On Sunday 14th May 2023
Members of Droitwich Arts Network were painting, drawing, and composing “en plein air” during the afternoon of Sunday 14th May 2023, in the Lido Park in the area surrounding the band stand. Such a lovely day! The sun was shining, the brass band was playing, and Little Al’s cafe was nearby.
Rhys Jones displayed his work in the space under the stairs at Droitwich Library during April 2023.
Tina Watkins displayed her work at Corbett Medical Centre during April 2023
Wendy Simmons displayed her work at Corbett Medical Centre during April 2023
Rhys Jones displayed his work in the Button Tree during April 2023
Tuesday 18th April – Art Demonstration
Well known local artist, Richard Crabtree, demonstrated nature and wildlife in fairly loose wet in wet watercolour. The demonstration was held at the CVS Building, The Old Library Centre, 65 Ombersley Street East, Droitwich Spa WR9 8QS.
Attendance was free for paid up members of Droitwich Arts Network and £5 entrance for non-members.
Richard is passionate about wildlife and this shows through in his fantastic paintings. He paints wildlife, landscape, and portraits, and holds regular weekly classes in painting and drawing at the Avoncroft Arts Centre. Richard is an elected member of the Birmingham Watercolour Society and a professional associate member of The Society for All Artists.
Tina Watkins displayed her artwork in Park’s Cafe during March 2023
Rhys Jones displayed his work in the space under the stairs at Droitwich Library during March 2023.
Stephen Evans displayed his work at Corbett Medical Centre during March 2023
Rhys Jones displayed his work at Corbett Medical Centre during March 2023
Saturday 25th March 2023 – Dabble Day.
Droitwich Arts Network hosted a ‘Dabble Day’ at the Westlands Community Centre, where the public was invited to come and have a go at various artistic activities. DAN members shared their knowledge of art and crafts within the community.
Over 40 visitors enjoyed a wide variety of activities including clay modelling, guitar and harmonica tutorials, knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, a range of art media including expressive acrylic, Brusho and pastels. There were colouring in sheets, paper and pens for doodling and a poetry area for literary expression. Background music helped to create a warm atmosphere. Light refreshments were provided free of charge.
Stephen Evans is displayed his work at Corbett Medical Centre during February 2023
February 2023 – Online Life Drawing
Our February meeting was an online life drawing session. Participants joined the session via Zoom. Our model was Endora Sparks. Our host Coz, from Looking Sketchy Life Drawing, took us through several different poses with the model giving participants the opportunity to draw while sitting in the comfort of their own homes. Coz gave guidance and discussed ideas throughout the session. At the end, members shared their artwork.
John Dugmore displayed his work at Corbett Medical Centre during January and February 2023
Rosie Philpott displayed her artwork in Park’s Cafe during February 2023
Ken Bell displayed his work in the space under the stairs at Droitwich Library during February 2023.
Julia Rollit displayed her work at Corbett Medical Centre during January 2023
Ken Bell displayed his artwork in Park’s Cafe during January 2023
Annual General Meeting-18th January 2023
The AGM of Droitwich Arts Network took place on Wednesday 18th January at the Old Cock Inn, Friar Street. Chairman Helen Karakashian thanked retiring committee members Claire Hilton and Lyn Sharp for their contributions over a number of years, and felt sure they will continue to support Droitwich Arts Network in the future. Apart from Claire and Lyn, the existing committee was re-elected with the addition of Karen Read as Literary Representative.
On completion of the AGM, members and their partners enjoyed the excellent food provided by the Old Cock Inn. This also provided time for socialising. Finally David Wornham entertained us (and probably everyone in the pub) with a selection of folk tunes and other short pieces, played on his euphonium.
– David Wornham playing the euphonium
– Members socialising
– Rhys Jones (Treasurer), Helen Karakashian (Chairman), Rosie Philpott (Secretary
A very enjoyable meeting!
AGM on 18th January 2023
Two long standing members of our committee, Lyn Sharp and Claire Hilton, stood down at the AGM. Chairman Helen Karakashian thanked them for their work and hoped that they will continue to support Droitwich Arts Network in the future.
Art at Droitwich Spa Railway Station – Late 2022
Several works of art were installed at Droitwich Spa Railway Station towards the end of 2022. Pen and ink drawings by talented 6th Form student from Droitwich High School, Lottie Mountford are in the shelters on the Birmingham side of the station. There are three art works in the blocked up windows of the red brick building on the Worcester side of the station. Lord of the Manor, by Rosie Philpott and two pastel works by Wendy Simmons. Wendy’s pictures were created in collaboration with professional photographer Gail Braznell.
Photos taken by Martin Jones. Click on any image to enlarge.
Sheena Howarth displayed her artwork in Corbett Medical Centre during December 2022
Sue Cook displayed her pictures in the space under the stairs in Droitwich Library during December 2022.
Tina Watkins displayed her artwork in Park’s Café during December 2022
Rhys Jones displayed his work at Corbett Medical Centre during the first week of December 2022
Rhys Jones displayed his photographs in the space under the stairs in Droitwich Library during November 2022.
Lyn Sharp displayed her artwork in Corbett Medical Centre during November 2022
Sue Cook displayed her work at Corbett Medical Centre during November 2022
Paid up members of Droitwich Arts Network have opportunities to exhibit and sell their art in four venues in Droitwich. The aim is to brighten the rooms and give pleasure to members of the public. Currently, the venues are:
Park’s Cafe, Victoria Square. There is space for 8 – 12 pictures depending on size. Park’s Cafe has supported Droitwich Arts Network for a number of years. Artists provide their contact details so that members of the public can purchase pictures if they wish.
The Button Tree, Tagwell Road. There is space for 3 pictures. This is an ideal venue for artists that want to try exhibiting their work without feeling the pressure to make sales.
Corbett Medical Centre, Corbett Avenue. Artists have a choice of rooms. The New Waiting Room has space to exhibit 12 pictures, and the Old Waiting Room has space to exhibit 8 pictures. Artists provide their contact details so that members of the public can purchase pictures if they wish.
Droitwich Library, Victoria Square. There is space to exhibit 2 or 3 pictures in the small area below the stairs. This is an ideal venue for artists that want to try exhibiting their work without feeling the pressure to make sales.
Members wishing to exhibit their work should contact Derek Webster or send a message via the Contact Us page on this website.
Droitwich Arts Network – Highlights of Past, Present……
Music – Wander. Musician – @iksonmusic
…. And Future?
Let us know what you would like Droitwich Arts Network to do in future by sending a message via the “Contact Us” Page.
Karen Harmon displayed her artwork in Corbett Medical Centre during September and October 2022
Tina Watkins displayed her work at Corbett Medical Centre during October 2022
Meeting – 19th October
On Wednesday the 19th of October we welcomed local crime writer Carla Kovach. Carla is a USA Today bestselling author. Her most ambitious and popular books to date are the Detective Inspector Gina Harte series. Gina Harte has been number one in various countries in iBooks and on Amazon. The first book in the series was called “The Next Girl”. This was soon followed by “Her Final Hour” and then “Her Pretty Bones”. Carla is currently on book twelve in the series. As well as novels, Carla has written stage and screenplays. More information can be seen at www.carlakovach.com
Kevin Harmon, husband of Karen, died on Tuesday the 4th of October 2022. He had been ill for some time but his passing was unexpected and came as a huge shock to Karen who has asked that we share the news with all DAN members and friends. Kevin was not only a talented artist and musician but created the most exquisite leather work. Kevin was such fun to be with as he was always very cheerful, often delightfully cheeky and he had a great sense of humour. He will leave a big hole in many people’s lives.
Wendy Simmons displayed her work at Corbett Medical Centre during September 2022
Frank Cody displayed his artwork in Park’s Café during September 2022
Poetry Evening on Wednesday 14th September 2022
About 20 members and visitors enjoyed a free and “open” Poetry Evening at the Old Cock Inn led by former Worcestershire poet laureate Nina Lewis. The session featured International poetry winner (and member of Droitwich Arts Network) Colin Jack, together with local poets Derek Littlewood, Penny Hewlett, Sue Thomas, and Alison Lester (a DAN member). Helen Karakashian (our Chairman) opened and closed the evening. All the poems were short, some sad, many humorous, and all personal. Many thanks to Nina for organising an excellent evening.
Peter Hawkins displayed his work in the space under the stairs in Droitwich Library during August 2022.
Peter displayed his pictures of the Dordogne region of South West France.
Chris Walker displayed 8 pictures in the Old Waiting Room at Corbett Medical Centre during August 2022
Rhys Jones displayed 12 pictures in the New Waiting Room at Corbett Medical Centre during September 2022
Jo Morris displayed her work in Park’s Café during August 2022
En Pein Air 2022
On Saturday 6th August 2022 members brought easels, sketch pads, chairs, small tables, etc to an “en plein air” session in the courtyard area outside “Flowers of Elegance” in Gurneys Lane (between Waitrose and the High Street). The old buildings provided much scope for art, and an excellent opportunity to engage with members of the public.
Our 2022 Bookmarks
Karen Harmon displayed her work in the Button Tree during July 2022
Karen Harmon displayed her work in Park’s Café during July 2022
During July 2022 Stephen Evans displayed 12 pictures at Corbett Medical Centre
14th July 2022
On the 14th of July, one of our members, Lyn Davies, gave a demonstration of his art entitled “One Step at a Time”. Lyn showed us how he developed his style by deliberately limiting options and sticking to his self imposed set of rules. Lyn also showed other examples of his work.
The meeting was held in a room at the Norbury Theatre.
Droitwich Library Gallery Room – June/July 2022
Lyn Sharp exhibited her work in the Gallery Room in Droitwich Spa Library from 13th June until 13th July 2022. Lyn’s pictures in the Library included the following images. Click on any image to enlarge.
High School Creative Writing Competition 2022
Isobel Sprague (Year 10) is the winner of this year’s Karen Moore Award for Creative Writing. She is pictured with ex Head Girl Katie Bowen who judged this year’s prize and has just completed her second year at Oxford University, and Karen.
Isobel wins £100 (funded by Droitwich Arts Network) and a lovely trophy. Well done to over 40 students who entered. This is the fourth year that Droitwich Arts Network has sponsored the competition.
Wendy Simmons displayed her work in Park’s Café during June 2022
Wendy Simmons displayed her work in the Button Tree during May 2022
Abstract Roses, St Peters Church and Light in the Lido park.
Meeting on Thursday 12th May 2022 – Art Demonstration by Colin Jack
One of our members, Colin Jack, gave a practical demonstration about his Japanese style of art. The meeting took place in the Old Cock in Friar Street. A recording of Colin’s presentation can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/819300314/videos/1476652999460866
Colin works in oils, acrylic/emulsion and soft pastel and has done demonstrations and workshops for art societies for over 30 years. Colin likes to experiment and try out different things, from palette knife impasto in oils to flat areas of colour in emulsion. His subjects include seascapes, snow scenes, nocturnes, landscapes, flowers, still life, abstracts, figures, surreal moonscapes and most recently, the style of Japanese ukiyo-e woodblocks.
Images from our Photo Walk on 10th April 2022
Click on any image to enlarge and use the left and right arrows
Derek Webster exhibited his art in the Gallery Room during April 2022
Lyn Sharp displayed her work in variety of mediums including pastel, needle felting, textiles, encaustic wax, and acrylic, in Park’s Café during April 2022
Meeting on Wednesday 13th April 2022 – The Making of A Pilgrim Woman
Our guest speaker on Wednesday 13th April was sculptor Rachel Carter who gave a talk entitled “The Making of A Pilgrim Woman”. Rachel described her sculptural journey combining the traditional lost wax technique with state of the art new digital technology. Rachel also discussed the importance of artist residencies and time to research and develop ideas.
Rachel Carter works from The Garden Studio on the Derbyshire / Nottinghamshire border, creating large scale sculpture for the garden and smaller intimate sculptures for the home.
Wendy Simmons displayed her work in Park’s Café during January 2022
Meeting on 10th March 2022 – “Looking Sketchy” on Zoom
Our March meeting was an online life drawing session. Mo, a nude model, joined us from home, as did our host Coz from Looking Sketchy Life Drawing.
We went through several different poses with the model and Coz gave helpful hints and tips while members had the opportunity to draw them while sitting at home. At the end of each pose most participants used their camera to show their pictures, and Coz added encouraging comments.
Meeting on 9th February 2022
Wendy Simmons gave a talk during our February meeting about under painting techniques using Art Graf pigment blocks. The meeting was held on Zoom, which is a good way to meet during this cold weather.
In November 2020 Wendy gave a fascinating demonstrating of some of her newly developed skills and talked about her lockdown experiences.
AGM – 20th January 2022
Droitwich Arts Network held its Annual General Meeting on Zoom on Thursday 20th January. Papers were emailed to members ahead of the meeting, including the chairman’s report and a financial report. Those reports can be viewed in the Members’ Area of this website. All committee members previously in place were re-elected with the addition of Derek Webster. The programme of meetings for 2022 is almost complete and should be finalised quite soon.
Lyn Davies displayed his work in Park’s Café during December 2021
Karen Harmon displayed her work in the Button Tree during December 2021
Chris Walker and Tina Watkins displayed their work in Park’s Café from 9 November to 14 December 2021
Roger Ricketts displayed his work in the Button Tree from 9 November to 7 December 2021
Meeting on 21st October 2021
Members met on Thursday 21st October at The Hub with plenty of space to socially distance. We prepared two wreaths to represent members of DAN on Remembrance Days in November 2021 and 2022. Helen provided two basic wreath shapes on which to attach poppies. Members brought along poppies, as well as poppies made by members of the public in the Hub on Saturday the 16th. “Swing 42” provided more background music.
Julia Rollit displayed her work in the Button Tree from 12 October to 9 November 2021.
The Hub closed on Saturday 16th October 2021 and all the artists have removed their work. It is hoped that the Hub will re-open in another retail unit before too long.
Rosie Philpott displayed her work in Park’s Café during October 2021
Poppy making Workshop in the Hub on 16th September 2021
Members of the public made some poppies in the Hub on Saturday the 16th, with background music provided by “Swing 42”.
Meeting on 16th September 2021
Presented live on zoom from his observatory, fellow member Colin Jack explained why astrophotography is so different from daylight photography! He showed his telescope, camera etc. plus, samples of his best astrophotographs. Colin had aimed to see the moon and other planets but it was rather cloudy.
The Hub – Opening Event on 13th August 2021
The delayed Opening Event took place on the 13th August at 12 noon. The Mayor of Droitwich Spa, Councillor Bill Moy cut the ribbon and declared the Hub “open”. A good crowd of people watched the opening, entered the Hub to to enjoy the atmosphere and light refreshments, and viewed the artwork.
Instagram Interview with Lyn Sharp, during August 2021
Lyn Sharp is a member of the Droitwich Art Network and she loves nothing more than creating nature in Art, creating artwork in many forms and media. Lyn’s passion is for animals, wildlife and nature; being able to reproduce nature in paint, wire or felt inspires her. She particularly enjoys being creative and satisfying customs with lifelike images of their pets. In fact, Lyn’s unique selling point is being able to create these pieces in a variety of media including needle felt. She always has several projects on the go, swapping from one to another! At the moment Lyn has a large needle felting of a horse’s head in progress.
Lyn remarks that when you love what you do motivation comes naturally. Once she starts a project it still has to be completed even if it goes wrong, it’s recreated into something different so there’s no waste! One of Lyn’s biggest achievements is her solo exhibition at the Artrix in Bromsgrove in 2019… Out of Africa exhibition. Lyn is happy with how her art career is unfolding and would not change anything and encourages anyone wanting to get into any kind of art to believe in yourself, go with your heart. Play, experiment and break the rules with mediums.
You can find more about Lyn on these following socials:
Bic Beaumont displayed her work in Park’s Café during August 2021
Tina Watkins had her work on display at the Button Tree during July 2021
Instagram Interview with Terry Baldock, during July 2021
DAN member Terry Baldock writes short stories and poetry and has either won, been runner up or short listed in over 40 competitions both for stories and poetry in the last five years. His latest shortlisted stories were in the Writing Magazine for the December 2020, January, February, and March 2021 competitions announced recently. “The Cartographer” was highly recommended in Writers’ Forum February 2019 edition.
He was a map maker.
Walking the country with compasses, drawing materials, tape measures;
Recording everyday things and treasures.
Castles, schools, post offices, and junctions;
Ballrooms, village halls, places for functions;
Railways, embankments and cuttings shown as tadpoles;
Bridges, tunnels, huge quarried holes;
Sand, lakes, streams, rivers and locks;
High and low water, brooks, harbours and docks;
Cliffs, caves, contours, loxodromes;
Churches, chapels, cemeteries, old people’s homes;
Woods, forests, trees and holy places;
Pitches and huge stadiums to hold races;
Escarpments, bridges, tunnels, mills, both wind and water;
Crossed swords showing battlefields as places of slaughter;
Hamlets, towns, settlements and villages;
Names of every place, Saxon or Norman pillages.
Boundaries, fences, bench marks, heights;
Places of recreation and other delights;
Abbeys, palaces and old priories;
Libraries for tourists to make enquiries;
Lanes, avenues, dotted bridle ways,
Where wagons once were hauled by drays.
His plans showed every shop, bank and hall,
But where one place should have been, there was nothing at all.
The error was noticed many years later,
When his maps were valued as much as Mercator.
He used scales like an inch to a mile,
But there was no standard to measure her smile.
She gave back his ring, weary of his wandering,
He, unaware, of the love he was squandering.
Only one place shows no house, path, or garden;
His heart, once soft, had started to harden.
He removed her house from every map,
They all showed nothing, just a big gap.
Now it’s seen easily from high up above,
The old charts just say –
‘Here Lie the Ruins of a Mapmaker’s Love’.
Droitwich Arts Network Sponsors High School Writing Competition 2021
On Tuesday the 25th of June, Karen Moore presented her trophy to Hope Rose (Year 11), the winner of this year’s High School Writing Competition. Helen Karakashian, our Chairman, also handed the winner a cheque for £100 from Droitwich Arts Network.
This year the competition was judged by Anna Fern who was a student at Droitwich Spa High School. She now works at ITV and her role is Development Editor, Drama Commissioning. Anna’s job is to source new writing talent and ideas. Entries from Matthew Oliver (Year 8), Annabel Brannan (Year 9), and Charlie Hunter (Year 12) were highly commended.
Instagram Interview with Claire Hilton, during June 2021
Each month we will put a spotlight on one of our DAN members. They are invited to tell us a bit about themselves and their creative practices/business. For the first spotlight we are talking to Claire Hilton from @creatingspacesessions Claire promotes Arts for health and well-being and is a qualified Art Therapist.
Describe your business?
I’m a qualified Art Psychotherapist, Arts in health professional and wellbeing practitioner. That’s my business – but my creative practice is anything I fancy with an emphasis on reusing and recycling as well as ritual and the natural world.
How did you get into your genre of art?
I like to collect and experiment with different art forms and mixed media. I vary what I do and rarely finish a piece beginning to end in one media. I have lots of inspirations in life and encourage spontaneity and variety in my work.
What do you enjoy most about your business?
I enjoy working with others when I run wellbeing sessions and the transformative properties of the creative process to explore our experiences in a visual way. Throughout lockdown I was encouraging people to use what they have at home rather than use lack of professional materials to be a barrier. This is very rewarding.
What is your business’ USP?
My unique selling point is often my approach. I wrote an article a long time ago for ‘Mixed Up Creative’ online wellbeing course about how important it is to not get hung up on your style or finding a way of working where everything seems related. I like how my work is all mine and yet so different. I can turn my hand to most things and encourage just giving things a go. This is how we grow. Not everything works and that’s OK, but we always learn something from it – through experience.
Tell us about new projects/creations or products you are working on.
I am currently running a weekly wellbeing studio and have funding to run 10 more weeks of creative group support for adults in the community who feel they would benefit from creative activities. In my own practice I’m currently working on some contemporary work with glass vials and cigar boxes (assemblage pieces) as well as some big cat head paintings on wooden panels and incorporating vintage postcards into collages.
What motivates you?
I thoroughly enjoy what I do and feel the benefits of regular creative time. I believe that a self directed creative practice can be a real asset to anybodies mental health. This could also be music writing, or photography. Even dancing! My creative practice helps me to process and distress outside of my clinical psychotherapy work. I love collecting things, reusing and recycling vintage pieces, mixing old and new. This contrast really inspires me.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Surviving in self employment since 2017 has to be right up there! And through a pandemic. I was very lucky in 2020 to get an Arts Council grant to continue my practice when work was scarce and now I’ve build it all back up again. I spent many years trying to move out of temporary work into a full time creative career and this has been my reality for a while now. It’s important to recognise when you get to your destination, as well as the journey that leads you there.
If you could go back to your beginning of your career, would you do anything differently?
No I don’t think so. I feel like everything I have done has brought me here and any changes- god knows where I’d end up. There were some years in there I got bogged down in working full time in non-creative sector and in the end I was miserable. I woke up one day and thought, I haven’t painted in years and picked it up again and started making changes towards where I am now.
Do you have any advice or tips for anyone wanting to get into your type of art/business?
Value your worth. It’s not just about what something costs but it’s intrinsic value. As a creative thinker it’s easy to forget that sometimes people don’t think like creatives do, there’s value in that approach and those ideas don’t come easy to some. It’s a skill that’s honed over time and not easily and immediately able to be replicated.
Where can we find you?
I have a website at www.creatingspacesessions.com and @creatingspacesessions on fb and instagram.
What books or artists inspire your work?
I love artwork by Frida Khalo, the boxes of Joeseph Cornell. My favourite book about creativity is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I recommend it to everyone!
Work by Rosie Philpott in the Button Tree June 2021
Rosie Philpott has her work on display at The Button Tree Café until 21st June 2021.
25th June 2021 – Nigel Huddleston MP Visits the Hub
During the first day of opening on Friday 25th June, Nigel Huddleston MP (Under-Secretary of State for Sport, Heritage and Tourism), dropped into the Hub. The visit was informal and he took time to view the artwork and talk to some of the artists.
Nigel Huddleston commented “What an incredible variety of high quality art is on display, and most of it is available for purchase at reasonable prices. I was really pleased to meet some of the local artists when I visited. I encourage local residents to make use of this new facility and I look forward to popping in again soon”.
Work by Julia Rollit in Park’s Café June 2021
During June, Park’s Café showed a selection of work by Julia Rollit.
The Hub opened its doors on Friday 25th June 2021
MAPP, the company that manages St Andrews Square in Droitwich, has opened a Community Hub. The space is flexible, with comfortable seating, display space for artwork, space for local artisans, informal meeting areas, and the option of a small stage area.
The Hub is controlled by MAPP who invited Droitwich Arts Network to help create a welcoming and relaxing space incorporating various forms of art. The Hub will provide shoppers and the local community with a facility that does not currently exist in the town centre. The Hub will open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10am to 3.30pm.
Work by Trevor Hunter in Park’s Café May 2021
From mid May to early June, Park’s Café had a selection of Trevor Hunter’s landscape and wildlife photos. You can find more about Trevor at www.trevorhunterphotography.co.uk
DAN Meeting 19th May 2021
On the 19th May, we held a “show and Tell” meeting which consisted of short presentations by Susan Birth, Stephen Evans, Malcolm Ross, Julia Rollit, Rosie Philpott, Bic Beaumont, Lyn Sharp, Tina Watkins, Rhys Jones, Colin Jack, George Duffy, and Helen Karakashian.
Work by Lyn Davies and Stephen Williams in Park’s Café early 2021
DAN Meeting Thursday 15th April 2021
John Sewell talked about his Eazyl Art Project. Eazyl aims to break down the boundaries for both artists and buyers. By charging no commission (in contrast to traditional galleries who often charge 50% per item) John believes Eazyl can benefit everybody involved, by allowing buyers to pay directly to artists. John founded Eazyl in 2018 and outlined the future development of the project and relaunch of the website.
John studied Art History at the University of Birmingham as an undergraduate and postgraduate. He currently works as a Communications and Marketing Intern at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham.
DAN Meeting Wednesday 17th March 2021
Our March meeting was an excellent water colour demonstration over Zoom by the internationally recognised artist Tom Shepherd. Tom started his art career creating custom artwork on guitars using graffiti pens. When Tom made a move towards a brush and more traditional mediums, a whole new world opened up to him, and Tom hasn’t looked back since. Tom loves to paint in acrylics and oils, and more recently has started exploring watercolour. Whilst Tom loves painting a wide variety of subjects, especially if the light is doing something interesting, he is always drawn back to the place where his first two passions met; painting wildlife, particularly birds.
Tom said “Birds are such a wonderful subject. Always great poses, characters and colours, and the way light falls across their feathers and faces make them a great watercolour subject. The subject for this demo is a green winged macaw. The colours are fantastic, and there’s a lovely sense of light.”
Tom’s work has become widely collected in the UK and more recently, internationally. He has been a highly commended finalist in the World renowned Wildlife Artist of the Year, on several occasions. Tom’s studio is based in Warwickshire and he teaches regularly throughout the year for art groups and societies as well as running his own workshops and courses.
Our February meeting was led by committee member Alan Davey with a talk entitled “Droitwich Treasures”. Alan illustrated his talk with photos and showed many parts of Droitwich which he considers as treasures. Members could decide if they agreed with his choices. Are they really the treasures of Droitwich? Can we think of other hidden treasures?
This year we held our AGM online. Supporting documents were sent out by email ahead of the meeting. Key officers gave reports and the committee was elected. Tamara Jelaca was thanked for her work over a number of years as she has decided to step down from the committee. Wendy Simmons and Chris Walker were elected as new committee members. On completion of the formal part of the meeting, the remaining time was used to chat informally.
Our first meeting of 2021 was a “Call My Bluff” contest with Droitwich Probus 87.
Many of us will remember Frank Muir, Patrick Campbell, Robert Robinson, and others appearing in over 1,000 “Call My Bluff” television programmes aired between 1965 and 1988. The game revolves around providing three definitions of an obscure word, only one of which is true. The team members must weed out the fictional meanings and choose the correct one. The words are often bizarre, with their meanings difficult to guess, all of which adds humour and creativity to the game.
The teams took it in turns and points were awarded for selecting the correct definition. Our version was played over Zoom, which brought its own challenges!
Tina Watkins in Park’s Café
During the early part of December 2020, Park’s Café featured the work of Tina Watkins. Tina was only on the walls for two weeks due to Park’s having to close due to the pandemic. You can find more about Tina at www.covwarsoart.co.uk/artists/tina-watkins
Remembrance Sunday 2020
Due to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, there was no formal parade, public service or gathering on Remembrance Sunday in Droitwich. Organisations and individuals were able to lay wreaths in advance and ensure social distancing arrangements. Our Chairman, Helen Karakashian, laid a wreath on behalf of Droitwich Arts Network. The wreath was made by members and DAN made a donation to the British Legion Poppy Campaign.
Art Demonstration on 18th November 2020
Wendy Simmons recently joined DAN, and is an emerging pastel, landscape artist living in Droitwich. Wendy favours a speedy and impressionistic style. Much of lockdown she spent learning and developing her drawing skills with pastels; using many locations in and around Droitwich as her inspiration. From the Bluebells at Trench Woods, the wildflowers at Salwarpe and scenes from the canal. Wendy gave a fascinating demonstrating of some of her newly developed skills and talked about her lockdown experiences on zoom for all DAN members on Wednesday 18th of November at 7.30pm.
Penelope Dykes paintings in Park’s Cafe
Penelope Dykes displayed her artwork in Park’s Cafe from the 13th October to the 4th November 2020 when the second lockdown started.
Roger Ricketts at the Button Tree
Roger displayed his artwork at the Button Tree from the 11th September to the 4th November 2020 when the second lockdown started.
Roger Ricketts began painting at age of 20, just as a hobby. He was made redundant at the age of 60 and decided to take up painting again, mostly in the style of Bob Ross (wet on wet) but found his latest style about 18 months ago.
Droitwich Arts Network sponsors High School Creative Writing Award 2020
For the last two years, as Chair of DAN, Helen Karakashian has judged a Creative Writing Competition at Droitwich Spa High School together with Karen Moore a recently retired deputy head at the school, who instigated the award. Karen provided an elegant glass trophy and DAN sponsored the competition, giving £100 to the winner. The title this year was ‘ The World Is On Fire’ . This competition is in its infancy but numbers of entries have increased as has the standard. No boys have entered the competition so far and it is hoped to encourage a wider field of entry in the future. Once Karen and I had read all the entries, written down our comments and shared our views, we choose two essays to send to an external judge. This year, Ross Armstrong, actor and writer and a former pupil of the High School gave the final judgement. The winner for 2020, Grace Rogers, wrote an outstanding piece, dramatic, original, beautifully crafted and a real page turner. She is now in the Upper 6th and plans to read English and become a teacher and a writer. Martha Frapwell, the runner up, wrote a very sensitive and thoughtful essay and is now at the 6th Form College studying science subjects. The presentations took place in the grounds of the High School on Thursday 8th October 2020 and Rhys Jones took some excellent photos for the local press. Grace was presented with the Karen Moore Trophy together with her cheque for £100, which she plans to save towards her university expenses. Ross Armstrong kindly donate copies of his debut novel, The Watcher, published in 2016 which also contained a personal note from Karen Moore who was disappointed not to be able to attend the presentation. These were presented to Grace and Martha by the head Mrs. Natalie Waters.
21st October 2020 Meeting
Stewart Bourne talked about his creative image making, and showed a number of examples. This image “Man on bench with squid” is one that Stewart included in our recent Virtual Exhibition. Stewart says “Photography, like most visual art, can be a means for exploring our experience of life and our shifting, and often unreliable, perceptions of the world around us. The images that I attempt to produce are part of my own personal exploration and as such, often fall far short of what I intended to say, but, hopefully, motivate me to keep looking. My images are intended to be “about” things, rather than “of” things and as such may be combined with writing or music. One of my ideals is that the viewer recognises what they are looking at but remain a little uncertain about what they are seeing, and that this may stimulate a little reflection beyond the immediate and the obvious. I am not a keen photographer as such and would much rather my work be judged as images not photographs.
16th September 2020 Meeting
Charley Barnes PhD, 2019-20 Worcestershire Poet Laureate was our guest speaker on the 16th of September. Rhys Jones interviewed Charlie who outlined her activities and experiences as Poet Laureate, answered questions, and included some of her poems and short items of prose. Charley is currently Writer in Residence at The Swan Theatre, Managing Director of Sabotage Reviews, Visiting Lecturer at Newman University and the University of Worcester, and Editor of “Dear Reader” (www.dearreaderpoetry.com). Charley has made a number of appearances at Park’s Cafe in recent years.
A video recording of the session is available in the Members’ Area of the website.
27th August 2020 Meeting
Our August Zoom meeting was a fascinating presentation by Les Jones, the creator and sole producer of Elsie Magazine. There’s no advertising in Elsie Magazine, which means there’s no external influence on what goes inside. And what goes inside is a visual cornucopia of stuff that inspires, intrigues and excites him. Les has fascinating approaches to art and design, and does a variety of projects. More about Les and Elsie Magazine can be seen at www.elsiemagazine.com
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.
See Mono Photography Talk (2020)
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. 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.
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.
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 artists turned models for the evening as they paraded in M&Co’s latest fashions in a bid to raise money for the Droitwich Arts Network.
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!
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 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.
The 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.