Tag Archives: jelly

Lunch and Art in pictures

Last week’s Lunch and Art event, a Third Thursday Partnership event with Reading UK CIC was a huge success. A great atmosphere, a good mix of people, delicious food from picnic and beautiful art by Paul Kessling.
The pictures below by Salvo Toscano, will give you a taste of the story:

To join the mail list for Third Thursday events, Click here

Next Third Thursday event will be Thursday 17 February, Kings Walk Reading which will play host to the Caversham Artists

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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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afternoon tea with the knitters

We had a fantastic weekend with the knitters at the afternoon tea party. Ysolda was launching her new book and the outcasts were the hostesses. Skeinqueen and the talented Emma Bradbury were showing their wares too. There are more photos here courtesy of Ysolda and even more here courtesy of alabamawhirly

We loved having the outcasts round and all their guests including Ysolda and Sarah, they are very talented.

Emma Bradbury is a dark horse, we have just found out she was runner up in a Crown competition for stencil design (design below).

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things that jelly makes

So we have been back a week and are into our normal term time programme -normal is a random way of describing the activity that happens here, there is never anything that quantifies as a normal week. When people ask what we do, it is hard to say in words exactly as it changes daily, weekly, monthly but we are always working towards a common goal: making good art and being involved in creative activities are just two of what we aim to do. The real official line is here if you really want to know.

We are all passionate about what we do, and in the next year we will slowly be adding extra bits on here about us as individuals, what our art practice is, why we do what we do and how we came to be involved in jelly.

Whilst we are writing that, delivering projects, activities and exhibiting we also have our fingers in other pies ~ we started by using empty shops in the last recession and we are completely embracing the Government initiative to keep the High Street live during the current economic climate. This Friday we will be looking at a new building for a six month home – this will house the new version of Gallery 10 plus we are working on two other temporary spaces which we hope to use on our Artist for the Day project – details will be announced soon, but mark out the last Friday in May for that day.

The studios are moving along and next week some of us will be going on a visit, taking pictures and signing off the flooring – much happens unseen here and the best part of when we update on this site is that we can keep you all up to date.

The other news in jelly’s life is that the Chatham Place project has been put on hold, ‘due to radical changes in the economic climate and outlook, the jelly Directors reappraised the viability of the plans for occupation at Chatham Place, to include gallery, education and network space and have decided that it is no longer viable. The deferring of Phase 2 of the Chatham Place Development due to economic uncertainty has identified challenges for jelly’s future sustainability with lower than anticipated footfalls in this location for the foreseeable future.

The jelly team have been prudent in constantly responding and reviewing the business model since their initial discussions in 2006 and felt that jelly’s focus would become steered towards delivering profits to meet rent commitments, in an environment when gallery income is expected to remain subdued, at the expense of delivering our artistic aspirations and education programme.

This has been discussed in detail with MUSE Developments who have been forced to review their aspirations and the level of financial support available, alongside The Arts Council funding, to facilitate jelly’s relocation to a fully fitted-out unit at Chatham Place due to the sharp property downturn.

The net result is, with much regret from both parties, that we are unable to conclude a deal at present. We are pleased to announce that we will continue to have a dialogue with MUSE who remain supportive of our efforts.’

This decision in the current climate is a positive step for jelly and reinforces the sound business background to our creative lives. We will still be creative, in many places and we are running towards many more opportuities in the immediate future with one eye on our long term ambitions.

All is good in the jelly world

something you don't see, the jelly office. Photo by Sarah Kench

something you don't see, the jelly office. Photo by Sarah Kench

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Last day in the workshop

Today was the last day in the workshop before the Easter break – apologies in advance if you try to phone us anytime after today and before Monday. We are fortunate to have a town centre space, given to us by Reading Borough Council in partnership but it also means we have the hours of civil servants.

everything starts with drawing and paper

everything starts with drawing and paper

This is a novelty for us after years of being key holders with doors onto streets and responsibilities for the building and security. We used to just be closed three days of the year, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Easter Sunday. Now we get to embrace a longer break which probably seems lovely from the outside but sometimes we forget too and want to go to work……….. yep, we love work.

Soon we will be adding a page here which will let you know a little bit more about the jelly team, underneath we are all quite shy about our own work although we find it easy to talk about other artists, other makers, young artists coming to workshops and encouraging them. Did you even know that most of the team are practising and exhibiting artists themselves? You may be amazed by what we all do.

Here is another quick snap from the beginning of the session today – making baby animals – somehow I always forget that end shot when they are done, I must try harder to remember.

the beginnings of a fantastical creature

the beginnings of a fantastical creature

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Easter Week

We will be uploading more pictures this week so you can see what we have been up to ~ from the outside you may think it’s quiet but here we are working full steam ahead, looking for new sites to house Gallery 10, running private workshop sessions and this week the Easter programme springs into life.

More pictures to follow…

For random updates you can follow us jelly tweeting on Twitter.

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extra nice things from the morning

This morning after a meeting with one of the jelly Board I went back to work and saw all the little people hard at work – they really are little people, from 18 months upwards and they were making papier mache bunnies.

When jelly started, the little people weren’t one of our target audience but now those first little people are now assistants at jelly, some have art school ambitions and now the next generation are here and working away making their bunnies.

Only next week left for the toddlers before the Easter break but all workshop details can be found here.

they made me flowers

they made me flowers

Toddlers will start again on Monday 20th April.

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The little things that make us

It’s been a little while since we have updated anything on here but it has been lovely in between that time to receive comments on here and emails. It’s not that we haven’t anything to say because we always do but it is that we have been caught up doing many things. Those things will be updated on here shortly so you can see what we are up too.

Working across the community means that we get to share great things and sometimes we are given little treats like colds from the people we work with so we have had a few weeks of work rotation as we have all been through the illness cycle so that means if you came to a workshop expecting Jo you may have met Ella, or when you were expecting Sarah you may have been with Suzanne but that is one thing about the way we are. We all bring our own skills to the jelly party, learn from each other and are all pretty much capable of working together to do the best that we can.

We will add extra pages to this temporary site soon so you can find out a little more about all of us who are here now and information about some of the jellies that have been before, some of who you will recognise from posts below.

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knitting vegetables

The Knitted Vegetable Workshop by Felix at jelly was a resounding success. Taking the idea of knitted vegetables to new levels, participants got to play with Felix’s gardening & cookery books and raid her vegetable-shades yarnpile for inspiration and materials. 1 pomegranate, 1 giant toadstool, 1 yellow pepper, 1 potato and 1 cucumber were cast on at the workshop and updates on their progress will be posted intermittently on Felix’s blog at The Domestic Soundscape

The idea behind the workshop was to pass on the maths, knowledge and personal experience of vegetable knitting gathered by Felix in the course of her knitting career. She is very enthusiastic about recreating ordinary objects in yarn and hopes that the principles of vegetable knitting will catch on and result in a bumper crop of knitted vegetables in 2008/9! Everyone at the workshop agreed that there isn’t enough sharing of basic knitting maths and went away with at least the numbers required to make a spherical or ovoid shape on double pointed needles and some tips on where to look for ideas.

Pumpkin knitted by Barbara, cake to be eaten by everybody else

Pumpkin knitted by Barbara, cake to be eaten by everybody else

Barbara’s knitted pumpkin (pictured here) which was mostly knit during the Jelly Knit Nights, imbued the evening with a festive feeling, and the ample cups of tea and gingery cake kept everyone’s spirits up in the face of complicated knitting maths!

Further veggie links
– toadstool reports here
– Felix’s knitted potato

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jelly bean

Just a reminder that there is no jelly bean club this Saturday (1st November) due to the school holidays but we will be back on Saturday 8th November.

Also congratulations to one of our jelly friends who visited us at The Affordable Art Fair and won a prize for her self portrait she did whilst we were there – well done!

Our jelly friend with her winning portrait

Our jelly friend with her winning portrait

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