Leigh Art Trail 2019 invitation

SEVEN has had busy year and is showing at the Leigh Art Trail for the third consecutive year at Venue 52: Planet Leasing. We’ll be open late on Thursday 13 June for drinks and nibbles and we’d like to invite you to join us and take a look through our books. This year we have been making our own books and taking inspiration from an artist or art movement.

We look forward to seeing you!

Installation at the Station goes on a mini tour to sunny Southend

Southend Art Trail 2018 at the Royal Hotel

Hot on the heels of the Leigh Art Trail, we decided to take the plunge and show our large-scale, timetable-inspired images, from Installation at the Station, at the Southend Art Trail too.

In contrast to Leigh’s more arty, community vibe, the Southend Art Trail seemed a bit more impersonal. Whereas artists are often encouraged to hang out at their LAT venues, the Southend Trail didn’t really demand that – after all the work was on show for a whole month. But ultimately all this left us with some questions…

About Southend Art Trail

Southend Art Trail is a free event that provides a democratic platform for local artists, using the High Street to exhibit their work. …From artists who have never shown before to seasoned exhibitors, around 40 artists will be displaying amazing artwork in town centre businesses. – Visit Southend

The Royal Hotel

Exhibition at the Royal Hotel

Our venue was the plush Royal Hotel, overlooking the Estuary, the pier and Adventure Island. In contrast to the tall, white walls of the waiting room the hotel walls here were packed with vintage-inspired, quirky prints.

Our exhibition pieces blended in with the existing artwork on the walls

Fortunately for us, SEVEN’s eclectic style and the wide range of themes already featured on the walls of the restaurant and bar, meant that after some careful scouting we were able to find the perfect place in which to showcase each piece.

Final Destination?

As tempting as it might have been to hang around the Royal Hotel bar, those who tried it didn’t find it all that fruitful. So unfortunately, we didn’t get to find out what people thought about our timetable-themed show. Which left us wondering.

Royal Hotel bar area

Did Southend Art Trail visitors find us without a trail sign to help them? Once, inside did people even know the difference between our SEVEN creations and the pub images? Did it matter? Who knows!? But one of Kerry’s pieces went walkies, so someone surely liked them…

LAT 2018 – sketchbooks, secret auctions & giant timetables

LAT 2018 exhibition at Planet Leasing

One of the great things about being part of a creative group, like SEVEN, is sharing the very different artworks we each create, despite beginning with similar materials or themes. Which is why, for Leigh Art Trail 2018 we found ourselves in the waiting room at Leigh-on-Sea railway station grappling with vintage timetables and command strips…

Installation at the Station

Installation at Leigh-on-Sea station

Yep, in addition to our usual sketchbook work, for LAT 2018 we also created large-scale images using vintage train timetables as our prompt.

Dubbed the Installation at Leigh Station (Amanda thought of that!) the exhibition explored how a single creative starting point could develop into seven unique and unexpected destinations.

Each one of us took two timetables – arrival and departure – and did our individual thing. From Kerry’s fun and frivolous Ladies in Waiting to Juliet’s evacuee-inspired pieces, the results couldn’t have been more diverse.

A real departure from our book format, the large-scale poster-style images we created for the waiting room were mounted around the tall, white space, allowing visitors to view the resulting images in an altogether different way.

Exploring Estuarine

Concertina sketchbook – LAT 2018

In contrast, our creative sketchbook show at Planet Leasing kept to the A5 concertina style, which meant Trailers could get up close and have a good look at our explorations.

Estuarine: a word which sums up the ever shifting nature of the local coastline, part sea, part river, part land.

SEVEN Take On the Secret Auction

Secret Auction bid cards

In other news, SEVEN’s reputation for getting stuff done saw us get a bit more involved behind the scenes at Leigh Art Trail. This year, in addition to our creative sketchbooks and the Installation at the Station, we also helped organise the Secret Auction.

As a non-profit organisation Leigh Art Trail largely relies on members fees, commissions and proceeds from events like the Secret Auction to raise money and ensure the event happens. And that’s without even mentioning all the volunteers who donate their time (and much more) to the Trail – which just goes to show the power of groups, eh!?

Preview evening invitation – Leigh Art Trail 2018

SEVEN is having a preview evening on Friday 8 June from 6pm-8pm at Venue 49.  We’d like to invite you to join us and take a look through our books, which this year have an estuarine theme.

There will be a selection of venues also open on the evening, so you can meet other artists and enjoy a mini preview trail with a few drinks and nibbles.

So This Happened at Leigh Art Trail…

SEVEN Show Leigh Art Trail 2017“Like looking through a window into beautiful inner landscapes…” That was just one of the reactions SEVEN’s first Leigh Art Trail show inspired.

So, five months after the SEVEN collective formed, at table seven of The Railway Hotel, we had arrived. We were number three (Planet Leasing) in the 20th Leigh Art Trail.

SEVEN’s first show

To be honest, we weren’t sure what to expect. Just how Leigh Art Trailers would react to sketchbooks as artwork was uncharted territory – plus, we were the first collective to show on the Trail.

Our journey, as some may know, started at Heidi Wigmore’s Creative Journal courses held at Chalkwell Park’s Metal. SEVEN took that premise – using tried and tested artistic techniques (or processes) to kick start creative exploration – and plumbed its potential depths.

Fortunately Heidi attended our late night showing and told us she was “…blown away…” by what we’d achieved. Phew!

From the sea to Planet Leasing

Our LAT odyssey started with the sea – it is Leigh-on-Sea after all. This loose theme, a connective thread if you will, ebbed and flowed throughout the sketchbooks.

From there, we’d come together to share in the processes and explore them individually (get the techniques we used here). The results? Often unexpected. Always wildly different.

Once finished the journals were presented on a special table – trestle legs supplied by Metal – and held in place with striped ribbon, ready for public perusing. People were invited to turn and touch the pages. We encouraged questions. Kids could have a go in our community sketchbook.

What Leigh Art Trailers said

Many were drawn to a particular book or technique. Others were hurriedly box-ticking their way round the Trail. And a few left befuddled.

Other visitors became immersed in the depth and breadth the books had to offer. One or two said they felt as if they were looking through our personal thoughts. At least one person reckoned someone’s shell sketches were a bit Freudian…

Some even took the time to leave a comment in our book or on social media:

“This is absolutely fantastic – I love the connection between each of the books, yet there is so much diversity within them, as well.” – Cat

“Like looking through a window into beautiful inner landscapes. Totally joyful.” – Jen & Xian

“Fantastic, inspiring show.” – Heidi Wigmore

Thank you…

We thoroughly enjoyed our #LAT2017 experience. Thank you to everyone who came to see our sketchbooks, we loved having the opportunity to share our work with you.

But some special thanks must go to:

  • The dedicated and enthusiastic Leigh Art Trail organisers (all volunteers)
  • Planet Leasing for being so welcoming (and making us tea and staying late)
  • The lovely people at Metal who let us use their space (and their trestles)
  • The inspiring and supportive Heidi Wigmore
  • And, Amanda’s husband, Andrew, for his carpentry skills

Keep up with SEVEN

Remember to check out our latest art work and follow our creative adventures over on Instagram.

You can also sign up to our mailing list to keep in the SEVEN loop. We’re not sure what’s happening next, but we’ll let you know when we do!