Visuals: Reviews

Review: Entwined

If you go down to Woodend today, you’re sure of a lovely surprise. Entwined is a magical exhibition of work by three talented Scarborough artists – jeweller Sam Birch, and textile artists Jan Bee Brown and Lindsey Tyson.

The three have very different styles, but a common inspiration – nature at its most romantic and fairytale. The combination is exquisite, enhanced by its fantasy staging – garments, hats and bags are displayed on twisted branches and antlers, jewellery on ivy and moss. You almost expect to stumble across the Cottingley Fairies.

Jan Bee’s work is probably the least commercial, but most touching – her cocoon-like felt wall hangings, with little ceramic men peeping out, pay tribute to soldiers who died in the First World War in freezing conditions in the caves of the Plöcken Pass, on the Austro-Italian border. She also shows huge remembrance poppies, and garments decorated with old silverware, inspired by tales of young children fleeing Nazi Germany with the family silver stitched into their underwear.

Lindsey’s mouth-watering scarves, shawls and wraps use the most luxurious of fabrics and the richest of colours, but in new and imaginative ways – look out for the exquisite fastenings on her short throatwarmers. God really is in the detail.

And Samantha’s jewellery – portraying blossom and ivy, snakes, butterflies and bees, in silver embellished with gold highlights, freshwater pearls and semi-precious stones – will definitely have you checking your bank balance.

And that’s the great thing – this stuff is unique, designer, arty, but affordable. Prices start at just £10 for one of Lindsey’s luscious silk handkerchiefs. The most expensive thing I could find on the price list was a wrap at £348. Most hovers somewhere in between. Go on – it’s nearly Christmas.

Jeannie Swales 

Entwined is at Woodend Creative Workspace on The Crescent, Scarborough, until 10 December, 9am to 5pm Mondays to Fridays, and 11am to 4pm on Saturdays. For a sneak preview:


It's a ten! Storm Force breaks

Deep fried gansey, anyone? That’s just one of 50 sample size ganseys – jumpers – as part of the exhibition Storm Force at Scarborough Art gallery. The samples were knitted on a state of the art modern Japanese knitting machine by Annie Shaw, a senior lecturer in fashion and knitting at Manchester Metropolitan University, and then subjected to a variety of experiments. Some were put in lobster pots, latex dipped, or put out to experience several tides.

Shaw investigated seamless knitting with data gathered from museum collections. She inevitably studies the gansey knitting of the North East coast with which she has family connections. As well as the samples, hung from the ceiling of the first room of the exhibition, are photos of Marjorie Fewster, celebrated local gansey knitter, and her work,  and a number of ancient ganseys and artefacts and photos connected with the knitting of the time.

The exhibition continues with a series of watercolours by HB Carter. The choice by members of the RNLI brings a depth of meaning to the scenes of storms at sea that is remarkable, evoking as they do situations of real mortal danger. The great Scarborough storm of 1880 is illustrated with three paintings by Robert Ernest Roe, hung together for the first time since some restoration work on one of them was completed. These very large paintings at first seem to dwarf the room and are too overwhelming but then you realise that that is the correct effect: you too are in the storm.

The exhibition is completed and brought up to date by the paintings of Staithes artist Len Tabner who has produced a series of paintings from his trips to the southern hemisphere in the 1990s. On his voyages he lashed himself to the deck of the ship in order to fully experience the elements.

The show is accompanied by a series of talks and workshops. A Storm Force 2 display at the Maritime Heritage Centre on Eastborough consists of photos and newspaper cuttings about the 1880 storm in Scarborough and other information about storms around this coast.

The exhibition is very well curated and sponsorship by the Friends of the Art gallery has made the whole thing possible. Oh and that deep fried gansey? You can only see that on video unfortunately. A seagull swooped down and pinched the real thing.

Leslie Stones

Storm Force runs at Scarborough Art Gallery to 26 November

Life on the hoof: review - Sarah Venus

There’s something distinctly animal in this show. The wool for the felt sculptures obviously, trained and teased into fantastical shapes and patterns. But more than that, there’s the teats from calf feed bottles moulded into an interlocking gape of felt. And the bristles sticking out. And then there’s the huge off-white sack suspended from the ceiling like so much tripe on a hook. It’s a slightly creepy hint of the abattoir, yet the forms unmistakably suggest moving, vibrant life at the same time.

There’s a whole lot else going on too in this compact but rewarding show. Glimpse the shapes from another angle and they become an Aztec headdress, or a mad sundial. Sarah Venus clearly has an interest in twinned shapes, returning in both her sculptures and prints to the idea of entwined, kissing or almost-touching relationships.

The prints and paintings are every bit as interesting as the sculptures, some again suggesting the art of ancient American civilizations. The colours complement the themes: rich, earthy ochres, pink and aquamarine. Take a trip out to Hutton le Hole and see if you can resist touching.
Janis Bright

Tactillia, Sarah Venus, runs from now until 20 June at Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton le Hole, tel 01751 417367

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