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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Spotlight - Satire and Connectivity

This month Spotlight takes a look at satirical and connective art.  As nights draw in, in the autumn of a year in which it can sometimes seem that a shared planet and species is not enough to hold us together, the joy and connectivity of the arts can feel ever more precious.  Satirical art, like other media, can either focus on our differences, or on what makes us alike, and what we share – like Art Societies within a broader society.
Pawel Kuczynski, a contemporary Polish satirical artist, combines political observation and comment with common themes… such as the conundrums of adulthood and growth, as in the image below of a girl in bigger shoes
...and in this image of a sun on clouds, suggestive of balances between positive and dark thoughts and experiences.
As Pawel says simply, “I believe in people.. even when we do stupid things sometimes.”
Kuczynski rarely gives a title to his paintings.  They perhaps convey thoughts better than 999 words could.  (It is said that a thousand words is enough to convey a picture - or the other way round.)
There is, of course, a wide range of satirical art, from newspaper cartoons to subtle messages in works by artists who are considered as great masters, such as Dali’s civil war paintings, and Holbein’s “The Ambassadors”.
Uniting us are works such as Paula Rego’s social painting “The Dance”, conveying the joy and purpose, and comfort of togetherness throughout our dance of life.
Are we are more alike than we are different?
Maybe that is our choice to make.  
And Art plays a part.

About Holbein’s “Ambassadors”:

If you know any great art websites or articles, why not share them here? Send your suggestions to - please note that this isn't for self-promotion!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Silk Top Hat Gallery's Christmas Exhibition

Saturday 26th November 2016 anytime between 10.00am and 5.00pm on the opening day of our CHRISTMAS EXHIBITION
invited artists and designer makers
both new and familiar
at the Silk Top Hat Gallery and Isaac Smart's

Don Smith, drypoint printmaker,will be at the Gallery Saturday 3rd December
Exhibition open 11.00am to 4.00pm Tuesday to Saturday
It is with the greatest sadness we must announce the untimely death of Jill Howorth, the owner of the Silk Top Hat Gallery and Isaac Smart's who, after a short illness, died very peacefully at Severn Hospice, Shrewsbury on 7th November 2016.
Donations in memory of Jill will be warmly welcomed to support Ludlow Assembly Rooms (her great passion) or Severn Hospice.

Please join us on

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Vicki Norman's recent paintings at the Assembly Rooms

Norfolk Evening.jpg

Featuring paintings from Shropshire, Italy, and India amongst other locations, the show documents my travels over the last 18 months. Mostly comprised of smaller plein air oil paintings, there are also examples of drawings and larger studio works.
Marinella Evening.jpg

Vicki Norman's exhibition runs 1st December 2016 to 28th January 2017

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Dermot Cavanagh's 3-Day Painting Course comes to Shropshire in 2017

Highly experienced world renowned artist and tutor, Dermot, is the artist and broadcaster behind the hit BBC TV series ‘Awash With Colour’; During 74 episodes of his TV show he taught a host of international celebrities to paint.
All the art materials needed will be provided by Dermot at the course. This is an unique opportunity to learn new skills from a master tutor and places are strictly limited to 12 painters so as to allow for lots of Dermot’s individual instruction. Dates do not seem to be mentioned in the materials available, so... For further Information and booking Tel: +44 (0)2887 784166. Non Residential price with all materials supplied: £199.00

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Shropshire Hills Art Week 2017 information get together

An Artists' get together to find out more about S.H.A.W. 2017.
21st November, 6:30-8pm, at Bank House B&B, High Street, SY9 5BQ, Bishops Castle
This is your opportunity to find out more about SHAW 2017, sign up at the early-bird price, talk about options for exhibiting, and meet your fellow artists. 
Anyone who is interested in exhibiting or opening their home or studio is welcome, not just Bank House artists.  There will be hot drinks and cake at the get together.
See the web page for map and pictures.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Bleddfa Christmas Crafts and Gifts Exhibition

Crafts and gifts at Bleddfa, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Christmas.
The poster says it all, other than to add that it is an interesting venue, with fab food in their café too.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

JILL HOWORTH 14th March 1949 - 7th November 2016

We have just received the very sad news of Jill Howarth's passing, and can say little more than is expressed in the message below from her gallery.  
Jill will be deeply missed by many in Ludlow and far beyond.  From the Art Society, our condolences to Jill's family and friends, and all who were near her, joining you in cherishing what she brought to the community, the arts, and our memories.

JILL HOWORTH 14th March 1949 - 7th November 2016

Jill Howorth, the owner of Ludlow's Silk Top Hat Gallery, has died unexpectedly after a short illness.
She has been a much-loved trader in the town for over 35 years and greatly respected for her interest in the community and for her constant support of Ludlow Assembly Rooms, in which she was involved from its inception.
She was born in Bridgnorth in 1949. Both her parents were artists (as is her sculptor brother David). After gaining a degree at Sussex University she worked in the Library at Wolverhampton Art College, followed by a post-graduate course in Librarianship at University College, London.
She then became Curator of the newly-formed Institute of Contemporary Prints and went with this important collection when it was transferred to the then Modern Collection of the Tate Gallery in London (the origins of Tate Modern).
Jill returned to Shropshire and opened her first exhibition space in Ludlow's Dinham House in 1980 and moved to Quality Square a year later.
Over the years she championed the work of innumerable artists, developed an idiosyncratic artists' materials and gift shop and, more recently, opened a second exhibition space in Quality Square, Isaac Smart's - a showcase for contemporary craft work.
Every year she organized a special and wide-ranging Christmas Exhibition and was planning this year's show when she was taken ill.
This exhibition will still take place, at the Silk Top Hat Gallery and at Isaac Smart's, as a memorial to Jill.
She died, very peacefully, at Severn Hospice, Bicton Heath, Shrewsbury on 7th November.
Donations in memory of Jill will be warmly welcomed to support Ludlow Assembly Rooms (her greatest passion) or Severn Hospice.
She will be greatly missed by countless friends, artists and collectors.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Cartoon and Stained Glass Workshop

12 places.  Teens and adults. Visit to museum & workshop in the artist’s studio. To learn traditional glass painting techniques, create ‘keep realist’ visuals to be placed in the final artwork.
10th November 10 - 12pm.
Meet at the Shrewsbury Museum to view the Margaret Rope exhibition or Museum Collection pieces the design of stained glass project refers to.
This workshop is part of the project Marga & Collections founded by the Arts Council for the creation of a permanent stained glass artwork by the entrance of the Medieval Gallery in Shrewsbury Museum.

Hereford Contemporary

11-13Nov, Left Bank Bridge Street, HR4 9DG Hereford, Herefordshire.
Your once a year chance to meet, commission and buy direct from the UK's finest contemporary designer makers & artists. See and feel beautifully produced artwork, eat great food with friends, do something creative, watch a demonstration and of course shop. Have a hugely enjoyable day or weekend at this beautiful riverside venue in the heart of the city near Hereford Cathedral and Mappa Mundi.
We're pleased to offer a range of high quality creative workshops for adults on Friday, and children aged 8 to 12 over the weekend. Try your hand at leather work, jewellery making, sewing, book binding, batik, ceramics or handblock printing. Workshops will run throughout the three days of the event. To find out more visit

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Pictures from Duncan White's Talk

I was very disappointed not to be well enough to get out to our last talk of the year, but Anne Fox very kindly stepped up to introduce our speak, Duncan White, and to take pictures of the event. Thank you, Ann!

Duncan brought along some of his wonderful and carefully-crafted miniature ceramics to the talk, and we've got a few shots of the evening right here (click to enlarge):

So... that's it for us for 2016! Our programme is now finished, and we bid you a very happy holiday season (feels a bit early for that, doesn't it? Oh well, never mind.), and you do need an eye out for our 2017 programme which will be published very shortly. I can tell you, though, that it'll begin on Thursday 2nd February, same times, same place, and it'll be me, giving a talk on Telling Tales: Narrative in Illustration - hope to see you there!