Local artist Emma Martin was struggling to find a supportive creative community online. Her response was to launch Art-Mantic, a new digital network where artists and art lovers can share ideas and support each other. But this is not about selling their artwork, as she explained to us in an interview.
A popular figure on the South West arts scene, Jackie Juno is a former Bard of Exeter and multiple poetry slam winner. She was a huge hit at the Poetic Licence event last summer in Crediton Town Square. Local poet Ysella Sims caught up with her recently to find out more about what makes her creative heart tick.
The Turning Tides Project (TTTP) believes everyone should have equal access to music, the arts and life. At the Crediton Station Tea Rooms, and in the community, they have been working to make this right a reality for people with learning disability or autism labels by offering regular music, art, sports and social sessions and events, alongside many other enabling services and opportunities.
Last summer we invited people of all ages to express their experience of lockdown through words, pictures or music. The adult winner of our ‘My Life in Lockdown’ competition was Suzie Yates, for her beautiful paintings inspired by walks around Crediton. But, as she explains here, she had only recently taken up painting to help cope with the anxiety of lockdown. Inspired by Grayson Perry’s TV series Art Club, she found the confidence to pursue her passion and she is now selling her work as prints and greeting cards in local shops.
For more than 30 years Crediton Arts Centre has been offering a busy programme of classes, workshops and live events from its base in East Street. But since it was forced to close in March, the Centre has been finding new ways of working and fundraising, including the auction of some stunning wooden sculptures, as Administrator Jack Robson explains.
Artists are often quite resourceful people. The challenges posed by the pandemic have been manifold, but many are managing to adapt and find new ways to explore their passions. Crediton artist Vin Jelly lost much of his paid work during lockdown, but kept painting regardless. He also started filming his paintings as they developed and sharing the videos on YouTube. Not only has the filming process helped him concentrate, but he has gathered a new audience for his work.
Our recent competition ‘My Life in Lockdown’ prompted an astonishing display of creative talent in our community. The judges were hugely impressed by the range of skills and the quality of the work submitted, mostly by amateur artists. We asked some of the competitors to tell us what inspires their creativity and what their art means to them. Jamie Sollis, whose satirical cartoon below was highly commended, started drawing in 2016 at a time of turmoil, after a break of 30 years. He says that art helps him to relax and to reconnect with his childhood.
After a 10 year break artist Sarah Cooper rediscovered her love of painting. Learning from online tutorials, books and other artists, she has worked with oils, watercolour and charcoal. Although she had less time for painting during lockdown, when her studio was given over to home educating her three children, she still managed to contribute to the Portraits for NHS Heroes campaign. The delight of the health worker, whose portrait she painted, reinforced her belief that giving is the greatest joy of painting.
People from across the country are being invited to contribute to a Quarantine Quilt in a creative response to the pandemic led by Crediton-based Significant Seams. This group of local artists has received Arts Council funding to lead a national project, which will inspire people to create quilts in many different areas. Their aim is to collect and stitch together people’s responses to the experience of living through a pandemic, as Significant Seams Director Catherine West explains.
Printmaker and Heart Project Trustee Nancy Murgatroyd has been captivated by the new words and concepts the pandemic has generated. She has been exploring the meaning of ‘isolation’ through her work and urges others to share their creative responses by entering our creative competition ‘My Life in Lockdown’.
Rachel Toll is a local watercolour artist whose work is inspired by the landscapes and wildlife of Devon. She also paints endangered species and this year her polar bear was nominated for the prestigious David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year Award. Here she reflects on how her painting has helped her cope with lockdown with the added pressure of undergoing treatment for cancer. She sees her bear as a symbol of hope, both for her and for the planet.
On 20 March Crediton Arts Centre shut its doors along with venues across the country. Overnight the Centre lost its main source of income from hiring its two studio spaces and selling tickets for events. The building may be closed, but much is going on behind the scenes to keep this busy community space alive and ready to reopen once lockdown is lifted.
People are finding all sorts of creative ways to entertain themselves during lockdown. One Crediton family, missing the contact with family and friends, decided to make their own dinner guest. Fiona MacBeth explains where the idea came from, how they funded and then filmed their project.