Sumptuous quilts in jewelled colours, stained glass sailing boats drifting through sea glass, a bronze Rambeaux with attitude, calligraphy inspired ceramics, and quirky foliage sculptures swaying in the breeze are just a few of the highlights of this year’s Festival.
The Botanic Garden is delighted to feature the internationally renowned sculptor, Lucianne Lassalle, this year. Born in Paris in 1960, now living in Bristol, Lassalle has made sculpture since she was a child. She grew up in a bohemian artistic environment; her mother is a potter and her father a painter.
The human form has always been Lassalle’s passion. It holds endless possibilities albeit just as pure sculptural form or as a socio-political reflection or comment. Hugely influenced by contemporary dance and physical theatre, she explores dramatic movement as figures fly, fall and dance through space.
“I see the human form as the interface between the mental, emotional and spiritual processes inside and the external manifestation of these in the world. I am fascinated by the complexity of the human experience and from this I am compelled and inspired to make sculpture” Lucianne Lassalle
Every year the Festival features guest appearances of different artistic media. This year it is the turn of Lynne Quinn, award-winning design and craft tutor at the Botanic Garden and her students to exhibit their jewelled patchwork and quilting creations in the Linnaeus Study Room.
“My approach to quiltmaking was shaped while doing a degree in 3 dimensional design at UWE. We were given challenges to overcome, such as making a bridge out of timber and rope and proving that it worked over a stream! Working with textiles was less scary, but much of my work is based on setting myself challenges to overcome.”
Visitors will see plenty of new ceramicists at the Botanic Garden this year. Though Jeremy Baines now lives in Bristol, the source of his work is essentially rural and is to be found in the West Country and Wales. Jeremy describes his inspiration: “The effect of sunlight on forms and landscapes continually delights me, particularly the way it brings out the richness of colour and contrast.
I have a small collection of dried seed-heads and pods which provide an endless source of forms suitable for adapting into ceramics. The more one studies them, the more inspirational they seem. The ceramics are all stone-ware, and most of the glaze effects are from reduction firing in a gas kiln”
Philippa Macarthur is a Wiltshire based sculptor drawing much of her inspiration from walks in the countryside or beachcombing.”Found and natural objects, such as seedpods, and discarded pieces of old metal inspire me, as much as looking down the microscope on my phone!”
She explained how her work focuses on the minute repetitions and patterns found in nature, which lead to movement or a sense of movement- literally, the whole becomes more than the sum of their parts. This is reflected in repetitive movements of her hands as she makes each piece.
“I like my work to be seen in a garden context from where it originates, and hope you enjoy the mix of materials I use in new ways. It's particularly special for me to show here in Bristol Botanic Garden - such a special place, which hadn't even been dreamed of when I grew up in Bristol. The Dell seems particularly suited to the Nautilus, Flame Scallops, and fossilised Spiral, all rather ancient species.
Mosaic artist, Frankie Hudson had long been attracted to mosaics, and on a chance visit to Briare – “a sweet little town on the Loire” – she found a ceramics factory there which throws its unwanted tiles out into the land behind. With a little time and effort she could pick up bags of these tiles and this is what she started with.
My inspiration can come from anywhere; I often find myself noticing something – a view, a tree, people, pets, birds, a pattern, colours, shapes …. So the environment generally is a constant source of ideas.
I can be inspired by a gesture, a look, someone’s posture, an expression, a movement, a flower, a leaf…. Recently I’ve created some tile designs since seeing Roman and Mexican ceramics.
Adrian Bates makes a range of high-fired stoneware ceramics for home and garden, and all are robust, frost-resistant and waterproof ceramics.
“I was drawn from an early age to calligraphic forms – particularly how the outer and inner curves of letterforms relate to, and interact with each other to give grace to the overall figure. Later I came to understand that these relationships exist everywhere. My ceramics carry this interest forward. The walls of the vessels I make – defining inner and outer space – correlate to the body of letterforms – and the serif-like way in which many of my vessels terminate at lip or spout."
Christine Baxter is a classically trained sculptor who early in her career studied under the inspirational tutor Mike Gillespie a former assistant Epstein. Christine went on the study Figurative Sculpture and Art History at London’s Camberwell School of Art.
Over the past twenty years Christine has become a well established sculptor and artist working for many years as a model maker in the film and gift industry as well as creating designs for both the Wade and Wedgwood factories. Throughout this time Christine continued creating work to commission and has sculpture in many public and private collections throughout the world.
Glass and ceramics sculptor, Adele Christensen, was awarded an MA in Design/Ceramics by Bath Spa University last year. “I hope to further develop the work that has evolved from this at a public or architectural scale”.
She has now connected with the glass facilitator ‘Bokart’ and visited Croatia to see their operation with a view to working on larger projects. This summer Adele has been invited to participate in a 'Glamorous glass' exhibiton being curated by Fiaz Elson and staged at Quenington during the Fresh Air exhibtion.
Lucian stained glass, started by Jude Goss is now 11 years old and is always creating exciting, new designs. Jude’s husband, Nigel joined her this year and using his woodworking skills they are introducing a new line in garden sculpture using reclaimed wood and glass.
“I really enjoy exhibiting at the Botanic Garden. It is a nice environment, relaxed and friendly and I love the opportunity to stand and chat to people. I look forward to it every year. I also like to show the versatility of stained glass.”
Ceramicist, Karen Edwards, is also looking forward to returning to the garden.
“It's over 11 years since I began to make my ceramics full-time, and I still love every minute. Clay is such a wonderful material and never ceases to challenge, even when you think you know what you're doing. It's a thrill every time the kiln is opened, and the joy of the making itself is completely addictive. My inspiration comes from the textures and forms of the plants and landscape around me. The strong, simple shapes and natural colours complement any garden or interior setting."
Jitka Palmer, ceramicist, is always bring new and eye-catching stone and ceramic sculptures. She has just had a solo exhibition at Arundel Contemporary on the theme: Music and Books, my life's pleasures. Some of the work on that theme is still at the gallery, but she may be able to exhibit some at the Botanic Garden.
“Apart from that I was exploring the world of nature, animals and landscape to broaden my figurative approach. For the exhibition at the Botanic Garden I am making heads in Bath stone representing flowers I like including Daisy, Snowdrop, Daffodil and Sunflower. Animals are represented in the ceramic tree masks...Ram and Peacock.
Glass sculptor, Aurora Pozniakow will be bringing four pieces of work entitled Rhythms. This work has been inspired by the repeated patterns and colours found in nature and I have chosen to work in glass to take advantage of the intensity of colour and refraction of light that passes through the glass. The pieces have been fused and slumped and explore many of my original designs which I have manipulated to create and inform my current work.
Daren Greenhow, metal sculptor, has always enjoyed inventing and making, creation and innovation have been life-long passions. He also enjoys the challenge of taking everyday objects and reinterpreting them in new and unexpected contexts.
“All these elements are expressed strongly in my metal sculptures. These are completely original, unique, intriguing and always immediately identifiable as my work. My medium of choice is steel, frequently bicycle parts, using welding as the primary joining technique. My work is figurative and abstract, indoor & outdoor. It includes the human body and wildlife as subjects”.
The ever popular metalwork sculptor, Willa Ashworth, is bringing some of her new designs including her stunningly impressive Fire Pods and her poppy sculptures.
Other attractions include demonstrations by potter, Tez Roberts, stained glass by Jude Goss, Willow weaving with maya Woolfe and a performance of the art of martial art by Wing Chun Kung Fu (Sunday only). Also for daffodil lovers there is a unique trail in the West Country featuring all 13 classes of daffodils
Demonstrations, Refreshments, Free tours of the garden, plants and books for sale.
Friday 14th April until Monday 17th April - 10am until 5pm