1st August 2020 - 5th September 2020

Of Place and Time - Adrian Mitchell - Woodturner

The exhibition, Of Place and Time, brings together three artists working in distinctly different mediums; Painter, Martha Holmes, Wood Turner Adrian Mitchell and Ceramic Artist, Jack Doherty. The work of all three shows their deep engagement with landscape and a particular sense of place. The changes and effects of passing time is reflected in their individual studio practice.

Martha Holmes paints directly in response to the moment. Absorbed in capturing the shifting light and changing seasons through her abstract sea and skyscapes. Adrian Mitchell sources wood from his local landscape to make his turned vessels. He harnesses the natural beauty that transforms the green material into organic sculptural shapes through time. Jack Doherty’s soda-fired porcelain forms connect people, pots and place inspired by archetypal functional vessels from history.

Adrian Mitchell – Woodturner

Artist Statement

My work comes from a deep-rooted love of the natural world. I’ve always been fascinated by trees and how their growth is affected by their environment. An oak tree in the middle of a field appears very different from one growing in densely packed woodland, in a hedgerow, or on a windswept hillside. A 100 year old tree can reach a height of 40 metres with a perfectly straight trunk or, in different conditions, it can be stunted at two metres with wildly contorted limbs. Inevitably these differences affect the quality of wood the tree produces. In my work I try to explore some of these differences. 

I work only in wet or green wood, often selecting material from the fork of the tree that will distort unpredictably as the finished piece dries. I like to think that each piece tells its own story  about the species and age of the tree, where it came from and how it grew. I work intimately with each piece of wood on the lathe, endeavouring to create satisfying sculptural forms that establish a point from which the material can express itself through the drying process allowing  the stresses in the wood to determine how it shifts, folds or splits as the moisture content drops.

Most of my recent work is made of wood from the ancient Devichoys wood, which is composed mainly of Sessile oak . Cornwall’s native Sessile oak has an open, ring-porous grain which encourages unrefined, elemental work that reveals the natural structure and texture of the wood. Devichoys, which was traditionally coppiced to produce fuel for the local foundry and gunpowder works, has been virtually untouched since before the 2nd world war. It is now managed by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and is being coppiced once again, as part of a woodland regeneration programme, by Tom Kemp and Nick Jarvis of Working Woodlands Cornwall.

I’m grateful for the opportunity of going to the woods to select the material myself - restricted only by the size I’m able to move and take back to my workshop.  It’s important for me to be engaged with the material from an early stage, maintaining a continuum and layering of place, source, history and the passage of time.