Let’s start with the what……..A Medley of Arts and Crafts……to give it its full name is a group I set up about four years ago. As I have said before I was galvanised into action by spending a rain-soaked weekend in a leaking marquee with only a few customers and an overwhelming desire JUST TO GO HOME!
I resolved to find a better location at an affordable price and run it myself…..fed up with turning up not know where I was going to be in the venue, how much time I would have to set up, or how much space I would have, who I would be near, how easy (or not) it would be to load and unload, what was the parking like…sooooo much stress for me, it seemed obvious I should try to get some control of some, any, a couple of these things…..or risk insanity!
Within weeks I happened upon a suitable venue and when I realised it was too big for me to fill on my own I began recruiting artisans and artists I had met as individuals at various shows and exhibitions to share the space. This group evolved into Medley; they reflect perfectly (in my humble opinion) the current vogue for high quality, individual design and craftsmanship.
The main thing about the group is that they are all people who get on well together, share the same values and enjoy spending time together. Perhaps of greatest importance is that we all make everything we sell on our stands! We have all been frustrated by going to a show billed as an Artisan Fair and being next to someone selling stuff for pennies that they’ve bought at the cash and carry🤬🤬🤬😤😤😤😖
We now put on shows two or three times a year, usually, but not exclusively at Cromford Mill’s Gothic Warehouse, it’s great venue for us because its old buildings and industrial heritage perfectly compliment our work. There is nothing more inspirational than working with like minded creatives in a beautiful setting!
So that’s the what is it now for the ’who’ bit. There are currently about nine artists and makers who will be showing their work this May at the Gothic Warehouse, Cromford Mill, they are all specialists in different disciplines, however, all produce innovative and striking pieces which reflect a high degree of skill and an understanding of their chosen medium. Not everyone appears at every show and so it’s an evolving line up which is why it’s a Medley! The next show is from May 26th to June 2nd at Cromford Mill sohere’s the line up….
The founder of Medley is obviously …….. me……Chantal Kelly, I’m a a stained glass artist whose work I’m sure you know as you’ve been following my blog! The person who is my right hand woman is Ruth Gray (for all of you who are impressed with the posters and flyers Medley produces look no further for their creator)! As a mixed media artist Ruth’s paintings focus on the local region’s heritage environment. Instantly recognisable her paintings are atmospheric and evocative with a real sense of place.
A new recruit to the ranks is Ann Gibbons, a jeweller, she designs and creates original pieces in silver, including earrings, necklaces and bracelets, producing eye catching, innovative designs…….really looking forward to working with Ann this May.
Julie Stanley designs and makes handbags and accessories from a variety of materials, most strikingly from Harris Tweed; her original designs and meticulous finishing have made her work much admired. Especially the handbag she made for me to my own specifications!
Also working with textiles is Anne Alldread who works with felt and silk to produce wall hangings, cushions, jackets, wraps and accessories in rich colours and textures. Thank you for my cushions Anne, much admired and cherished for being individually created to match my wallpaper!
Guy Badham is a well respected Peak District photographer and his in-depth knowledge of this area ensure his photographs are much in demand by local magazines and publications.
Fiona Laing, a wood turner, creates finely turned pens and pencils; she works mainly in British hardwoods and supplies pens to Prince Charles’ Highgrove and local galleries. More importantly she produced the pen I wrote my diary with every night!
Another woodworker is Patrick Kelly whose hand carved rocking horses are a favourite with children of all ages!
Richard Pearson, a ceramicist, uses a traditional potter’s wheel to create pieces which are both decorative and functional. Richard’s pots are finished in warm, often earth coloured coloured glazes. I love his blue range of pots which might explain why I’m the proud owner of three of them!
Together this group makes up ‘A Medley of Arts and Crafts’ and although I joke that it’s like herding cats organising this talented bunch I could not wish for a better group of people to work with….and that includes past members who have included Karina Goodman and Janice Allen (and who knows they may pop up again in the future). Certainly future shows will include John Hermansen, a well known local Potter who will be with us in September whilst Richard is busy on another project and Naomi Jones an amazing photographer who will be joining us at Christmas while Guy is otherwise engaged.
That, in essence, is the who, what and why of Medley……an evolving and immensely talented group of likeminded creatives who get on well with each other, work hard to create beautiful things and have fun putting on shows together…….love them and their work!
Next month on in, The Other Side of the Stall Episode 5…….
‘Putting on a Show……😱😱😱’ an account of May 2019 Medley, the highs and the lows🤞