Skip to main content

Staying at JHQ and exploring the local area.

For me not being used to military life it was slightly daunting to come and stay at JHQ for a two week duration while working at ARK School. I am so used to my freedom and autonomy as an artist, military life is almost the exact opposite I imagine.

I have been allocated a room in Cassels House which is available for members of the military to stay in if they have work to do at JHQ or are passing through on their way to another base.  The building is just like all the others here, solidly built in the 1950's and updated with double glazed windows and fresh coats of standard issue magnolia and steel grey paint.  I have been made to feel so welcome by the staff here and they have been so helpful, making my job easier while I am here.

It all goes on in the courtyard area, people congregate here in the evenings and I love hearing about how people ended up in the military, what their jobs are and what their plans are for the future.  Being here as the base is closing down gives me a slightly different insight into military life I am sure.  It can't be great not knowing where you will next be posted when you know that BFG is closing down more bases than previously thought, it must however bring these 'last men standing' together knowing that they are all pretty much in the same situation.

I was really interested to talk to who is working here in Cassells House.  He is an artist working predominantly in 2D and is hoping get a place in Dusseldorf or Berlin to study further.  Having read on another blog about how working within the military was an opportunity to get out to Germany and get work to support his art practice he applied to work with the NAAFI.  He now shares a studio with a well known picture framer and is able to continue with his art practice while working for the NAFFI.

I was able to borrow a bicycle and take a ride through the lovely countryside here and have supper in a local restaurant.  It was a German Bank Holiday on Wednesday and there were loads of people out and about on bikes enjoying the great tracks and paths available to them.

On my day off, Head Teacher Mike kindly took me to Dusseldorf, a thriving city with a rather chi chi look about its inhabitants!  It all seemed quite glossy and smart and very very busy!  We cycled from a small village with a windmill following dedicated cycle paths to a ferry crossing to get to the east bank of the Rhine - a really wide river with a strong current and plenty of big ships transporting goods.  From there we cycled the 12 km through orchards and lovely countryside into the outskirts of the city then past the university into the city centre.  I am much better in woods and fields on a bike than I am in the city!  After a lovely lunch in the oldest bar/restaurant in town we decided to take the tram back part way with the bikes, this was mad! got off as soon as we were in open air and cycled the bumpy path alongside the river back to the ferry.

It was great to explore the countryside like this, the cycle paths and footpaths being so well marked out and maintained made it an easy option.

Sunday is a day of rest and recreation in Germany, I am not allowed to do manual labour so will get cracking with design work for the next commission in Oxford.


Popular posts from this blog

My Amazing Dad Hector Cole Awarded an MBE 1st January 2015

I thought it would be a good idea to post here about the great news that my father Hector Cole has been awarded an MBE for Services to Heritage Crafts in the 2015 New Year's Honours! He is really thrilled to get recognition for the 45 years of dedicated work specifically for his arrow-smithing and also within the broad spectrum of iron-working but, as many people will know, there is a lot more behind the award than is ever printed in the press.  I would like to share some of this information with you. My sister Rebecca first brought up the idea of nominating Dad for an award, she thought he would be a great candidate for an honour and started to look into it.  There is a lot of work behind the scenes to make it happen and we were too late for that year so put it on the back burner.  In 2014 I saw a tweet from asking if anyone knew a suitable crafts person to nominate for an honour.  I immediately tweeted back suggesting my Dad, Hector and it snowball

Wiltshire Life – Individuals Arts, Culture & Music Award Winner 2020

  Wiltshire Life  – Individuals Arts, Culture & Music Award Winner 2020 Moravian Star inspired Public Sculpture for the new Rausing Building (Athelstan Museum) in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK.  This public sculpture was commissioned by Angela and William Sykes and the team organising the renovation of the former Moravian Church in Malmesbury as a new community building and extension of the Athelstan Museum. In October, I was awarded the Wiltshire Life 2020 Individual Arts, Culture and Music Award for my work in visual arts and crafts and for the     Moravian Star Inspired public sculpture for the garden area of the new Rausing Building ( Athelstan Museum wing) in Malmesbury , Wiltshire.   It was a really lovely surprise to be a winner and I am really delighted to get some recognition for my work and this sculpture in particular which is a really dynamic and uplifting piece of public art in my home town. Many thanks to everyone involved in this piece of public art including my worksh
  Spring 2021   After a quieter winter in the forge than normal, I am back running my blacksmithing day courses as per Government guidelines with one to one sessions for the people that have had their courses postponed from 2020.    Ridgeway Farm Art Project is currently awaiting planning approval for both the entrance sign and the Community Orchard - I very much hope that these two aspects of the project will get moving soon!   In the meantime, I am drying some larch boards ready to make bat boxes to go on oak posts in the hedgerows around the development.  When community groups can safely and confidently meet again I still want to do community making sessions for residents to make their own bat boxes.   I have been working on designs for another public art project in Oxford and very much hope this will be approved and I can make the lovely pieces I have designed. I was sent some great photos of Chippenham Town Bridge - a piece I designed many years ago which still looks great today!