Focus on…sculptor Melanie Deegan

In the run up to the 10 Parishes Festival, the blog will feature various artists or craftspeople from the 10 Parishes area. Many of them have exhibitions and events throughout the year, so take a look at their websites to find out more – and please Tweet and post on Facebook about them, in celebration of the vibrant artistic talent in the area.

In this blog we look at sculptor Melanie Deegan (see her website and current exhibition details below).

Once seen, Melanie Deegan’s beautiful sculptures of horses and other animals are not forgotten. They are full of lightness and movement, created with highly unusual techniques – and greatly admired.

Melanie has been an ongoing supporter of the 10 Parishes Festival since it started and the 2013 10 Parishes Festival will be one of the most enjoyable local events she’s involved in, during her busy and productive year.

She became a professional sculptor in 2008, after working in a senior position in the IT industry and doing sculpture as a hobby. It also brings together earlier strands of work as a woodcarver, and a thorough knowledge of horses as a horse riding instructor.

“I had joined a sculpting group for a hobby and tried clay, plaster, everything I could get my hands on,” she said.

“I did a few low key exhibitions, then the IT company I was working for went bust, and I thought I’d give it a go as a full time sculptor. Since then, I’ve been very lucky.”

The 10 Parishes Festival is a good opportunity for her to display her work locally, as she is based at Langley Marsh near Wiveliscombe but mostly shows her work further afield.

“I like the Festival, it’s condensed and focused, it’s great that it supports the local art community, and it has a very good standard of art,” she says.

Melanie sells work through a number of galleries in the South of England and also exhibits at a variety of venues, such as the Sculpture Garden at Delamore on the edge of Dartmoor, and the Stourhead Summer Exhibition.

She also shows her work with other artists through an organisation she helped set up, called Gallery 4 Art. The venues are interesting properties in their own right, where the public can access art without necessarily visiting a gallery, such as Blackmore Farm, Cannington, and Binham Grange Summer Exhibition, Old Cleeve.

Horses are her favourite subject, as she has been involved with them most of her life, but subjects include dogs, hares, birds and now more figures too. About twenty per cent of her work is commissioned sculpture for clients.

“I was lucky to find just the right materials for me. I work mostly with Jesmonite, an architectural product that is an acrylic resin, very strong and light. I mix it with different materials to give different textures,” Melanie explains.

“Being a sculptor is really me, and I also enjoy the freedom of organising my time as I want to. There is all the admin and delivery side too of course, but this is my work.”

Melanie has a number of forthcoming exhibitions, and a selection of work from her portfolio can be viewed on her own website:

  • Art at Blackmore‘ Exhibition, Blackmore Farm, Cannington, Somerset from February 23rd to March 3rd 2013.
  • ‘Binham Grange Summer Exhibition’, Binham Grange, Old Cleeve, Somerset, August 2013, dates to be confirmed.
  • ’10 Parishes Festival’, September 7th to 15th 2013.

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