Your ul­ti­mate guide to where to go and what to do in Septem­ber

Cotswold Life - - CONTENTS - Edited by Can­dia Mck­o­r­mack LINDA BLOOM­FIELD AND SARAH SPACKMAN The Di­a­logues ex­hi­bi­tion runs from Septem­ber 9-30 at Sarah Wise­man Gallery, 40/41 South Pa­rade, Sum­mer­town, Ox­ford, OX2 7JL, tel: 01865 515123, www.wise­ CON­TACT can­dia.mck­o­r­mack@archant

ARTISTS rarely work in com­plete iso­la­tion. Over gen­er­a­tions, col­lab­o­ra­tions are an ex­cit­ing part of cre­ativ­ity, and vi­tal to artists who want to spark some­thing new. In their new ex­hi­bi­tion ‘Di­a­logues’, at Sarah Wise­man Gallery, ce­ram­i­cist Linda Bloom­field and painter Sarah Spackman will pre­sent new work that ex­plores the course of a friend­ship, and their shared in­flu­ences.

Can you start by telling us who you are and what you do?

Linda Bloom­field: I am a sci­en­tist turned pot­ter, mak­ing thrown porce­lain table­ware, vases and bot­tles in my West Lon­don stu­dio.

Sarah Spackman: I am an artist liv­ing and work­ing in Ox­ford. I make paint­ings based on ob­ser­va­tion, mainly still life paint­ings of every­day ob­jects in­clud­ing ce­ram­ics, fruits and veg­eta­bles.

When and how did you both meet?

LB: I met Sarah at Art in Ac­tion, Water­perry Gar­dens, where I was demon­strat­ing throw­ing on the wheel in the ce­ram­ics tent.

SS: We met up again the fol­low­ing year when I also be­came a demon­stra­tor in the paint­ing tent. We swapped some pots for a paint­ing and I also com­mis­sioned some bowls.

What drew you to each other’s work?

LB: I love still life paint­ings like Sarah’s. Af­ter our meet­ing at Art in Ac­tion, Sarah started to in­clude some of my pots in her paint­ings. I vis­ited her stu­dio in Ox­ford to lend her some more pots and found she had shelves of ob­jects, rang­ing from old cider flagons to con­tem­po­rary stu­dio pot­tery.

SS: I love the shape and glaze that Linda uses in her ce­ram­ics, I find them very paintable! They are also lovely to han­dle and use. There are cer­tain pieces [by Linda] that have ap­peared over and over again in my paint­ings.

Tell us more about the Di­a­logues ex­hi­bi­tion…

LB: I made a range of dif­fer­ent porce­lain bot­tles and vases, some plain, some fluted, in­spired by mid-cen­tury mod­ern Scan­di­na­vian and Bri­tish stu­dio pot­tery. In the ex­hi­bi­tion, the bot­tles will be dis­played in frames like a still life. I asked Sarah to choose a se­lec­tion of pots to in­clude in her paint­ings.

SS: I have al­ways en­joyed paint­ing Linda’s pots and have in­cor­po­rated them into many paint­ings. These paint­ings are a di­rect re­sponse to the ce­ram­ics them­selves and also to the way in which such ob­jects are dis­played. Many pots are made for ev­ery-day use but they can be­come el­e­vated into some­thing else by the way we look at them.

Do you hope to achieve new things as artists by ex­hibit­ing to­gether?

SS: My work is about look­ing at things and how we see them. Re­cently, I have

been paint­ing ei­ther sin­gle things or a cou­ple of ob­jects that I feel re­late to each other in some way. Work­ing for this ex­hi­bi­tion is giv­ing me the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate more com­plex com­po­si­tions, com­bin­ing ce­ram­ics with or­ganic ob­jects. For me this means more ques­tions about how these things that we see and use daily, re­late to one an­other when we spend more time look­ing at their di­verse colours and forms. Di­a­logues for me is more of an in­di­vid­ual re­sponse to Linda’s work, in­cor­po­rat­ing it into my own.

LB: I usu­ally make re­peat table­ware for gal­leries, shops and restau­rants, so I am ex­cited to make larger, one-off pieces and still life groups in a gallery in­stal­la­tion. This will ex­pand my prac­tise as an artist as well as a pro­duc­tion pot­ter and table­ware de­signer. We have vis­ited each other’s stu­dios and dis­cussed the ex­hi­bi­tion to­gether and with Sarah Wise­man in the gallery. I am mak­ing three di­men­sional still life com­po­si­tions, in­spired by Mo­randi’s ob­jects and Sarah’s paint­ings.

Can you de­scribe a typ­i­cal day in the stu­dio?

LB: My favourite day would be when I am throw­ing on the wheel. I try to make at least one or two batches of 12 pots be­fore lunch, and then an­other two batches in the af­ter­noon, de­pend­ing on or­ders. My or­ders come from my web­site and by email from gal­leries, shops and restau­rants. Re­cently I have been mak­ing a lot of hand­made plates for restau­rants as well as new vase and bot­tle shapes for ex­hi­bi­tions.

SS: I am lucky enough to have a beau­ti­ful stu­dio just a ten-minute bike ride from home. I be­gin my day with draw­ing for a lit­tle while. It’s a way to get my eye in. Then I spend the rest of the day paint­ing. I usu­ally have two still life set ups in the stu­dio at any one time, one that I work on dur­ing the morn­ing and then as the light goes around, I work on the other one in the af­ter­noon. It’s a lovely light and quiet space where I can spend my time think­ing, look­ing, and mix­ing colours.

When ex­hibit­ing, what me­morable re­sponses have you had to your work?

LB: The best one was from a Na­tional Trust buyer who said mine was the best thing she’d seen in the show!

SS: I had a re­view of an ex­hi­bi­tion in Dublin where my work was de­scribed as giv­ing the viewer a ‘Breath­ing Space’. Most peo­ple say that my work has a sense of calm. I like to think that still life paint­ings ‘still’ the viewer.

What’s next – do you have a par­tic­u­lar am­bi­tion or dream project?

LB: I am very ex­cited about the Di­a­logues ex­hi­bi­tion with Sarah. In Septem­ber, I am also ex­hibit­ing in the Bri­tish Craft Pavil­ion at the Lon­don De­sign Fair. I would love to make more in­stal­la­tions.

SS: I just want to keep paint­ing! I would like to de­velop the still­ness in my work and give the colour more clar­ity.

Small cherry bowl, oil on board, by Sarah Spackman

28 Linda Bloom­field and Sarah Spackman

Thrown porce­lain bot­tles, satin matt glazes, height 15cm, 2017, by Linda Bloom­field

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