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Murmurations and other charcoal drawings - a new exhibition

I am looking forward to putting up a small exhibition at No.6 Bruton BA10 OAA from 17 - 26 May. This is a lovely pop-up gallery in the old Thomas & Company shop at the end of the High Street. I will be opening it up on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the two weeks and will be drawing in the gallery. I hope a few old and new friends might drop by.

Bruton is full of small shops, galleries and cafe and is near Hauser and Wirth, the contemporary art gallery and restaurant. It's a nice outing.

My work will be mainly charcoals, a few charcoal and chalk pastels, and ther will l be sketchbooks, greetings cards, a few prints and books there too. As usual, the drawings of people will have the words from my interviews alongside their portraits. I love celebrating the work and their lives, the craft, the stories that come with them. I see myself as a documentary artist when I am making drawings of people at work.

So there will be drawings of apple pressing, a cider Wassail, hedgelayer, basketmaker. There are also charcoal drawings of willows on the Somerset Levels and the starling murmurations, a memorable spectacle during the winter months.

'I do hedgelaying all winter. You clear it first, then lay it, then stake it. The stakes hold it until they rot away, then you shear the top. A well-laid hedge should last twenty-five years….

So, you cut through a steam horizontally close to the ground to allow for new growth from as low as possible, and where you cut it, the bit of the stem left in the ground sticking up, we call that the heel. When we lay the stem over with a hook, it’s called pleaching in many parts of the country, but here in North Somerset, in the Mendip area, we call it ‘splashing’, that’s what the old guys who taught us call it. It’s the local word. And the stem we lay down we call the ‘splasher’.


Alex Bown, Hedgelayer, Binegar

  Illustrated above



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