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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.


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: 
https://www.facebook.com/lynsart2010
http://www.lynsart.weebly.com


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

 


Work by Roger Ricketts  in Park’s Café July 2021

A selection of work by Roger Ricketts.


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.

The Cartographer
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’.

Terry Baldock


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. 


DAN Meeting Thursday 18th February 2021
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?
 
 
 

Wednesday 27th January 2021, at 7.30pm – AGM
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. 

DAN Meeting – Thursday 21st January 2021
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! 
After 5 words from each team, Droitwich Arts Network won with a score of 6-4. Probus presented us with a virtual trophy which now takes prime position in our virtual trophy cabinet. The session was great fun and enjoyed by all.
 

DAN Meeting – Wednesday 16th December 2020
It is that time of year when DAN gets together for Christmas. This year it was over zoom! We were delighted to host a quiz which everyone enjoyed and the winner will receive a £20 M&S voucher!
The quiz took place on Wednesday 16th December, 7:30pm, via Zoom. All the households of DAN members were welcome to take part (bonus points were awarded at the end of the quiz to even out teams). Some people wore festive hats,  headdress and other accessory. People brought their own drinks and mince pies!

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.

 


Shaun Best
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. 


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 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!

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!”

Helen finished by thanking everyone who attended the evening for their generous support “which will help to spread the joy of arts and crafts throughout the community”.

Thank you to all those who have helped make the future work of the network possible.


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.

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.