Open Studio and exhibition dates

While the sun shines outside I am busy preparing for my Open Studio next week, finishing new work, framing and wondering how long it will take to get the studio looking presentable! If you are local enough to Berkshire to come along then you are very welcome!

Open studio FB

Then I will be looking forward to my next visit to West Dean College as a short course tutor  28th September-1st October, always a treat to be there and to be part of the wonderful creative team! This time I will be teaching the art of organdie flower making and how to create beautiful head dresses with hand made roses and orchids, why not book to come!

Also excited to be planning for two exhibitions in October when I will be showing my mixed media textile sculptures; firstly in Handmade at Kew 8th-11th October and then Select Showcase in Cheltenham 23rd-25th October, Delighted at the prospect of showing at these events….I think it’s going to be a happy busy summer in the studio!


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McQueen, coral and Kew

Another escape day in London….goodness, The Alexander McQueen show ‘Savage Beauty’ at the V&A should be on everyone’s ‘must see’ list, whether or not you think you are a fan of his work this is a truly extraordinary exhibition….for the spirit and the eye,  for the spectacle of a beautiful designed exhibition, for the creative power, the craftsmanship, the collaboration and the immense sense of loss. When I walked into the ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ room I found myself in quiet but unstopable floods of tears. I lost track of time and when I came out into the daylight and the bustle of the street I felt dazed and shell shocked, one of the most powerful exhibitions I have ever seen.

My plans to fill the rest of my day with a whistlestop tour of other art shows seemed impossible and I got no further than going next door to the Natural History Museum where I immersed myself in the wonderful Coral Reef exhibition and then the mineral galleries, so many exquisite natural wonders that related to my current work and gave me fresh inspiration. What an extraordinary ‘escape from the studio’ day, one of those precious moments when everything came together to make my head and my heart brim!


Corals at Natural History Museum


Then a trip back to Stroud for a weekend ‘twining’ workshop with the lovely Mary Crabb as part of SITselect festival, learning new skills in great company, a great way to spend a birthday weekend (as well as a fabulous night with Bryan Ferry at Oxford New Theatre!)


experiments in twining


Back in the studio and delighted to have been selected to show at Handmade At Kew in 8-11 October this year, really looking forward to taking some of my new work there and being part of the event.

Just arranged for some of the new pieces to be photographed ‘properly’ and will put out some new images when I have them…… just as soon as I have cleaned more wax off the cooker, updated the website, tackled the email inbox, got through half term, ordered frames, tidied the studio mess, set a date for an ‘open studio’, and dealt with the aftermath of the puppy eating box of chocolates and three biros……

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Seminars and workshops are like buses…

Escaping the studio to look at and talk about the work of others is something that all artists and makers need to do every now and then, but making an escape is often thwarted by our own determination or deadlines to just ‘finish’ or ‘start’ or ‘try to resolve’ a piece of our own work.

However, there are also times when the call is too good to ignore which is why I am heading towards my third escape in as many weeks!

Last weekend it was a seminar day for Short Course Tutors at West Dean College near Chichester. A call to West Dean can certainly not go unheard! A treat to be back, as soon as I arrive there and turn the car engine off a special kind of peace descends. It was an interesting day and it was great to catch up with staff and other tutors, especially my friend couture dress designer Allison Rodgers. I am looking forward to being back there to teach a short course in September.

West Dean College

West Dean College

Then this weekend it was a scamper to Stroud for a seminar day at The Museum in the Park, with the curator Andy Christian and some of the artists involved in ‘The Power of Ten’ exhibition as part of Select Festival 2015. A brilliant day, great work and interesting talks by Susie Gillespie, Sumi Perera, Shuna Rendel and Kerry Jameson who talked about the process of breaking and re-editing her extraordinary ceramic pieces. It’s always fascinating to hear about the working practice of other artists, and I also enjoyed seeing the work of Ann Goddard, Caroline Dear and talking to Susanna Bauer about her beautiful stitched magnolia leaves. All in all a very inspiring day.


Susie Gillespie (detail) Her weavings start with planting her own flax seed


Susanna Bauer (detail) intricate ‘private’ stitch work on magnolia leaves


Susanne Bauer (detail)


Anne Goddard (detail)


Shuna Rendel (detail)


Shuna Rendel As part of her talk we were able to handle some of her beautiful weaving samples, this piece caught my eye as it looks like a sloughed skin


The Power of Ten

The Power of Ten


Caroline Dear All her materials are gathered from around her home on Skye

Details of artists work and contacts are in the exhibition information

There is now just time to squeeze in another full working week (well, I say full but I have already lost Bank Holiday Monday to scrapping wax off my studio hotplate and a mountain of assorted utensils, that were not intended for wax, and I will be out of the studio on Thursday to see ‘Savage Beauty’ at the V&A and Diebenkorn at the RA) before I go back to the Museum in the Park in Stroud next weekend for a two day workshop with Mary Crabb ‘Experimental Twining:Woven Vessels’. Really looking forward to it. (Day One will be my birthday, will I be British and say nothing or will I own up by taking cake?!)

After all this inspirational soaking up of images, ideas, conversations and techniques I shall certainly be in ‘lock down’ in my studio for a while, private space and private time will be all the more precious, and hopefully all the more productive, after these wanderings.

Going back to key pieces in the studio

Going back to key pieces in the studio with renewed inspiration



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New work!


Time to reveal what has kept me quiet, painting!


As ever I am surprised by the long gap between my posts but I have been in self imposed ‘lockdown’ in the studio, sometimes there is only time to work! So how come it often seems that there are not enough creative hours in a day?



I have been plate spinning with different techniques, thank goodness the studio table is big enough to spread out porcelain, textile constructions and paints without too many cross over mishaps.

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Best of all has been painting again. Which has meant excitement, frustration, delight and disappointment in ever changing waves. I had forgotten how hard it is, how much concentration it takes, how much silence I need!


My preoccupation with strange natural forms and cabinets of curiosity continues and I am really enjoying the challenge of capturing growth and form on a flat surface.


Inspiration comes from the plants at Edinburgh Botanical Gardens and Kew, the notion of what is precious, what is worthy of collecting, and also the suggestion that dead, inert specimens, skeletal forms and empty pods can silently, secretively, begin to regrow.

My young studio assistant, who ate a tube of oil paint last week but thanks to the vet lived to see another day on the window seat.


As for millinery…the only place to find a Jane Corbett hat this season is in Harrods, I have taken off my millinery hat and put a paintbrush behind my ear!

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Wonderful West Dean College!

I have had a wonderful few days teaching at West Dean College, what a truly lovely place!




What more could a creative soul ask for, beautiful house and gardens…..(these pictures where taken in first light on a frosty morning, having a pre breakfast dawn wander)


A lovely light studio, friendly helpful staff and colleagues, and a great group of students…


Inspiration boards, books and photo albums as added food for creative thought…..


Work in progress, including dyeing straw….


Thanks to Di, Hayley, Jackie and and Laura for being so hard working and such fun to teach! Delighted by the pieces that you all made…..everyone picked up new skills and then used the techniques to produce something that perfectly reflected to their own personalities….


Already looking forward to returning to West Dean for a tutors seminar day in April and to teach another short course in September, along with so many courses I’d like to sign up for myself! I see friendly names on the list of tutors for the coming year, Allison Rodgers, Dionne Swift, and Rosalind Wyatt (all known to me from my happy days at Art in Action!)

I would highly recommend immersing yourself into the world of West Dean, whether it’s to join me for the ‘Organdie Flower Head Dress’ course in September, or to sign up for any of the other fantastic courses on offer. Not only do you get to discover new skills and creative inspiration but you also enjoy good company, comfortable rooms, great food…and that’s before I wax lyrical about the gardens, the library, the oak room… much to soak up and enjoy while you are there!




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Looking to 2015

2015 will be good, not least because I have rewritten these favourite words on the studio wall ‘the artist herself determines the course of her journeys of discovery’, shamefully I can’t remember where I lifted this quote from (an artists book or catalogue?) but although I can’t credit the writer I can, and do regularly, salute the inspiration!

Very excited to be having a solo show ‘Curious Nature’ at Arusha Gallery in Edinburgh this December. My head is full of new work, much inspired by the exotic plants I saw in the glass houses at Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. A return trip to Kew Gardens is high on the list now, and then I need to get more of this work from my head and onto the studio tables!

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It is time to fire up my ‘new’ old kiln (and stand back!), time to melt wax, stitch thread, bend wire, gold leaf glass and even stretch some canvases. Just a few lovely distractions in the next two weeks; teaching a millinery short course at West Dean College, and showing my S/S hat collection to Harrods.


So you see, still wearing two hats in January, (dreadful pun but too tempting) but look out February, ‘the artist herself……..etc etc’


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Work on it’s way to Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh

Absolutely thrilled that I am to be represented by Arusha Gallery in Edinburgh, very exciting! Busy packing the first art works to go up to Scotland tomorrow for the Gallery’s November show; ‘It’s just a quick walk to the future from here’.
It is a mixed show, other artists taking part in the exhibition include Romina Ressia, Pippa Young, Ilona Szalay, Barbara Meyr and Paul Kessling.

Arusha Gallery also plan to show my work at the Edinburgh Art Fair 4-16 November

This is one of the pieces heading to Scotland…

Jane Corbett 'Cornucopia' Photo Giles Penfound

Jane Corbett
Photo Giles Penfound

With a long journey ahead for the pieces I find myself wondering this morning at the wisdom of showing my work in large fragile glass domes! Thank goodness ‘my man’ is a professional when it comes to art packing, but I will still be relieved to hear of their safe delivery!

A trip to Scotland is now very high on my list of things to do and may well involve a detour to my beloved Northumberland…..long overdue.

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