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Anne Reynolds and Alison Shelton Brown Exhibition – DAW 24


Two Dorset artists join us for a new joint exhibition during Purbeck and Dorset Art Weeks.  This is the first time Anne has shown with us – Alison on the other hand has a long history with the Sandy Hill site…

Alison Shelton Brown

“My art practice circles around responses to place, nature, and the overlooked. Utilising
appropriate techniques and materials to unfurl ideas fluttering in my head, revelling in the
intricacy of nature, reflecting on what exists and the fleeting.
I live with my husband and fellow jeweller / photographer in an old chapel we are currently
renovating situated in a green leafy valley on the Dorset/Devon border.
I studied ceramics at Camberwell School of Art in London in the early 1980s, then returned
to education in 2015 achieving a distinction on the Masters degree in Ceramics at Bath
School of Art. In 2020, I was able to show and wear some of my graduation pieces at
Collect, the international craft fair in London. For over thirty years I have organised and
curated exhibitions and events for myself and other artists in the cultural sector. Together
with Tony Viney in 2002 we started Purbeck Art Weeks, yes that’s my hand on the logo! And
created the Boilerhouse Gallery with Tony, Frances Pollard and the late, great Nick
Crutchfield. I am so proud that both are thriving. I’ve also got a lot of books and need to draw
more often.”

Alison will join us for an artist talk during the exhibition – keep an eye on social media for the date.

Anne Reynolds

“My first encounter with tapestry was close to a spiritual experience. By chance I had wandered into  the Crane Gallery in central London in the spring of 1990. Showing was an exhibition of 20th  Century Tapestry and my reaction to them almost brought me to my knees. My heart flipped and I  felt a state of astonishment and awe. The designs were from the artists Arp, Miro, Motherwell,  Davie, Delaunay, Calder, Picasso and others, and as much as I had admired their art in paint and  sculpture form, in tapestry they evoked something else entirely.  

Through good fortune I got a place at West Dean in West Sussex on their Tapestry Weaving  Diploma. It was a year of blissful delight and discovery. However, conditioned as I was to not  believing in a career as an artist, and having no aptitude nor desire to teach, I returned to business.  A period of unemployment in the late 90s opened a way for me to take an Art Foundation course,  followed by a degree in Contemporary Art Textiles, both in Cardiff. During my degree, at the turn of  the century, I got completely caught up with digital design for textiles which was still in its early  days. It was back to computers but that was fun and exciting in an entirely new way.  

After spending some years as a freelance designer, mostly designing large scale pieces for retail  visual display, as well as for rugs, textiles and wall-hangings, I returned to Dorset when my mother  became terminally ill, staying on to help care for my father. After his death I started a greetings card  company but fairly quickly became ill myself with CFS/ME a decade ago, leading to a number of  years virtually bed-bound. This led me to the simplicity of stitching.  

What I hope people might get from my work is an experience of warmth and curiosity. These  pieces make me smile and I hope they might do that for others. What I enjoy about making them is  having to work within the limits of the grid and discovering what might arise because of that. I enjoy  the slow, methodical almost hypnotic activity of building the pieces. It’s a linear process and yet it’s  not.  

I’m inspired by an inner dialogue of colour, shape and positioning which comes from a lifetime of  observing nature, buildings, people, relationships and how they all might relate and interconnect in  space and time, despite often seeming unconnected.  

Because textiles absorb light rather than reflect as most other artworks do, they feel to me like an  embrace, a welcome inwards, that calms and settles my sense of being, and my life experiences  have led me to appreciate that invitation. You can’t experience that through photographs of the  work, you really have to come and be in front of them directly. And if that happens I hope people  might feel their own inner smile, and maybe some of that ‘hallo’ of connection that I feel.”