Magical Miniatures

I have never been someone who has made large artworks. For me above, let’s say, 60cm in any direction and you already have reached one of my larger works. I feel an affinity with smaller artworks, The intensity and intimacy that they offer draws us in in a different way to how larger scale work often tries to dominate us.
The work of the miniaturist portrait painter takes us into this area, but for me at least such portraits have always felt like a compromised, shrunk down version of the work of the full scale portrait artist.
The small format work on show at the Museum Catharijne Convent in Utrecht certainly doesn’t have this problem and it overflows with intensity, craftsmanship and meaning.

The exhibition Magical Miniatures displays in its carefully lit glass cases an array of thick and immaculately bound Medieval manuscripts. Each individual book is of course in itself almost enough for a complete exhibition that once open displays just two carefully chosen pages from the binding that potentially offers so many possibilities more.
The fineness and intricacy is extraordinary, the amount that can be crammed onto a page of perhaps 15x10cm quite mind blowing. You can’t help but wonder about the world from where these books come and the hands that created them. The consistency of the work and the shear quantity make you wonder about the rituals and devotions for the makers. It is highly appropriate to see the books lying open in the halls of a former convent, a building with its own history that has so many parallels with the displays.
The museum in a series of film offer insights into their processes and techniques. These leave you even more baffled by the degree of commitment and knowledge of the working contexts that these unnamed artists found themselves working in. In our world of fast moving imagery and sound bites the contrast could hardly be greater.


Bilingual education conference, Utrecht – Art and Language


Once every two years bilingual education in the Netherlands gets together for a session of reflection, evaluation and workshops aimed at enthusing all of those involved. As the Arts subject coordinator I am tasked with leading a workshop specifically aimed at the arts teachers present. For those who were there, and those who weren’t, the link below will take you to the PowerPoint that I made use of.

Presentation Utrecht 2015

I appreciate that the images without the explanation isn’t always going to be clear, but if there is anything that you desperately want more information about don’t hesitate to say so, either through the comments option on this blog,  my school email ( or via the contact page on my website:

For those of you who were there thanks for your active participation and enthusiasm. I find myself wondering every time how much to try and cram into a sixty minute session, especially in the context of what is an incredibly intensive day with all the other workshops and presentations. I assume that there will be another subject meeting in a years time, most probably again in Utrecht. That is also likely to be more of an afternoon filling session, with as a result much more time for discussion and sharing of ideas, I hope to see you there!