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Welcome to week 4 of our online exhibition

In a normal year, these would have been the final days of our exhibition. We’d be looking forward to welcoming hundreds of visitors to one last glorious weekend, and from Sunday, July 12, sculptors would be busy taking down the exhibition and delivering sculptures to their new homes. 

Instead, we’re marking the end of this period by taking all our SOLD sculptures off the website. But this is not the end of the exhibition. We’re keeping the online exhibition open until September 30th. Until then, the remaining sculptures will be available to view and to buy, and we will continue to bring you occasional news and musings.

This is a time to support artists. So, if you are thinking of a sculpture for your garden or your domestic space, do not delay. Studio visits can, in most cases, be arranged, so that you can see and feel the sculpture in real life. 
 
We are turning the spotlight today on five more sculptures, just a tiny representation of all that you can see online. We’ve chosen pieces that require a good long look and perhaps a few words to set them in context. 
 
Below you will also find news of our future plans (including some Mitford-themed theatre), our charity of the week, and our writing competition. 

Spotlight on sculpture

Herald II by Luke Dickinson 
 
In Herald II, Luke skilfully carves the Estremoz marble to a whisper of translucency. This allows the light to shine through and bring the sculpture alive, showing us the intricate veins and makeup of the marble.
Genesis II by Mel Fraser
 
Working with both abstract and figurative forms, Mel explores the way in which light influences our perception of stone surfaces.  In Genesis II she has carved out the interior space of the alabaster, leading us to explore the inner world of the stone.
Twisted by Marcus Harris
 
The starting point for this sculpture was two rectangular blocks, Carrara marble and Saple wood. There is a suppleness to the stone which expresses certain themes that Marcus is interested in - stretching, pulling and twisting to convey both mental and physical human experience.
The Birth of Sensuality by Rosie Jones

In The Birth of Sensuality, Rosie conveys a rising rhythm of sexual pulsation. Inspired by Pre-Columbian and European Palaeolithic cave art, her work explores the divine feminine and the beginnings of eroticism.
Almora by Lucy Unwin
 
Here, Lucy has worked the Kilkenny limestone into seemingly soft curves and sensuous folds. Finished with an elegant ribbon of pitted carving along its wavy edge, this sculpture reminds us of a creature or plant form from the sea. 

Climate Outreach is our final charity of the week

We wanted to work with Climate Outreach because of the importance of honest conversations in the move to prevent runaway climate change. Donations are welcome and can be made here.

Oxford-based Climate Outreach is Europe’s leading climate-change communicator. Their latest project, Climate Visuals brings powerful imagery to the policy-makers, campaigners, writers and all of us who are trying to make the message visually clear across a broader spectrum of society.  We believe in the power of art to distil these messages, as in Holding Back the Waves by Tom Stogdon (shown below). 

Writing competition

In May, we launched a writing competition. Thank you so much to everyone who took part. The challenge was to write a short story or poem inspired by the short film 'Mysterious Asthall'. The entries ranged in style and focus, bringing forward both dark and light aspects of the manor and garden. You can find the winning entries, as well as the film which inspired them, here.

 Things to look forward to 

We are working towards a real-life exhibition in the garden at Asthall early next summer.  Dates are not yet confirmed, but it looks like running through the month of May, 2021. It will be a bit different to our usual biennial extravaganza, but will give the sculptures now online a chance to breathe some Asthall air and meet some of their admirers! 
 
We may open the gardens (without any sculpture) for one or two days this August. 
 
The Potting Shed café will be opening from Thursdays to Sundays from July 23rd until…..well, that depends on the weather in August! 

In the Footsteps of the Mitfords

We are happy to report that the fabulous feminist theatre company, Scary Little Girls, is returning to Asthall Manor this autumn. 

Co-produced with Chipping Norton Theatre, In the Footsteps of the Mitfords is a site-specific theatrical exploration of the words of the famous Mitford sisters, who lived at Asthall Manor from 1919-1926. 

This newly-worked version will have small groups of no more than 12 people encountering each sister and her words individually, in various outdoor locations around the Manor’s grounds.

25 & 26 September. Times and booking details to be confirmed. Social distancing will be observed. 
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