Wishart not Wishy Washy

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Jennie Wishart shows us her artwork’ not wishy-washy. Born in Anglesey, North Wales she initially studied Fine Art at the then Sunderland Polytechnic. This was followed by further study at our very own John Moores University, Liverpool becoming her adopted home. She began a career teaching Art in secondary schools, this was brought to an abrupt halt after the birth of her daughter, Jennie suffering from Post Natal depression:

”It was a slow journey to build myself up again, I felt totally alone, not knowing anyone with a child to care for”

Postnatal depression affects as many as 1 in 7 mums, it is a severe form of clinical depression relating to pregnancy and childbirth. Feelings of hopelessness, guilt and problems bonding with the new baby are common signs. As a result of the experience, she decided to train as a therapist.

Jennie decided she wanted a second child and became pregnant again, throughout the pregnancy she feared another bout of post-natal depression after the baby was born. However, this time she was in luck, there was not repeat of the depression and she was ‘Gifted’ with a beautiful baby boy.

Her artistic career has accompanied her on life’s emotional journey:

”The art had never stopped… I wanted to capture my children. I’ve so many paintings of them with wings. I went through a phase of painting everyone with wings.”

As all great artists do she enmassed a haul of paintings, drawings, sketchbooks and notepads. In July she held an exhibition of her works at the Egg, Liverpool’ leading grass routes exhibition space. Located just off Bold Street, the Egg is a converted Victorian Warehouse frequented by an eclectic mix of bohemians: students and artists alike. This was followed by her debut solo held at the Unity Theatre. The small-scale theatre with big ambition being an ideal venue for Jennie’ paintings.

However, disaster was to strike again, Jennie was to be sectioned under the mental health act leading to a five-week period in hospital.

‘Living in Fear’ is a later work, the emotion conveyed through the figure is expanded through the use of shadow. We see a figure frightened, the anticipation of fear indicated by the shadow overcoming the figure. The poise is almost prey-like, her hands coming together, almost shaking as the face reflects the emotions which are present in her face. Yet, the bright range of purples and yellow make it an almost pleasant image to view, interesting work from an artist turning in new directions within her practice. The work is currently on display at the Shatter the Silence exhibition held at the Quaker Meeting House.

An artist who struggles with mental health which is exposed through her artist practice who only looks to get stronger.
‘Shatter the Silence’ exhibition takes place in the cafe exhibition space at the Quaker Meeting House, 22 School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BT, the private View being held 4-6pm on Friday 24/03/17, the exhibition running until Sunday the 21/05/17. The Cafe is open from 9am-3pm weekdays and 9am-4pm on Saturdays closed on Sundays. Arts activities relating to the exhibition are planned for the Light Night taking place on the 19/05/17 the closing weekend of the exhibition.


The London Marathon: Women’s Urinals


The London Marathon, Women’s Urinals, are you taking the pis*?

Feminism or fucked up thinking?


A two hundred person queue for the women’s toilets at the start line of the Virgin London Marathon ran this previous Sunday. Six months of training rolled into one day of nerves waiting for the queue to go down for a quick pee to ensure I didn’t have to stop during the race. The length snakes and ladders style of those assembling in order seemed to be going down rather quickly for the ladies.

In waiting, making chit-chat with the other competitors I look at the sign reading ‘Women’s Urinals’. I assume that it was some kind of printing error, women don’t use urinals, they can’t. I assume there would be portaloo’s inside, perhaps not that discrete and with no toilet paper, but suitable for relieving yourself on. As I am nearly at the entrance I view those ahead picking something out from a cardboard box, from a distance I think they might be neatly packaged wet wipes.

As I get closer to the front I pick up one myself and realise it’s some kind of foldable tube. In this, I wonder what I am supposed to do with one of these? As I enter the ladies area I see an assortment of female runners attempting to pee standing up through the cardboard tubes into a urinal area. The tubes seem to be an instrument replicating a man’s penis. With very little time before the race starts I give it a go. Trying my very best I couldn’t get the urine to flow. Very little time….then I hear a girl say:

‘I am just going to squat!’

Good idea, I join the other squatting at the side of the tent, pee flowing directly into the natural environment of the grassed area.

For a girl who fights for equality on a daily basis, frequently being accused of penis envy, it was simply my worst experience of using a ladies toilet to date. It even beats the faces inscribed portaloos of the Old Glastonbury Festival.

Women were just not built to stand urinating like men, say no to female urinals!

May Day Magic

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May Day Magic, spend the day re-discovering the art of colouring in. Claire McGorman brings us ‘Stuff from my head’, the latest adult colouring book to reach our shelves. Volume 1 allows time to unwind and de-stress, every black and white illustration has been hand drawn, the sophisticated patterns encompassing intricate details. We are taken on a journey through a magical landscape of mystery, plant forms from alien-inhabited planets brought to your front room with this coffee table based colouring in activity.

Claire McGorman, the Midlands based artist was born and bread in the much cherished Coventry, moving to Wolverhampton to study visual arts at the cities University. Throughout her Degree, Claire focussed bodies of work around illustration techniques and practice. From graduation, she has worked across the creative sector located in the dynamic artistic outlet we call the Jewellery Quater for the last decade. During this period she began her internet based art business ‘Little Flat Bear’ bringing prints and illustrations to the commercial realm. After planning, creative thought process and artistic endeavour she brings us the first Volume of ‘Stuff from my Head’.

As adults why colour?

Colouring in has the power to reduce anxiety, create focus and improve mental wellbeing. Akin to meditation, colouring in allows the brain to switch to switch off other thoughts and direction attention towards the artistic indulgence. The calming benefits of the blocking in process are unquestionable, the selection of medium and colour choices and stroke direction allow us to explore feelings. The activity allows for the reconciliation of emotional conflict and greater self-awareness. Arts engagement allows us to manage behaviour, deal with addictions and develop socially. We can improve ourselves and a tool of personal expression.

The short version?

It’s a hobby to help you chill out.

Get scribbling, order now for delivery on time for May Day colouring fun.




La Fille Coquelicot reminds us women’s bodies are not always perfect

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La Fille Coquelicot: the French artist emigrated to London from Lille in the mid-nineties choosing to study at London College of the Arts. After and an intense period spent in publishing design she upped sticks again, Liverpool becoming her latest dwelling. In becoming a Mother, between bathing and breastfeeding she found time to rediscover her creative routes.

Her work focuses on the depiction of imperfect bodies:

I like creating colorful soothing dreamscapes and am also interested in depicting issues surrounding Feminism and Preservation of our world, as well as the acceptance of different life choices.

Her latest work currently in ‘Shatter the Silence’ held at the Quaker meeting House, Liverpool utilising gouache and linear techniques to present a world of beauty presented through the female form of a fuller figure. Central to the canvas we are presented with a blue shapely, full bodied woman. Delicately featured and topped off with free flowing, brightly coloured pink hair. To the front of the figure, she is accompanied by other females, in unison holding up a sign brandishing the term ‘No Fear’. Naked ladies showing they are not ashamed of their larger bodies. Behind the central figure we see a queue of ladies, mainly naked joining the protest-like gathering. Around the figures, there are textual statements around Abuse, labelling, objectification, sexual exploitation and most notably ‘Body Shaming’.

A strong feminist visionary using her dreamscapes to celebrate the imperfectives of our bodies.

‘Shatter the Silence’ exhibition takes place in the cafe exhibition space at the Quaker Meeting House, 22 School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BT, the private View being held 4-6pm on Friday 24/03/17, the exhibition running until Sunday the 21/05/17. The Cafe is open from 9am-3pm weekdays and 9am-4pm on Saturdays closed on Sundays.

Sarah Nicholson shines some light on Salvage based Art


Sarah Nicholson shines some light on Salvage based Arts, her route to the 2017 Light Night

We have an artist who has worked across the visual arts sector bringing us new major works year in, year out in the creative Metropolis we call Liverpool. Global perspectives were highlighted for Festival 31 where immigration was the focus. Installations for the Baltic Triangle-based Threshold Festival and the Long Night of the Biennial for the Independents. Exhibitions include Ganglion, Roadside Attractions in Toronto Canada as well as work shown at one of Liverpool’s oldest establishments but equally, newest arts centres: the Florrie. (Certainly not ignoring the corrosive qualities of the chemical Landscapes series making maximum impact at the Catalyst discovery centre in Halton. Not sure about including this sentence)

Nicholson began her artist career with the route common to many creatives: the well-subscribed art foundation course held at our very own Liverpool John Moores. This was followed by a fine art degree at with our Preston based neighbours; UCLAN, with their very own exit from the M6. After launching into the visual arts as a dedicated vocation with the ‘First Graduate exhibition’ at Stroud House Gallery, many group shows followed. She was then to return to full-time study, gaining an MA in Fine Art from Birmingham Institute of Art early years of the New Millennium.

Not satisfied with simply the production of artworks, workshop practice is core to her creative spectrum. A substantial residency was completed with CHASE (Cottage Homes And Sculptural Experience) based Fazakerly. In this, she worked with a variety of disabled and able-bodied young people to form a collection of reclaimed sculptural forms. An artist who just keeps popping up in our leading cultural venues, reprocessing waste material for Red Dot at Fact, drawing at Halton Castle and not forgetting a permanent commission for Norton Priory based on a stone alcove found in the eleventh Century Monastery. Heavily involved in establishing and running the Kitchen Gallery in Runcorn she has led the curation, fundraising and the workshop program. Alongside the arrange of visual arts she maintains her craft ranges:

‘Sinister, Scared, Weird’

are the terms she uses to describe her crochet bunny collections, felting and embroidery being explored in combination with core fibre work.

Nicholson is currently exhibiting in the Group show, ‘Shatter the Silence’ being held at the Quaker Meeting house, Liverpool City Centre. Her framed textiles work draws on the violence presented in children’s fairy stories:

‘So often the narrative of the fairy tale is one of domestic violence made normal by repetition and dressed up prettily. These are the stories we tell to our children.

Fairy tales spend so much time devaluing women’s work and yet insist that if you slave away in silence, like a good girl, then your handsome prince will someday come and rescue you from the drudgery of the kitchen. Yet without the bonds formed and the wisdom passed on, from mother to daughter during this time alone together, how would women’s escape from domestic confinement have been forged?’

Nicholson 2017

The heavily frames piece mounts fused glass, found object wire bonds layers, while scripture draws attention to the nature of young fiction. A stunning piece, holding a strong visual focus at the Quaker Meeting House.

Alongside this Nicholson is one part of a joint exhibition with Amy Richie ‘Micro/Macro’ held at Dot Art, based in the traditional arcade Queens Avenue off Water Street. The process of time is explored through the use of space filled with ink and line formed with knitted and woven fibres.

What’s next for Nicholson?

Based Dot art for the evening of the Light Night he will be producing a major form from reclaimed everyday waste. 430 plastic fizzy drink bottles will be infused to highlight the 430 years it will take every bottle to disintegrate.

Not to be missed.

‘Shatter the Silence’ exhibition takes place in the cafe exhibition space at the Quaker Meeting House, 22 School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BT, the private View being held 4-6pm on Friday 24/03/17, the exhibition running until Sunday the 21/05/17. The Cafe is open from 9am-3pm weekdays and 9am-4pm on Saturdays closed on Sundays.


Macro/Micro Dot Art Liverpool

Dot-art, 14 Queen Avenue, Castle Street, Liverpool, L2 4TX. We are open 10am-6pm Monday to Saturday.


Light Night taking place on the 19/05/17