Ed Carter – Sculpture 30 March Artist of the Month

Sculpture 30 is sure flying over fast – we’ve had an absolute blast so far and we are certainly ramping it up over the Summer.

Our March Sculpture 30 artist of the month has been Ed Carter;  Ed is a real creative, he’s an artist, a maker, a sculpture, an inventor, a musician, a DJ and an innovative visual artist.


We were lucky enough to host a one off exclusive exhibition, right here in Gateshead in our Gallery space at Gateshead Central Library. The exhibition was called “Scale” and ran for just over a week from 17th March.


Ed presented a new sculpture and sound installation inspired by the architectural approaches to scale, reflecting and exploring the gender imbalance seen within the industry and raised imperative questions about the potential consequences for the built environment.


The visual piece and the accompanying sounds created a real sensory feast for visitors. Our such visitor Mark, voiced his experience of the exhibition;

“Relaxing, transfixing, mesmerising – this installation is sound-art at its most fascinating and mood-shapingly satisfying! Ed’s study and use of sine-waves and the extended, but stylised human form, at once induces emotional response; you can’t fail to be moved by this superbly minimalist installation! I will visiting every day for my tranquillity fix!”

Ed also visited our Gallery space on the 19th March, to meet and greet exhibition visitors providing an informal commentary on his work, the exhibition and practice. I can assure you, as a culture vulture, taking in an exhibition is one thing, but having the actual artist there with you to talk through their inspiration takes exhibition viewing to a new level.


So for those of you, who didn’t meet Ed, who is he I hear you ask? Well….

Ed Carter devises and creates interdisciplinary projects that are context-specific, with a focus on sound, collaboration, process and technology. He takes patterns, associations, rhythms and chronology, and uses these to form the structures of new site-specific projects.


And if you’re from the North East, you will certainly know a recent project of his; Flow.

Flash back to 2012 and you may remember on the Newcastle Quays, there was Flow, a tide-mill – a floating building on the River Tyne generating its own power using a tidal water wheel. The building housed electro acoustic musical machinery and instruments responding to the constantly changing environment of the river, generating sound and data. It was a little haven of magical calm!


The project was a collaboration between Ed, Owl Project and other collaborators and spanned art-forms, blending contemporary and traditional methods, combining sculpture, cutting edge technology, hand crafted wooden instruments, architecture, precision engineering and electronic music to create an astonishing audio-visual public artwork.


Over 40,000 people visited the free-to-board artwork, which was moored on the Newcastle quayside from March-September 2012, created as part of Artists taking the lead, one of twelve large-scale public art commissions funded by the UK Arts Council celebrating the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


I used to visit Flow all the time, as part of my ritual long summer walks along the Quayside in 2012 and it was an absolutely magical piece of interactive Art. Everyone’s experience of ~Flow was unique, as the instruments responded directly to the ever-changing state of the river.


Fast forward to 2016, Ed worked on a project for BAFTA – 195 Piccadilly

Working as music composer and producer alongside creative visual studio NOVAK, ‘195 Piccadilly’ was a large scale projection onto the BAFTA building, commissioned as part of the inaugural Lumiere London festival. Lumiere London was attended by in excess of 1,000,000 people over the course of its 4 days.


Exploring the different genres of cinema and television using images from BAFTA’s archive, the overall aesthetic refers to the origins of 195 Piccadilly as the home of the Royal Institute for Painters in Watercolour.

If you’d like to find out more….BAFTA did a short podcast about it:

A current project of Ed’s is his exhibition at the Lowry; Barographic is a site-specific composition project, creating graphic scores from atmospheric pressure data, and using the architectural form of the venue as an animated, 3D sequencer.


The process reflects on different approaches to interpreting the built environment (and the manner in which architects invoke a sense of rhythm and flow through their designs), and captures something that represents our perception of ‘atmosphere’ – something less tangible, but central to our experience of public spaces.

If you’d like to find out more about this current work, Ed did a brilliant interview about it for 6 Music, so have a listen! Or even better, Culture Vultures, if you have the opportunity, why not go visit it!

I’m sure Ed has other fantastic projects lined up, but one to note is he is a speaker for The Manchester TED Conference! How exciting – I’m a big fan of TED.

Over and out Sculpture 30 Artist of the Month; Ed Carter. It’s been a pleasure!


Northern Design Centre – a creative hub in Gateshead

There is a real buzz around Gateshead at the moment which is fuelled even more by Gateshead Council’s announcement that they are creating a 1.5 billion start up fund, specifically focusing on enhancing economic development and business start-up support. Moreover, the reasoning behind the funding is to assist Gateshead businesses to be even more competitive internationally and supporting the region in these international markets. There is a secondary fund that will change the way start-up businesses are supported in regards to employing people – anyone who runs their own business knows how challenging and overwhelming employing your first person can be; this extra support will help and should see the creation of 100,000 new jobs from 2017. This is good news for Gateshead business people and brilliant news for the area.

Gateshead is fast becoming known as an entrepreneurial hub on the National stage – all across the borough exists a wide range of diverse creative businesses that have survived the recession or have launched in its wake. That is one of the reasons I love attending networking events; listening to their stories makes me feel so inspired and proud to be from this area. At the moment, the regional press is full of stories of the thriving community of start-up businesses and creatives. And rightly so – us northerners have never been afraid of getting our hands dirty and doing the hard work necessary for business success.


A real entrepreneurial and creative hub in Gateshead, can be found just behind the Gateshead Quays, in the Baltic Business Quarter. Most people recognise The Northern Design Centre, as an icon on the sky line with its unique building design, by award winning local architects, Red Box Design but few know that the building is a purpose built space for start-up businesses and is full to the brim of exciting Gateshead businesses. I thought I’d use this blog post to talk about some of my favourite businesses in there and the innovative things going on right here in Gateshead!

Green Digit

Green Digit can be found on the first floor of the Northern Design Centre. Their innovative product Seed Cell are pods of various seeds in a wheel that are ready for planting; everything from herbs, to flowers, to chilli. This product has revolutionised gardening and made it a little bit fun again and completely accessible to all. You can plant these pods in the garden, in your allotment or grow them in your kitchen in a pot. The product is the brain child of founder, Dan Robson and in 2014, secured investment to scale up the business and manufacturing.


Green Digit can be found on the first floor of the Northern Design Centre. Their innovative product Seed Cell are pods of various seeds in a wheel that are ready for planting; everything from herbs, to flowers, to chilli. This product has revolutionised gardening and made it a little bit fun again and completely accessible to all. You can plant these pods in the garden, in your allotment or grow them in your kitchen in a pot. The product is the brain child of founder, Dan Robson and in 2014, secured investment to scale up the business and manufacturing.


YourFilm is growing; representative of the fact video (partly thanks to YouTube) is now one of the key mediums, alongside social media for businesses to communicate their offering and to engage with their customers. They can create visually fantastic commercials, training videos, animations, short films and promotional content – they’re abilities in this sector are endless. In fact, if you’re a business or organisation in the North East wanting a video, they are THE go to video production business. I recently put a call out on Facebook to my business connections, as I want to create a video for a future crowd funding campaign and 90% of people suggested YourFilm; that has to be a good sign that these guys are the very best!


I’ve met the guys behind YourFilm several times at networking events and what comes over loud and clear is their passion for film! One wonders, if we will ever see their very own big screen debut!?


CleanShakes can be found taking over the Northern Design Centre fridges with their yummy shakes. They make and bottle superfood shakes mixed with Almond milk that nourish to make you flourish. Each 250ml bottle is packed full of nutrition and taste; priced at £3.00. CleanShakes is the creation of three ladies, living in the North East. The story goes that one founder returned from America after travelling around and noticed the amount of juice bars, another founder had been researching keenly the diary free market and the other found was looking for better tasting healthy foods; they sat down, brainstormed and CleanShakes was born!


At Clean Shakes, they value your taste buds above anything else and they believe, they only deserve the very best; a top notch delicious premium healthy Shake. They are healthy and yummy – perfect combination.

Their shakers are the top priority; they want them to feel good, look good and with a bounce in their step. The shakes are packed with super foods, Almond Milk and are free of nasties; a daily dose of health within a balanced diet and bursting full of nutritional benefits. #tastethebenefits


They are currently developing their business model; plotting to scale up via funding their own growth and establishing CleanShakes as the number one alternative milkshake brand in the North East. It’s certainly an exciting time for this business! They have already secured written expressions of interest from the likes of Nudo, Fenwicks, Waitrose, Booths and Ocado. You can purchase a CleanShake via premium delis such as The Urban Bakery in Low Fell or the Cycle Hub in Newcastle this Easter weekend or by placing an order direct!

Follow them on Twitter: @CleanShakes

Design Network North

Design Network North is made up of Designers, Manufacturers, Businesses, Institutions, Students and Individuals who all work within or have a passion for Design in their industry.

The Network is designed to offer support, advice, networking, business opportunities and events to its members, partners and the wider community. Their aim is to increase the awareness of the importance of design within all industries, insuring that the value of design is considered by everyone, in the region and beyond.


As the Network is so diverse, they are able to pair up designers with other businesses who are looking to advance their design practices and create opportunities for working partnerships and future growth in the industry. It’s almost like a match maker service for businesses!

They also put on really brilliant networking events too!


Since 2009 Atomhawk have been working with movie studios, game developers and product designers to help realise their visions, bringing their ideas to life.

They’ve been involved in everything from projects with Nike, to working with Costa coffee, to The Guardians of the Galaxy film, to big budget computer games such as Mortal Combat, to very high profile projects like J.K Rowling’s Pottermore. Very impressive and right here in Gateshead; who would have thought!?

You can read more about their work on the Guardians of the Galaxy here.

atom hawk

They also exhibit and sell lots of their conceptual art from projects; The Art of Atomhawk Volume 2 features a diverse range of concept and marketing art from high profile projects such as Mortal Kombat, Project Spark, Injustice: Gods Among Us and J.K Rowling’s Pottermore. The images appear alongside insights into the thinking and influences behind the art work and digital painting tips from the Atomhawk artists. It also features personal pieces from members of the Atomhawk team.

The book is available to purchase on Amazon so have a deeks!

Entrepreneurial Business Management – Northumbria University

A quarter of the Northern Design Centre has been taken over by Northumbria University and the really innovative degree programme; entrepreneurial business management. The degree course sees students, embracing the lean start-up ethos; rapid testing of enterprise concepts and setting up and growing businesses and learning through their experiences. As such the course empowers and enables students so they leave University much more entrepreneurial and with (hopefully) successful established businesses.


Across the course, there are a really wide range of diverse businesses – from an all in one teabag from Tea3 Ltd, to Loco a 90s Club night at MSA, to a clothing line from PowrFitness, to North East Unity business consultancy, to an upcycling bike business.

The businesses have generated over £30K since conception showing how important these students are to economic development in Gateshead. They are full of ideas that are tested rapidly and experiencing real life business by doing; the office is so full of energy, it’s completely infectious!

There are many more businesses, not mentioned in this blog post, that call The Northern Design Centre their home. The ones chosen are simply my favourite ones that have crossed my path, as they are doing something a bit different, love the North East and play by their own rules! I’m all about rebellion so seeing other people making their own way, creating fantastic products and delivering quality services right here in Gateshead is magical!

Gateshead is on the way up…….partly powered by the magic that is happening in the NDC!

Spring is coming….. I promise!


Rise and Fall-Lulu Quinn (2007)

With Spring on the way…..it’s time to start thinking and getting excited about our outdoor Sculpture 30 activities we’ve got coming up.

Now, I know if you look out of the window, you’re probably thinking “Spring!?!” but I promise you it’s coming; it’s March and the flower buds are starting to pop up and say hello; I’ve got some Daffs in my living room at home.

Well what better way to discover sculpture then actually going to see it, touch it and to learn all about it. These Sculpture 30 outdoor activities give you the opportunity to do just that…..

Gateshead Quays Art Walk on Saturday 2nd April, 1pm – 3.30pm.

Our art walks are one of the highlights of our cultural programme; a chance for you to really get to know public art and sculpture in Gateshead. Pieces you may walk passed every day or hidden gems! This walk focuses on exploring the Public Art works along Gateshead quays, taking in sculpture, contemporary glass and urban design.


5,000 Bolts—Walter Jack Studio (2011)

This walk is led by Anna Pepperall, Gateshead Council’s Public Art Curator. Anna has been doing Public Art talks and curating Public Art in Gateshead since before The Angel of The North, so we are delighted that for this activity we have her as host.

To book: https://online.gateshead.gov.uk/EventTicketsOnline/pages/eventdetails.aspx?ky=3430

Sculpture Tour with Joseph Hillier on Thursday 14th April, 4pm – 8pm

Join Sculptor Joseph Hillier for a tour of some of his publicly sited sculptures followed by an exclusive visit to his studio. This mini bus tour will visit and explore Faith at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and Primary Care Centre and Joseph’s studio in Blaydon.


70% H2O – Joseph Hillier (2010)

Joseph Hillier is our Sculpture 30 Artist of the Month for April, so this is an unique opportunity to get to know his pieces and to explore his practice.

To book: https://online.gateshead.gov.uk/EventTicketsOnline/pages/eventdetails.aspx?ky=3437

Sculpture Tour with Joseph Hillier on Saturday 23rd April,l 10am – 4pm

Sculptor Joseph Hillier explores of some of his publicly sited sculptures during this full day tour followed by an exclusive visit to his studio. The mini bus will visit Faith at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Mortal8 at Souter Lighthouse, Generation at Newcastle University and Joseph’s studio in Blaydon.


Mortal 8 – Joseph Hillier (2014)

Is there a better way to spend a Saturday? This exciting opportunity is for a true culture vulture!

To book: https://online.gateshead.gov.uk/EventTicketsOnline/pages/eventdetails.aspx?ky=3438

Creative Walking & Writing Workshop with Jeremy Warr, Saturday 7th May, 10am – 12.30pm

Join Jeremy Warr, at St Mary’s Heritage Centre, for a writing workshop and walk with a difference. You’ll be using some of the many public artworks on Gateshead Quays and Riverside as inspiration for a series of writing exercises.


Beacons – David Pearl (2004)

We want you to bring your notebook and pens and learn from an expert, whilst feeling inspired by the wonderful Public Art and culture around you.

During this peaceful afternoon, you’ll be able to reimagine and reframe sculptural pieces with your words and metaphors.

To book: https://online.gateshead.gov.uk/EventTicketsOnline/pages/eventdetails.aspx?ky=3439

Gateshead Urban Art Walk, Saturday 21st May, 1pm-3.30pm

Anna Pepperall, Gateshead Public Arts Curator returns to explore some of the Public Art works in and around Gateshead Town Centre during this interpreted public art. Find out about the new Trinity Development and the fantastic piece “Halo” by Sculpture 30 December Artist of the Month, Steve Newby.

stephen 2

Halo – Steve Newby (2014)

There are so many hidden gems within the Gateshead Central area, so this walk is an opportunity to learn and reflect on some of these pieces and the process behind their conception, construction and maintenance.

To book: https://online.gateshead.gov.uk/EventTicketsOnline/pages/eventdetails.aspx?ky=3431

Lots of outdoor Sculpture 30 activity coming up; so get booked before these walks sell out. Fingers cross we will get lovely days for them, but as with all things outdoors in the British Summer/Spring, please be prepared and dress for British weather!

If you’d like any information, please contact CBSArtsTeam@Gateshead.gov.uk

Sculpture 30 logo

Sculpture 30 artist of the month February: Tanya Axford.

Sculpture 30 artist of the month for February has been the brilliant Tanya Axford.


Tanya Axford

I first met Tanya back in November when we hosted Shipley Lates with the Shipley Art Gallery which was a great way for people to engage with artists and have a go at a variety of arts activities whilst enjoying a glass of wine (or two) with friends! If you didn’t manage to catch that one, I highly suggest you make sure you get a ticket for the next one!


Tanya ran a workshop creating sculptural necklaces that transform ordinary materials, to create geometric origami forms and combine them with cable ties, to produce beautiful wearable sculptural forms.

Tanya is a practising visual artist in the North East and has been for over 10 years. She is another resident artist at Workplace Gallery Gateshead too! See, I told you in my last post how much of a gem Workplace is, you HAVE to visit it.

axford - babels folly 2001

Babels Folly (2001) – Tanya Axford

Tanya creates sculptural installations, performances and video work, that focus particularly on the development of performative sculptures and drawings. She often uses multiples of everyday items, her works are often site-specific, making installations and interventions for both the gallery space and the landscape. Using mass-produced and familiar materials she manipulates, challenges and transforms them into temporary works, systematically fulfilling their latent potential with unique and playful results. She describes her work as ‘concerned with the creation of opulent, striking and immersive environments, firmly grounded in reality’.

Axford Sods lawn 2001

Sod’s Lawn (2001) – Tanya Axford

I caught up with Tanya a week ago and I asked her what her inspiration to keep creating is?

My inspiration often comes from the qualities and characteristics of materials, and moments of change where one thing transforms into another. I love the creative and unexpected use of materials in objects and artworks, and the possibilities created by combinations of materials and technology.”

This February saw Gateshead Culture Team work with Tanya twice; firstly for a performance piece of storytelling for children aged 3-6years old about an acorns adventure. Our Caedmon Hall, at Gateshead Central Library, was transformed into a magical world in which immersive sold out performances could take place.


In A NutShell set 2016

Tanya worked with Alison McGowan and Elena Miller of Puppetship to bring In a Nutshell to life and to design and make the set. It was fantastically quirky, simple materials were used and transformed into a set that was quite dramatic and our audience of captivated little ones loved it and told me on leaving how “magical” it had been.


In a NutShell performance 2016

Our second, working with Tanya was for a Set Design workshop in which participants could learn how to create their own imaginative, theatrical world. This workshop was a unique experience for young people in Gateshead, to experience theatre through a different perspective; a sculptural and visual arts perspective.

Participants worked with Tanya how to work with different materials and the layering effect to build a multidimensional shell. The young people attending loved the experience and we are hoping to run another workshop like it in the future; as it was a huge success.


Set Design Workshop 2016 (participant’s work)

What a busy February for Tanya and us – 2016 is shaping up to be a hive of activity! So as we say goodbye to February, we say farewell to our February Sculpture 30 artist of the month! I can’t wait to see what she gets up to next….

Coming next Sculpture 30 artist of the Month March: Ed Carter……