At the Cuckoo’s Nest we also have a gallery space showing original artwork by Graham Rice and the jewellery of Sheila Raven.
Graham’s current work includes bold and graphic compositions of trees enhanced by metal leaf and resin, and Sheila’s range of silver and copper jewellery focuses on woodland creature designs.
All these pieces are available for sale in the Cuckoo’s Nest and in the near future there will also be an on-line shop where you can view and buy their artwork.
Graham Rice - Paintings & Prints
Graham’s artwork uses many mediums from pencil to watercolour, acrylic and oil. His early paintings were largely in oil and inspired by the great Renaissance artists, whose techniques Graham was very interested in replicating, particularly their use of black and white under-painting to give depth to the overlying colour.
Although he still has a great love for this very detailed painting style, in more recent years he has moved on to the more immediate effects of acrylic and water-colour painting. He has done a number of landscape paintings in this medium, often showing scenes from the Scottish Hebridean islands or north Cornwall or prominent local scenes. Though the scenes themselves show traditional subjects, his landscape style is anything but traditional. He has developed a free and stylised way of painting these scenes, with a strong use of graphic white lines delineating the folds of the landscape and the buildings.
Graham has also experimented with incorporating collage work in some of his large forest paintings, to give an enhanced texture and depth to the canvas. The rich autumn oranges and reds of these paintings are given even greater vitality by overlaying the paint with a resin layer, a technique Graham has used in a number of his paintings. His current portfolio focuses on bold and colourful compositions of trees. The use of appliqué creatures inhabiting the branches, and the addition of silver and gold metal leaf effects and of depth-enhancing resin, gives these pieces both a dramatic graphic look and a dream-like and other-worldly quality.
His background as a 3-D artist in the computer games industry has provided him with graphic design skills that show in the strong lines in his print-making artwork and in his use of computer graphic software in some of his new still-life and landscape compositions. As an accomplished portrait painter Graham also welcomes any portrait commissions in the medium of your choice, anything from a modest line pencil drawing to a detailed oil painting.
Sheila Raven - Jewellery
Sheila Raven is a freelance archaeologist, who has spent many years working both abroad for the British School at Athens and in this country for the University of Oxford as a finds specialist and archaeological photographer. As someone who has spent many years studying and cataloguing beautifully crafted metal objects from the prehistoric, Saxon and Roman eras - she has developed a special interest in metal-working technology and the use of nature and symbolism in designs from our ancient past.
Sheila started doing silver-smithing many years ago as a way of understanding the processes involved in making jewellery in the past and found it to be a medium that perfectly suited her own creative interests. For the past couple of years she has specialised in designing animal and bird pieces, particularly the magical creatures of the British downs and woods, like hares and foxes, stags and owls. All these native animals were seen by our prehistoric ancestors as creatures imbued with special and sometimes other-worldly qualities, representing things like wisdom or strength or cunning. Like the Celtic smiths of the past who created bold and fluid designs in gold, silver, and bronze in curved and repousse beaten shapes which caught and reflected the light beautifully on the polished metal surfaces - Sheila's jewellery uses the contrast between curved beaten shapes, faceted edges, and flat polished planes to enhance the play of light on the surfaces. She enjoys using both silver, with its moon-lit quality, and copper, with its warm red tones like the light from a setting sun, in her work. Some of her jewellery combines the two metal types, creating a dynamic contrast.
As a complete contrast to her silver and copper pieces, she also created more playful hand-sewn jewellery pieces in felt and fabric. Her fabric heart and flower brooches combine beautifully coloured hand-made Nepalese felt, with tweeds and velvets and glass beads and silver wire to great effect. She has also developed a unique line of felt animal and bird brooches for people who appreciate designs of a more quirky and humorous nature. Dogs ( partly based on her own sheepdog Bryn, who ‘assists’ in the framing workshop) are a particular favourite in her line of felt animal brooches, but you can also find mice, cats, chickens and all sorts of creatures!