Peter Hawkins paintings in Park’s Cafe from 3 March to end June 2020
Peter Hawkins is an amateur artist from Droitwich Spa, and was chair of Droitwich Arts Network for a number of years. Peter, also a member of Elmbridge Art Club, was always interesting in art, enjoying drawing and painting when his work allowed him some time off. With early retirement, he took painting more seriously, and now he’s one of the most prolific members of the network.
Peter’s exhibition showed 12 new acrylic paintings. Landscapes of local and further away countryside show in great details all beauty of green hills and waterways. Peter’s love for travelling is often presented in skilfully painted coastal towns, boats and scenery.
Due to the coronavirus lockdown, Peter’s paintings stayed in Park’s cafe rather longer than planned.
Members’ Show and Tell
On 17th June 2020 three members talked to us about their work via Zoom.
We had three volunteers: Alan Davey showed and talked about a sculpture, and his work on the old Droitwich Town signs. Claire Hilton talked about her involvement with Worcester Arts. And Rhys Jones explained why black and white photography can be more interesting than colour, and demonstrated various ways of creating mono images.
It was with much sadness that we learned that Shaun Best had passed away. It was a huge shock for everyone and of course devastating for his wife and family. Shaun was very involved with the music life of Droitwich Spa and always supportive of DAN activities. This photo was taken during his time as Mayor of Droitwich when he opened ArtsFest 2017.
One of the most successful collaborations between Shaun and Droitwich Arts Network was the “Last Night of the Proms” event held on 28th July 2018, which raised funds for essential repairs to St Andrew’s Church.
Online Demonstration by Colin Jack
On Wednesday 20th May, Colin Jack gave an online demonstration using Zoom. A good number of members joined the session and enjoyed Colin’s jokes as well as his painting skills. Many of you know that Colin is deaf so we made good use of the Zoom “Chat” facility to ask questions. Colin gave very full and helpful answers. The session was recorded and the recording can be made available to members who missed the session.
Rosie Philpott Creates Free Colouring Pages To Thank Key Workers
Local artist, illustrator, and member of Droitwich Arts Network Rosie Philpott, who is best known for her ‘wonky’ paintings, has created a series of free colouring pages to thank key workers in the area. Rosie says: “The only way I know how to help people is through art. I know from experience that colouring or any form of creativity is a great way to cope with anxiety and is a relaxing experience. I wanted to share this with people by creating colouring pages that all ages can enjoy.”
The colouring pages can be found on Rosie’s website: www.rosiephilpott.co.uk
Local artists hold prestigious Hanbury Hall exhibition in 2019
The annual exhibition at the Long Gallery at Hanbury Hall is one of the premier events in the Droitwich Arts Network calendar. This year, the popular event has changed to a ten day-long display in April. Set in the magnificent and historic National Trust property, it attracts a large number of visitors and provides a prestigious backdrop to local talent. The network is therefore delighted to hold an exhibition from 6th – 15th April.
This year it features over 70 works by local artists, spanning across a range of artistic areas including painting, textiles and poetry. The majority of work is for sale, with greetings cards and mounted works also available. The exhibition includes talent from professional artists such as Rosie Philpott, winner of the ‘Wychavon Community Arts Recognition Award’ and Colin Jack who recently exhibited over 90 paintings in The Hive, Worcester.
During the week, members of the Network will steward the event, often painting, spinning, weaving, knitting, embroidering and performing on a variety of musical instruments. Visitors can even have a go at weaving!
Visitors will be asked to vote for their favourite artwork. This year there will be two voting categories – one for adults and a one for children. An award’s ceremony will take place in May.
Chairman of DAN, Helen Karakashian, has been delighted with the success of previous years:
“In excess of 1000 people visited the exhibition last year to view the wonderful variety of work on display. We were all delighted with the amount of interest shown by visitors and the large number of items sold. The annual DAN exhibition has become a firm favourite for the many visitors to the National Trust’s Hanbury Hall.”
Entry to the exhibition is free although visitors who are not National Trust members will have to pay the entrance fee to Hanbury Hall. However, with the beautiful historic building and grounds, why not make a day of it?
Colin Jack’s “Not My Usual Style” exhibition in The Hive, Worcester 2019
Colin Jack has opened his solo exhibition in The Hive in Worcester with a huge selection of his paintings. The exhibition is in the main exhibition hall (atrium) and it will be open until 25th February. It comprises about 90 paintings of various themes and styles that can be placed in 5 groups: Worcester, seascapes, Japanese style, still life, flowers/other.
Colin says about his exhibition: “These are painted mostly in oils [the Japanese style are acrylic] on canvas in different styles, the title is a hint that I have no wish to have a ‘usual style’!”
Colin Jack is exhibiting widely and holds demonstrations and workshops. His paintings have been bought from all over the world as well as in the UK, including 2 belonging to Michael Steele of The Bangles. Such a huge and important exhibition requires a high level of logistic skill, and the photos bellow are showing how Colin is certainly well organised.
Local artists kick off 2019 with a Group Exhibition
Droitwich Arts Network is kicking off 2019 with a group exhibition at Park’s Café in Droitwich Spa, running until 22nd January. The display includes works by 14 artists. Many of the exhibits were winners of the public vote in the network’s annual exhibition at Hanbury Hall in 2018.
Rosie Philpott, artist and secretary of DAN is thrilled to have organised the display. “There’s a great variety of styles within the network and it’s lovely to see them alongside each other. It should spark a lot of conversation and it’s great to give the public another chance to see their favourites”.
A different DAN artist exhibits every month at Park’s Café. It is such a popular venue that it is already fully booked for 2019! Owner, Paul Richardson says “Myself and my customers always look forward to the DAN group exhibitions and over the last 7 years of them being held at Parks, they have never disappointed”.
‘Behind the Scenes’ tour at Norbury Theatre 2018
On Tuesday 11th September 2018 our DAN Meeting took the form of a ‘Behind the Scenes Tour’ of the Norbury Theatre. Around 20 of our members attended and what a fantastic evening it was!
After a short introduction with a brief history of the building itself, we were divided into three groups and each took a different route around the theatre, getting to see all areas of the building and sometimes looking in on rehearsals. The tour took us to the basement, a room filled to the brim with all sorts of props for every occasion! We also looked at the costume department, rooms upon rooms full of every conceivable item – there was even a whole room dedicated just to hats! We could have spent hours looking through all the scenery, clothes, furniture and other props.
We had a small tour of the studio at the back of the theatre, housing the lighting and sound systems. Having recently been updated, this is now a much more modern system with lots of gadgets to make all sorts of effects with the press of a button.
It is surprising how many rehearsal spaces the theatre has and some of us were even lucky enough to sit and watch the Children’s Theatre rehearsing for the weekend. It may have been for children but we all still found it rather amusing!
After we had all finished the tour we gathered together for tea, coffee and biscuits. What struck most of us was the liveliness of the theatre. In particular, it was lovely to see the vast amount of children and teenagers taking part in the Youth Theatre and hearing their enthusiasm as we made our way round. They travel from all over and it is clear to see why.
We would like to thank Anne Lane and her group of volunteers for their time and putting on a thoroughly interesting tour. What a fantastic job they do!
Hands-on spinning and weaving demonstration 2018
The first in a line of new-style DAN meetings has been organised on Monday, 14th May 2018 at Spectrum Days, Old Coach Road in Droitwich Spa. DAN chair Helen Karakashian has opened the evening with a welcome speech about ongoing DAN events and preparations for the ArtsFest, before a creative ladies from Worcestershire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers gave a brief introduction to weaving and spinning craft and The Guild activities and aims, and invite DAN members and their guests to try themselves in a field of weaving and spinning.
In a relaxed atmosphere, with tea, coffee and home-made cakes served, the speakers gave us a lot of information on designs, materials, and endless creative potential of woven textiles.
Spectrum Days space will be the place for DAN meeting on 11th July, ‘Adult Mime and Improvisation Workshop’ – building confidence through drama with Emily Hastings (part of ArtsFest programme) – £5 for members, £10 for guests. the event is a part of ArtsFest programme.
Local artists celebrate successful fundraising M&Co Fashion Show 2018
DAN is always looking to raise funds to continue their artistic activities with the public and to engage more people in the arts. Wednesday 14th March 2018 was no exception, as, with the help of M&Co staff and friends, they held a fashion show. Over 80 guests attended to support the models, take part in the raffle and above all, shop!
Helen Karakashian, Chair of Droitwich Arts Network, said: “It was an excellent night with great community spirit. I would certainly like thank the local businesses such as Park’s Café, Café Morso, Muffin Break and the Community Centre who came to our aid with their chairs”.
Rosie, artist and model, said: “It was nerve-racking at first but we soon entered into the spirit of the evening and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t think I will give up my day job just yet though!”
Vice Chair of DAN, Malcolm Wakeman, added: “With the help of M&Co and our own Helen, we took to the catwalk with some slightly eccentric models. What they lacked in expertise they made up for in enthusiasm and entertainment value. A fun time was had by all but we don’t expect to make the front cover of Vogue magazine!”
Salt King 200 – Picnic for all to celebrate Salt King 200th anniversary 2017
It was more than a picnic. It was the celebration of the town by its own people. More than 2000 people attended the free community picnic at the Chateau Impney on Sunday, 25th June 2017 to celebrate the 200th birthday of John Corbett. The event was organised by local historian Barbara Middlemass, who has a special interest in Corbett’s life and work.
A picnic hamper shaped birthday cake was cut by Mrs Middlemass, Stuart Denlegh-Maxwell, a descendant of John Corbett, David Goode from the Norbury Theatre, who was dressed as Corbett, and Peter Rosser from the Chateau Impney.
Many local community groups have their stalls with the information and activities. There was also live music and dance (Voices Unlimited choir, the Droitwich Ukulele Band and the Stage Door Dance Academy), poetry, children’s activities and light refreshments.
With the fantastic turnover, the highlight of the day was the community spirit that brings people of Droitwich together to enjoy a day with their families and friends in the surroundings of Chateau Impney, one of the landmarks of the town.
Murals in Netherwich Basin
For a number of years Droitwich Arts Network managed the creation and installation of a mural at Netherwich Basin. This is a summary of two projects.
Mural 2016 – “Dream Catcher”
Droitwich Arts Network and students in year 7 at Westacre Middle School, teamed up in design and production of the Mural 2016. A group of young students and their teacher Jo Riddleston engaged very hard and created a design named ‘Dream Catcher’. The illustration of Edward Winslow’s, a famous Droitwich son, was the journey to America onboard the ‘Mayflower’ in 1620, and his relationship with Massasoit, chief of the Native American tribe.
By the end of February all preliminary design preparations were completed. At the DAN meeting on 2nd March, students and their teacher presented the final design and gave us an insight of how their ideas developed. The design starts with the Droitwich coat of arms and St Peter’s church. There is also a portrait of Edward Winslow and the ‘Mayflower’ ship. After that, we move in the New World with the portrait of Massasoit with the distinguished feathered headdress. The images of a totem pole and a dream catcher, both symbols of Native American culture, are on the far end of the mural design.
The next stage was preparing mural panels and transferring the design to the actual size – 14ft by 40ft. Painting the mural is traditionally a public event. It was organised this year in The Meetbox and outside on St. Andrew’s Square, right next to the Edward Winslow’s sculpture. 21 panels were painted in the record time, thanks to joint forces of DAN members, students from Westacre Middle School and Droitwich Spa residents. The atmosphere was great and we owe a special thanks to ‘The Fidgets’, a guitar duo, who played a fantastic music throughout the day.
The installation of the mural is always a challenging adventure. This year the weather was fine and an experienced team finished the job in only 2 hours and 20 minutes. It won’t be possible to do it without the kind permission of The Malvern Tyres to use their backyard and Alan Davey and his canal boat.
The official inauguration of the mural took place on 30th April, on a first day of St. Richard’s Boat and Car Festival. Cllr Graham Beale, the Mayor of Droitwich Spa, unveil the information board that holds story behind this year’s mural. Students of the Westacre Middle School and their teacher, Droitwich Arts Network representatives and visitors of the festival attended the inauguration. Children have done a great job in last few months since the beginning of the project and made an additional effort to create huge totem poles that have been a part of the inauguration.
The mural will be on display in Netherwich Canal until the end of September 2016.
The mural inauguration on the first day of St Richard’s Festival. Cllr. Graham Beale was accompanied by Justine Humphries, who was representing DAN and a group of Westacre Middle School students.
Droitwich 2015 Mural design – the Droitwich Charter anniversary
At the Droitwich Arts Network meeting of 9th February, students from Witton Middle school, supported by their teacher Louise Jones, unveiled the design for the Droitwich 2015 Mural.
The design is the first activity that announces the 800th anniversary of the Droitwich Charter. The children did a fantastic job, describing the context of the charter and what it meant for the town. They then explained what each panel in the mural represents. They were enthusiastic and conveyed their ideas clearly and confidently. They plan to work with DAN members to complete the mural.
The mural would not be possible without the support of sponsors, including local estate agent Matt Nicol and Malvern Tyres.
The next stage was to transfer the design on the actual size panels, which was done in record time by few DAN members. The final painting of the design was a community matter. On the 28th March the marquee was set up in the St Andrew’s Square and the public was invited to take a part in painting. Despite some serious downpours and wind gusts, Droitwich residents of all ages carried out the painting of 21 panels.
he finished piece was put up at Netherwich Canal Basin, behind Malvern Tyres, and will be visible from Vines Park until October. The mural was unveiled on on 2nd May, during St Richards car and boat festival, by Councillor Bob Brookes, Mayor of Droitwich Spa. Cash raised on the day is going to St Richard’s Hospice.