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End of the line: Inch by IN:CH completes its tour

We were inspired by what a truly collaborative group of people IN:CH are.’ Fiona Cassidy, Found Outdoors

Inch by IN:CH was a formidable undertaking at a difficult time. Thanks to our generous supporters, and the artists involved, we met our ambitions. We welcomed over 1500 visitors during the tour. We took part in many conversations with visitors, both in relation to the work and wider current issues. Taking our work to places where people did not expect to see art, responding to changing environments and pressures, our project accomplished what we intended, we transported art and ideas into local communities. 

The artist workshops and daily Drawing in Cases sessions were extremely successful in engaging visitors, who were mostly interested and open to the work. Drawing has been a strong aspect of our project. Each day of our tour we’ve offered Drawing from Cases, a chance for visitors to engage in the work by drawing from it.

At each venue, the focus and work changed. There were a different set of audiences, so we encountered a range of challenges and achievements. We had a magical day at Found Outdoors. Blessed with great weather, the light in the woods was sublime. The bucolic setting transformed the cases.

I love how our work took on new meanings in such a unique context. In addition to the clear connections to nature and the outdoors, I sensed such care and nurture in how the whole experience was offered and facilitated.’ Kelly O’Brien, artist 

We had a fantastic final week at the Gauge Museum, West Somerset Railway. It was filled with activities, visitors, participants and creative energy. We ran several workshops, linked to The Big Draw and Somerset Art Works Family Friendly weekend. Mixed ages created together using a range of media and techniques, 2D to 3D. We were delighted with the large turnout of participants and their responses.

Press coverage was in-depth and supportive. Jenna Myles of Somerset Cool and BBC radio visited and interviewed us, trialing our Sculpture and Shadow Drawing Workshop. We featured on BBC Breakfast radio with Charlie Taylor on the last day. We were also thrilled with an excellent review of our project by Fiona Robinson, for Evolver magazine.

Comments from participants

I came in tired but left energised

Loved learning and creating something extraordinary

Enabling, encouraging, inclusive … ’

I’m so pleased with my polar bear created in such a short time.’

Such encouragement to explore and have fun!

It’s been wonderful travelling around parts of the south west to such an interesting range of venues over the past 5 months. We’ve learnt so much as a collaborative artist group, and thrilled that it’s been a success. It’s been a great collective effort. Yes, hard work. But it’s been an incredible journey. We’re so grateful to all our visitors and supporters. Thank you!

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Somerset Open Studios: Venue 16

As part of Somerset Open Studios, Inch by IN:CH will be on show in The Gauge Museum, venue 16.

Thank you to Fiona Robinson who, writing for Evolver, shares some thoughts about our project and the final stop of the tour.

“There is something about suitcases that is always very intriguing. Like trains heard in the distance, they suggest travel, discovery and secrets. Inch by IN:CH a group of eleven artists have come together to create a travelling exhibition, which aims to bring art to lots of disparate places, rather than always expecting people to come to them …”

“It is an inspired project and a really serious attempt to engage communities who might never feel tempted to cross the threshold of a gallery.”

Fiona Robinson for Evolver

“There is a frisson of excitement when a dusty old leather suitcase is discovered, neglected and long forgotten in a loft. It might contain old photos, documents and secret histories belonging to their original owners.”

“The cases being used by Inch by IN:CH have been sourced from all different places and for the artists they are in the nature of 3D found objects which have become repositories for a new set of references and memories.”

“The artists will also be there, continuing their programme of free drawing workshops.”

Fiona Robinson for Evolver

“During Somerset Open Studios, the final stop on their journey will be The Gauge Museum at Bishops Lydeard Station (venue 16), where they will be on show in the ‘unique Victorian sleeping car, with suitcase artworks spilling out onto the platform’.”

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Next stop, West Somerset Railway

The final destination for Inch by IN:CH is at The Gauge Museum, West Somerset Railway, Taunton, ending 3rd October.

The Gauge Museum, West Somerset Heritage Railway Trust, Bishops Lydeard, Taunton, Somerset TA4 3RU, 25 September to 03 October, 11am-5pm, daily except Mondays.

As part of Somerset Open Studios, the cases will be on show in the museum amongst the regular exhibits.This will create an interesting dynamic and reveal them in yet another light. Dedicated to travel, it is a fitting location and fabulous ‘terminus’ for the tour.

Inch by IN:CH will be hosting several events during their time in the station.

  • Drawing from Cases: daily 
  • Artists-in-conversation: Sat 25 Sept, 2–4pm
  • Sculpture and Shadow Drawing Workshop: Sun 26 Sept, 2-4pm, with Fiona Campbell and Shirley Sharp.
  • Family Drawing WorkshopSat 2 Oct, 2-4pm, with Helen Anson and Anna Kot.
  • Family Sculpture Workshop: Sun 3 Oct, 2-4pm, exploring processes with recycled materials (linked to The Big Draw), with Shirley Sharp and Fiona Campbell.

Inch by IN:CH have held informal free workshops at each location. These have produced some exciting art pieces from those involved, as well as laughter and playful creativity. Two of the artists gave a live experimental drawing performance in a shop window which attracted attention! 

Go along to view the works, discuss the ideas behind the tour, join in a workshop and/or explore the venues … maybe even take a train ride or a woodland walk.

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Next stop, Found Outdoors

The next stop on the Inch by IN:CH spiral route is Found Outdoors on 11th August.

Here the cases will be on display within the glorious woodland setting of Found Outdoors.

Artists will be:

  • holding a free drawing workshop
  • hosting an artist-in-conversation event, where two of the artists will discuss the ideas behind the project and the works, prompted by questions from the audience
  • facilitating a casting workshop.

On Saturday 11 September, 1-4pm, there will be a casting workshop with Kelly O’Brien, using natural materials found on site. A small charge will be made for materials. Tickets are bookable via Eventbrite.

Found Outdoors, Erlestoke, Wiltshire, 11 September: 11am-4pm

Found Outdoors is set in 54 acres of mature woods and grassland on the edge of Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.

Their aim is to help people of all ages connect with the natural world, to spend some time outside, away from the urgency of modern life and feel the sun (or rain) on their skin.

Inch by IN:CH are grateful to Rich and Fiona for hosting our travelling exhibition which will need to adapt to the weather.

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Empathy for Nature: Casting workshop

Kelly M O’Brien is facilitating a workshop that runs alongside the Inch by IN:CH exhibition, a travelling project touring to Found Outdoors on Saturday 11th September 2021.

Inspired by the lovely outdoor setting, we will reflect on what empathy for nature means and how we can use techniques of ‘repair’ to express ideas through mixed media sculpture. We will use paper casting to create small 3-d objects.

Tools and materials will be supplied and we’ll take a brief walk to collect natural materials to use in your work.

There is a materials cost of £5pp, payable in advance to secure your booking. Suitable for all abilities and ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult, who we’d love to join in.

O’Brien’s practice focuses on themes of precarity, care, and repair.

Kelly M O’Brien is an American mixed media sculptor, living and working in the Bristol/Bath area. Through materialiality, she seeks to foster sympathy for nature and believes that empathy can be a portal to action. She is interested in how these themes manifest through the interdependence of ephemeral materials including paper, fiber, beeswax, and materials collected or found in nature.

Most recently these themes have focused her attention on the fragility and potential climate solutions inherent in species-rich native grasslands. Inspired by the loss of 97% of these habitats in the UK, she is currently conducting a four-season field residency with several Wildlife Trusts to look at the role of wildflower meadows in biodiversity and climate repair.

Kelly hosts a trans-Atlantic Reading Circle for The All We Can Save Project and is co-founder of A Gathering of Unasked Possibility, a collaborative project fostering active hope through creative practitioners. Find out more at her website and on Instagram.

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Visitors are on-board with Inch by IN:CH

The Inch by IN:CH tour has welcomed many visitors to the roving exhibitions and sparked interesting conversations around the works and ideas they explore. By hosting the works in unusual and communal spaces, the artist group have engaged with people who might not normally head into a gallery to view art. 

Some comments from visitors:

“Inspiring and different. Questioning what is art and how it should be shown.”

“An interesting concept. I enjoyed hearing directly from one of the artists.”

“Beautiful and thought-provoking.”

After successful visits to Frome, part of Frome Festival, a show of work/workshops at East Somerset Railway, Cranmore in July, and Backwell Playhouse, the artists are taking a pause for breath.

At the small independent theatre, Backwell Playhouse, the pop up event involved an exhibition of the cases on stage and shadow drawing workshops with participants.

It was a fantastic creative day with a great energy – so lovely to interact with the public about our work.

Shirley Sharp

Visitors really appreciated the event, engaging with the work with many interesting conversations.

The cases maintained their idiosyncrasy in a place where they could hold some authority.

Anna Kot

Inch by IN:CH have held informal free workshops at each location. These have produced some exciting art pieces from those involved, as well as laughter and playful creativity. Two of the artists gave a live experimental drawing performance in a shop window which attracted attention! 

Go along to view the works, discuss the ideas behind the tour, join in a workshop and/or explore the venues … maybe even take a train ride or a woodland walk.

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Next stop, East Somerset Railway

Today we are installing at East Somerset Railway in Cranmore!

Come and see us from tomorrow, Wednesday 21 July.

The station a perfect venue for a project about movement and transportation.

A heritage Brunel steam railway, part of the Strawberry line, the steam and sounds conjure imaginings of past travel. A connection to the arts can be found via wildlife artist David Shepherd (his love of steam trains brought him to East Somerset Railway to paint them).

Mandy Shepherd recently opened the newly refurbished and nostalgic Museum and Waiting Room, the setting for the art in cases.

The Inch by IN:CH events include:

  • Drawing from Cases: daily when open
  • Artists-in-Conversation: Sat 24 July, 11am – 1pm. With Fiona Campbell and Philippa Edwards
  • Sculpture workshop: Sat 24 July, 2 – 4pm. Book via eventbrite. £5 for materials. With Fiona Campbell. Suitable for 8 yrs-adult
  • Sculpture Workshop using recycled materials: Sun 25 July, 11am – 1pm. With Fiona and Angel Greenham. Free, drop-in, all ages

East Somerset Railway is in Cranmore, near Shepton Mallet BA4 4QP.
Open: 21 – 31 July, 11am – 5pm, Wed, Thurs, Sat, Sun (closing at 3pm on final day)

Come and see us, join one of our events, visit the fascinating engine shed and take a train trip back in time!

On 7th August Inch by IN:CH tours to Backwell Playhouse for a one-day pop-up exhibition and shadow drawing workshop. (28 August).

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Inch by IN:CH: Event of the Week

Inch by IN:CH is the Event of the Week on Shepton Mallet Nub News. You can find the article here.

The next stop on our tour is Cranmore at the East Somerset Railway. Come and visit the museum, see the group’s work, watch short films, take part in workshops, and more.

‘Join in with travelling exhibition that features artwork in cases at Cranmore.’

Event of the week on Shepton Mallet Nub News

We’re delighted to be the Event of the Week, and can’t wait to see readers at the East Somerset Railway.

We’re here from 21.07 to 31.07. Click here for more information about opening times.

Free entry, free parking.

East Somerset Railway, Cranmore, Shepton Mallet BA4 4QP

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Kelly O’Brien talks to BBC Radio Bristol

Kelly M O’Brien was interviewed by Claire Cavanagh for BBC Radio Bristol on Wednesday 23 June. Kelly talked about her practice and mission to inspire wildlife and ecosystem protection through her art.

Hear the interview here.

The interview begins at 1:20:30 and ends 1:28:28.

‘Talking with Claire Cavanagh was a breath of fresh air. We discussed next stops for Inch by IN:CH, my work for the tour – Meadow Inside – and my current passion for regenerating Britain’s wildflower meadows. We even snuck in a cheeky exchange about our favorite Elton John songs, all in good fun.’

Kelly O’Brien

Thank you Claire and BBC Radio Bristol.

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Shirley Sharp on BBC Radio Bristol

Shirley Sharp was interviewed by Steve Yabsley for BBC Radio Bristol on Sunday 20 June. Shirley talked about her love of drawing, her connections to her community, and even Steve’s own art practice.

Hear the interview here.

The chat is from 01:23:40 to 01:38:00 mins.

‘It was so great to talk with Steve Yabsley on Sunday about my own work, teaching and of course the Inch by IN:CH tour. To hear his enthusiasm for the whole concept of connecting with the public reminded me of how special it is to make art accessible to all, something I have always been passionate about.’

Shirley Sharp

Thank you, Steve, and BBC Radio Bristol.