Recently I have been very busy with the organisation of a new art exhibition of work by a group I belong to. We call ourselves Ten (although there are actually only nine of us) and the name came from the year in which we graduated from the BA (Hons) Fine Art course where we met one another.
Way way back in the mists of time, September 2005 to be exact a group of “mature” students were ‘Freshers’ at the University for the Creative Arts at Farnham in Surrey about to embark on a BA (Hons) Fine Art degree, full of anticipation, hopes and dreams about what the next 5 years (this was the duration of the part-time course) would hold. After many trials and tribulations, friendships were formed and we finally graduated in June of 2010 with a ceremony at Guildford Cathedral. Inevitably some members of the course went their separate ways, but a small group stuck together and formed an exhibiting and support group to ensure that we kept working. The group now meets once a month to plan exhibitions and more importantly to talk about our work and exchange ideas.
Rear view of Guildford Cathedral
2015 is the 5th anniversary of our graduation and we felt that it should not go unmarked, and with that in mind an approach was made to Guildford Cathedral as a potential venue in the summer of 2013. The selection process is rigorous and only takes place once a year, so we had to wait until the following January (2014) before we found out if we had been successful. Having written the application submission, I was particularly nervous – what if we were rejected! Would it mean that I couldn’t write an interesting enough proposal? I would have failed my peers. Fortunately we were called forward to meet the selection panel and discuss our idea which was to create work based on our personal engagement with the Cathedral and it’s environment. So it was that at the end of January 2014, I went with another group member, Sandra to meet Canon Bishop to discuss our potential exhibition. Another month passed and an email arrived to say that we had been selected to open the 2015 exhibition programme at the Cathedral… Oh JOY! Now the serious work began – creating Art!
Vast and amazing space inside Guildford Cathedral
Monday 12th January 2015 dawned and we met up bright and early to install the work. The Cathedral uses a series of large wooden panels along each side of the Nave for display and these boards needed to be covered as their surface is a little holey (no pun intended!). Generally exhibitors use white paper to do this, but we felt that jarred with the soft, creamy brown/white of the building walls, so we used brown paper instead. This turned out to be a masterstroke, it looks great and really sets the work off well as the eye isn’t distracted by the shrill whiteness of the background, instead the brown blends with the fabric of the building so that the attention is drawn only to the work.
George and Nigel (Paulene’s husband) hang Georges work
It was a full-on day and not one that passed without several traumas and some intense exchanges of views! By 4.30pm it was all installed and we were ready for Evensong followed by our Preview Reception.
Day and Night time installation views
Not being of a particular religious persuasion I had never been to Evensong before and it was an interesting, and calming experience to hear a male voice choir singing praise to God. We, the congregation stood, sat and kneeled in silence while all of this went on following the instructions on the order of service cards we were given. After, we were able to welcome our guests with wine and ‘nibbles’ while they looked at the work. A great turn out of some 60 people made the evening very special and a huge success, ably facilitated by the delightful Joe , the Events Manager and Ann-Margaret, a volunteer at the Cathedral.
Down through the nave towards the altar at night after Evensong
Ten are delighted to have been fortunate enough to be able to share our 5th anniversary year with everyone at such a fabulous venue and we are looking forward to another 5 years creating and making!
Ten are: Paulene Cattle, Gillian Collins, Diana Foden, Sandra Gratrix, Angela Hauser, Rowena Kelley, George Simpson, Celia Stanley and Emma Tabor.
This is our work currently on show at Guildford Cathedral:
Gillian Collins (aka Paisley Pedlar)
an exhibition of contemporary art at Guildford Cathedral
13th January to 23rd January 2015 open daily 9.30am to 4.30pm
admission is free