“The First” Gallery’s Xmas Show

runs for its 38th consecutive year

10th – 25th November

This much-anticipated annual exhibition has unusual,
well-made crafts and art, priced with gifts in mind,
in the special atmosphere of (possibly) the original Gallery-in-a-House

Following up our well-received Boxes show in 2011, we’ve invited contributions from our stable of exhibitors on the theme of
Cycles (in all its guises, not just bikes).  Some 15 makers are represented, including:

                 Sue Anderson          Alvin Betteridge          Ken Briffett          HMClarke (see pic. right)     Neil Hardy

                    Lynne Hudson          Olivia Keith          Tamsin Loveday          Paul Spooner          Victor Stuart Graham

                    Jan Zalud

In addition to greeting you (we hope!), we also welcome these first-time “The First” exhibitors for 2012 (those with * are showing some Cycles-themed work):
                 Katherine  Anteney *  senior printmaking tutor at, and co-founder of, the Red Hot Press, Southampton’s premier [not to say ‘only’!] artists’ printing
                         workshop, running courses for members and public alike.  She contributes to our Cycles-themed display, and next June will be part of our next Open Portfolio
(see more below)

   glassmaker Tim Casey   is not strictly a first-timer:  without publicizing his name, we showed one of his superbly simple jugs (like the larger one, above) some time ago.
                         These are hexagonal inside, though the outer body is round:  the flat sides of the hex are subtly twisted, making intriguing plays of light, intrinsic to the material, with
                         no recourse to colour.  Such colour as is applied (round the lip;  in a single disc in the base), infuses by refraction through the vessel.  Brilliant (in more senses than
                         one!)  This is our first airing of a proper variety of work.  Now based near Land’s End, he trained at Farnham, before setting up a workshop on Sark.  He makes a
                         range of mostly domestic ware, using minimal colours

                 Tim Craven   is publicly the Curator of Southampton City Art Gallery.  In private, he is a dedicated painter, initially in super-realist style.  More recently, he
                          has explored a less stated look, on the subject of trees.  He’s presently too committed to be able to furnish more than the occasional participation in mixed / joint shows,
                          but he’s provided two casein-based watercolours (which take at least two months each to complete) for our show

                 Jutta Manser *  is in our view the finest printmaker in the area.  She concentrates mainly on wood-engraving.  Also a tutor at RHP, she too will have
                         a wider range at the O P Weekend in June 2013.  Her contribution to this Xmas Show comprises two concertina-books for our our theme, and other framed and
                         mounted prints.  Another book is a joint work, inadvertently bringing two more “first-timers” to “The First”:  printmakers Joy Bulford and Adèle Lord

                 Sarah Mander *  is the other half of the printmaking duo who set up the Red Hot Press.  She contributes this Cycles-themed print, titled Travel

                 Andy Sutton   is a woodworker from the English side of the Welsh Marches.  Though he’s predominantly a Windsor-chairmaker, we’re showing his beautifully simple kitchen
                         boards (which it’s almost a crime to cut on, but that’s what they’re for!) made in common native timbers:  oak, ash, etc.


                 Christina Young   is a painter, mostly in acrylics, and virtually self-taught (“Well…  I did an O-level“ ! !  Yerss).  She displays an intuitive feel for her paint
                         (a rare quailty these days), her imagery is accessible, and her colour-sense finely-tuned.  Margery bought a painting from the St. Barbe Open in 2011, and we
                         followed her up this year, to see if this work was a chance ‘one-off’.  It wasn’t, as we discovered in her inspirationally-sited home overlooking Keyhaven Harbour

25 years since we first showed Suzie Marsh’s animal sculptures, we give her a Feature profile, with a range of her “cold-cast bronze” resin pieces, and a few earlier ceramics.  Also see below.

“The First” Gallery’s Xmas Show wouldn’t be complete without its array of amusing automata, and in one sense, they all incorporate Cycles, given that the movements of their work usually repeat;  but those mentioned in the list at the top are consciously choosing pieces (or making them specially) where the imagery fits the theme.  The following makers are also exhibiting:
Peter Lennertz          [tbc]  Sergio Pinese               Robert Race

Other makers, including some showing very few exhibits:

Philippa Bambach   painting      Clive Bowen   pots      Tony Caplin   turned wood      Philip Cox   papier mâché (above)      Geoff D. Clarke (1925 – 98)   silver jewellery

Mike Dodd   pots           Sue Evans   wooden sculptures      Ruth Facey   jewellery, incl. NEW leather- &-silver work (above)      Jonathan Garratt F.R.S.A.   wood-fired pots

Lotte Glob   ceramics      John Jones   painting & drawing      Tom MacKenzie   etching (above)      Eric Meadus (1931 – 70)   drawings & cards

     Elizabeth Nash   painted textiles (l & r)      David Orchard (1926 – 2008)   carved & pyrograved wood      Sarah Perry   pots      Potter-Morgan   glass     

Ray Reynolds   textiles      Rachel Shannon   recycled fabric accessories      Colin A. Smith   turned-wood cutlery      Jeff Soan   flexible wood sculpture

Jan Thorne   knitted wire sculpture      William Walker M.A. (RCA)   hand-blown glass      Malcom Wiggins   turned wood      Lucy Willder   felt birds

Win this sculpture      Buy a ticket at the Gallery (just £1:  the piece retails for £115)

SUZIE MARSH is supporting AnimalsAsia, the charity set up to release China and Vietnam’s Moon Bears from lifetimes of painful captivity, being “milked” for their bile.  This is used medicinally, even though there are effective and cheaper alternatives.  Suzie makes her range of sculptures to help fund their rehabilitation, a process itself now under serious threat from political machinations in Vietnam.
Even if you don’t wish to buy a ticket, please consider clicking this link to add your voice to the international clamour to prevent this happening (you need to have a Facebook account to use it).  Thank you.


If you’ve been to “The First” in the past, please note
this change to our previous pattern of opening hours

SATURDAYs / SUNDAYs  11am – 6pm
WEEKDAYS  no fixed ‘drop-in’ hours:

ONLY by prior arrangement
before, after, or within 11 – 6:  ring (023) 8046 2723 or e-mail.  As we don’t keep
the computer on 24/7, it’s probably best to give notice the previous day by e-mail;
for phoning, you can ring on any date beforehand to fix a visit (which could be
e.g. six weeks hence, or just in the next 10 minutes, if you happen to be nearby)

FRIDAY evening PreView
November 9th    6 – 9pm

Due to the above change, there’s no formal Special Open Morning [OM] on the last Sunday.
Under our previous regime, exhibitions ended on the Saturday of the last weekend, with the OM Sunday finishing at 2pm.
Instead there are home-made refreshments 11 – 6 on Sunday, like an all-day version of the OM.

2013 Events

9th – 24th March   Peter Markey  paintings (& [tbc] possibly some models)
Peter has been trying to move house since 2008, and is wishing to sell his paintings as part of his down-sizing.  We are privileged to be able to help him with this, by offering a selection from this remarkable body of work (including some private pieces never offered for sale before).  Over the coming months, we'll be uploading images before the exhibition opens, which can be reserved and purchased there and then via this site.

15th & 16th June   Open Portfolio Weekend, with five tutors from Red Hot Press
The Open Portfolio format comprises artists present throughout the event, with their work, mostly unmounted and to view in folios.  This represents the lowest-cost way of purchasing artwork.  On-the-spot advice about presentation, mounting and framing will be available