Creative Canopy goes wild in the country!

What a brilliant day we had yesterday here in the Forest of Dean! We were at the West Dean Parish Council building in Bream to launch Creative Canopy and it was packed to the hilt! The perfect sunny day, we were able to spread the activities into the wonderful courtyard garden. Being part of the BBC Get Creative Weekend was great too.

There’ll be a press release going out very soon, but meanwhile, here’s a video link so you can enjoy a bit of what we had – though it won’t be as good as being there! And a few pics too.

Thank you to EVERYONE that exhibited or performed; that came to participate and join in; the cafe team; the Parish Council for letting us use the building; Arts Council England for funding the event and the Creative Canopy members that made it happen. Look out for more things in the future and if you want to go on the mailing list, put ‘mailing list’ in the subject line of an email and fire it over to

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working in the arts & living in the Forest of Dean

It’s not an impossible thing to do! It’s not always easy, it’s a long drive to most places and feels even longer coming home. Because wherever I go I yearn to be back by the Severn and away from the traffic and noise of the cities.

I NEED culture, not just want. So am very glad I work in the arts, because I am constantly saturated by culture and nature, the ideal combination for me, not for everyone I know. Having long done battle with the “I really ought to live in the city” mind-game, I now feel fairly settled. The fact that I have returned to drawing is a good indicator of that. Coming from a conceptual intellectual background where every work must be loaded with meaning, at the moment, drawing is enough for me. I hope to have time and space to return to more digital outputs,but it’s certainly good for me now.

And so is the Creative Canopy initiative in the Forest. This weekend we launch, see my previous blogpost for details on that. And the local open studios group is reinventing itself as farOpen (Forest and Rivers Open), and will also set up other ‘open’ projects in the future – farOpen writing; farOpen events; farOpen exhibitions; farOpen food……it is so brilliant to see the Forest ‘open’ to new ideas!

So here is todays drawing, you can see the rest on

Have a lovely weekend and I hope you make it to Bream to see and join in with a wide range of tasters, showcasing the creativity that is already here in the community. And talk to us, tell us what else you’d like to see here too.

For now, I’m staying!

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Creative Canopy – things are stirring in the Forest of Dean, activities bracing for the weekend…


Sunday 9th April                 12pm – 6pm           West Dean Parish Centre in Bream

In 2016 Arts Council England chose the Forest of Dean as a priority area for the South West Region due to comparatively low arts engagement and investment. They want to see more cultural, creative, artistic events and opportunities in the Forest and are willing to invest significant money to make this happen. Artists and Arts Organisations from across the District have all been working together for the last few months to make this ambition a reality. The working title for this project is ‘Creative Canopy’.

The community will be at the heart of Creative Canopy so there will be a number of free events over the coming months that will enable important conversations to take place between artists and local residents. The first of these will take place on Sunday 9th April between 12pm and 6pm at the West Dean Parish Centre in Bream. It will be a an event full of  singing, theatre, painting, crafts, printmaking, dancing, textiles, music of all kinds, circus and more – a great selection of wonderful things to see and do. In return Creative Canopy simply requests participants talk to them about what kind of cultural events they would like to see take place in the future.

The afternoon will also feature an exciting presentation from guest artists Sarah Butler and Nicole Mollett who were commissioned by Arts Council England to creatively map the Creative People and Places Project. Their inspirational work, More Than a Hundred Stories, will give attendees an opportunity to see the fantastic work that has been taking place in other parts of the country and will hopefully fuel ideas for future projects across the Forest of Dean.

Come and join us! You can try things out, find out more about creative groups in the area, and participate in workshops and talks.

And come and talk to the team, tell us what you think of what is happening here, and what is NOT happening that you’d like to see more of.

And see my new pop-up banner!

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