It’s amazing what you can find at your local supermarket

robert koenig sculpture new romney
Robert Koenig sculpture celebrating 1000 years of sheep on Romney Marsh


I popped to my local Sainsury’s yesterday to pick up a couple of bits and was both surprised and pleased to find this wood sculpture outside the front door.

It is by Robert Koenig and has been made to commemorate over 1000 years of sheep farming on Romney Marsh. There are a lot of sheep around here!

There has been a lot of artwork appearing around the marsh recently which is due to Briony Kapoor and the IMOS Foundation.


Do you have any artworks by your local supermarket?















Jutta M Stiller is a wood carver and sculptor specialising in Netsuke and Couture frames click here to subscribe to her newsletter ‘Tales From the Woodcarving Bench’ .

Christmas Exhibition at Avocet Gallery

Heron wood sculpture by John Mainwaring
Heron wood sculpture by John Mainwaring

The lovely Avocet Gallery has a new Exhibition that started on 24th November and runs right up till 23rd December. We went to have a look the day after it opened and neither of us were disappointed by what we saw.


It is billed as a Christmas Exhibition but rather than there being loads of Christmassy type things to buy its more a chance to buy interesting things to give as Christmas presents.


This beautiful Heron wood sculpture by John Mainwaring caught my eye, I love the fact that it is ‘essence of Heron’ rather than a detailed rendering. I also love that the colours are more of a ‘wash’ than solid so that you can see the grain of the wood through them. I would be more than happy to give this room in my home.


One thing I have been very bad about this visit is to find out the proper names of the pieces on display. I only realised what I had done when I started to write this post and didn’t have any idea of what most of them were called. I make sure I take a picture of the name of each piece but completely forgot to move the labels enough so that I could see what each piece was called, I do apologise.


These delightful little sparrows were nestling on top of a set of shelves looking as though they were about to take off at any second. I have attributed them to John Mainwaring but I cannot guaranteeĀ  that as I couldn’t see a name next to them. I really do hope that they find a home as a group as they look so sweet there together.


Sparrows, carved & painted wooden, by John Mainwaring
Sparrows, carved & painted wooden, by John Mainwaring


At each exhibition there are both new works by artists you have seen before and also works by new artists. Lucy Hook is a new artist at this exhibition and I really liked a couple of her pieces.


Ruth Hook Trees & pig
Ruth Hook piece ‘Sussex by…..’
Ruth Hook 'Sheep'
Ruth Hook ‘Sheep’


This image by Annie Soudain caught my eye, I really like the colours and the way it draws your eye out towards the back of the landscape.


Annie Soudain 'Dusk'
Annie Soudain ‘Dusk’


The painting that I would take home if I had the money is this one by Cliff Howe, I cannot put my finger on what it is I like about it but it had me mesmerised for ages, and I went back for a second (and third) look! Though I do apologise for my particularly bad photo.


Cliff Howe painting
Cliff Howe Painting



I am pleased to report that they have now started to serve Hot Chocolate again, something that they don’t do in the Summer, and my mum says the mince pies she had were lovely.

And just to prove it is a Christmas based exhibition they have a lovely Christmas tree by the door.


Christmas Tree at Avocet Gallery
Christmas Tree at Avocet Gallery


So there you have it a little snapshot of the Avocet Gallery Christmas Exhibition, I highly recommend that you go and have a look yourself if you’re in the area. The exhibition does change over its run as pieces are sold and new pieces are hung, it is open Thursday – Sunday 10.30am – 5pm. Though if you want to double check dates and times they are open please check with the gallery direct.







Jutta M Stiller is a wood carver and sculptor specialising in Netsuke and Couture frames click here to subscribe to her newsletter ‘Tales From the Woodcarving Bench’ .

‘Towards the Downs’ Exhibition at Avocet Gallery

'Wild wire hares' by Lucia Corrigan
‘Wild wire hares’ by Lucia Corrigan

The latest exhibition at Avocet Gallery, ‘Towards the Downs”, opened on 15th September and I went along on the opening weekend to have a look at it.

The last couple of exhibitions I haven’t managed to get there till much later on in the exhibition so it was nice to go and see it at the start before the rehanging happens as items get sold.

This exhibition is a little different to the past ones I have seen at the gallery as the work chosen does not focus on the sea and coastline or specifically wildlife but, as the title says, focuses on work based inland.


I really love these hares by Lucia Corrigan, they look so strokeable from a distance but when you get up close you realise they are made from wire which sticks out slightly all over the body. If you try to stroke them you’ll slice your hand! Yes I did try!



The Damselfly and Dragon fly shown below are by Pam Knight and are part of a larger display of other insects and birds. They are absolutely stunning and had me mesmerised for quite a while. Peter (gallery owner) told me that they are 100% accurate and the artist is well known for the accuracy of her work, I can well believe it.


'Small red Damselfly and Emperor Dragonfly' by Pam Knight
‘Small red Damselfly and Emperor Dragonfly’ by Pam Knight


I don’t think that this photo does the crow justice, it is a sculpture that just needs to be looked it, she seems to somehow be watching you. The texture and the stance just make you want to look more, not that I’m sure she is a she even. In fact I sat at the table opposite having a cup of tea and had a good opportunity to have a look at her.


'Which came first?' by Celia Allen. Ceramics
‘Which came first?’ by Celia Allen


I am really not at all sure why I like the Toadstool pieces by Ann Garnett, they just tickled my fancy. The piece of wood is really well chosen and must have taken a while to find as the fungus looks like it is growing out of the wood, which I know is the intention, but it really works.


'Toadstool number 2' by Ann Garnet. Stoneware and oak
‘Toadstool #2’ by Ann Garnet


Oh and I do have a fantastic recommendation for you if you do go to have a look at the exhibition, well my mum recommends it really as I only stole a corner piece.

Scrumptious home made chocolate cake
Scrumptious home made chocolate cake.

Yes its the lovely home made chocolate cake!

There is a lot more in the exhibition than the few pieces I have shown here. The reason I love going back to this gallery is the good taste of the owners Peter and Morgan, they choose lovely things to show of a very high quality. There also always seems to be a new artist or two to see at each show.

So if you’re in Rye any time soon do pop along to the gallery to see the show and sample the cakes. Visit the Avocet Gallery website for opening days and times and further information.

When you pop in do say hello to Peter and Morgan and tell them I sent you.








Jutta M Stiller is a wood carver and sculptor specialising in Netsuke and Couture frames click here to subscribe to her newsletter ‘Tales From the Woodcarving Bench’ .


Art vs Architecture at the Olympic Park – Round 2

As I mentioned in my last post on the Art and Architecture of the Olympic Park I was lucky enough to have another set of tickets for later in the games so I would be visiting the park again. This time I was determind to find some of the art that I missed out last time.

I wanted to be better prepared so I went to the London 2012 website and noted down what the different artworks were and managed to decipher the map showing where they should be. I even marked them on the map I had been given with the Waterpolo tickets and had a post it note with the artworks on attached to it so I wouldn’t forget.

Again the ones I wanted to see the most were the History Trees, I find the idea fascinating. One of these is supposed to be by the Stratford gate so as we were going through I looked and looked but could not see it anywhere. Though I did get my first picture of the Stele.


Looking at Stele from the Stratford gate
Looking at Stele from the Stratford gate entrance


No matter I thought, we’ll go to the left once inside the gate and see what we can find as we hadn’t been that way last time. Time is quite tight when you are in Blue Badge Parking so last time we only managed to get to the Basketball Arena and back again in the time allowed.

This end of the park seemed pretty quiet and I was very hopeful, I knew there was perhaps another tree down at that gate. I didn’t quite get to the gate as it was at the bottom of a long slope and I’ve discovered that me and pushing a wheelchair up a slope don’t get on very well. I was also distracted by the engraved/etched/lasered words on the wood surround of an electricity transformer which I knew was an artwork but it wasn’t till I got home that I realised which one it was! It was ‘The Fun Palace’ by Caroline Bird. Yay another artwork seen.

One part of 'The Fun Palace' by Caroline Bird
One part of ‘The Fun Palace’ by Caroline Bird


By this time we were walking back round under the Orbit, you don’t really appreciate just how massive it is until you are standing under it. Does it count as Art or Architecture? and don’t you just wish they’d made it as a giant helterskelter?


Under the Orbit
Under the Orbit


The park was definitely busier than the last time we were there, I guess an extra 80,000 people using the stadium will do that. So it took a little bit of walking to find a bench to sit on to eat our lunch. Wouldn’t you know what I found on the bench ……. a ‘Fantastic Factology’ plaque, and quite a fabulous fact at that. Yay another artwork.


'Fantastic Factology' plaque
‘Fantastic Factology’ plaque


Our tickets were for the Mens Waterpolo Quarter Finals and we had a little wait before we went in which gave us a chance to have a good look at the building. Its quite impressive when you consider that its a completely recyclable, temporary building and it has an inflatable roof! Even the seats inside are rented so that when the building is dismantled after the games they can go back to where they came from. I also love the fact that this is the first time that Waterpolo has had its own building.


The Waterpolo arena at the Olympic Park
The Waterpolo arena at the Olympic Park


The planting all along the waterways of the park is really spectacular and I had a trip down to the waters edge to have a better look. As I looked down the waterway I could see a glimpse of gold in the distance, something to investigate at a later time.

Waterpolo is quite exhausting to watch mainly due, I think, to the humid conditions inside. By the time we came out of there we were both quite tired, we decided to go and have another look around.

We didn’t really get too far as we stopped for a bit in the middle of the park where a games maker came to chat to us. I asked her if she knew where the ‘History Trees’ were and she admitted that she didn’t. She did show us some pictures of what must be ‘The Spark Catchers’, she was very enthusiastic about it. So another artwork seen if only by proxy.

At that point I thought it would be a good idea to seek out the source of the gold on the waterway and luckily we were right alongside it. So here she is the Gloriana demonstrating what the Stele will be used for once the games has finished.


The Gloriana moored to a Stele at the Olympic Park
The Gloriana moored to a Stele at the Olympic Park


We were now really tired and our parking time was almost up so we decided to call it a day. On the way out of the park we walked under my most favourite part of a building there, the curvy roof of the Aquatic Centre. I have decided that from certain angles it looks like the saucer of the Starship Enterprise. How sad am I?


Under the roof of the Aquatic Centre
Starship Enterprise or roof of the Aquatic Centre?


Although I saw more pieces of art this time, well I was able to recognise them as art as I had done more research beforehand, I do wonder how many people even knew they were there. I do remember a couple of years ago a commission being advertised for an artist to design artworks to go on the sides of 7 of the bridges. I wonder if this fell by the wayside somewhere as I didn’t see any evidence of this anywhere.

Anyway in conclusion I am far more impressed by the architecture than the art and I think its influence will stay with me a lot longer.

What do you think? Have you been to the Olympic Park? Did you see any of the art I missed? I’d love to know if you did.







Jutta M Stiller is a wood carver and sculptor specialising in Netsuke and Couture frames click here to subscribe to her newsletter ‘Tales From the Woodcarving Bench’ .