Monday, 8 July 2013

Contains art is unleashed in Watchet!

On Saturday 6th July at 4pm the Containers at Watchet were officially opened. I popped down on the bus to see the art contained within and of course have a glass of the elderflower champagne I'd heard so much about....
Avast there! The Contains Art flag, proudly aloft in the Watchet breeze.
Quite a crowd of discerning artists and alike turned out for the opening, for which there was booze, bunting, falafel, postcards and sunshine.
For those of you wanting a bit of context to this event then please read the following:

"Contains Art provides flexible, affordable space for artists, designers and makers to develop and showcase their work and to connect with the creative and wider communities of Western Somerset."

Set up in July 2013 by artists and volunteers the containers located on Watchet quay will host studio spaces for several artists and a temporary exhibition space to be hired out.

Does what it says on the tin.
Beautiful boat next to the containers, perfect for some inspiration.

The studio spaces themselves are a good size, they've been finished and built to a really high standard, have more light then I though they would (due to inserted windows/window doors, obviously), electric and smooth white walls to produce/hang work. There is a lack of running water/toilet facilities in the studios themselves, which could be a problem but the containers are located next to public toilets and there is running water taps located on the quay that the artists have liaised to use. Practical stuff aside, the location and community of fellow artists in containers and buzzing arts scene in Watchet and Minehead make up for a few technicalities.  It was a fantastic atmosphere at the Containers on Saturday afternoon with much cause for celebration and many thanks rightly went to those who worked hard to make it happen. A bottle of that very fine elderflower champagne was cracked open against the containers to signify the 'official' launch and long may they reign, in my opinion, it is a truly great idea and use of space.

Another added bonus to the day was being able to see the entries to the postcard competition (of which I mentioned on this blog a couple weeks back Good to see so many entries and even better that quite a few had sold. Whilst viewing work in a container, due to its length and limited viewing distance, took a bit of getting used to, I think for the postcards (which are smaller) actually worked really well. I also think it's it's an interesting opportunity to have a gallery that is a challenging shaped space to work with as it could result in some unusual creative responses. What was also refreshing is that this exhibition was fun, it was great not knowing whose postcard was whose (although I enjoyed trying to guess a few) and there was a real mix of styles and ideas.

Glad to see the art in the containers finally unleashed to the public and I really look forward to seeing what's in store next....

Recognise this postcard? I think it's sold...
A few of my favourite postcards now, it's all anonymous so do let me know if I've picked yours! This one seems apt given the harbour setting, the surface looks like a weathered and worn hull of a ship or indeed a container. 
I'd know that yellow plastic anywhere! It's a SAW sign. Good to see it being recycled! Also like the cows which on first glance look like a fused two-headed beast. Weird-I like it!
This reminds me of a Susan Hiller series of postcards featuring stormy seas. Or a Peter Lanyon. The two aren't necessarily connected its just a few reasons why I was drawn to this postcard.
 This is one of a series of...lino cuts, I presume, from a Cornish artist in St Ives. An additional card with some poignant words and advice was displayed alongside these. It went something like this:
 'Dear Watchet, Advice from one seasoned harbour to another, Your sea may not be as blue, but your strong stone harbour walls are just as strong and beautiful. Your lighthouse is beacon red, mine sea spray white. Don't ever let the seagulls get the upper-hand, your ice cream eating promenaders will never forgive you. Keep your galleries small and ensure your artists stay true--make sure they use the right blue. My sands are white, a colour favoured but your layered red rock holds secrets of old, fine fossils and pink alabaster. The famous have trod and been inspired by your shores and yet your secrets are still hidden, yet to be explored. Not leeched to a cliché. With love from St Ives x'

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