Independents for Frome Supporters’ Meeting & Party
Friday 7th June at 07:30pm, The Silk Mill, Frome
As you may know, in 2011 IfF ran a campaign that saw 10 out of 17 seats at Frome Town Council become independent. Since then they have carried out ambitious projects for the good of Frome. These 10 IfF Councillors are now half-way through a 4-year term.
Late Bar & Dancing Over At The Silk Mill
_______* funk dub disco house *_______
____________ All Night Long ___________
Saturday 20th April 2013.
INTERSECT BROUGHT YOU A NIGHT AT THE SILK MILL
We had the Norfolk legends Jake Morrell, check them out at http://
The fantastic and energetic Baku Dan shook the roof with their African Dance beats. See www.bakudan.com for more info and music!
From 4th – 8th April 2013 we had an exhibition in an unfinished studio on the first floor of the Mill; Work In Progress.
Frome Festival 2012
Hans created a wall of life cast porcelain faces and sound. In an age of social networking, the exhibition explored what it really means to relate to another person, what our face means to us and others. ‘Facebook’ Frome initiated an exciting collaboration and interaction between the artist, the artwork and the local community, both as participants and observers. More than 900 people came to see the exhibition.
Vintage Classy Bargain Christmas Sale
What a great event the Vintage Christmas Market was! On 10th & 11th December 2011 we had lots of stalls and people coming through to buy their classy bargains! Well done Kym Roffey for organising it and well done us for clearing away the huge pile of slate (from the roof) that was on the forecourt until a few days before!
Wheeler Dealers II, the sequel
was great fun and we had lots of interesting stalls and people buying things from them. Frome’s newest band Brass Function played their entire repertoire which was great! We may have another one to coincide with the Frome Folk Festival in February.
Sept 10th – 25th 2011:
Brunel Broderers Exhibition
We had over 750 people visit this exhibition over the weeks it was open! There was a great deal of enthusiasm for the work and several pieces were sold. There will be a piece in the next issue of Embroidery Magazine.
Mama Roisin at the Silk Mill
These guys were epic… it was a hastily arranged gig for their one night in Frome and it was impossible not to dance!
Future Publishing from Bath spent three days in the Gallery filming a new user guide for Canon. They really enjoyed working at the Silk Mill and said that they would come back again. There were two Canon reps there for most of the shoot who were very impressed by our facilities. Gully was the runner for two of the 3 days and took some photos…
A team from BBC4 in Scotland came down to film some of a three part documentary called “The Secret Life of Materials” in the workshop at the Silk Mill.
The presenter was Dr Mark Miowdownik (of Kings College London) who gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (“Why size matters”) last year. They were advised and assisted by Prof Steve Rannard from Liverpool University who had spent days working out what it was practical to do at the Mill to demonstrate the early days of plastics research. Before they came to us they had been filming at the Bakelite Museum in Taunton. The programme will be aired in the spring of 2012. Photos were taken…
The brass press (above) was borrowed by the scientists from the dental hospital to show the making of plastic teeth using moulds. The teeth were fine until you had a nice hot cup of tea, when they melted!
These are the vessels in which they were making celluloid coatings to snooker balls. They were good colours but not so good on the fire hazard front, they ignite when they collide!
Cajun band; Mama Rosin
We were very priviliged to have the band Mama Rosin play in the Gallery. They were reviewed in The Guardian in January to coincide with their appearance at Celtic Connections this year. A very happy audience were unable to stop their toes tapping and most got up and danced. The band played many encores and we are hoping that we can bring them back to Frome some time next year.
Minimalist Soundscapes – Review
Review of the evening by the celebrated Jazz pianist John Law who wanted to write something about the event, as he very much enjoyed it, but wanted it to be known that he never writes reviews as he’s “philosophically very anti critics and the whole process of making arbitrary value judgements, especially concerning music”
Jeremy Little & Adam Khan play Clapping Music.
Much of the music of the 20th century was concerned with an exploration of the particular instruments employed, so that the techniques or the extensions of techniques stood either in opposition to or assisted - depending on your point of view - the perceived content or indeed emotional impact of these pieces. So the form versus content paradigm became very important. Not just the superficial in-the-moment concept of technique or style but also the very process of the composition became almost synonymous with the meaning or, again, emotional impact.
Those who know me and know my preoccupation with striving for an ‘absolute relativism’, whereby it’s possible to hold completely opposite views at one and the same time, will appreciate that I’m not one given to making and expressing any form of opinion as absolute. Moreover I can think of a number of different points of view that completely contradict what follows. But here’s a way of looking at the music presented on Thursday the 14th at the Silk Mill in a thrilling, always engaging performance by the duo of Jeremy Little (assorted percussion) and Adam Khan (guitar, clapping).
The first piece, Cuban Landscape with Bells, by Leo Brouwer, was, for me, a perfect start to the concert. In fact, from one point of view, it couldn’t get any better. The composition, mostly (it seemed to me at the time) an exploration of guitar harmonics, was also a piece that inhabited almost exclusively the area between quiet and very quiet. A perfect, gentle start and played, on guitar by Adam Kahn, quite exquisitely.
For me this piece seemed to set the tone for the evening: an exploration of music where the technical aspects of texture or instrumental technique or the process adopted by the composer was in one sense of utmost importance in understanding the piece but - a completely different way of looking at it – which also offered the listener, in a more naïve way, the opportunity to become immersed, without employing critical faculties, in a world that was very other than the one we’d come from before the concert.
Thus, the wonderfully delicate marimba piece Il Sognio di Pacciochino, by Nebojsa Zivkovic, played ever so subtly by Jeremy, was on one level a series of juxtapositions of single lines with three and four note chord tremolos. But how wonderful and soft it sounded, in its very simplicity, and with every note clearly audible in the beautiful acoustics of the Silk Mill!
Battercada by Rachel Gledhill, for two drums, seemed to me to be a piece dominated by the technical process: a natural progression from low sounds to high, from simpler to more denser, and then reversed, with a nod to the Golden Section in the shorter second (reversed) section. And in the architectural simplicity of this process all the more powerful was the result. A very neat piece, played with consummate skill and precision (and not a little excitement!) by Jeremy Little.
And if the two performers wanted to best illustrate the 20th century obsession with music as a process then Clapping Music by Steve Reich was surely one of the best examples. The process is the music. The music is the process. Or is it? A number of us, on completion of the piece, couldn’t resist, when showing our appreciation throughclapping, repeating the rhythmic phrase used in this piece (well I couldn’t anyway!). So the piece had encroached on reality..!
Cage’s famous (or is that infamous?!) 4’33” was ‘performed’ by Jeremy and Adam with almost humorous seriousness. In the empty space left by the total lack of music we were left to fill it with thoughts about form/content/process.. as well as to contemplate the marvellous artworks by Hassel Smith which hung all around (and to which the music was, ostensibly, related but, I think, only rather vaguely; rather more they sat next to each other, Art and Music, perfect dinner companions). But this emptiness was also filled by a buzzing fly, much to the amusement of Jeremy who I thought must, at any moment, simply must burst into fits of giggles. He’s a consummate professional though..
The two more extended works that stood out as being a bit different were Terry Riley’s Dias de los Muertos and George Crumb’s Canis Mundis. Both pieces were played with enormous attention to detail. The Riley I found personally the hardest piece of the evening to digest. Would it have fared better with more passionate input? Hard to say. I actually found myself thinking that, in the lack of a sustained, coherent harmonic language (some passages, for example, between marimba and guitar very spare, like a Bach two part Invention, might be followed suddenly by chords which ranged from a simple minor 6th through fuller, ‘jazz’ chords of sharp 9s to denser, more opaque ones) in this piece, at least, Riley seemed to me a bit of a dilettante. I’m sure another way of looking at this could completely contradict this view and it was just what popped into my head, on the first hearing.
The Crumb, though, a series of portraits of the composer’s dogs(!) was a minor tour de force, full of exotic sounds (such as the striking of a tamtam partly immersed in water!) and beautiful ‘eastern’ sounding scales, such as in piece number 4. And with humour too: the cries at the end from Jeremy, calling and chastising one of the dogs were really fun. And with this sudden interjection from the ‘real’ world the audience were brought out of the world we’d been in for the evening’s concert: one full of beautiful, exotic sounds, of stimulating ideas, of hypnotic chords and ringing harmonics.. a world totally unlike the buzzing festival going on outside. We’d gone beyond style and technique. And this was made possible through the wonderful skill of the performers, ably assisted by the clear acoustics of the Silk Mill and the beautiful atmosphere created there by Kate and Damon Moore.
John Law, July 2011
Birmingham Conservatoire – Review
Frome Festival 2011 Review by Composer Stephen Marquis, An evening with Birmingham Conservatoire at the Silk Mill.
I arrived for this evening of experimental acoustic and electronic music inspired by the works of Hassel Smith with some enthusiasm for both contemporary avant-garde music and abstract art but little in-depth knowledge of either. I sat thus something of a blank canvas myself, ready to absorb both fresh and exciting musical textures and an insight into the artworks that spawned them. I wasn’t disappointed. I had heard Luke Deane, currently in his first year at Birmingham Conservatoire, play his own jazz piano compositions on a prior occasion in Frome, and was eagerly anticipating his sincere and sensitive approach. For the first half of the boldly programmed evening, Luke took centre stage himself, playing four pieces on electric piano interwoven with electronic soundscapes constructed of his own meticulously collected, sampled and filtered sounds. Luke’s genuine and quietly self-assured musical presence and elegant piano playing ensured that the audience remained absorbed as his music passed coherently through lyrical, tonal jazz styles, more discordant and jagged textures and at times daring percussive and piercing backtracks. Good on him for embracing the expressionist aspects of the art unflinchingly; after all, one of the paintings on display is entitled Alone with the killer. Luke punctuated his pieces with unassuming and heartfelt explanations to the fascinated audience, including how the geometric forms of some of the paintings had suggested explicit structural shapes but that he sought also a deeper response by revisiting the paintings on a number of occasions and letting them speak more implicitly to his artistic sensibilities.
In the second half of the programme, Luke was joined by four of his contemporaries from Birmingham Conservatoire, Richard Stenton, Josh Herring, Rose Mitchell and Andy Ingamells, all of whom had collaborated on a performance piece in response to the exhibition as a whole. What a perfect setting for such an enthralling and often spontaneous work the Silk Mill Studios is, both visually and acoustically. We were surrounded by the imposing canvasses and, owing to the rearrangement of seating during the interval, a kaleidoscope of sounds ranging from ethnic instruments such as a thumb piano and didgeridoo to recorder and tin whistle and fun and educational instruments such as an intriguing plastic tube picked up at @bristol (according to its logo!) and colourful boomwhackers, all employed sparingly and largely unconventionally. Vocal sounds and sound effects using the most basic materials such as a wooden block were also incorporated particularly engagingly. The musical direction of the piece was determined, at least in part, by a game of chance set up as a gameboard (designed to look like one of the abstract paintings!) on a table in the centre of the room, to which the various participants returned to draw cards and read biographical snippets about Hassel Smith and his work. As a part-time teacher of music to young children and keen composer myself, I was delighted by the profundity of the work even given the simplest means of expression. I loved the unhurried nature in which the piece unfolded, which encouraged me to give the same time and attention to exploring the paintings on display, which I otherwise might have skated past too cursorily. The piece ended with the simplest of song-like passages, performed by Josh Herring on banjo and voice, which grew remarkably organically from the preceding material by means of a drone-like motif on banjo which evolved into a middle-eastern-like mode, which complemented his simple wisps of lyrics most magically. The appreciative audience had obviously relished the opportunity to be immersed in such an unusual and affecting performance piece judging by their enthusiastic response.
The Jackdaws Songbirds are a community group who meet weekly guided by the excellent and expert tuition of musician Caroline Radcliffe (of the excellent band Three Corners). They only perform the complete set of songs from around the world that they have learnt once a year as the main thrill for most of them is the weekly gathering to sing. But when they do they command a large and enthusiastic audience to listen and enjoy the delicious sound.
Hassel Smith Exhibition
July 8th-28th 2011
Silk Mill Studios in association with Donna Smith and the estate of Hassel Smith were delighted to host an exhibition of the later works of Hassel Smith. The exhibition was co-curated by Mark Harrington and Mark Karasick, with the support of Clive Walley.
Hassel Smith was a major figure of American Abstract Expressionism based in San Francisco and Northern California during the 1950s and early 1960s. He taught at the California School of Fine Arts alongside leading figures such as Ansel Adams and Clyfford Still. This is the first UK show of the later works of Hassel Smith since his death in 2007 and is a considerable honour for the Silk Mill, Frome Festival and the South West. We would like to welcome visitors to experience and appreciate the paintings of this exceptional artist.
Click the image of the artist in his studio to visit the Hassel Smith website.
HASSEL SMITH IN
THE WEST COUNTRY
BY MARK HARRINGTON
Opening of the
Hassel Smith Exhibition
We were very happy that so many people came to the opening of this fabulous show. The curators are delighted by the way that the space gives light to the paintings and the pictures change the shape of the space.
To see the pictures properly people who came last night may need to come again as there were so many of them that it was quite a struggle to get a good view of them!
Thursday 30th June 2011 was a huge success!
We heard from…
The soothing and distinct voice of “Mark Abis“
” His melodies are original, his vocals warm and distinctive…….. My vote for one of the best of the new generation” Joe Boyd
The flamboyant & original songs of “Dirk Landish“
The striking and poignant songs of “Leander Morales“
The amazing “Sloe Jam“
“My Social Orbit”
Film installation on Second floor of the Mill,
to the Silk Mill,
Following on from “Home”, the exhibition of Robert Golden’s photographs in the 2009 Frome Festival (see below) the “Moving Home in Frome” group built wonderful lanterns at the Silk Mill.
Carnival video: All heads turned and there was huge appreciation for the creativity it displayed.
They made a huge lantern in the shape of one of the demolished houses in Frome, 6 people to carried it in the Carnival on 25th September 2010.
There were also many individual house shaped lanterns that were carried alongside. Free workshops to make them were held and people of all ages came and constructed fabulous “houses”.
And there were things “happening” inside the house…
Kay Lewis-Bell 4th-18th July 2010
In 2010 the Silk Mill hosted an exhibition of work by major Somerset artist, Kay Lewis-Bell. Kay is a gifted colourist whose style and palette are instantly recognisable. Her figurative paintings are executed in a direct, fresh style often inspired by fleeting glances and unexpected meetings. Kay exhibited all new work based on people in and around Frome’s Catherine Hill.
The Silk Mill was very fortunate to have this opportunity to bring Kay’s delightful canvases to the Festival.
At this exhibition three paintings and numerous prints were sold. A steady stream of visitors that poured in during the fortnight appreciated the work very much.
We also had a writer in residence who spent a happy day creating at the Mill.
Ralph Steadman‘s Blot Symphony
16th July 2010
The Silk Mill showed a short film of Ralph Steadman performing the world première of his Blot Symphony.
This review of the Ralph Steadmen Blot Symphony evening appeared in the Fosse Way & Blackmore Vale Magazines.
It can be rare for a small gig by a local, amateur band to turn out as a cut above the rest. Hand your tickets over at the pub door and you could easily find yourself in some faded snug listening to Mustang Sally played drearily for the billionth time, or perhaps witness Somerset’s answer to Deep Purple earnestly wailing and thrashing out Black Night. But a trip to Frome’s hidden away venue of the Silk Mill last Friday, as part of the town’s festival celebrations, was one of those rare moments of pure, joyous relief, where you see there are elements of life that can be just perfect. What’s more, that those creating the new, near faultless music could soon very well be about to make it big. In a converted warehouse of about 60 people, George Laycock, son of well-known Dorset folk musician Tim Laycock, and Dai Borthwick hit listeners with multi-instrumental shock and awe tactics perhaps never seen before. Accompanying award-winning short films and animation featuring funny sketches, touching cartoons and sinister footage, the pair played self-penned, precisely timed, glorious cacophonies on trumpet, guitar, drums and keyboard in a set that had the originality of Gorillaz and the unearthly, ambient sounds of Sigur Ros and Bjork. Nordic Giants are truly a phenomenon. See them and you’ll be forced to create a whole new genre in the musical categories of your head. Hear them and their spellbinding instrumentals will become the soundtrack to your summer. LM
There were two elements to this event with a fantastic children’s session where the creations that many children had been working on were displayed physically and musically. One could not help feeling that the children of Frome are so fortunate to be involved in the creation of such a unique occasion! I very much doubt that they will ever forget it.
The event was organised in partnership with Black Swan Arts.
Visitors for this terrifically successful show came from as far afield as Kazakhstan, Australia, China and France.
Music is a profound influence on Ralph’s work. Like US artist Jackson Pollock, who splattered his paintings to a jazz soundtrack, Ralph blots in time to music.
The Blot Symphony on 16th July showcased results of children’s workshops over the previous fortnight, at St. John’s FIrst School, Vallis First School and Leigh on Mendip First School.
Ralph Steadman’s own film of the Blot Symphony had its world premier during the evening’s festivities with fairground rides, kinetic sculpture and Diva’s café, bbq and bar.
Branco Stoysin Trio Concert
15th July 2010
Branco Stoysin Trio very much enjoyed playing at the Silk Mill. This is an excerpt from the e-mail that Branco sent us:
We all had a wonderful time and hope we managed to deliver what BST’s mission is and we’re supposed to…to warm the hearts of the audience, yours certainly was a very appreciative one!
We liked your gallery very much, it’s brightness and openness… and I believe it has loads of potential not only for exhibitions but concerts too.
As you can imagine, I’ve approached and been dealing with loads of festivals/venues/promoters but you are so different, positively different which is so unique and refreshing…your festival motto is obviously, and as it well should only be: artistic-merits-only-matters (if only others are same :>) and you even, in the brochure and on website ask for artists submissions for the next festival (I can’t recall that I’ve ever seen that before, maybe once or twice!, what you rather get is a chain of barriers and negativity (to say it gently :>), so one, discerning one, must wonder how on Earth are you supposed to get through and be noticed!? while at the same time everyone everywhere are trumpeting about art opportunities, equality and diversity :>) what? that’s where you festival is a winner, and I hope and wish you stay that way!
Thanks once aging for everything and your warm hearted hospitality, thanks for giving the BST a chance and to be your first group playing in your gallery.
We certainly enjoyed having them play and look forward to their return to Frome in the not too distant future.
This much admired trio blends original pieces and arrangements of enthralling traditional music from former Yugoslavia.
Branco Stoysin – Acoustic Guitar
Lesslee Booth – 6 String Contra Bass
Buster Birch – Percussion
“Full of quiet beauty the 6th album “Inexhaustible” is the sound of a master craftsman at work” Ian Mann (thejazzman.com)
“A musical journey to warm the soul” Sarah Ward (Jazz FM)
BodyMatters, 22nd-27th May 2010.
A Bath Spa Uni show by Foundation Degree Art students.
Photographs, July 1st-15th 2009
In the 2009 Frome Festival we hosted an exhibition of photographs by Robert Golden. We had 1200 visitors to this exhibition and middle schools came and met some older generation Frome people and looked at the pictures together.
Barry Cooper and Anthony Rogers created a ‘Neolithic’ Home outside and there was a Home ‘Inside Out’ Cafe.
Barry Cooper - Layers, September 2008
Barry Cooper is a local painter/sculptor who has worked extensively in Mostar and Greece. He worked on the piece on the floor which relates to the Hadron Collider at Cern.
Rescue, July 2008
Frome Festival Exhibition
Many local artists contributed to this exhibition on a theme of Rescue.
Students of Frome Community College displayed photographs on a theme of Rescuing the Environmental Issues.
Intervention/Decoration, May – June 2008
This was the opening exhibition in the Gallery and ran for 6 weeks. It was part of the first Foreground project in which 6 artists created installations all over Frome.
At the Mill three of the artists were represented, Eva Berendes, Lawrence Weiner and Jin Eisermann.
Other photographic projects:
The gallery and atmospheric spaces in the Mill are used as a location for photographic shoots and films for fashion, videos, product manufacturers and the creative industries.
Photograph by Stuart Grant, taken before much of the restoration was done.
Poot Shoot 2007
The very first shoot that happened here was a Frome Community College GCSE Project. The then student; Dylan Etherington is now working as a camera operator and touring with bands.
It was an advertising film for the vintage clothes shop Poot, on Catherine Hill.
The resulting Video is on You Tube: