Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The winds of change

Living in a garage the Gozitan way !  It seems that everyone here lives in a garage....literally. Quite a lot of people actually live with their cars in the front room along side the sofa and kitchen units.. As I don't have a car I thought I would turn my garage into a living and studio space. It has been all change with my move and downsize from a very lovely  (but hideously cold and damp in the winter and noisy in the Summer) house over looking the bay to a something more suited to my life style. I have fabulous views of the cliffs from the roof a pretty courtyard at the back, perfect for Raffi and place that I am able do with as I please. I have to say it is a joy. A limited budget has dictated how it is furnished but I love the sparseness of that ! A lick of white paint to camouflage the grubby stone walls was a must , making the whole place much lighter and brighter. My foray into furniture making has resulted in a pallet sofa and coffee table on wheels ! 

My next attempt will be this !!! But without the wash basin.

The wind picked up yesterday and a welcome coolness with it. The weather has been unbearably hot and humid for the last month, that a little in the way of change is nice. It also means Raffi enjoys his early evening walks again. Of late all we could manage was a quick dash to the cliffs and into the water for a swim.

What a change in the sea, yesterday it was like glass. With the wind we expect storms and probably the onset of autumnal weather. .... and with it the flies ! hey ho we can't have everything. I am looking forward to the rains bringing a little greenness to the fields enabling me to start some plant dyed works again.

The perfect place for a good old fashioned sundowner G&T

A very lovely end to a very lovely day.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Everyone Welcome !

Friends of the
Mill Room Gallery
Fundraiser Reception & Art Auction
Friday 29th August 8pm

Come along and enjoy a glass of wine whilst browsing the gallery.  In this fundraiser event we will auction off artworks and workshop hours with our resident artists. 
A chance to try your hand at Glass Work, Eco Dyeing, Introduction to Silver Jewellery , Paper Making, Soul Collage, Henna Tattoo and much more.

Charity St.   Behind St Geoerge’s Basillica

Monday, 11 August 2014

Summer Exhibition

The Mill Room Gallery
Charity Street, Behind St George’s Basilica
On the Gozo Art Trail


August Opening every day
9am - 4pm

Showcasing local artists and craft makers

Studios open to watch artists at work

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Gozo Art Trail

There are a host of small galleries and artisan shops dotted around the old city, tucked down the shady cobbled streets. Most day tourists rarely venture off the well trodden paths made by the tour guides or make it past the bustling main sq. I thought I would make it easier for visitors by highlighting the art galleries and artisan outlets on a map. Not a difficult thing to do, it’s not rocket science but it seems no one else has bothered.  At the moment I have just concentrated on Victoria It would be really nice to have an art trail or open studios map of the whole Island.  I hope to get an official body interested and possibly get some funding for flyers.There are so many artists living and working from home. A winter job probably. Sometimes the public are intimidated by a gallery space and would feel more inclined to chat to working artists in their own studio space. Anyway, if there are any artists, craft makers out there interested in the idea please contact me via my facebook page.

Click on the map below for an interactive tour !

We have the feast of Santa Maria coming up in a couple of weeks which is the biggest festival on the Maltese Islands and most large businesses and factories shut down for the annual holiday. All those who own holiday houses on Gozo (and many more who do not) make the 20 min ferry ride over to this tiny Island for the middle two weeks of August. Not only will Gozo be heaving but a very unusual weather front is forecast. Extremely hot weather is being pushed up from Africa and we are forecast to fry in temperatures well into the 40’s c +. The days when I am not in the gallery I expect I will be avoiding the hoards and heat and spending them in the comparative cool inside. When the weather is that hot painting is difficult as the paint dries so quickly, it has to be done a little at a time, so I don’t expect to get much down in that time. Other things to do.....
I have a new project in the pipe line; furnish an apartment with upcycled pallets and anything else I can lay my hands on, on a shoe string. Something along these lines !!!

I have the pallets already and waiting, I have a few tools and much enthusiasm. There has been a sucking in of breath from a few concerned friends about my carpentry skills ... pah how difficult can it be  ? Wait and see.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Not much to do with art

The sea was like a mill pond this morning, not a ripple. It amazes me that such a vast expance of water can be so still. Down the steep hill to Xatt l-ahmar and on to Ras il hobz Raffi raffi raced. Zig zagging across the path to chase things scurrying through the fields. The sun still watery and cool at this time of the morning.

It's a bad time of year for my eco prints, the ground is so parched and the little vegetation still hanging on has not much to offer in dye. It would be nice to have an alternative 'Land Art' to work on at this time of year. Collecting grasses perhaps.

The view over to Camino was so serene.

By the time we had had a swim (Raffi is still a little reticent) the sun was up and I could feel its' heat already. Into the gallery this morning, finish a painting and then another swim me thinks.

Friday, 18 July 2014


 The Mill Room Gallery is an exciting new venue in Victoria showcasing local artists and contemporary craft makers set in a traditional old mill building. With two spacious exhibition rooms, artists’ studios surrounding a shady roof terrace along with a cafe it is a lovely place to escape the Summer heat.
Faith Vinal Pollina, herself a glass maker, is the founder member of this new venture. With an abundance of artists on the Island she hopes to create a buzzing artists’ cooperative, where the artists and other interested parties can become members. The gallery will exist as a non profit making venture with the cooperative members taking an active part in the running of the gallery.
Workshops, artists in residence, demonstrations and group projects will create constant interest for artists and the public alike. Already an eclectic mix of creative disciplines exist at the gallery including, painting, sculpture, glass making, silversmithing, jewellery making, mosaics and designer clothing.
The gallery will be open this Summer Monday – Saturday 10am – 1pm

A small selection of my work at the fair last weekend. One of the exhibition rooms is now housing more of my work.

Wonderful roof terrace.

Faith had a plan ! Some potential members were to work on a 'piece' as a group, just to see how we all gelled. More of a social experiment rather than an art collaboration !  We brought bags of fabrics, string, glue, paint, organic material etc etc there was a sisal mat to use as a canvas and we had 1 hr in which to do our best. There was a catch....we had to work in silence. Could we work together and not get upset with what someone else may do to our work, or could we get our ideas across without speaking? In essence how would we all work together without being able to speak  ?

Without any prior collaboration none of us knew what everyone else intended to do. The first 10 or 15 minutes we all concentrated on our own little areas, without encroaching on anyone else's area. It didn't take long for us all to realise that we had to somehow connect all our ideas. One person started to use gold paint to join us up, I started to sew red thread through all the works, not only securing them but as a visual link. The end result was messy but we learnt a little about how the others worked and a realisation that we had to pull together to make the Mill Room Gallery function successfully. 

A post mortem on how it went, a couple of glasses of wine, some new found friends and a jolly good and fun evening.
If you want to see the end result pop down to the gallery this weekend.

If you are an artist or contemporary craft maker interested in this project please contact Faith by sending a message her on The Mill Room Gallery facebook  page.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Wied Il-Hanaq

Wied Il-Hanaq is a little known gem of a valley running below Xaghra towards Ramla Bay. The air was cooler at 6am this morning as Raffi as I set out along the path. The sun coming up over the hill cast long shadows making it a pleasure to stride out. Raffi darted from field to field sniffing excitedly as he went. The lush valley is lined with cane, waiting be harvested for making shade screens or wind breaks for the fields. Apple and plum orchards heavy with fruit flourish in the damp atmosphere. We breakfasted on the sweet deep purple plums over hanging the lane. 

Looking back up towards Nadur

I recently watched a film called Tracks, about an Australian girl who trekked from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. She took four camels and her dog. It seemed like a mad thing to do and really she bit off more than she could chew, but what an adventure. As I was walking today I mused about an adventure that Raffi and I could embark on. Maybe not something quite so dangerous but a trek around the islands appeals. Probably not in the heat of the Summer or with camels but an prolonged Autumn walk to collect organic materials for my dyeing. I have always had itchy feet but feel very content with life right now, here on Gozo. Walking is a fabulous way to discover what on first sight may seem a limited island, and I haven't even started on Malta yet. There needs to be a goal in mind, like a circumnavigation along the coastal paths. Or a walking meditation linking all the valleys.....I don't know, it requires some thought and a little planning in order to make it an art walk.

Artists seem to need a muse. An inspirational figure or a place or setting that affords the creative flow. I certainly feel that here on Gozo and walking silently with my dog often brings up new ideas and concepts. Having a purpose in my every step, making art as I walk is very appealing and my plant dyed works are a result of this. Books are also a great source of inspiration and I have many art books covering all genres. just flicking through them can spark an idea.  They are currently languishing in a barn in Essex. Little by little I am bringing a case of my 'can't live without' bits out here butI have made the decision not to have most of my 'old life' belongings sent out to Gozo. I have lived without them for this long and have decided I no longer need them. Though I have to say going back to the UK recently and riffling through the boxes I started to believe I needed some of that paraphernalia. No... all I need are some photos of my children and some much loved art, travel and cookery books. The rest my kids can have to furnish a house or flat when the time comes. It is very cathartic to let 'stuff' go. By clearing out the old one allows for the new to enter ones life. 
Have a good day x

I like this poem:


I glanced at her and took my glasses 
off -- they were still singing.  The buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then 
ceased.  Her voice belled forth, and the 
sunlight bent.  I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip 
on whatever they touched.  "I am your own
way of looking at things", she said.  "When
you allow me to live with you, every 
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation."  And I took her hand.

- William Stafford