At White House Farm

White House Farm at Great Glemham in Suffolk has 120 acres of historic watermeadows, arable land and woodland, home to a fine collection of ancient oak trees set in parkland grazed by the farm’s flock of Alde Valley sheep. The farm also hosts a continuing succession of residencies for artists, writers, makers and musicians, and each year the Alde Valley Spring Festival shows off their work. This year the festival theme was Quercus & Co, a celebration of the English oak, and featured an exhibition of paintings and drawings of veteran trees and woodland by Jelly Green. It was not difficult to find. Posters of her Puzzlewood painting led me from the A12 down the country lanes to the farm. Read more

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Here & Now

Twig Circle
Construction with found twigs

I attempt to make intense, individual objects
objects whose power is not dependent on where or when they are seen. Read more

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Garden & Countryside

Sometimes a garden can be the best room in the house, a great place to spend time with friends and family, to walk together and share its beauty, to be diverted and distracted, to pass the time and forget ourselves. We can wander off and make discoveries, tell tales, find reflections and common ground. Read more

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Two Days In Epping Forest

I suppose that’s a bit of an exaggeration, we didn’t stay overnight, but it sounds better than two visits or two day trips to Epping Forest. The first was a week after Easter, on St George’s Day, inspired by blogposts and tweets about holloways, I wondered what’s the closest thing to a holloway in Epping Forest? And so we went up to Jack’s Hill and walked to the western edge of Ambresbury Banks. Read more

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Six From Anne Davies

We just hung six new paintings by Anne Davies, though since we had one of them already, strictly speaking I suppose only five are new. But it’s a new sextet. Here’s what Anne said about them –

I spent time walking the Bermondsey Wall to Rotherhithe and then, on the other side, Wapping, Shadwell and Limehouse. Canary Wharf was less inspiring but still interesting in a different way! I was also inspired by the lovely Ewan MacColl song ‘Sweet Thames Flow Softly’. I don’t know if you know it but it tells the tale of two people falling in love along the banks of the river, and then one of them thinks better of it in the end. I recommend the Rufus and Martha Wainwright version! Read more

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Table Work

In my Scottish studio, I work on a table. Constructed in pine, it is rather battered but stable and came from a farmhouse in Gloucestershire. It was given to me by Lily Messenger, who had lived in Rodmarton before moving to Amberley, the village where we lived at that time. As our next-door neighbour, Mrs Messenger also lent me an attic room in which I worked for several years until we moved to Scotland in 1990. Before marriage, she had been Lily Bucknell, from a family of blacksmiths and wood-workers and who belonged to the Guild of Gloucestershire Craftsmen. This is only significant because my own Guild membership led to meeting highly skilled artists and craftsmen from whom I learned much concerning materials and ways of making things. Read more

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Wood On The Downs

At the gate we met a man with a camera, overloaded with telephoto lenses, overexposed to the sun, returning to the shelter of his car. He’d taken up photography in retirement, pursuing butterflies over the Downs, but today there were too many people and too few photo opportunities. He’d seen Green Hairstreaks and Orange-tips but didn’t think he had any good photos. As we spoke, bright yellow Brimstones danced around his head, but too quick to photograph. “It’s the story of my life,” he said. Read more

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Anish Kapoor At Lisson Gallery

An exhibition of painting, sculpture and three great amorphous lumps of whatever. If earth was flesh these might be rocks, torn from their sockets, wrapped like joints of meat in butcher’s muslin and displayed in bloodied gallery-size bites. Look closer and they’re dripping with glistening fingerprints, evidence of man’s inhumanity to the planet. I’m almost inclined to become vegetarian. Read more

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Sovana & Pitigliano

From Saturnia it’s a short drive to Sovana, a small village with just a single street, beautifully paved in herringbone brickwork. There’s a ruined castle at one end and a cathedral at the other, and a piazza in the middle where we ate delicious lemon pizza for lunch. Read more

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Roselle & Saturnia

Heading south on the road from Siena to Grosseto last year, Sue snapped this photograph from our car as we sat in traffic, waiting to join the cypress avenue queuing in line above us on the horizon. The trees were lying in wait, ready to ambush us at the next junction. A crest of spikes. But with a gentle zigzagging we joined together like the interlocking teeth of a zip fastener and cruised in harmony down to the ancient site of Roselle. Read more

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