhibitions and I am also a mosaic artist.

I have just pulled out a couple of photos quickly to illustrate that one minute I could be putting an exhibition and the next I may be working in school showing children how to make their drawings into mosaic pictures that they fix into concrete to go on their walls.

This week we were filling in the screw fixing holes and polishing 152 panels - that's 304 holes - no finger nails left and sore shoulders but the four murals look great. I also taught a mosaic totem pole course at the weekend, framed some old watercolours and made some oak frames that were hard to cut, the oak was very old.

In my mosaic studio I am getting some exhibition work together so lots of experimenting, thought processes and sketches, it is coming together now.

I have just got a hot vacumn press which is a lovely shiny red magic machine that flattens out the work and puts various finishes on it ready for framing. It needs to be kept dust free and there isn't enough room in my workshop at Duchy so I have it at home at present. I do wonder whether it could do the ironing??!

Also this week I finished off framing two mosaics that are going up in the Parish Hall here, one of them was inspired by some material I bought at the Centre.

There have been lots of visitors to Princetown, even in the summer rain - and some people I met on holiday in France last year called in - we had camped next to each other and they came from Tavistock. The new exhibition was going up so lots of bustle about. Oh... and not to forget the bunting workshops, the children have had fun and so have we - wishing for sunshine for Princetown Carnival this weekend. Sorry not to be there but Lisa (the silver lady) is running a course for Part of the Country in Moretonhampstead and I will be looking after them all. Bye for now.

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Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Amanda helps pupils achieve ecology award.

PUPILS at an Ivybridge primary school have enjoyed a series of ecological art workshops with Amanda Pellatt, who is a resident artists at the Duchy Square Centre for Creativity in Princetown.

Youngsters at Erme Primary School worked closely with art and ecology expert Amanda, before the end of the school year to help them "connect with their environment through the arts".

Teachers said that Amanda played a key role in the school's bid for eco-status through the workshops.

Amanda organised activities for about 100 children as part of a social arts practice initiative focused on the River Erme Valley, where she lives.

The school is seeking eco-status, a Government-backed initiative aiming to ensure every school is sustainable by 2020. It is an international awards programme that guides schools through the process to help embed eco-principles at the heart of school life.

During three sessions at Long Timber Woods, pupils from Years 3 to 6 at the school used their imaginations to pretend they were hearing sounds from the environment through a cardboard ipod made by Amanda.

During the fun sessions, the children also went bug hunting, framed leaves to make art and created an eco-web, showing how all the flora and fauna in the environment connect to each other.

It was the first time Amanda has worked with a school as part of her project in the River Erme valley. She said "The idea is to help people re-engage with their local environment and get to know it in more detail using the arts in all its forms as a catalyst. I wanted to give the children the opportunity to take part in fun activities on an eco-theme that could really help them in their bid for eco-status."

The project - entitled River Erme Valley, Mouth to Source - is an extension of Amanda's Masters Degree in Art and Ecology.

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Duchy Square Centre for Creativity, which opened earlier this year in Princetown, is hosting a joint exhibition during August 2009 of some of the best of this year’s graduating students work from Plymouth College of Art and the University of Plymouth’s Faculty of Arts.

The exhibition is titled ‘First Steps’ and celebrates the next generation of creative talent in the South West. The exhibition showcases art, design and media work from the College and the University’s Faculty of Art’s most recent graduates.

This is the first time that the college and university have collaborated on an exhibition like this with the Duchy Square Centre for Creativity, and it is hoped that these joint events will become a regular occurrence.

Because the work this year from all of the graduating students was of such a high quality, it was a really difficult decision to select pieces for the First Steps exhibition. But everyone agrees that the final choices look great in the Duchy Square main gallery.

The Duchy Square Centre for Creativity is managed and operated by Integria Ltd, the creative consultancy which is helping to nurture artistic talent by providing a diverse range of practitioners with an outlet to promote and sell their work. Supported by a number of organisations, including Duchy of Cornwall and Devon County Council, the centre offers low cost, workshop space on two floors and is helping to boost the local economy by connecting creative businesses with other key industry sectors.

The First Steps exhibition opens with a Private Viewing on Wednesday 29th July from 6pm until 8pm, and will then be open until Monday 31st August. The exhibition is free for all to attend.

For further information please contact Duchy Square Centre for Creativity on 01822 890828, email or visit

Monday, 27 July 2009

Bunting Making Day Pictures

Duchy Square Centre for Creativity, in Princetown on Dartmoor recently hosted a fun-filled Bunting Making Day for locals, both young and old.

Some of the fantastic results from this very succesful day can now be seen decorating the Arts and Craft Centre in preparation for the village carnival day which is held on the first Saturday in August.

More pictures ..........

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