South Coast Creatives combine for Oxmarket show in Chichester

South Coast Creatives - Wez Cole, Christian Wallis, Helen Button (organiser) Claire Garcka, Tracey Lodge
South Coast Creatives - Wez Cole, Christian Wallis, Helen Button (organiser) Claire Garcka, Tracey Lodge

South Coast Creatives are promising an exciting collaboration of five south-coast artists/makers in a new exhibition at Chichester’s Oxmarket Gallery until  September 22.

The artists come from Chichester, Lee on Solent, Portsmouth and Worthing.

Tracey Lodge, of Chichester, will be offering clay mosaics; Claire Garcka, oil and acrylic paintings; Wez Cole, forged metal; Rose Bates, ceramics; and Christian Wallis, lacquered wood lamps and furniture.

Spokeswoman Helen Button said: “Most of the artists have at some point exhibited in the Oxmarket Gallery and see it as a fantastic local gallery to be part of the local community and show their work. This is Wez’ first time to be enticed out of his forge and exhibit his exciting pieces.

“There will be a diverse range of materials being used in this exhibition and something should appeal and be of interest to most people – forged metal and swords, acrylic and oil paintings, wooden furniture lacquered wood lamp bases, Raku and ceramics, silver jewellery, glass and mixed media mosaics.”

Tracey Lodge trained in ceramics to degree level back in the 80s and has been a practising maker ever since. She has exhibited and sold at galleries and contemporary craft fairs up and down the country.

Her work has evolved over time and she loves to explore different media. This has led to a current passion for combining carved clay pieces with richly coloured glass mosaics and found objects mounted onto slate panels.

Claire Garcka started painting about ten years ago having previously studied ceramic design. “I paint in both oils and acrylics and love experimenting with colour and pattern.”

I am very inspired by the Cornish coastline with its colourful houses and quirky boats and am becoming increasingly interested in painting water and reflections.”

Wesley added: “I come from a corporate background originally. Working in the manufacturing sector, I was the general operations manager of a multi-million-pound business, working under the owners/co-founders.

“But working my way to the top, spanning spanning very different businesses, I began to realise that these were all just other people’s dreams I was setting up camp in; which certainly didn’t fulfil my creative passion and ultimately, this made me rethink my life.

“And so, I enlisted into night school on week days and worked at the museum, Butser Ancient Farm as a traditional blacksmith at weekends. All of which was jolly tiring but ultimately rewarding!

“Now, after much time and hard work, I get to do what I was meant to do, working metals such as iron steel and copper. Using traditional coke forges to work metals into historic, traditional and contemporary designs.

“I enjoy using traditional methods where possible. To me, the beauty of glowing metal being forged every time I strike hot iron on the anvil remains as magical and mesmerising as the first time I saw it. I also love to teach both metal working skills and the history behind it.”

Rose Bates is also taking part: “After completing a City and Guilds Ceramics course in the 90s , I now focus on pieces for the garden and home. They are particularly inspired by the organic art forms of Ernst Haeckel.

“Ocean microscopic organisms provide fabulous shapes and patterns for large and small ceramic pieces. I work with frost-proof sturdy clays for the garden and porcelain and stoneware for elsewhere. The ancient Japanese technique of Raku is also a passion of mine and small animal sculptures and figurative work are made in my studio in Lee on Solent.”

Christian Christian has been making finest quality lacquered lamps, sculptures and furniture items for over 20 years.

Based at The Old Forge in Eartham he specialises in producing one-off pieces in collaboration with his clients, using the finest materials sourced from all over the world.

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