1st December 2017

Aren’t Morpethians a creative bunch?

Mid-month – slotted in between Remembrance Weekend and the Mistletoe Fair – we had an exhibition of paintings by the Morpeth Art Group in the Town Hall Buttermarket. It was a real opportunity to show the very high quality work of these amateur arists – and to develop the Buttermarket as an exhibition area a bit. But the Art Group aren’t the only group of amateur painters in the area – there are at least two other groups meeting regularly in Morpeth, as well as groups in Stannington and Pegswood, not to mention several longstanding art classes. And there are also a significant number of professional artists based in the area – I hesitate to call them an “artists’ colony” let alone a “Morpeth School” since they are all so very different in style and approach. Taking the risk of offending those I miss out – I’d particularly mention Sarah Farooqi, Jan Szymczuk, Ivan Webley and Karen Sinclair Willis, not forgetting the late John Caffrey.  You can usually find their work in the Chantry Craft Centre, but Morpeth really could do with more exhibition and studio space as well as facilities for the performing arts.

The Morpeth Matters Photographic Exhibition, also in the Town Hall midmonth, displayed the work of another bunch of very creative people. While the quality of the camera can make a difference and tastefully-used Photoshop can do miracles in “post-production” – the real skill seems to be “seeing” the potential for an image and patience to wait till the light or the people come right. I was most impressed by the youngest entrant – an eleven year-old girl – who initially used her mobile phone, but could just “see” the potential for superb images.

And then at the end of the month – there was the Morpeth Poetry Recital. This is the third annual recital organised by Barbara Ross and the Morpeth Poetry Group. One recital could be drawn from the saved and stored poems from the past, but to hold three annual recitals indicates a living flowing fountain of poetry. The Poetry Group have already had successes with the Newgate St Poetry Festival and their contributions to this year’s In Bloom competition – though my personal favourite is the “Poetry Box” in the Millennium Green which, I understand, has inspired over 50 poems in just eight months or so. Some are quite superb! It’s a just a pity that so many are anonymous, so the Millennium Green Trust don’t have permission to publish them in an anthology.