Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Black Swan Arts, Frome

After my wonderful catch up week with my sister in Bath I left via what has become a strangely quite-visited little town just South of Bath - Frome. My sister took us there last year for one of the now renowned St Catherine's Flea and Artisan market, it's a great mix of a flea market on the big car park in the town, and a market full of amazing wares that stretches up the cobbled winding St Catherine's Hill. There's food, fabric, prints, home wares and much more and I'd highly recommend it.
This trip though I decided to investigate The Black Swan Arts Centre, which is located just off the main car park (where the flea usually is) and has a wonderful courtyard cafe selling lots of yummy dishes made with local produce.

Just inside from the cafe are a few small but perfectly formed studio/outlet units that simultaneously give work and retail space to some lucky artist and makers. Man how much would I love one of those for live-printing and selling all in one go?! Mega!

In the front of the building is a boutique retail space called 'Seed' which boasts some exciting British designer/makers, both from Frome and further afield.

I particularly liked the screen printed designs of Charlotte Lucie Farmer, who I've since learnt is an illustrator from Bath

Please excuse these terrible iphone photos, but the colours of these stamp inspired kitties and doggies were rather marvelous! There were also some brilliant tote bags with poodles on!

Another screen printed lovely in the shop (be still my beating heart!) was this genius sketchbook from  I Dress Myself which is made out of mis-printed artwork.

It's so frustrating when you've printed 3 colours of a design and then you balls it up on the last pull - I mean it's still so beautiful even if it's a bit wonky so I love the idea of reusing them for their very own purpose!
I had come across I Dress Myself before, and I think they were based in Nottingham? Looks like the call of Frome has also drawn them in :D

Lastly at the Arts Centre I visited the top floor where in their permanent art gallery is currently an exhibition about the work of locally based, animating geniuses Aardman.

Among the models on display were some wonderful behind-the-scenes photographs and shots of their storyboard processes. I always used to hate story-boarding at school; always too keen to press the red button and get on with it. I do admire their commitment to getting the shots 100% perfect.

There was even a small section about Morph...MORPH! How I loved his muted muffles and creative adventures, it was the best bit of Tony Hart's Hartbeat...he lived in a wooden pencil box for goodness sake.

I also really enjoyed looking at everyone's response to the exhibition in their own little clay models, especially the Morph/Elmo character on the right.

And to round of a lovely little trip it only seemed right to feed the Black Swan a shiny little pound!
I'd highly recommend a visit to The Black Swan if you find yourself in the West Country, I'm muchly jealous I don't live closer!

The Little Peach xx

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