Contemporary Mark Makers Collaboration Exhibition.


Monday 16th October to Saturday 21st October  ~ 10am - 4.45pm daily


Collaboration – 1. To work with another or others on a joint project.  2. To cooperate as a traitor, esp. with an enemy occupying one’s own country.


Contemporary Mark Makers group in Totnes has been working collaboratively on new paintings and prints. Our group context is about creatively moving beyond our comfort zone, loosening the control we have gained in carefully honing skills over many years of art making. Artists were initially paired or grouped at random. Work began in response to subjects arising from the artists’ joint discussions. Ways of creating together then arose over time as artists gained trust in each other and learned what is possible from combining differing methods and approaches. We also used a number of unusual collaborative exercises to help us explore our processes. Inevitably the work had it’s own say and moved us forward.

Collaboration has broadened our perspective on art making enabling the making of exciting, vibrant new work. Collaborators thoughts:


“I think we all wanted to unravel a bit in order to see how we ‘ravel’ ”


“The process of watching someone else working; each new step of the painting different to what I would do, and thus surprising.”


“The work that has resulted really does seem to reflect both of us but something unique and independent of our individual styles.”


Contributing artists: Rachael Bennett, Andy Coldrey, Jane Ellis, Rosemary Ensor, Sara Gilbert, Josie Gould, Ann King, Anne Pirie, Anita Reynolds, Bev Samler.



Kate Toms


Monday 23rd October to Saturday 28th October  ~ 10am - 4.30pm daily


Work by textile and mixed media artist Kate Toms.

A gathering of characters with stories to tell.

Steve Nayar



Monday 30th October to Saturday 4th November  ~ 10am - 4.45pm daily


Steve Nayar is a local artist living and working in Totnes. He is also chairman of TDOS (Totnes and Dartington Open Studios) group. His current work focuses on the plight of animals facing extinction in the wild. All the canvases are a metre square featuring just the face of the animal staring straight out at the viewer. It is a powerful format, each appearing perhaps as a huge ‘mug-shot’ as if the beast in question is on trial. Steve argues that all of the endangered animals featured find themselves in this position because of human activity. The canvases work in isolation but also as a group, the identical format placing the viewer in the somewhat unnerving position of becoming the observed.

What is also unusual is that Steve wants his paintings to work harder than most in providing an income to support each animal featured, where some or all of the proceeds of the sale are donated to animal welfare organisations, like Save the Orangutan, Monkey World and W.W.F.

Artists Unlimited


Monday 6 November to Saturday 11 November  ~ 10am - 4.45pm daily

An exhibition by the Artists Unlimited group of artists

Claudia Schmid & Bethan Welby


Sunday 12th November to Saturday 18th November ~ 10am - 5pm except

Sunday open from 3pm PV 6 – 8

Saturday 10am – 4.30pm


Claudia and Bethan have previously shown work together at Birdwood House as part of the Drawn to Words Exhibition in 2015.

The two artists share an enjoyment of the narrative, both are drawn to emotive moments of human and animal interaction. Quite often there is a touch of humour as well as melancholy present in their work.

There will be illustrations, some work in progress as well as purposely created work for this show. We invite you to see their stories and meet their characters – there is bound to be someone/something you’ll see reminding you of someone you know…


Claudia Schmid

Moving from drawing with my fine Rotring pen to larger scale ink paintings, then back to smaller work in acrylics, the themes presented are those of human longing, humorous interactions with animals and creatures, dreamlike happenings and philosophical musing. Things happen here that wouldn’t happen in real life but still, there is a recognition of something that inhabits us (or we inhabit “it”).

On the verge of laughter myself (or tears), that is how the work comes into being.

Since 2009 I have regularly exhibited either as part of the Dartington and Totnes open studios, Devon open studios or by showing my work either on my own or with fellow artists at Birdwood House.

I also work as an illustrator, currently mainly collaborating with poet/performer Matt Harvey. We created two books together: Mindless Body, Spineless Mind and Sit!

The books, tea towels, cards and some surprise things will be on sale at the show.

When I get round to it I also like to make Dutzi soft toys from old jumpers.


Bethan Welby

Last year, after a career as a commercial illustrator spanning over 20 years, I decided to re-evaluate my work and embarked on an MA in Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. I am now at the half way point and ready to share some of my ventures so far. This work has a slightly misty feeling of nostalgia: here, but not now.

21Group 50th Anniversary Exhibition

Drawn Hung and Quartered


Monday 20th November to Saturday 25th November  ~ 10am - 4.45pm


The 21 Group of Artists is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, and the exhibition at Birdwood House is the culmination of a very successful year, with earlier shows at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth, and at the Penwith Gallery in Penzance. This forthcoming exhibition explores the particular theme of DRAWINGS. Many artists use drawings, often on a smaller scale, to work out ideas for paintings. We therefore expect to hang a larger collection of smaller work in this exhibition. We have given it the title DRAWN, HUNG & QUARTERED as a clue to its content. Drawings may of course cover many different media, from pencil, charcoal, pastel, pen and wash, watercolour, etc., and be applied to many different surfaces. This exhibition will show a wide variety of mark-making, and will give intriguing insights into the way each artist works.

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