Wednesday, 14 October 2015

When Waiting is Filled

Dual 2, by John Percy
An exhibition of paintings by OHOS artist John Percy.  John's aim is to create enigmatic, contemplative objects that carry a certain poetic power. His abstract works are introspective and express his sense of the disorderly order around us - the continual struggle between necessary order and desirable anarchy.

26 September - 22 October, 2015
Open weekdays 2.30-4.30, Saturday 17 Oct 12-3pm
The Peacock Gallery
Maiden Erlegh School
Reading RG6 7HS

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Big Draw: Lord of the Rings

OHOS was delighted to welcome Mayor and Battle Councillor Sarah Hacker to the Big Draw event at Brock Keep on 3 October.  Her dedication and support for Arts in Reading always provide a great morale boost.  Visitors of all ages enjoyed Kate Lockhart's drawing, collage and monoprinting activities.    Promoted by RIBA, architect Ksenija Krotin showed the use of plans and elevations, including a very big floor plan of a Hobbit House.  Kate also led a follow up workshop at Battle Library a few days later.  Both events encouraged visitors to enter Battle Library's Lord of the Rings art competition relating to The Return of the King: the hand in date for entries is Sat 17 October at 4pm.

And a 3-dimensional Hobbit House enabled visitors of all sizes to climb inside, make drawings and read books.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Napoleon at OHOS's Heritage Open Days

Napoleon contemplating his Wedgewood plates
This year being the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, OHOS decided to explore the Keep's links with Napoleon.  The Keep was built for the Royal Berkshire Regiment, formed partly from the 66th Berkshire Regiment, which guarded Napoleon during his exile on St Helena.  During the Heritage weekend over 150 visitors viewed a replica Napoleon cooped up in a cell in the Keep, and they also enjoyed other exhibits kindly lent by the Rifles Museum in the Wardrobe, Salisbury (  These included a diary (1808-1942) written by Charles McCarthy of the 66th Regt, mentioning his time with Napoleon in the 1820s, and transcribed now by OpenHand OpenSpace artist Ingrid Jensen.
Major Charles McCarthy's Diary
Also on show were prints from a folder of works in the Wardrobe's collection called "Kerr's views in the Island St Helena." They were produced by  Robert Havell after John Kerr in 1822 as hand coloured aquatints based on watercolour paintings done by one of the soldiers on the island.  As the originals are too fragile for display, OpenHand OpenSpace artist Anna Mitchell photographed the originals in Salisbury, and OHOS had new archival quality prints produced for exhibitions.  Havell's was a Reading company with premises in London.
Napoleon outside Longwood House, St Helena

Visitors also enjoyed guided tours of artists' studios on the upper floors of the Keep. OHOS is grateful for sponsorship from RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects) for production of a historical information panel about the Keep, to the Wardrobe Museum of loan of artefacts, and to Reading Museum for a panel about Reading during the Napoleonic wars. 

  •   A fascinating glimpse into the Napoleonic era and Napoleon himself.  Very interesting and informative – thank you.
  •       So pleased to be able to visit this landmark and learn some of the history of the Berkshire regiment and also to be fascinated by the artistic work being carried out.  We do hope that this project flourishes.  
  • Thank you very much for an impressive Open Day.   What a lot of great work has gone into this

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Poppies in the OHOS garden

Brock Keep poppy garden
As usual the summer produced a beautiful crop of poppies in the garden - highly appropriate given the proximity to the grade II listed Lutyens cenotaph next door in Brock Barracks.  The profusion of flowers in the garden are in large part due to our kind neighbour Trevor from Brock Gardens, who looks after the Keep's garden, with the help of other friends and neighbours who have also donated a wonderful selection of plants. They grow excellent tomatos, too!
Trevor and Dave working hard

The cenotaph was originally situated to be visible from Oxford Road through the archway.  Unfortunately a wall now blocks this view, but OHOS hopes at some point to open the Keep's  roof to the public, and so provide this spectacular view:

Remembrance Day, 2013

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Open for Art

Elastic Time II, in Shed/Milk. Ingrid Jensen 2015
OHOS artists Peter Driver, Robert Fitzmaurice, Ingrid Jensen, Jon Lockhart and Kate Lockhart were delighted to join jelly's Open For Art in central Reading in July.  They exhibited in Launchpad, Waterstones, the Penta Hotel, Blandy and Blandy and H:Room. Thank you to Suzanne Stallard, jelly's director, for excellent organisation, and to all the brilliant venues for their help and hospitality.

Elastic Time II, in Shed/Milk.  Ingrid Jensen 2015

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Mixing-Media in 3D Form Workshop

OpenHand Gallery Space was the venue for a 2 day hands-on workshop this July run by Associate Member Janet Curley Cannon for artists from across the region. The workshop explored the many uses of Paper Mâché Clay, a simple, affordable medium made from paper and plaster which requires no specialist materials or tools. The artists brought along a variety of found objects and varying surfaces, or built simple structures from wire or cardboard to apply the medium onto on day one. The second day was spent carving, sanding, painting or applying more medium or other materials to their designs. The artists were quite taken with what this easy to make, easy to use medium has the potential to offer as an affordable art medium used within their art practice.

Artists making a new batch of Paper Mâché Clay with ingredients sourced from DIY stores 

Paper Mâché Clay being applied around a rusted metal grid using simple tools
Dried Paper Mâché Clay on a metal mesh structure, it adheres to most surfaces

Dried Paper Mâché Clay paints easily and can be used to create rich textural surfaces

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Oxford Road Fun Day 2015

OHOS artists Ingrid Jensen, Neile Wright and Jon Lockhart all had fun at the Oxford Road Fun Day in Kensington Park in 4 July - and so did lots of families and children, learning about simple printmaking techniques.  The Fun Day is a great way to meet up with friends and neighbours from the Oxford Road area, eat food, enjoy performances and rides, and find out about what's going on.  It is organised by the Oxford Road Multi Agency, which is a wonderful optimistic forum of local groups, where people get together during the year to improve the neighbourhood.