A 1st Falla for the UK & the City of Lancaster

October 27, 2016 in Slideshow

On Friday 4th November as part of Lancaster City’s Light Up Lancaster Mario Gual del Olmo, a highly respected and experienced fallero artist from Valencia, will bring a unique introductory falla to Lancaster: ‘D is for Dinosaur’ is the artist’s reflection on the history of Lancaster, having undertaken a research visit and collaboration with artists Sue & Pete Flowers at Green Close.

The falla takes as its key theme Lancaster-born Sir Richard Owen, who coined the word Dinosaur and was one of the founders of the Natural History Museum in London. Here he is depicted writing the word, in the company of a Diplodocus and a Tyrannosaurus Rex, alongside other famous figures from the UK, including Lancashire-born inventor of the spinning wheel, Richard Arkwright.

Pencils as symbols for sketching of ideas are used to frame the artwork whilst the rear side of the sculpture will reveal the unique process of how a falla is made.

The falla ‘D is for Dinosaur’– a Valencian invention in its own right – will be illuminated for Light Up Lancaster in Dalton Square from 5pm-9pm on Friday 4th November, before being moved from the site and burnt as part of the 5th November celebrations organised by Freehold Community Centre. The 5th November event will include lanterns leaving the Gregson Centre on Moor Lane at 6.30pm followed by a bonfire and fireworks from 7pm. Access to the bonfire and fireworks will be from Kentmere Road, LA1 3JS.

This will be the first time a Falla is presented in the UK and marks the candidacy of the Fallas festival to UNESCO Intangible Cultural World Heritage in 2016. The Fallas Festival was declared in 1965 as Fiesta of International Tourist Interest in Spain.

 

Renowned Spanish artist Mario Gual is a leading Fallero artist, designer and maker who has won numerous awards in Spain for his prestigious and uniquely humorous artworks.

The Fallas (or Falles) is a traditional celebration, held in commemoration of San Jose, the Patron Saint of carpenters in the city of Valencia in Spain. Local people from each District of the city represent their ‘barrio’ or ward by creating their own Falla - a unique artwork constructed of wood and covered with paint papier-mache or plaster that can sometimes reach up to 20 metes in height.

Thanks to Dr Carmen Rios Garcia, Lancaster University Department of Languages & Cultures.

Credit to Junta Central Fallera, Valenica, Spain - http://fallespatrimonicomu.info

Pictures by Armando Romero

Artists Exhibiting in ‘Bringing It All Back Home’

September 29, 2016 in Slideshow

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their practice at Green Close, artists Sue and Pete Flowers recently launched a new exhibition ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ at The Storey Gallery in Lancaster, exploring the range and impact of their innovative work over the past 20 years.

The exhibition showed new and existing works by contemporary artists who have previously worked with Green Close, reflecting on the role of artists as creative leaders and consider the organisations ambitions for the future.

Artists exhibiting included Sue Flowers, Pete Flowers, Adam Gregory, Darren Andrews, Hugh Miller, Kate Eggleston-Wirtz, Stephen Raw & Carol Ann Duffy, Sumit Sarker and Tracey Eastham.

Below are biography’s of some of the artists exhibiting and considered thoughts on how their work and practice has been affected by working with Green Close.

Sue Flowers

I am a Director and co founder of Green Close, as well as being a practicing artist. Arts education and community engagement are central to my creative practice; I have been lead engagement artist on award–winning projects such as The Padiham Greenway Project and Channel 4’s Big Art Project in Burnley. I thrive upon working creatively within collaborative situations and have undertaken international residencies and public art commissions for Parc Du Pilat, France, Aalborg Triennale, Denmark, and Toluca University, Mexico.

Green Close for me, always about making a dream become a reality.

I grew up in the village of Melling, and moved to London to study art, then, following a lengthy period of travel in South America, I returned totally committed to bringing an awareness of contemporary art and diverse cultural experiences to my own community. I co-founded Green Close with Pete originally as artist studios, but our love of creative education combined with the needs of rural communities, has taken us on an incredible journey.

I feel proud to have run our not-for-profit organisation for twenty years; it has taken a lot of effort and a total commitment. I feel strangely part of a family continuum – my great grandfather ran the village blacksmith’s, my grandfather and father developed this into an agricultural machinery business, part of which we developed into our studios, so now we are here making unusual things happen. Its no coincidence that our next educational project is called ‘The Power of Possibilities’ or that we will be bringing the first Valencian Falla sculpture to the UK this year. Art is about having great ideas, being an artist is about making them happen, and Green Close has enabled this in so many ways.

Pete Flowers

Pete is a Director and Co-Founder of Green Close, as well as a practicing artist. His work has been exhibited in major national and international galleries including the Royal Academy; Hayward; Whitechapel; Bankside; Smiths Gallery & the Camden Arts Centre, Oxo Wharf London, Oxford Gallery, in Oxford; Cartwright Hall, Bradford; The Summerville Gallery, New York; Minoa University, Egypt and the Leopolda Flores Gallery, Tolluca University in Mexico.

Pete’s thoughts on being a Director and Co-Founder of Green Close are as follows: “Over the last 20 years, Green Close has had a profound effect on my work. It has enabled me to share ideas and work alongside artists from all over the world. The studio is an amazing space to work in; sometimes mad busy and crazy, but most of the time tranquil and calm. It is a place where art is created, sometimes alone or alongside fellow artists, with visitors, schools and community groups. It feels as though all this creativity has seeped itself into the very stones of the building.”

Adam York Gregory & Gillian Jane Lees

Gillian Jane Lees is the co-artistic director of Proto-type Theater (www.proto-type.org) and a freelance performer and collaborator. Adam York Gregory www.thesecretsurface.co.uk) is a scientist, visual artist, and film maker. Their practice seeks to explore the notion of ‘the imagined ideal’ through performance, experimentation, documentation and observation.

Adam tends towards the scientific and the visual – extracting data and creating methods and visual documentation. Gillian, examines the piece as a subjective performer, with reference to the physical nature of perfection and control.

As Adam points out, Green Close have been hugely supportive of him as a freelance artist: “Since first meeting them in 2012, shortly after graduating, Green Close, Sue and Pete, have been collaborators, employers, facilitators and most importantly friends. I don’t think I would have survived my first few years as a self-employed artist without their help, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed it half so much either.”
Darren Andrews
Darren Andrews is a Freelance Photographer & Film Maker. His work has been printed in magazines and newspapers around the world, and he has had many solo exhibitions throughout the country.
Presented in this exhibition are a series of photograms which are photographs created in the darkroom without the use of a camera. His books include ‘Pleasureland’, ‘Beloved’ and ‘Dark Corners of the Land’. Some of Darren’s photographs are included in the Royal Photographic Society Archive.
Darren has worked with Green Close for a number of years: “I first started working with Green Close in 2012 when I was given the job of documenting their Lancashire Witches project. I always enjoy working with them, they’ve been very supportive to me over the years. As well as being great artists they support Manchester United and on occasion provide you with the odd glass of excellent homemade damson gin.”
Hugh Miller

Hugh was born in Harrogate. After studying at Chelsea College of Art & Design with tutors Chris Ofeli & Nicholas May. Hugh graduated in 1997 and worked for several years at Green Close Studios before returning home to Yorkshire, where he currently works. Hugh regularly exhibits nationally and recently showed at Tennants Auctioneers with a solo show ‘Pushing Paint’ and previously at The Truman Brewery, Brick Lane with the series; ‘The Glasshouse Mill Project’ (2011).

Hugh shared his thoughts on working with Green Close: “Green Close Studios is a great place to paint. I had the mezzanine floor for several years and enjoyed the space immensely. Central heating, toilets, broadband and free parking facilitated a professional environment to work, and though in the middle of the beautiful Lune Valley with panoramic views, it is only 15 minutes from the M6 and Lancaster train station, so was extremely accessible. I would definitely recommend hiring a space to work there and the managers, artists Sue & Pete Flowers, who’s genuine belief that art can help improve people’s lives spiritually and aesthetically, adds a unique warmness to the working atmosphere.”

Kate Eggleston-Wirtz

Kate Eggleston-Wirtz is an American multidisciplinary visual artist and published poet who has lived in the north west of England for nearly 20 years. She has a BFA in Illustration (Northern Illinois University 1984), an MA in Visual Design as Creative Practice (Blackpool and the Fylde College, an affiliate to Lancaster University 2009) and an MA in Learning and Visitor Studies in Museums and Galleries (University of Leicester 2015). The artist has exhibited worldwide and won awards in the 7th and 8th Annual 3-Dimensional Art Directors and Illustrators Awards Show in New York City (1995, 1996) as well as the Society for Art of the Imagination’s Water exhibition in London (2004).

“Green Close has given me the opportunity to develop my personal work together with a community. Green Close projects have never been absolutely prescriptive allowing for creative freedom, making for interesting rewarding experiences, both personal and professional. Through Green Close innovative projects I have been able to develop confidence working with schools, creating artwork as learning resources and my photography skills in relationship to emotions about a place. This organisation has raised my awareness in how creativity on a local level connects globally releasing good energy into the world that works towards positive social change with sensitivity to the environment.”

Stephen Raw

Stephen has been working as a textual artists for over 30 years. He went to Art Schools in Wimbledon, Bromley and Manchester. He has been based in South Manchester since he moved there, apart from a two-year stint of teaching at the National Arts School in Papua New Guinea. He has exhibited throughout Europe and the US. Of late his collaborations with the Poet Laureate have been of interest as well as his other work for the Royal Ballet, Royal Mint and Manchester Cathedral. In 2013 a major show of his exploration of the language Benjamin Britten chose for his ‘War Requiem’ was exhibited in London. It will be mounted in Coventry Cathedral in 2018.

Stephen said: “I worked with Green Close on their wonderfully curated Witches 400 project. An initial visit with other artists was the highlight as we learnt about the context of the whole programme from hawk conservation through to inspiring kids to be part of it all. When it came to my work – poetry way markers – Green Close made the piece possible. In the event, it was 10 pieces of cast iron positioned over a 51 mile stretch – a task which would have defeated many other facilitators. The watercolour I produced for Witches 400 has had a direct influence on ‘No Man’s Land’ having an emphasis on the edge as much as the centre.”

Sumit Sarkar

Sumit Sarkar is a visual artist based between Manchester and London UK, whose artwork takes the form of digital and analogue paintings and sculpture.  The content of his work ranges from the fantastical characters of Sumit’s KrikSix world, to his modern interpretation of the Hindu gods, Ananta, through to his sculptural graffiti work, Kerst. Sumit also works as an AV director, animator, illustrator and workshop leader, and is involved in various live art events around the UK, from aerosol art and drawing battles to live digital painting and sculpture.
 ”Green Close commissioned my Kerst work on a residency which saw me explore environmental sculptural graffiti for the first time, as well as my first piece working with metal (a car). The realisation of this project was a pivotal point in my artistic career, leading directly to other commissions and opportunities. I have since worked and exhibited with Green Close and its pool of artists.” 

Tracey Eastham

Born in Preston, 1983 I graduated from Wimbledon School of Art, London in 2006 with a distinction for my Masters degree from which I was also given an Axis ‘MAStars’ Award. Following this, I was selected for the ‘Future 50’ exhibition at Project Space Leeds, nominated for Arts and Business’ ‘Vision’ for the Northwest, selected for the Exeter Contemporary Open, was awarded a solo show at Airspace Gallery, Stoke on Trent, exhibited with The Castlefield gallery at ‘Manchester Contemporary 2009’ (and then with Mermaid and Monster in 2011) and have exhibited throughout the country and in Europe including at D21 Gallery, Leipzig, Harris Museum, Preston, Transistion Gallery, London and the Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh.

I have performed ‘live collages’ for Arts and Business North West and Light Night Leeds and have collaborated with writers and artists to produce ‘The Liverpool Art Journal’.  I recently completed a large commission for The Cooperative Group for their Head Office which was revealed by HM the Queen and I was shortlisted for the Greater Manchester Arts Prize in 2016.

I currently have a studio at Rogue Artists Studios in Manchester and am a Critical Studies lecturer at Blackpool and the Fylde College.

 

 

Green Close Support Bipolar Awareness Day

September 29, 2016 in Slideshow

October 4th is Bipolar Awareness Day and to demonstrate their support for individuals living with the condition and the friends and families who support them,  Green Close is delivering a FREE drop-in creative workshop  from 11am -4.30pm Called Bipolar; It’s Not So Black & White in the Gallery at The Storey Institute Lancaster  www.thestorey.co.uk

The workshop aims to raise awareness of the condition whilst also showcasing  a new project being run by The Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research at Lancaster University  called REACT (The Relatives Education And Coping Toolkit) www.reacttoolkit.co.uk

REACT is an online toolkit which aims to provide relatives with information and support. The toolkit provides information about how best to manage symptoms, mood swings, and some of the difficult situations they are likely to face; how to manage their own stress; treatment options; dealing with crises; and supporting people through their recovery journey. The toolkit is facilitated by two REACT Supporters with lived experience of supporting someone with bipolar or psychosis.

Director of Green Close and artist Sue Flowers currently works part-time as a REACT Supporter; where she is able to use her own lived experiences to support others in this unique online study which aims to reduce distress and increase the well-being of families and friends of people who live with Bipolar and Psychosis (including Schizophrenia).

Fiona Lobban (Professor of Clinical Psychology) who is leading the study explains why she thinks it’s important…

“I have spent many years working in the NHS and was struck by the high levels of distress and frustration experienced by relatives. Although national clinical guidelines recommend relatives are given lots of support, in reality they often don’t get what they need.”

Why not come along and find out more…

THIS FREE WORKSHOP IS SUITABLE FOR ALL AGES AND ABILITIES; and will be situated within a celebratory exhibition entitled Bringing It All Home… celebrating 20 years of Green Close’s artistic activity www.greenclose.org

Twitter:

@REACTTOOLKIT

@greenclose

@The_Storey

Photo Credit: ZEBRA REACT – Original artwork by Sue Flowers

 

 

‘Bringing It All Back Home’ – A 20 Year Anniversary Exhibition

September 22, 2016 in Slideshow

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their practice at Green Close, artists Sue and Pete Flowers recently held an exhibition ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ at The Storey Gallery in Lancaster, exploring the range and impact of their innovative work over the past 20 years.

The exhibition showed new and existing works by contemporary artists who have previously worked with Green Close, reflecting on the role of artists as creative leaders and consider the organisations ambitions for the future.

Artists who exhibited included Sue Flowers, Pete Flowers, Adam Gregory, Darren Andrews, Hugh Miller, Kate Eggleston-Wirtz, Stephen Raw & Carol Ann Duffy, Sumit Sarker and Tracey Eastham.

The exhibition was a huge success with over 900 visitors in just 17 days, and there were some really complementary remarks about the show including the following piece in The Melling Chronicle from Churchwarden, JAC Beeson:

“I recently attended ‘Bringing it All Back Home’ at The Storey in Lancaster. In this case ‘home’ is Green Close Studios, for this event celebrated the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the studios by Sue and Pete Flowers.

“Why is this so important? It is because Green Close is pretty much unique. Unlike many arts organisation they achieve their work without regular funding. For every event there is a risk, a higher mountain to climb in order to bring contemporary art to people of Lancashire and neighbouring areas. There are other organisations that do this but it is none have survived for so long in such an uncertain situation. Their art work has covered the lows and highs, from the impact of foot and mouth to bringing the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain to the heart of our community, as well as reflecting on the impact of slavery and the Pendle Witch Trials in the district.

“I’d like to thank Sue and Pete for bringing such inspiration to our community and for their faith, in the face of uncertainty, in what they do.”

 

 

We’re Celebrating 20 Years

June 30, 2016 in Slideshow

Green Close, a UK leading rural arts organisation based in the heart of Melling, near Lancashire is celebrating their 20 year anniversary.

Established and founded by Artistic Directors Sue and Pete Flowers in 1996, the original aim of the organisation was to provide quality affordable studio space for practicing, professional visuals artists in a rural community.

Now with over two decades experience of working in the arts, Green Close delivers hugely innovative and ambitious visual arts programmes for the public and private sector.

Working with artists from across the globe, environmentalists, school and university students, local communities, heritage and mental health groups and old people to name but a few, their mission is to make impact and positive change to people’s lives through creative thinking and practice.

The Lancashire Witches 400 project, which saw the creation of a 51-mile long distance walk to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the persecution and subsequent hanging of people accused of witchcraft in 1612, has been one of our most successful projects. Working with Britain’s Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, the project attracted interest from over 68,000 people.

Sue Flowers, Artistic Director of Green Close said: “Working rurally, we have always been on the edge of the North West’s cultural offer, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t intrinsic to it.

“It’s a very challenging time for the arts, but the diverse nature of our organisation means we are able to continue to thrive and grow. We have always worked with young people and encouraged early career artists to work with us; this ensures our projects move forward with their needs and those of the communities we work with.”

Green Close are looking forward to demonstrating its impact in Lancashire and across the region in the coming months. They have a series of celebratory exhibitions planned for the autumn and intend to be commissioning artists from Spain to create unique public artworks in a new collaboration with Lancaster University Department of European Languages and Cultures.

Lancaster Priory Churchyard Community Project

January 28, 2016 in Slideshow

With funding from the Lancashire Environment Fund and support from local volunteers, Green Close have been involved in a local community project in the lower half of the historic churchyard of Lancaster Priory Church.

The ancient churchyard walls are being restored after years of vandalism and existing memorials have been cleaned, tree removal has opened up the space with over 22,000 bulbs having been planted, transforming the area into an accessible, contemplative space for the community.

To celebrate this work, a new memorial by local stone carver Alan Ward, in the style of the old stone tombs, was unveiled at an event in the churchyard on Friday 22nd April, to mark the fact that in this ancient burial ground “lie the bones of the people of Lancaster.”

The work has been made possible thanks to a unique collaboration between Lancaster Priory Church, Green Close, Lancashire County Council Environment and Community Projects and Lancaster City Council, through the “Beyond the Castle” project.

The vicar of Lancaster, The Revd Chris Newlands said: “The Priory, and indeed the wider community owes a great deal of gratitude to all those who have made this work possible, restoring the beauty and peace of the churchyard, so that all may enjoy this perfect setting, where people have gathered for over 1,300 years to reflect on life and eternity.”

Sue Flowers, Director of Green Close added: “After months of hard work fundraising and planning for this formerly neglected space, we are delighted that all our efforts have finally paid off. It has been a real pleasure to work within such a dedicated committed team. This important heritage site has lots of potential, and we hope we can continue to use creative practices to enable more community involvement in the future vision for the regeneration of the area.”

A display profiling the transformation of the site, featuring images by local photographer Darren Andrews, will be on display in the Priory from Tuesday 19th April to Monday 30th May.

CVAN Critical Writing Success for Director at Green Close

September 24, 2015 in Slideshow

Our very own Director, Sue Flowers has recently completed the Contemporary Visual Arts Network‘s North West Critical Writing programme funded by Arts Council England.

A bursary of £300 enabled Sue to undertake a series of six critical writing workshops in the North West to produce a short exhibition review and a longer feature piece.

Expanding her interest in critical discourse, Sue wrote 2 short review pieces; one on a performance by Dr John Cooper Clarke renowned punk-poet-pioneer who recently performed at Bentham and the second, a review piece of an exhibition at The Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston titled ‘A Green and Pleasant Land?’

Sue’s feature piece titled ‘Why #writecritical?’ looks at what has been written about the visual arts over the last few centuries, and her participation in the critical writing bursary programme. This feature piece has also been included in a new book “On Being Curious” New Critical Writing on Contemporary Art from the North West of England.

Published by The Double Negative on behalf of CVAN NW, the book which includes 10 new articles on contemporary art from 10 emerging writers, tells the story of the North West’s contemporary visual art scene, yet contributes to national and international debates around what it means to make powerful, arresting and effective arts practice.

A copy of the book can be downloaded for FREE by clicking on this link: http://www.thedoublenegative.co.uk/2016/05/on-being-curious-our-first-in-house-book-on-contemporary-arts-criticism/

The review pieces have also been published on The Double Negative website and can be viewed by following the links below:-

http://www.thedoublenegative.co.uk/2015/08/as-acerbic-and-honest-as-ever-john-cooper-clarke-live-reviewed

http://www.thedoublenegative.co.uk/2015/08/a-green-and-pleasant-land-rural-reality-questioned-at-the-harris/

and the longer piece features on Art in Liverpool – http://www.artinliverpool.com/why-writecritical

Sue has also recently started her own blog site titled ‘Arts Voices

Fired Up to Make a Difference

September 24, 2015 in Events, First Fridays, Slideshow

Light Up Lancaster returned on Friday 6th & Saturday 7th November as part of Lancaster Arts City First Friday’s events and included an exciting pilot project with Green Close who invited experienced sculptures of ‘Fallas’ from Valencia in Spain to share their skills and culture with artists and communities in our city.

Artist D. Mario Gual from Valencia, Spain (http://www.mariogualdelolmo.com/web); Srta Montse Catalá – Vice President of Communication Junta Central Fallera, Valencia (http://www.fallasfromvalencia.com/en) and Dr Carmen Ríos García, from Lancaster University Department of European Languages and Cultures joined artists from Green Close and members of the general public for ‘A Falla for Lancaster’ hosted in The Thomas Storey Room at The Storey Institute.

The workshop drew a huge crowd and over 100 adults and children attended. People spent time designing a Fallas for Lancaster and came up with a number of suggestions for where the Fallas could be positioned in the city.

Take a look at this great video on YouTube, created by artist D. Mario Gual which highlights their visit to Lancaster: https://youtu.be/_Ug2ZdJb_8E 

Note: The Fallas (or Falles) is a traditional celebration, held in commemoration of San José, the Patron Saint of carpenters. Dating back from the Middle Ages when carpenters used to hang up planks of wood called ‘parots’ in the winter to support their candles when they were working, and the onset of spring when these pieces of wood would be burned as a way of celebrating the end of dark, winter working days.

All images copyright ‘Junta Central Fallera’ – the Fallas Festival Organizing Committee. With special thanks to Srta Montse Catalá – Vice President of Communication Junta Central Fallera, Valencia, Spain and Dr Carmen Ríos García, from Lancaster University Department of European Languages and Cultures - www.fallasfromvalencia.com/en

For more information about the Falla For Lancaster Project please contact Green Close - T: 015242 21233 or  E: info@greenclose.org          

 

 

 

 

 

Green Close Supports Lancaster Priory Churchyard Project

July 28, 2015 in Events, Slideshow

Green Close are delighted to announce their involvement in a local project to develop a new community facility, situated in the lower churchyard of the Priory Church of St Mary’s in Lancaster.

The project has been made possible by investment from the Lancashire Environment Fund and is being delivered in association with Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council. It will create an accessible, contemplative, open-lit space with new pathways, seating and floral gardens; opening up the lower part of the churchyard, to create a much needed new resource, connecting to the Quay Meadows sites, increasing public access and re-landscaping an overgrown, neglected area.

Support from members of the local community will be essential, offering volunteer labour and help in selecting exact locations of focal points, benches and planting.

The Revd Chris Newlands, Vicar of Lancaster said: “I am delighted that this initiative will focus on the ancient churchyard of Lancaster Priory. So much of the history of our city is focused in this area and we hope that this project will both beautify and preserve it for use by the local community for many years to come”.

Sue Flowers, Artistic Director of Green Close added: “This is a fantastic redevelopment project, to create a new public space that encourages further heritage-led regeneration for Lancaster. We are pleased to support this project and look forward to helping provide a space for the local community to relax and enjoy one of Lancaster’s most historic landscapes”.

If you are interested in getting involved or finding out more about how you can engage with the project, please contact Green Close at E: info@greenclose.org or by telephone on 01524 221233.

On completion, Lancaster City Council has confirmed the on-going maintenance of the site

Small Village: Big Story

July 20, 2015 in Events, Slideshow

Small Village: Big Story is an exciting new art and heritage project led by Green Close that will research in detail the forgotten histories of rural villages in the Lune Valley, creating a new project archive and on-line resource for members of the public.

We intend to work with Lancaster City Museum, Lancashire Archives, The North West Centre for Regional Studies and expert historians of rural history to make this possible.

Do you know anyone that has an interesting collection of rural memorabilia and artefacts? Or anyone who would like to tell their story about village life, then we’d love to hear from them!

For the chance to chat with us, or for further information, please contact artists Sue or Pete Flowers at their studios in Melling on T: 015242 21233 or E: info@greenclose.org