Thursday, 30 March 2017

Local Painters Somerset

Painted in Farrow & Ball with a rustic distressed finish
Darkroom Yellow 233 by No21 Painting & Decorating

Painted Furniture for Tor Huts by No21 Painting & Decorating

Monday, 20 March 2017

Shepton now has a regular Sunday Market!

Every third Sunday in the month, until further notice, we now have a Sunday Market in Shepton! Yesterday, I went to the first one, which had at least 60 stalls.  There was food, bric-a-brac, vintage, crafts and lots more.  In addition, many of the shops in Town Street, and the bottom of the High Street were open, including the one I am involved with - the One Craft Gallery.  It was so good to see Shepton full of people, having a great time, even though the weather wasn't great!  Let's hope it goes from strength to strength...

Helen - Contributor

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Snowdrop Festival is here!

Shepton is awash with snowdrops as it's first Snowdrop Festival begins!  We, at the One Craft Gallery have contributed with a themed window design, which was given a special award.  We produced artwork and wares inspired by snowdrops in all sorts of mediums - see above.  Other shops and businesses have also shown solidarity with displays of their own... 

The images above and below show some of the activities which took place at the Friday Market and at Snowdrop HQ in Town Street.  It was a real education!  I never knew there were so many different varieties, each with their own name and features...

Shepton Mallet Horticultural Society, who have organised the festival, have certainly been busy.  There are colourful planters all over the town, and stencilled images on the pavements leading people to the action!  Refreshments, the results of the photographic and poetry competitions, workshops and snowdrop related stalls are all at the HQ.  In addition, a number of events have been organised.  These include, a ceremonial walk to James Allen's grave - the first person to breed snowdrops from wild varieties - to plant some snowdrops, and on Sunday, a guided snowdrop ramble through Edford Woods, 3 miles north-east of Shepton.

The festival kicked off with an opening ceremony, the town crier and a display by the suitably named rhythmic gymnastic group called The City of Bath Snowdrops!  It was great to see so many people around the Market Cross in Shepton.  Hopefully, this festival is just the start of a successful annual event for the town...

Helen - Contributor

Friday, 10 February 2017

Shepton's Snowdrop Festival

This is the first year of the Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival.  It has been started to commemorate James Allen, who lived in the town, and was the first person to breed snowdrops from wild varieties. It is being run by the Shepton Mallet Horticultural Society and takes place on February 17-19.

'Dancing Snowdrops' - mixed media on board (23 x 12 inches)

Last year volunteers planted snowdrops, which have now appeared!  There are to be events and competitions sponsored by the local council and businesses.  At the One Craft Gallery, we are doing a special 'snowdrop' window design next week. In celebration, I have done a mixed media artwork, entitled 'Dancing Snowdrops' - the photographs above show close-up detail, as well as the completed picture.

Helen - Contributor

Monday, 12 December 2016

Exhibition Includes Nice Angels!

There is an exhibition of painting and sculpture, by Derek Nice and Elizabeth Hand, currently on at Wells Museum called 'Sacred Places & Divine Fragments'.  It is on until December 17th and includes these beautiful angels pictured above, which are made out of recycled materials by Derek Nice.  Some are hung in the bay window of the museum which overlooks Wells Cathedral.  

Elizabeth Hand's fascinating abstracts contain a variety of textures and distressed surfaces, and are full of symbolism and interest (see left).

Helen - Contributor

Thursday, 24 November 2016

New Market for Shepton Mallet

Last Sunday, Shepton was teeming with people at a new market taking place around the Market Place.  Named as a Christmas Special, it was organised by Helen Reader, who hopes that a Sunday market, once a month, will become a regular event.

It was opened by the Town Crier and there was a large variety of stalls, including food, crafts, flowers, gifts, fashion etc. Many of the shops in the High Street and Town Street were also open, including the One Craft Gallery, which I am involved with.  I was serving in the shop and it was wonderful to see so many people coming in and buying!

We were lucky that the weather stayed fine and there was such a warm and friendly atmosphere - it was a great success and a  fantastic start to the Christmas festivities...

Helen - Contributor

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Abstracts by Angela Charles

I didn't get to as many studios as I would have like during Somerset Open Studios, but I really enjoyed the visits I did make!  The artist, whose work you can see above and below, is Angela Charles.  I went to her delightful home and studio in Crewkerne.

The paintings are in response to the dramatic coastline of the South West - the landscape, light and the sea.  Angela takes regular trips there in her camper van and does pen sketches and writes notes about the location on that particular occasion.

Back at her studio these are interpreted into paintings, which may bear little resemblance to the original sketch, but retains her feelings of being there.  She works in layers of acrylic paint on spray-primed aluminium or wooden boards.  Areas of frantic mark making, contrast with smooth calm sections, giving her wonderful work a sense of peace as well as intensity.

Helen - Contributor

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Heritage Courtyard Studios

Another day, another visit to some art, listed in the Somerset Open Studios booklet!  This time I went into the heart of Wells to the Heritage Courtyard Studios, which is a collection of nine artists studios and exhibition space.  The work is varied and exciting and has something for everybody's taste and budget.  The photos above give you a sample.

The artist, who was kind enough to let me photograph her in her studio space, was Rebecca Barnard.  She is predominately a landscape painter in oils but is experimenting in mixed media.  Her paintings were full of wonderful colour and atmosphere.  Another venue well worth a visit!

Helen - Contributor

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Somerset Open Studios 2016 - Derek Nice

On Sunday I went to the studio of artist, Derek Nice - see above.  It was open as part of Somerset Open Studios.  I have loved his work for many years and have one hanging on my wall at home!  I discovered, via the brochure, that he had moved to Wells so it was easy for me to visit...

His work is influenced by maritime, archaeological themes, myths and legends.  He collects old bits of weathered wood from boatyards and beaches.  He creates works that evoke the sea, out of materials that have been formed by it.  His intention is to find the essence of sea-going life, not the literal interpretation of the subject.  As well as sculptures and assemblages, he also produces beautiful, colourful, collages and paintings, often incorporating text.

The above pictures show his delightful garden, complete with Shepherd's Hut and sculptures.  Also shown are a selection of his latest subject matter - angels.   As many people love and believe in guardian angels, he hopes that his, made from reclaimed wood, will spread a bit of happiness! 

Well worth a visit...

Helen - Contributor

Thursday, 8 September 2016

'the punk faery artworks'

Sally Jacob, a local Somerset artist, is currently a Guest Maker at the One Craft Gallery in Shepton's High Street - see above.  She describes herself as a fantasy artist, whose artwork explores the darker/steampunk side of faery.  She trades under the name - the punk faery artworks.  Her paintings, prints and cards focusses on mermaids, faery creatures, fairy tales and the psychology behind them...

Sally also designs and makes unique and bespoke accessories and jewellery in her 'steampunk' style. They usually contain a combination of vintage components, found objects and her imagination! Her latest jewellery collection embraces the trend for raw gemstones and pearls mixed with cute woodland themed pieces.  Her work is for sale in the gallery until the end of October.

Helen - Contributor 

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Sewing Bees go to The Hive!

We are lucky that in Shepton we have a shop in the High Street, catering for all sorts of sewing and creative needs - The Hive.  From haberdashery, fabrics, patterns and wools, to card making materials, it stocks all sorts of useful items. There is also a sewing repair, dry-cleaning and sourcing of craft goods service. It is a real treasure trove…

Not only is The Hive a place to buy materials, it is also somewhere to socialise and learn new things, as it has a cafe and runs regular workshops. For a full list of lessons visit the website -

The coffee shop and cafe serves fine coffee, a range of speciality teas, and delicious food made on the premises. There are specials everyday and a range of scrumptious pastries and cakes. Just the right setting to meet friends and decide what goodies to buy…

Helen - Contributor

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Hauser & Wirth is Worth a Visit

If you are a fan of contemporary art, and Turner Prize winners, you will love the current exhibition at Hauser & Wirth, Somerset's pioneering world-class gallery and multi-purpose arts centre.  On until September 11th, it is the work of Martin Creed, entitled 'What you Find'.  He won the Turner Prize in 2001 for ' Work No.227 The Lights Going Off and On.'  I can't show you any pics, as no photography is allowed in the galleries, but I can tell you that it is certainly an eclectic mix of film, painting, textiles and installations, which won't be to everybody's taste...

However, it is worth a visit, as it is such an exciting place - full of interesting architecture, sculptures, a shop and an on-site restaurant - the Roth Bar & Grill, which serves delicious, locally sourced food. One of the cooks can be seen in the top left pic, picking fresh herbs from their raised vegetable beds!

Even the bar is a work of art, created by the son and grandson of artist Dieter Roth, as a tribute to him. You can see, above right, and middle left, that it is made of scavenged materials - a central motif in his work.  This theme continues throughout the interiors - look at the washing facilities for the toilets (above top right)!

The fabulous landscaped gardens, designed by internationally renowned Dutch designer, Piet Oudolf, look their best this time of year.  At the end of the Oudolf field of perennial flowers, is this unusual temporary structure, The Radic Pavilion - see below.  It is  made from fibreglass and designed by Smiljan Radic.  I took a walk inside - it has a built-in bar and would make a great party venue...

Helen - Contributor

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Somerset Open Studios 2016

Anyone who is interested in seeing what talented and creative people live in Somerset will be looking forward to Somerset Open Studios - 17th September - 2nd October.  This is run by SAW - Somerset Art Works, who are an artist-led organisation dedicated to developing the visual arts, and supporting artists in Somerset.

The comprehensive brochure is now widely available - we have loads in the One Craft Gallery, near Market Place, Shepton Mallet. It gives maps (divided into areas), directions, and details of 208 venues and nearly 300 artists in many different fields. There are also other exciting arts events and creative activities listed.

I have started looking through the 96 pages of my brochure to plan what to see! There is a huge variety of works- something for everybody. I find it fascinating, as this is the chance to go to artists' private workplaces and talk to them...
Helen - Contributor

Friday, 22 July 2016

A Sign of the New Town Street Times

At Starlight Studio Art Gallery & Juice Bar in Town Street, we have recently taken delivery of our new bespoke carved wooden shop sign. This was made by local Shepton craftsman Lee Keohane, pictured here with Brian Outten in an incredibly un-cheesy pose which is quite in keeping with the vegan/non-dairy juices and smoothies made here.

Lee can be commissioned to make bespoke signs especially for your requirements and works to a really high standard. He can be contacted on 07869 624170.

Meanwhile, Brian (pictured here with local advertising guru Lorraine Pratten (who runs the Tourist Information Centre in Shepton), has been creating another sign for the outside of the shop and has just put it up today. 

It's definitely not only his crazy printed shirts that are going to get us noticed from now on!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Guest Artists at the One Craft Gallery

The One Craft Gallery is a maker's co-operative in Shepton.  To bring in new artworks and create a constantly fresh look, there is a programme of guest artists, which I organise.  The guests stay for two months at a time and we have two at once. This month we have Craig Eyles, a potter, and Brigit Lilley, a printmaker.

Craig's sophisticated ceramic vessels are thrown from his potter's wheel in his Frome studio.  His pots are decorative and functional, with beautiful coloured glazes, and will be in the gallery until the end of August. 

Brigit lives in Shepton and makes colourful, vibrant abstract prints, of all sizes, using mainly collagraph and monoprint techniques.  They are often inspired by the landscape.  She has a range of popular card designs, based on her prints, and her artwork is around until the end of the month.  

It is a pleasure to have such lovely artworks for sale!  If anyone is interested in becoming a guest artist do contact me...  

Helen - Contributor

Monday, 11 July 2016

Skulls just wanna have fun!

Happy Mandy's are everywhere! There are five of us working from the arty bottom of Town Street, Shepton Mallet which is fast becoming 'Studio Land'.  There's Mandie with an 'ie' , also known as Amanda (oh, that's me) at Starlight Studio Art, there's artist Mandy McKenna who previously had a vintage clothes shop in town and now makes things, alongside Claire Goodman from their creative studio Lethal Postman, opposite.  Then there's Amanda the hairdresser at Flix Hair Studio which is next door to Starlight Studio Art.  New boutique IDo-Vintage, is owned by Miranda, who (just to add to fun) used to be known as Mandy but now likes to be known as Miranda, then last but not least theres Mandy with a 'y', who runs The Barber Shop diagonal to us.  

Today, I'd like to talk about this Mandy.  Not only is she a talented hair cutter and colourist but she also has her own business Fairygirl Jewellery.  As an avid collector of all kinds of beads, baubles, crystals and gems, she turns these into funky costume jewellery and can make unique, bespoke designs tailored to your requirements. Creativity obviously runs in Mandy's family as her daughter Corinne designs and carves quirky, slightly scary skulls which are used in funky displays to model the jewellery. Skulls and jewellery can be purchased directly from The Barbers Shop at 23 Town Street, BA4 5BE, where walk-in hair appointments are sometimes available

 Talking of skulls, at Starlight Studio Art, we have several collectable happy chaps hanging around.  There's a Celtic patterned Design Clinic fella from Cornwall, a slightly more Gothy gold fanged one, chewing a rose and my favourite, is rocking the neon-pirate look on a fabulous felt cushion.  
Not for the faint 'arted all this skullduggery!

Skulls designed and carved by Corinne 
available from The Barber Shop
Pre-loved Neon Pirate Skull Cushion, handmade in Somerset, 
from Starlight Studio Art
Happy skull oil painting by Mandie Stone 
at Starlight Studio Art

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Wild things make your heart sing in downtown Shepton

Miranda at IDo Vintage in Town Street, Shepton Mallet has an "Absolutely Fabulous dahlin', sweety, gorgeous sweety dahlin" window full of beautiful vintage fashion-y things.  Perhaps, Patsy Stone, the champagne-swigging fashionista would feel right at home in Town Street these days, seeing as East Somerset is so fashionable for those urbanites wanting to escape the madness of the city - for, errmm, the even madder madness of the countryside.  Who knows, after a swish cream tea and pampering in the Charlton House spa, she might even pop into Vape in the Market Place and swap her real fags for a pretend one.

Anyway, back to IDo Vintage, that zebra coat is certain to add animal magic to any wardrobe - and you certainly won't be striped up by Miranda as all her exciting stock is very reasonably priced. If you do decide to treat yourself to this wild number, please be sure not to lay down in it as you wouldn't want anyone crossing you!

What a wild and wonderful day and it's all about new movies!  It's not all about juices, smoothies and vintage stuff you know.  This afternoon, bubbly vegan, costume designer and wife of Dave the Shepton busker Janet Burden literally swung downtown to Starlight Studio Art for a herbal tea - in a funky Tarzan outfit. Aaarhh, aaarhhhh, aaaarrr, arrrrrrrr.........Oh and she told me all about her creative business Unicorn Spit Originals where she has been trading in Shepton Mallet for 3 years now and makes costumes for films, bespoke special occasionwear, fantasty and role play costumes for theatrical events and can do themed styling for videos and photoshoots for bands/performers.  Pictured here is her dapper hubby wearing a poncho Janet customised from a skirt found in a charity shop. Janet is not only handy with a sewing machine.  She has a Masters Degree in English and taught in secondary schools in Essex for over 20 years before moving to Somerset for a quiet life!  Not so quiet when Dave's practicing his busking routine though!

Feature by Mandie Stone