Author Archives: thejelly

Nuit Blanche

Counting down to Nuit Blanche.
Nuit Blanche is an exciting “cultural all-nighter” presenting contemporary art events from dusk to dawn. It enlivens cities all round the world such as Paris, Berlin and Toronto, and 2010 is the debut for Reading. This first year will be a small but magical series of indoor and outdoor events on the night of 15/16 October.

The Nuit Blanche Reading website will list the program organised by partners OpenHand OpenSpace, jelly, Whitley Arts Festival, Rising Sun Arts Centre and arjeea21, with activities in the Town Centre, Whitley,
and the Keep on Oxford Road supported by Reading UK CIC and Reading Borough Council. New events will be added as people join in, so keep checking back to www.nuitblanchereading.org.uk and prepare to become cultural night owls.

A taster of the evening includes:

Sunset Walk, Restoration Centre, Dawlish Road, Whitley, Friday 15th October, Meet from 5.15pm, leaving 5.40pm


Join the sunset walk, with artist Jo Thomas from The Restoration Centre to the Water Meadows in Whitley (20 minute walk) to watch the sunset at 6.11pm. During the experience you will encounter the instruments and artifacts that artist Jo Thomas has created in the previous two months. After the sunset walk, a narrow boat will take you into Reading Town Centre where you can experience other events taking place as part of Nuit Blanche

Diamond necklace Affair, Mirren Kessling

Toile de Joi, Friday 15 October 6.00 -12.00, 173 Friar Street
Special creation by Mirren Kessling: “Toile de Joi” 15 Oct 6-12pm. Work will be shown there until 31 Oct. Gallery 3 is part of the Whitley Arts Festival and this year is being curated by jelly’s Open for Art Project, funded by Reading UK CIC. There will be no public access to the space.

Lit Forest, Friday 15 October 6 – 10pm, Market Place, Reading
The Lit Forest will be a light installation in Market Place; supported by Blachere Illumination (UK) Ltd
Blachere are the provider of the town centre festive lighting displays, funded by Reading UK CIC through the Business Improvement District. Blachere is supporting a drawing activity being delivered by the jelly team where participants will be invited to create their own light design

photgraphy by Salvo Toscano

Night Photographers, The Artpad, 3rd Floor, 42 Market Place, Reading 6 – 8.30pm A special photo studio where photographer, Salvo Toscano, will be photographing 100 visitors to the Nuit Blanche event using a medium format camera and roll film. Salvo will then lead one of the artists talks around Reading at 8.50, bring your camera along and join in. Any photos taken that night can be added to the Nuit Blanche Reading flickr group.

The Artpad 3rd floor, 42 Market Place Fri 15 Oct 6-12pm An evening of creativity up at jelly’s artpad, including spoken word workshops, knitters knitting night caps, sound workshops, projections, a creative space. Art walks will leave the artpad at 6.50pm, 8.50pm and 10.50pm. Pop up for an update on what’s happening and where. Please note there is limited access to the space

Hereabouts Fri 15 Oct, 6.30 – 9pm, Reading Town Hall. Projections and interventions by Jo Thomas as part of her Hereabouts exhibition, WAF’s major art commission for 2010

St Marys Project
, Friday 15th October 9.00pm – 10.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Reading Town Centre


In its second year Chris Lambert (MFZ Productions) and visual projectionist Porij re-vision the iconic St Mary’s Church and its surroundings with music and visuals that challenge and illuminate the historic building. The project is curated by Whitley Arts Festival, supported by the Open for Art Project

Parcel Fever, From 6pm 15 October until 5am 16 October
, Event takes place on the ground floor of the Keep, 571 Oxford Road, Tilehurst, Reading RG30 1H
An art exhibition celebrating the anticipation and enjoyment of unwrapping parcels. Instead of the usual procedure where submitted work is unwrapped and installed beforehand, the whole process will be enjoyed by all. The evening/night is likely to consist of artists and visitors hanging out together, unwrapping art, setting it up, looking at it, playing with it, eating and drinking, trying to keep warm and not to go to sleep!

The Dawn Chorus, Sunrise Market Place/ Forbury Gardens

See in the sunrise by joining the dawn chorus.
The Retreat Singers are absorbing guest singers for the Dawn Chorus @ Reading Nuit Blanche. Rehearsals at the Jelly for two weeks, culminating in a dawn chorus, 6am on Saturday 16 October

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Outside:Inside Festival Saturday August 21st

Last week, we were in Market Place. The music was great, starting with Dolly and the Clothespegs, you can look here for a little snippet. It rained mammoth rain so unfortunately The Gherkin riders got a little wet but the streets were full of people listening to music and wandering around to see what else was happening.

Gherkin Fish Bike - before the rains

There was an art market, down the Bristol and West Arcade (thankfully sheltered from the rain) – thank you to all the artists that took part – it was a great day to spend with you all – Bithja Moor, Clemens Stiegleder, David Fairservice, Fabrizio Bicetti, Gerhard Bissell, Ksenija Kronin, Marianne Fowler, Martin Stubbington, Neile Wright and Sue Carson. Links to most of the artists web pages can be found here. We had varying feedback from visitors, some thinking the artists should have more prominent spaces (although we were thankful for cover) and also requests that this should happen more often.

The Art Market

The third element of the art this last weekend was a live art drawing by Mirren Kessling.

Mirren Kessling in action

Here’s a short video of Mirren interviewing the wonderous Amy of Amys Ghost

See you this coming Saturday for art inerventions by Alison Friday, The Outcasts and The River.

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The end of one era

Happy New Year to all our jelly friends.

2010 is the start of a new decade and also will see a different year for jelly. We will no longer have a town centre home from 1 March and sadly that means that some of the services we provide will no longer be available until we find a new home.

We will still be working to develop the organisation, work with other Reading art groups and individuals and deliver town centre exhibitions and events. We want to thank you for your support over the past 16 years and look forward to it continuing. Watch this space for details of what we are up to – we have a lot planned.

In the meantime, below is a letter sent to the lead arts officers and councilors at the beginning of December 09, asking what was their vision for the future of Reading, please feel free to leave a comment here if you have anything you would like to add. There have been no responses to this email yet.

. . . . . . . . .

Dear All

This is an end-of-year email to update you on where things currently stand regarding the re-homing Jelly and Open for Art.

Re-homing Jelly

Unfortunately, despite all our considerable efforts, as a result of the enforced departure from the space we have been utilising at The Old Town Hall there is no home for Jelly to go to, nor the other organisations that currently work with Jelly in the space – the Voice Studio, hang-on, arjeea21 and The Outcasts. This means that Jelly will no longer be able to offer the current busy and diverse programme of activities in one town centre location, including popular workshops for children and adults and support to up-and-coming young artists.

Since we were given the news in August that we would have to leave, I have been continually looking for a place to re-house Jelly, the work we do and the other organisations we work with. We have a creative community who all value the space and can grow and deliver from it.

The biggest problem we face is finding appropriate space that is affordable, combined with the uncertainty of funding which means that it is difficult for us to be able to plan for the future and work out exactly what programme we can deliver.

The value of what Jelly delivers is undoubtedly more than any oversimplified perception as solely a provider of art workshops. Rather, we have received recognition nationally and internationally, with our heart and soul still embedded in Reading. Jelly is also:

• helping other organisations grow

• running networks (both in the real world and online)

• creating and developing a community through its extensive mailing list of artists and delivering artists’ training

• working with TVU and the University of Reading

• developing new initiatives across the town.

Jelly is passionate about the Arts. We believe that a town with the status and confidence of Reading must have, and actively support, a creative community as part of its soul. However the future for Jelly without a central hub is destabalising, and the outlook for us alongside other vulnerable arts organisations in this town is bleak.

This does not bode well for arts and culture in a town like ours. We are staring in the face a future with no artists’ studios, when the Barracks eventually go, with the loss of the Jelly space no central focus, and no affordable space for artists/groups to emerge and meet. In spite of this feeling of uncertainty, should we just stop now?

Open for Art

In the face of this Jelly has been working on. We have recently collaborated with Reading UK CIC to create Open for Art. You may have already have heard about this via the e-news and hang-on mailing, but as a reminder:

Open for Art is a partnership project between jelly and Reading UK CIC, utilising Reading’s empty shop windows with art from Reading based artists. This follows a successful pilot project in June 2009 creating pop-up galleries in Reading. Working with the landlords and agents of Reading we will be using temporary spaces, creating a visual profile for the arts and showing Reading’s individuality as a town

• There are three more units in the pipeline

• The front window of Friars Walk will be housing final-year student work from the University of Reading Fine Art department

• Higgs Printers shop (as was) on Station Hill will house a piece by a current Open Hand Open Space Studio Member

• Suntan Clinic (as was) on Butter Market will hopefully have work in from January 2010 by artists from Reading Guild of Artists to coincide with their exhibition at the Museum.

• I have also been talking to Sony about showing the films commissioned by the Reading Experimental Film Festival on a loop, they are saying maybe after Christmas.

We have been getting a great response from people and below is a taster of the email feedback I have had received recently.

My question for you all is what is the future for the arts in Reading? And who will provide active support? We need to open up the debate about how arts organisations can emerge and thrive, and how the council and others can support them to enable them to develop and help build Reading’s reputation as a cultural, creative, artistic place.

I sincerely hope that we can begin the new year with renewed vigour, and find ways to work together to make this happen.

. . . . . . . . .

Please feel free to leave your viewpoint in the comments below

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The Summer is here and it’s raining…

We had so much sunshine lately when we have been working in schools and today as nearly all the schools in the area have finally broken up it has been raining almost all day.

We are getting ready for the Summer Workshop Programme and also starting to slowly put things in our online shop, just in case you can’t make it to see us.

Rosie Flo's Holiday

Rosie Flo's Holiday

You can view more of the Rosie Flo’s and Johnny Joe’s books here.

Johnny Joe's Time Travel

Johnny Joe's Time Travel

They are drawing books with a difference, all you need to do is add the heads, arms and legs!

Rosie Flo's example page

Rosie Flo's example page

It’s slow work, updating the little shop as we are working with independent designers and makers and taking our time to make sure we find the most lovely things.

soapylove soapsicles

soapylove soapsicles

Like these delicious soapsicles…mmmmmm

psst, sorry you can’t actually eat them…

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Noah’s Ark

The summer term is our busiest term of working outside on great projects. We have been spending the last 3 weeks working with one school on a large scale arts project involving all of the curriculum and resulting in a performance – you can read more about the project from one of the jelly team here

Noah's Ark

Noah's Ark

Noah's Ark 2

Noah's Ark 2

The pictures don’t even begin to convey the scale but the whole school took part, 19 sculptures created and the end finale was a dramatic performance of sound, acting and spoken word with a sculpture trail (permanent) thrown in.

This coming week is a bit of a wind down week for us, the term time activities end this week and the the week beginning 27 July all the holiday programme starts so next week we are working with a few individual clients and shifting our heads into summer workshop programme node.

Sarah, one of our team is leaving in the Autumn to continue studying in London and we will miss her (but secretly we hope she will eventaully return!)

Make sure you all have a good summer, if you’re stuck for things to do, you can always join us in jelly or we will soon be stocking online the wonderful Rosie Flo drawing books.

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thank yous and other things that are happening

dragonfly sculpture

dragonfly sculpture


Firstly, we want to say THANK YOU to everyone that came and helped us on Town Centre Day. Without you all, it would have been a different day, there is a short slideshow of glorious photos from the day here.

Now for the roll call of thank yous Catherine, Louie, Marta, Mateusz, Tom Br, Luke, Heather, Jim, Faz, Emma, Tom B, Bama, Jane, Natasha, Lynee, Hanne, Jesper, Lisa-Marie, Sarah, Jon, John, Daniel, Clem, Ingrid, Marje, Ivy, Max, Josh, Ksenija, Bhatia, Pat, India, Jasmie, Aran, Anne, Lucy, Cherrelle, Phil, Jack, Orrie, Andrew, Bathjia, Michael, Tania. Amanda, Ann, Jeni, Joe, Charlotte, Steve, Tom, Nick, Sara and Jo, the outcasts. Thank you all.

diorama making

diorama making

It was such a fantastic day, the outcasts were busy yarnbombing and the sun was shining. We will be doing it again next year and be looking towards a bigger art exhibition around the time so watch this space.

yarn bombing zone

yarn bombing zone

We have been catching up with things in the office, doing school days, Forbury Fever, getting ready for the next few weekends when we are out doing workshops, visiting the studios and catching up on their progress and visiting the art shows at TVU Reading and Reading Fine Art Department as well as other regional shows. The summer workshop programme is already done and a new knitting workshop for adults is listed for Autumn…. right, back to work and preparation time. See you somewhere soon.

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somethings are happening

We have had a busy week working and next week will be much the same with half term break plus the Town Centre Day but you may have noticed something happening in town.

jelly 27/28

jelly 27/28

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You can find out more about these pop-up galleries right here including the artists who are taking part. The work will only be exhibited until June 5 2009 but the images and artists information will remain on here.

The exhibitions are part of our Town Centre Day programme (previous info available here).

jelly, with the help of Reading artists, will be helping anyone and everyone who wants to become an Artist for the day. To celebrate 20 years of the Children’s Festival we want to create a town full of artists and artists in the making for the day. The event is free and will take place in Town Hall Square culminating in a mass art exhibition and changing the face of Reading for the day.

The exhibition of works created on the day will take place using the railings around Town Hall Square and the John Soane monument and through the Bristol and West Arcade complemented by window exhibitions of works by some of the artists who are helping us.

All this has been made possible by the generous help and support of Reading artists, Reading people and businesses, including picnic, Cream Design, Reading UK CIC, Reading Borough Council Voluntary Sector Support Unit, Sainsbury’s, Haslams, Fryer Holt, Brook Henderson, MUSE Developments and Hicks Development Ltd.

Come along and join us on the day and help us Change the face of Reading.

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