Printmakers Exhibition at Avocet Gallery


Shooting Star over the Long Man by Ian O'Halloran
‘Shooting Star over the Long Man’ by Ian O’Halloran

We popped along to Avocet Gallery and Tea Rooms the other day to have a look at their current exhibition – Printmakers.


I have always been drawn to printmaking ever since my dad showed me a book of Aubrey Beardsley’s work when I was quite small, I know maybe something a little odd to show a small child? I never really understood what I was looking at back then, I just loved all the swirls and trails. I think it could be responsible for my love of Art Nouveau.


Much as I like printmaking  it’s not something that I have ever really tried. I like to go and look at prints and am especially drawn by work with lots of texture, I love texture.


The textures in this print ‘Shooting Star over the Long Man’ by Ian O’Halloran called out to me. Even though I know it is depicting the countryside around the Long Man of Wilmington (well I hope it’s that Long Man!), to me it feels like I am looking at a roiling sea shown in that beautiful red light you sometimes get at sunset. All the patterns and textures allow your eye to flow around the image, it took me quite a while to find the shooting stars as I was a little bewitched by following the flowing and turning of the earth.


Another by Ian O’Halloran that drew me towards it is ‘Folkington Hill’. The fantastic texture of the ploughed field pulled me right into the print deep enough to follow right to the back and make me wonder what is around the corner behind that hill. You could spend quite a while just sitting and wondering that, working out the wondrous things that are hidden just out of sight.


Folkington Hill by Ian O'Halloran
‘Folkington Hill’ by Ian O’Halloran


Hester Cox’s ‘Autumn Field’ is also depicting a ploughed field, see the textures are just sucking me in. The ploughed furrows lead your eye straight to the horizon at the back of the print, again making me wonder what is there just over the horizon, tucked out of sight. It looks like a pretty desolate landscape and to my eyes a very flat one, I wonder if he spends any time on Romney Marsh at all. The round circles in the ‘sky’ of the print are actually the lights in the gallery reflected in the glass, they are not a part of the print, though it does make it look like it is an alien world with several suns in orbit. I am completely fascinated by ploughed fields, there are so many round here, I think maybe one day I should try carving one, but that is a topic for another time.


Autumn Field by Hester Cox
‘Autumn Field’ by Hester Cox


This is, I think, the first time I have seen work by Flora McLaughlin and I seriously have to wonder if she is a field archer. A couple of the prints shown here are so like archery shots it is uncanny, made me stop and look for a very long time, especially ‘Deer Drop’. This print makes me feel like I am standing in the heart of the forest in amongst where the trees are the most ancient and densely packed. Sneaking a look around a tree and seeing the deer in the clearing ahead, the dew drop caught on the branch right in front of me, threatening to drip onto my nose.


Deer Drop by Flora McLachlan
‘Deer Drop’ by Flora McLachlin


‘Hastings Old Town’ by John Russell is not strictly a print, being described on the label as a ‘paint-ink collage’. It watched us while we ate and I spent quite a long time looking back, I’m not sure what it is I like about it, maybe it’s the colours, maybe it’s the slight randomness of the buildings. It’s something I know that I could live with and spend a lifetime looking at. Sadly at the moment I can’t justify the purchase so it will have to stay where it is.


Hastings Old Town by John Russell
‘Hastings Old Town’ by John Russell


Looking back at the photographs I have taken of the work in the exhibition I have realised that I have done the one thing I hate about images in art books, I have left out the frames!!! Considering I am a frame maker I think it’s terrible of me, I must try to remember next time to include the frames.


The exhibition is on until the middle of October and the gallery is open Wednesday till Sunday from 10.30am – 5pm. Go along and have a look, Avocet is a lovely gallery and the owners are so welcoming.


And finally, as they say, as mentioned before yes we did eat while we were there. I mean who can resist the lure of homemade cake? A stronger person than me obviously. I succumbed to the lure of my favourite fruit cake and Mum can highly recommend the cheese platter, yum.


Cheese platter at Avocet Gallery
Cheese platter at Avocet Gallery








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’ .



Avocet Gallery 4th Anniversary show

'Slapton View' by Caroline Raffan. Painted and fused glass panel
‘Slapton View’ by Caroline Raffan. Painted and fused glass panel


I visited the Avocet Gallery the other day to have a look at their current show which they have put on to celebrate their 4th anniversary (fantastic news that they have reached this milestone) and I wasn’t disappointed with what I saw.


The first thing that caught my eye was this painted and fused glass panel ‘Slapton View’ by Caroline Raffan. It is hanging in the conservatory part of the gallery where we were sitting having our hot drinks and cake (more about that later) as you are allowed to bring a dog into this part of the gallery. My dog loves it there as he gets loads of cuddles!


Anyway I digress. I have no real clue where the landscape is, I’ve never heard of ‘Slapton View’ but I could sit and look at the panel for a long, long time. I love the way that you can just about see the sea between the two far away hills.


There is another panel by the same artist ‘Apple Trees’ in the other room of the gallery. I’m finding at the moment that I am very drawn to things with trees in them, I think its as I’m planning a few ‘tree based’ pieces of my own so it is always at the front of my mind when I go anywhere.


'Apple Tree' by Caroline Raffan, fused and painted glass panel
‘Apple Tree’ by Caroline Raffan, fused and painted glass panel


Another piece that took my eye is ‘Owl and Twigs’ by Emily Goddard, sadly my photo does not do the piece justice (apologies for that its the reflections you know, and yes that is me in the reflection!). In real life the blue is really intense and the barn owl just pops out at you.


'Owl and twigs' by Emily Goddard
‘Owl and twigs’ by Emily Goddard


Sometimes I like work just because I like it, I have no further explanation. This is one of those times. ‘Dungeness Colours III’ by Geoff Cooke is something that I just like, the colours and textures appeal and I can’t quite put my finger on why.


'Dungeness Colours III' by Geoff Cooke
‘Dungeness Colours III’ by Geoff Cooke


Last but by no means least, the cake recommendation this visit is the Apple and Walnut upside down cake. Thoroughly recommended by both my mum and myself (it was actually her slice I just ‘stole’ a corner) and 100% homemade, if you go to the gallery do try it.


Apple and walnut upside down cake
Apple and Walnut upside down cake


Once again a lovely selection of work by Peter and Morgan, if you’re in the Rye Harbour area go check it out , its a lovely friendly gallery. This exhibition runs until 12th May 2013 and the gallery is open Thursday to Sunday, 10.30am – 5.30pm, for further information visit the Avocet Gallery website.

If you do visit do come back and tell me what you thought and which piece was your favourite.









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 guarantee  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’ .