As my residency draws to an end, I feel slightly sad to realise that this will the last time I spend so much time in Hestercombe house.  The smell and layout of the building has become a familiar dwelling and my casual joke of “my giant mansion in the country” has actually become quite an intimate space.  I have spent most of my time in the studio and my room, and tend to block out the vastness of the architecture.   But during the install I begin to reminisce of my initial feelings towards the space, as my work now traverses the stairs and the different galleries.

After just de-installing a large installation in Bristol earlier in January my normal urge to build a large scale structure out of wood has been satisfied (please view www.jolathwood.co.uk/artwork/you-move-me/ or www.antlersgallery.com/project/you-move-me for documentation).  The work in this exhibition, entitled ‘Second Site’, relates more to process and history and my work takes the form of sculptures and drawings.  The residency has culminated in 6 new works, some of which are so specific to the building I doubt they will exist after the exhibition.  Along with 4 other artists (Laura Ellen Bacon, Megan Calver, Simon Hitchens and Patrick Lowry) this will be Hestercombe gallery’s first exhibition where the work has been commissioned to response to the house and gardens.  The house is now bubbling with artworks and interventions that are filling, or highlighting, the gaps that we have found curious.

After a recent discussion with fellow artist, Patrick Lowry, I realise it is common place for artists to find themselves in the situation of making things that use techniques that they have never used before.  These new territories encourage a sense of excitement and panic.  I have never made bronze before, but in this exhibition is some homemade bronze.  I have never made my own ink, but in this exhibition there is a lot of homemade ink!

For once the house is not open to the public as we install so, unlike my recent stays, it is very quiet.  The gardens are in their winter state, a more subtle aesthetic, which again reminds me of my first visits back in February 2014.  The funding for the first year will end with this exhibition and associated events (details below).  Tim Martin (Artist / Curator / producer) will find out if the next funding bid is successful in March.  I really hope for the future of this unique place as an arts’ hub for the South West.  It has so much potential and I feel privileged to be part of the gallery’s debut.

Event details:

Preview: 30th January 2015. 5pm – 7.30pm
Please contact: [email protected] if you wish to come to the opening.
Open: 31 January – 12 April 2015
Location: Hestercombe Gallery, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton, Somerset, TA2 8LG

Thursday 12th February, 2015. 1pm – 4.30pm.
Tickets £10.
Location: Hestercombe Gallery, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton, Somerset, TA2 8LG
Guest speakers British artist Alex Chinneck and ‘Second site’ exhibiting artists.

Thursday 12th March 2015, 1pm  – 4pm.
Tickets £10
Location: Hestercombe Gallery, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton, Somerset, TA2 8LG
Learn how to make a traditional light-fast ink from natural materials.  This workshop includes
– free admission to Hestercombe
– a basic background to Oak Gall Ink
– a walk around the grounds to find and identify different galls
– hands-on experience of how to make the ink
– a free publication (with recipe)
– a sample of ink to take home.

For Tickets please contact. Tel: 01823 413923