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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Friends' Trip to Rabley Last Week

We were delighted to be able to organise our first Friends' trip to Rabley Drawing Centre which took place last week, it took a lot less time than we'd allowed to get from Swindon, so we spent some time in the car park in  glorious sunshine watching red kites overhead, and enjoying the lushness of the rolling downlands.
 We were warmly welcomed by Meryl Ainslie, director of Rabley and offered tea, coffee and cakes, and wandered round enjoying the gardens between the house and gallery
 which were still looking lovely.
 After the drinks, we settled down for Meryl's introduction to herself and Rabley. I took copious notes, very few of which make much sense now, but I'll add a few bits of information here.
Meryl specialises in drawing, and is glad to see that drawing is once again fashionable. For 20 years, Meryl was a fine art lecturer at Swindon College, then in 2004 thought it's 'now or never' and founded Rabley Drawing Centre with the idea that it would be a contemporary fine art space, specialising in artists with an international reputation, with education running alongside. There is now also a print room.
The international profile is retained by attending art fairs, and if you click on the website link, you can see Meryl will be at Multiplied Art Fair in London from 16th-18th October, featuring work by many artists including Eileen Copper, Prudence Ainslie, Emma Stibbon and more.
Meryl has been working with our curator, Sophie Cummings  to put on a special show entitled 'Craigie Aitchison and his Contemporaries from the Swindon Collection' which runs from November  until January. And next year the aim is to bring Eileen Cooper's touring show to Swindon from the RA.
Above a great shot of Meryl with one of Alan Bond's paintings which manipulate perspective to create an altered environment. We were then introduced to Sara Lee who has been artist in residence at Rabley and showed us some of her prints, some of which are based on techniques used in Japanese print making. I loved her book of prints and was luckily able to buy a signed copy of one of the last of a run of 500. I also noticed this beautiful diamond shape created by light shining through brickwork
And here's Sara Lee talking us through her practice.
From there we went with AJ into the Print Room and saw a fine art print being made on a prepared plate. Here we are being talked through the stages
And then we went over to the part where a roller is passed over the paper and inked board with the image drawn out of it, and where we were excited to see the print wheel like in the Sylvia Gosse painting.
Above Sue waiting to take photos and AJ setting everything up.
Below here are 4 photos sent by Sue which perfectly capture the sequence of events in making a print of Emma Stibbon's work.
Above laying the prepared paper down, below rolling it onto the inked piece
Then peeling it off
and showing it to us.
Great trip, so informative, makes me want to find out more about the courses run there.
We are very much looking forward to welcoming the Rabley Friends to Swindon on 18 November.

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