January is a great time to take stock of what works and what doesn’t and we have been very busy sorting out plans for 2019 during these past couple of weeks. Part of that has been looking at our opening times. Sundays just haven’t worked out as we had hoped so with immediate effect we will no longer open on Sundays unless by prior appointment. We still encourage visitors to ring the number on the door of the gallery should we be closed and if available we can be there in five minutes to open up.
2017 has past with a rush! It's been a big year for the team, bedding into our new location in Kirkbymoorside and then enduring the eighteen weeks of renovations that ensued! We now have the gallery we really wanted and all that hard work has been worth the efforts.
We would firstly like to thank the teams who helped with the renovations from Sid Brackley's building firm, Jonathan Graham's decorations, Chris Clark Electricians, Ryedale District Council for their understanding and assistance and no least our landlord who had the larger bill at the end of the works.
Through it all we continued to trade, despite the gallery closing it's doors for two months
Another whistle stop tour of the UK and we are back with more wonderful artworks to tempt you. 12 counties in 3 days and another 900 miles wracked up to make sure we have the very best to offer visitors to the gallery. We have also have Google in to create some internal 360 degree shots for Google Maps, so that you can check we really are doing what we say from the comfort of your home/office! It's up live and click the image below to check it out!
You may have seen we recently went on our travels to collect lots of lovely new things. We had 30 studio visits in 5 days, covered nearly 1500 miles and came back barely able to speak! Here are a few hints of the work that arrived and it within the newly renovated gallery space.
We have one more trip to do before Christmas with new works from Jane Human, Karen Stamper, Nichola Theakston amongst others! Deliveries continue to arrive weekly as well with Laura Rich's large works and Darrell Evanes works arriving this week.
We are delighted to have welcomed Layla Khoo to the team this year as our gallery mananger, a role she has jumped into with gusto! Not that she has that much time with her MA at Sunderland ongoing, her own ceramics works and now the owner of the old HSBC in Kirkbymoorside. This may well become much needed creative spaces for local artists along with a new business with Mrs Bils & Rye that they launched recently (more about that in the next instalment!). We have some of Layla's scorched wooden works in the gallery at the moment (see below).
Moving from John Bunting's old studio was heart wrenching, it just felt right to be able to offer visitors a view of some really high quality modern sculpture from it. That said, the new gallery in Kirkbymoorside more than compensates with it's light and airy spaces. The three rooms offer us far more possibilities for showing off the ever changing sculptures sourced from all over the UK.
Here's a quick run through of the sculptor's we think are great buys right now, either for their value or for the stunning aesthetics they can bring to your home, office or garden. As with all our stock, home trials are offered to make sure the selected piece is right for you and if we don't have it in stock, we will do our best to get something that meets your wishes.
We have hand picked a few of the resident ceramicists and a few that we have lined up for later in 2017 as our top picks for the year. Each has a very different approach, either in making or in the finishing process. The results show the depth of talent in the UK and beyond and the broad range of ceramics now available across the UK.
We will continue to showcase these talented makers and many more whilst helping the emerging artists such as Rhian Malin to find a place in this buoyant and exciting market. We currently have over 40 potters on show from long time specialists such as Stephen Murfitt, Akiko Hirai and Tanya Gomez to the wonderful emerging talents of Albert Montserrat, Alex Shimwell and Cat Santos.
We have a number of selection criteria for the artists we show, not least form, function and finish. It's a delight to open up a box of the latest arrivals!
For the last four years we have worked hard to bring new, exciting and technically advanced ceramics to the gallery from all over the UK and further afield. We currently hold an extensive stock of works that reflect the immense strength and depth in the ceramics field, all of which are hand-made by artisans that pride themselves on developing their skills.
It has been a head spinning few weeks since we made the decision to move the gallery. Five weeks from the point of signing the lease on 5 Market Place, Kirkbymoorside to opening the doors to a large new exhibition with 29 new makers! Meanwhile our plans for the stand at Cambridge Art Fair continued apace and we returned with quite a bit less work than we took. Now that that is over we can concentrate on the new gallery space which is proving to be a big hit with visitors and generally getting the seal of approval from the locals.
Thursday 29th September sees the fourth running of the Cambridge Art Fair in the Guildhall located on the Market Place. We have taken a large stand to show 14 of our highly talented artists.
It is an all ticket affair, you can download a free ticket from our website though and with over 40 galleries showing works by artists from all over the world it promises to be a great event and well worth visiting.
There have been some close calls over the last three years as we have searched extensively for a new home for the gallery. Nothing really nailed the look we were after, a grown-up version of the space we occupy at Nunnington Studios. Strangely a building we pass daily almost that has been empty since it closed as a public house back in 2010 caught our eye. In less than a month we have negotiated (hard) and signed a lease.
After many hours of study and consideration we have made our selections for the forthcoming Exhibition for Emerging Potters. We have a selection of 30 artists all new to Bils & Rye. We are delighted in the quality of the work submitted and it was no easy task cutting it down to a manageable level for our first event of this type.
There is still heaps of work to do to get the show ready, but in the meantime, here are a few images of the successful entrants.
Over the years we have been involved with the art business, sculpture has been possibly the least understood or approachable medium. We have recently sat down to consider why this might be!
Firstly the most obvious answer is the cost, making it unobtainable for many. Most art buyers will rarely consider the purchase or commissioning of a sculpture because they fear it's initial investment is beyond their means. Hopefully we can shatter this myth a little. Yes there is a lot of very expensive sculpture in the market but mostly this fits into the 'supercar' bracket. The majority is affordable, brilliantly made and potentially a sound investment in what is a whacky market.
As ever there is a diverse collection of ceramics in the four rooms that make up Bils & Rye. Strong colours combined with antique, retro and reclaimed furniture provide an alternative setting for works of real distinction.
Each room has sculpture added from some of the most exciting British sculptors. We have a strong heritage of sculpture at the gallery, one of the rooms was built by the sculptor, John Bunting, who worked with Robert Thompson (the Mouseman) and Henry Moore before teaching Sir Anthony Gormley at the nearby Ampleforth Abbey.
Bill Zima has been on quite an eventful journey, hailing from Chicago where he was a much celebrated artist producing fine works of art. Bill began to feel consumed by the mechanisms of the commissioning process and wanted to start painting for himself. There followed a long sabbatical in Spain where he began to develop encaustic works with the inspiration of bonsai sitting in the back of his mind. A couple of years ago he once again relocated to Edinburgh with his young family and began to use a combination of his original skills combined with his enthusiasm for ink and wax.
In February this year we revealed the first showing of these works in England to huge acclaim. All the works are based on real trees, yet they have a clear bonsai/Asian influence. There's depth, texture and smell from the beeswax used in the process. The works are remarkable in their adaptability to any home or office building.
2015 was an fantastic year of change for us. We welcomed many more visitors to the gallery and had a fabulous time at our first art fair. HIVE in Harrogate was a hard graft, getting all the works together, we learned many lessons. We had a great time and thank you to all who attended. We have taken stands at Cambridge and Edinburgh Art Fairs for 2016 and considering a couple of other options.
We have also undertaken a big change around in the gallery with a lot less work on display, hopefully making it a little more coherent and easier on the eye! We have a lot more sculpture for 2016, kicking off the year with a major coup of securing work from Simon Gudgeon. Born and bred in Ryedale, Simon went on to become a solicitor before converting to sculpting. His works are in international and Royal collections.
2015 proved to be the year of sculpture in the gallery, with us finding new homes for more pieces than previous years. The supply has helped no end with top end sculptors asking to exhibit at the gallery and 2016 is the year we will spend more resources on bringing in more contemporary works from around the UK.
Here our a few of our picks for 2016 including a rather special new arrival!
This week I've been planning the road trip to collect from far and wide. Thankfully some lovely makers are bringing their wares to us, although the trek couldn't take much more in. I'm off to Nottingham, Leicester, London, Canterbury, Lewes, Farnham, Mere, Devon/Cornwall border. Two other trips are happening too, the Lake District and Lincoln!
Meanwhile our set designers are hard at work making something very special for the stand. We are delighted with their vision and hope you will be too.