Harris Christmas Fair

Oxheys in the Community Gallery
at the Harris Museum

This last weekend, Saturday 30th November and Sunday 1st December 2019 saw the Harris Christmas Fair at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery in Preston. It was a lively event, which saw the Harris packed full of artists, makers and traders with a wide variety of stalls offering all kinds of products making ideal Christmas gifts.

Oxheys was there of course, on the first floor in the Community Gallery. Four of our member artists, Caroline Finnegan, Evelyn Rose, Bernie Velvick and Denise Swanson provided the items and took it in turns to man the stall. We had pretty little table and tree decorations from Bernie, beautifully hand-made crocheted scarves with hand-dyed wool from Caroline, delightful hand-made reindeer greeting cards from Evelyn and a selection of photographic prints and greeting cards from Denise taken in local nature spots. It was a busy couple of days in which we saw a lot of people including many old friends from our days at t’mill, making a lovely opportunity to catch up.

We had a steady stream of visitors and sales throughout the event, although Saturday seemed to be the busiest day – most popular were probably the Diversity Elves from Bernie, all of which were sold, bar one. Caroline’s Nail Binding kits also proved very popular as did Denise’s small prints.

Huge thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello or to buy something. We do appreciate your support, as always.

Dyeversity at Mela

Oxheys were at Preston Mela on Saturday July 6th 2019, with a stall demonstrating how wool from locally bred sheep had been hand-dyed using locally found wild plants to create a beautifully diverse range of natural, organic coloured yarns suitable for weaving or knitting.

Specially designed frames, produced on a 3D printer, were made available for visitors to select a yarn and then start weaving a square. The squares will then be combined to create a large artwork that will hopefully appear in the Harris Open exhibition later in the year.

Visitors were fascinated by the process of both dyeing and weaving and over one hundred squares were added to the artwork during the few hours that Preston Mela was on. Our Caroline and Evelyn were literally rushed off their feet coping with the interest being shown as visitors were fascinated by the process, as well as by the end results. Many, who initially declined joining in, suddenly found themselves putting down their bags, picking up a frame and starting to weave a square.

We were also pleased to assure those who asked that no sheep were harmed during the process as only their wool was used and in the summer heat, the sheep were probably quite pleased to be relieved of it!

This was Dyeversity in action – it was a multi-generational, multi-gender activity that everyone who took part enjoyed!

The sharp-eyed amongst you may recognise the backdrop in the photos – it was the hand-woven fishing net, made by Caroline, that recently appeared as the Ghost Net in Making A Mark with Preston Youth Theatre.

Making A Mark

CVAN NW Bursary

We are delighted to confirm that Oxheys co-founder Denise Swanson has been awarded a bursary from Contemporary Arts Network North West. This is to assist further development as project organiser for Making A Mark, enabling more opportunities and developing more ideas than the initial plans and funding for the event provided. The outcome of this will benefit all involved, as it will allow more time to widen the scope, opening up more opportunities for artists to be involved or for greater involvement from those already involved, as the project progresses.

One area to gain is the Ghost Net, initially to be a static installation but which now has scope to be developed further into something which will hopefully make the event more engaging and entertaining whilst getting our message across with more clarity.

Keep an eye out for the Ghost Net at the event on 15th June, featuring Preston Youth Theatre performers, fishing net crocheted by Oxheys artist Caroline Finnigan and sea creature costumes made by Caroline and fellow Oxheys artist Evelyn Rose.

Other activities are also being developed further, both for and after the event. Remember – 15 June 2019 12-4pm on the Flag Market, Preston