Art Groups - News & Meetings

News from the Art Groups ... including an article from Catherine Petit-Van Hoey on the recent Textiles Group Exhibition at Hertford Museum.


The Southern Painters Group met for a morning workshop on the 22nd November, at the studio of Frances Tompson. Frances provided us with an in depth demonstration in Encaustic Wax painting and went through all the different tequinques and effects that can be achieved with this rather spontaneous medium.

For many of us this was an entirely new experience and it was thoroughly enjoyable to work alongside other members and create some rather unusual little pictures. We hope to repeat this next year for new members and those who could not attend.

The next meeting will be the Christmas Social on the 20th December at 2pm. A great opportunity for new or lapsed members to connect with The Southern Painters Group.



Museum Collections as starting point

Inspiration for group exhibitions can come in many different ways and finding a common thread in a group as diverse as the HVA Textile Group can be a creative challenge. However organising a museum trip, armed with camera's and sketchbooks followed by an animated lunch, normally will get the creative juices flowing.

So inspired by the collections of Hertford Museum 12 members of the Textile group created a body of work which was subsequently on display in the exhibition 'Past Present Future' at the Gallery of this lovely museum in Hertford from the 10th September - 29th November 2011.

Several artists were attracted to the minerals and stones on display, especially the Hertfordshire Puddingstone, a conglomerate rock of rounded flint pebbles embedded in a matrix of silica quartz which was formed millions of years ago and very specific to the local area of Hertford.

Puddingstone Collection, Hertford Museum

Polished Puddingstone

Barbara Weeks said in her statement that: “Visiting Hertford Museum, the collection of Puddingstone connected me with the flint walls typical of the Sussex villages where I grew up. There is a simple beauty in the natural colours and the patterns revealed by a casual arrangement of the stones.

No Stone Unturned 1-4, by Barbara Weeks

I have explored this theme in a sequence of panels, each one informing the next in a serendipitous fashion, playing with the materials of my craft. Wool and silk fibres are wet felted, dried and stitched, and then felted again. This process is both physical and contemplative, connecting me with crafts people all around the world for whom ‘making’ is both a way of life and life enhancing.”

by Connie Flynn

by June Faulkner

Connie Flynn was also inspired by the museum's Puddingstone. She created a large cream felted wall hanging with shapes that reflected the Puddingstone cut out.

Devore Puddingstone by June Faulkner.

photo by Jeremy Deller

For over 70 years Hertford was the location of the successful firm Addis, makers of toothbrushes.  A 6000-strong collection of toothbrushes, archives, photographs and other items was gifted to Hertford Museum in 2002.

Only a small part of this is on display in the museum, which inspired Connie Flynn to make a series of unusual toothbrush holders. A toothbrush is an object we use on a regular basis but don't always give much thought about.

by Connie Flynn

Connie Flynn's Textile Toothbrush collection was an idea developed from the Addis Toothbrush Company which has been in Hertford for a number of years. She chose a variety of shapes and coloured felt to create different Textile Toothbrush Holders. 

My own work for this exhibition was about collections. Museums can only exist because people like to gather and collect things which have a certain value to them, like the magpie which brings shiny objects to his nest. Like many other artists I enjoy collecting all kinds of objects and materials, but also ideas and thoughts which inspires me in creating my art.

'From Pinky & Perky to Postman Pat'

When I first visited Hertford Museum in January 2011 there was a temporary exhibition about Children’s TV Characters. On display was a menagerie of memorabilia and children's favourite characters which reminded me of some work I had already created at an earlier stage and would be perfect for the 'Past, Present, Future' exhibition.

'Domestically Challenged Gnomes' by Catherina Petit-van Hoey

My collection of gnomes were created as a response to the various domestic challenges my daughters were facing when they left home for university. The gnomes are a modern abbreviation of the toy gnomes I used to make about 15 years ago for my children who both attended Rudolf Steiner Schools, in which parents are encouraged to create handmade toys for their children.

Collage of photos which inspired the canvas Magpie

As I also wanted to create some new work I decided to look in addition to the permanent collection of the museum. Walking through the museum I made notes and took many photo's of all the objects which for one reason or the other 'caught my eye'. I then created miniature impressions in various techniques, incorporating found objects from my own collections and collaged them together on a painted canvas. As synchronism has it my husband found a feather of a magpie in the garden whilst I was working on the canvas, hence the title 'Magpie'.

'Magpie', by Catherina Petit-van Hoey

Although we each have our own studio practise, exhibiting together requires a different focus of working as a group. This can be challenging at times but is also very stimulating, fun and ultimately rewarding. Our next challenge will be our forthcoming exhibition 'Weather or Not' at Mill Green Museum in Hatfield in May/June 2012. Although accompanied by a small gallery display of our work, this will be largely an outdoor textile exhibition which will definitely get us all out of our comfort zones. So let's bring it on!



To get involved with any of the HVA groups do make contact with the group leaders: (painters north) (painters south)