I had the pleasure of visiting Chippenham Museum recently and was able to catch the Sarah Purvey retrospective ‘A Decade On‘. This is part of a programme of short exhibitions celebrating the huge wealth of creative talent in Wiltshire. The exhibition was held in the Museum’s elegant temporary exhibition space.
I wasn’t familiar with Sarah’s work but my father for many years was an enthusiastic amateur potter so I am always interested in artists who use this media.
Finding that Sarah was in the gallery was an added bonus. She told me it was so lovely to have her work on display in her ‘local’ gallery and confessed that she had popped in several times during the exhibition period. She was due to hold a ‘meet the artist’ event the following day.
I enjoyed the opportunity to chat with Sarah about her work. Interestingly she didn’t see them as ‘pots’ or ‘ceramics’ they are artworks. She views her two and three dimensional works as different ways of expressing herself. Her palette is mostly monochrome (“I don’t do really do colour!” she joked) but I loved her piece ‘Balance’ where the raw colour of the clay really stood out amongst the other more muted drawings and sculptures.
The sculptures are coil pots and the elegant wave like pattern inside the pieces created in their construction echo many of the painted surfaces and paintings.
“Based in Calne, Sarah Purvey creates powerful, sculptural ceramics which combine monumentality and subtlety to unique effect. Her sculptures and drawings are united by a bold and confident use of mark making, and their expression of the inner journey and personal landscape of the artist.”
Sarah Purvey ‘A decade on’ exhibition programme – Chippenham Museum
This exhibition is part of a summer programme ARTSPACE@Chippenham Museum running until 27 July organised by Mel Barnett, the brilliant Curator of the Museum. Mel is determined to draw attention to the creativity and the talent in Wiltshire and this rapid-fire programme is a great way to do it. See the image below for the remaining programme.
This season of exhibitions and the Creative Wiltshire programme are celebrating the ongoing inspiration that Wiltshire provides to artists of all kinds. If you want to find out more why not visit The Salisbury Museum’s current exhibition Creative Wiltshire: A Celebration which provides an “eclectic and visually stunning celebration of art in Wiltshire“?
Chippenham Museum is free to enter and supported by Chippenham Town Council and the permanent collection provides an interesting timeline of this ancient town that dates back to Saxon times and beyond and reminds us of those industries and crafts that have disappeared.
Any new (or old) resident of Chippenham should make the time to visit this wonderful record of the town’s history. We should all understand more about the history of the place we live in.
I particularly love these yellowing clippings that tell the story of the foundation of the Museum in the 1960s.
Do make the time to visit the Museum. The volunteer welcome team are friendly and there is plenty to see. The ARTSPACE@Chippenham programme will provide plenty of opportunities to return.
Images and blog post with thanks to Beth Thomas
Based in the South West, Heritage Consultant Beth Thomas has over 25 years of heritage and arts management experience. Her recent clients include a number of local museums and arts organisations, City of Bath World Heritage Site and World Heritage UK. View her website for details of the range of services she can offer.