Line & light: Art show

Round & About

Oxford

From Saturday 9th to Sunday 24th March, enjoy an exhibition of photographs, ceramics and life drawings presented by Gaby Guz and Rob Farrands.

Line and Light is the product of a wintertime collaboration between two artists using three media. It is their first joint exhibition. Rob is a photographer who lives in Oxford and Gaby, an alumna of St John’s, is a ceramicist and artist.

Gaby uses line and light to capture the fleeting poses she likes to draw. Her concerns are to convey the essence and emotion of a subject in the brief time that a dynamic pose allows. Her ceramic vessels are largely monochromatic, with bold black and grey lines spreading across egg-shell like pale surfaces.

Rob’s photographs honour the soft, reduced light of the winter solstice. He has shot directly into the light (often including the sun) and dealt with the resulting technical challenges to produce work with strong monochrome tones. His compositions are intended to arouse both a memory of winter’s darkness and the promise of the coming spring.

Rob’s photographs are all taken in Oxford mostly along the banks of the Thames between Iffley and Sandford. He has previously exhibited at the John Radcliffe Hospital in 2016/17 and also in Art Weeks. Gaby’s raku ceramics are monochrome and provide a perfect complement to Rob’s black and white photographs.

The exhibition is at The Barn Gallery, Kendrew Quad, St John’s College, St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JP. Opening times are 12-5pm weekdays and 11am-6pm Saturdays and Sundays.

Visit gabyguzart.com and  rfarrands.com to see more about Gaby and Rod!

Shop of Secrets

Round & About

Oxford

The Shop of Secrets is set to cast its spell over Harry Potter fans

Harry Potter fans will be familiar with many of Oxford’s famous sights featuring in the blockbuster films and now there’s a new sight set to cast its spell.

Souvenirs and sweet treats galore will be just some of the charms for visitors at the new Shop of Secrets in historic Broad Street.

And you only have a few days to wait – the shop devoted to the boy wizard and the Fantastic Beasts opens for the first time on Saturday, 9th March.

Magical treasures galore will be on sale with staff dressed as some of the characters from the films.

The Shop of Secrets will be selling a wide range of collectibles including adult and children’s costumes, wands, hats, scarves, some of the original books as well as memorabilia books, and replica props including the famous sorting hat and Lucius Malfoy’s walking stick.

Visitors will also be able to discover some of the weird and wonderful sweets from the Harry Potter films including jelly slugs, chocolate frogs and Bertie Botts every flavour beans.
Co-owner of The Shop of Secrets, Sally Moss, who has run Oxford Campus Stores on Broad Street since 1996, says: “After the huge popularity of Harry Potter and its well-known filming locations in the city, we introduced a range of Harry Potter collectibles which were a hit with tourists and local customers alike.

“With another popular JK Rowling series, the Fantastic Beasts, our range has grown to a point where we needed a space devoted to it all. We had previously been running The Buttery Cafe next door but sadly due to rents more than doubling in the last 10 years, it was no longer a viable business, but has now become home to our exciting new gift shop.

“We can’t wait to welcome our old and new customers to our very own chamber of secrets!”

The first 100 people through the door will receive a bottle of Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer and there will also be a Harry Potter quiz to test your knowledge. The lucky winner will get to fly off with a  replica Hogwarts gown and wand from their favourite house at Hogwarts.

Why not take a tour of the locations featured in the films and visit Bodleian Library which featured in The Philosopher’s Stone; New College whose cloisters appeared in The Goblet of Fire and Christ Church which starred in both The Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets.

True Colours

Liz Nicholls

Oxford

Liz Nicholls chats to world-famous decorative painting expert and queen of chalk paint products, Annie Sloan, 69, who lives in Oxford.

Q. Lovely to chat to you, Annie! Is your house, like mine, a work in progress?
“Yes! I’m so busy it will never be finished. It looks good in parts – so long as I look in the right direction! Of course, it’s very colourful! I don’t have a favourite shade – for me, it’s all about combinations.”

Q. Which artist made a big impression on you as a child?
“Gauguin made a real impression; my father was a fan and we had a lot of prints around the house. I identified with him. His use of colour is pretty strong and he made me want to paint.”

Q. I’ve got to ask you about your music – your pre-punk proto-girl band The Moodies!
“Ah yes – that part of my life still follows me around! We’re talking 1971-74 and yet the band really resonated with people, still does. We had some great fans – Mick Jagger, David Bowie… I think back to those times and think ‘how weird!”

Q. Did you meet Bowie?
“Yes, amazingly. He came to see us play – it was at a cool bar in London called The Last Resort. I was keen to talk to him but it was difficult, I’m afraid, because that night he was looking for cocaine and quite out of it. This was in his gaunt, pale, skinny phase. But we did chat about art school and south London, where he was born and I used to live.”

Q. You’re a citizen of the world – born in Australia to a Scottish father and Fijian mother – do you still find inspiration on your travels?
“Yes; absolutely. I’ve just got back from Oregon and San Francisco. Portland is the coolest place ever! San Francisco used to be the place of flower power but now it’s one of the most expensive places in the world because Yahoo and Google are there; you’ve got these young girls and guys earning mega-bucks and lots of ‘normal’ people who can’t afford to live there, so the city’s a bit schizophrenic. It actually made Oxford look affordable! I always love travelling and seeing what the hipsters are up to. In Portland, there are lots of wooden Victorian painted houses painted in a gorgeous array of colours. I absorb inspiration from everywhere.”

Q. Do you visit a lot of galleries?
“We are so, so lucky to have two amazing galleries in Oxford – Modern Art Oxford and the Ashmolean. I don’t go to London as much as I used to; I used to go to them all. But whenever I travel I always try to see an exhibition; that feeds my soul hugely. I went to an amazing exhibition in America last week – celebrating 50 years since the summer of love – 1967. Haight-Ashbury, flowers in your hair, all that. It was superb.”

Q. Do you listen to much music?
“Yes, I listen to a lot; anything that relaxes me, any genre. I love Iggy Pop’s show [on BBC R6, Fridays]. He makes me laugh and I love his taste in music and that gravelly voice! My big love is also podcasts. This American Life and Radio Lab are my current faves.”

Q. You started your network of Annie Sloan shops and range of products has expanded hugely from humble beginnings – how does that make you feel?
“Having success in my business is nice – not just financially but I love to support the shops, the network of independent businesses – that’s very rewarding. We all work together. It’s hard in retail at the moment, particularly with the world the way it is.”

Q. Are you at the happiest point in your life, do you think?
“Really, I’ve always been quite happy and grounded. That’s why I moved away from the art scene proper early on – some of it really has a tendency to disappearing up its own bottom. People often tell me I’ve had an impact on their life and inspired them to paint or upcycle, which is fantastic as that’s what it’s all about. Life’s pleasures are often momentary – a good cup of tea, a great exhibition that makes you think ‘I want to create, I want to paint!” I’m happiest with a paintbrush in my hand. I have to find time to make sure I paint, paint, paint as that’s what makes me tick.”

Visit www.anniesloan.co.uk for details of Annie’s local shops and products, including the new stencil range.