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Berwick Visual Arts unveils new work by northeast craftmakers inspired by Berwick's Burrell Collection

Fri 09 Nov


New work displayed alongside classic works until 16 December at the Granary Gallery in Berwick-upon-Tweed

Berwick Visual Arts is pleased to announce the unveiling of five newly commissioned contemporary artworks at the Granary Gallery in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

The new work was produced by five craftmakers from the northeast of England in response to the nationally important Burrell Collection.

Morag Eaton, Bridget Jones, Mandy Pattullo, Bronwyn Deane and Helena Seget each spent time researching a number of works in the exhibition then selected one to interpret. The selected works include a 15th Century woodcarving, two different paintings (dating from the 17th and 19th Century, respectively) and Chinese Ming porcelain.

The new works, which include printmaking, jewellery, textiles and ceramics, can be viewed alongside Berwick’s Burrell Collection until December 16.

James Lowther, Head of Visual Art for Berwick Visual Arts commented, “We couldn’t be more pleased with the commission results by some of the most talented craftspeople in the northeast. Some of the pieces in the Burrell Collection date back 600 years, and these contemporary interpretations allow us to engage with them in a new way because they enhance aspects of the originals that perhaps have gone unnoticed until now”.

In addition to shining a new light on the collection, the commissions have allowed Berwick Visual Arts to engage with professional artists in the region and to support them in creating new work and developing their creative practice.
Berwick-based printmaker Morag Eaton is influenced by religious iconography and symbolism and often explores the re-interpretation of themes from the Bible. Morag was inspired by a 15th Century wood carving in the Burrell Collection entitled “St Barbara with Tower”. To re-interpret the carving’s medieval imagery, Morag placed St Barbara firmly in today’s world, suggesting that the saint, like other stories from the Bible, resonate with contemporary life. St Barbara is placed in Berwick, with the Medieval Tower on Berwick’s walls taking the place of St Barbara’s tower.

Bridget Jones is based in Northumberland and works mainly in architectural glass but printmaking is also an integral part of her practice. She was inspired by the painting “The Lady in Black” (English School c.1638) particularly the lady’s coral bracelet. Coral was traditionally considered auspicious and was worn by many cultures to ward off evil spirits and Bridget’ s print draws from images of coral and its structure. It takes colour as a central consideration, using greys, blacks and sombre tones with skeletal trees and big horizons.

Textile artist and printmaker Mandy Pattullo has an interest in recycling and re-using old textiles. She was inspired by the Burrell Collection’s blue and white Ming porcelain. Working in her studio in the Tyne Valley, Mandy translated the decorative imagery on the Chinese porcelain into stitched drawings, focusing on flowers and bird designs and the symbolic meaning they have in Chinese ceramic design.

Newcastle-based jewellery designer Bronwen Deane was also inspired by the collection’s Chinese porcelain. Using traditional silver techniques alongside innovative experimental acrylic print methods she translated different sections of the flora and fauna imagery into jewellery.

Helena Seget is based in Ouseburn in Newcastle and works purely in porcelain to make furniture, clothing, jewellery and even stationery. She was been inspired by one of the most popular works in the exhibition, “Washing Day” by Jacob Marris (1837-1899). Helen experimented with porcelain clay shapes to translate the sense of movement in the draped lengths of fabric in the original work. The smoothness and coolness of porcelain is well suited to evoke the feel of fresh, washed linen, dried in the open air.

A series of limited edition multiples of each work are available for purchase and are priced from £60 and upwards.

Berwick’s Burrell Collection can be viewed until December 16 at the Granary Gallery, every Wednesday through Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Admission is free. The Granary Gallery in located on the lift-accessible second floor of Dewars Lane Granary Youth Hostel, Dewars Lane, Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 1HJ. For further information, and a map to the Granary Gallery, click here.

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