A family graduation & a minibreak at Broadlands Naturist Club

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I’ve got two children who have long since flown the coop. The eldest Alice has just completed her degree in nursing and graduated on Tuesday from the University of East Anglia, Norwich.  Alice notified me a while ago so I was able to block time off from my Practice, also in healthcare.

We decided to book a caravan at Broadlands Naturist Holiday Club.  Broadlands is a short distance from Norwich and ideal for exploring the local area.  Set in 25 acres, it’s a peaceful haven from the outside world, with the usual amenities naturists expect in a club setting; heated pool, boules pistes, volleyball court, club house, camping areas etc.

The warden Stephen was very friendly from the outset and that’s one of Broadland’s notable merits, the members and guests are very welcoming and friendly.  Sadly the same can’t be said for all clubs, although I won’t single the ones out which I’ve found to be frosty and inward looking.

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We’re in the middle of a heatwave by British standards at the moment.  Just my luck that I happen to be on a motorway on one such day and again the previous weekend on the way up to Hull to take part in Spencer Tunick’s art installation, the Sea of Hull.

It was a relief to get to Broadlands. I arrived first, having dropped Alice and her partner off to collect their bicycles.  Paperwork duly completed, ID produced and money handed over, I was shown to our caravan.  We opted for a 6 berth beast.

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Honestly, this had everything you could possibly want.  A little home-from-home and remarkably good value, especially after recent trips away when I’ve been hotel bound.

Typically I’d brought enough to set up camp for about a month.  Alice and Adam meanwhile arrived and checked the pool out.

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The following day, up at dawn typically, I wandered around barefoot and took pictures before Broadlands stirred.  I’d already secured confirmation I could take pictures from Stephen.  As ever, it’s scenery only unless someone is happy to appear in the frame.

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This is a vibrant club with about 300 members and a constant stream of families camping and caravanning.  Particularly gratifying was how welcoming people were towards Alice and her friends, four of whom visited over the three days we were there, three females and one male.  Since none of Alice’s friends had ever tried naturism before, it was heartening to see how well a relaxed, clothing optional approach works which is the policy we also employ at Diogenes Sun Club.  One group of campers, welcomed Alice and her boyfriend and invited them to join them in a bbq which I thought marvellous.  Her girlfriends who may have been wary initially, all enjoyed the experience and there was talk of going back to Broadlands and even looking in to joining as members.

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There’s the usual collection of whimsical gnomes peppering the site and a well established petanque league who play at 2:30pm daily.  According to Stephen, you can set your clock by them.

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On the third and final day when we had chance to relax, soak up the sun and use the amenities, we saw the 2:30 crowd in action for ourselves.  At 2:32 precisely, about ten naturists filed past the caravan, boules in hand to the pistes near the club entrance.

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For those of you who’d like to stay and not take the kitchen sink with them (I enjoy cooking and won’t travel without my spices and condiments), the cafe is open twice daily and certainly appeared to be popular, judging from the number of people sitting outside on the balmy evenings when we were there.

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And just look at how beautiful the little trails are wending around the club

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The final day was tinged with regret, our visit was too rushed.  We’ll definitely be back.   I’d certainly recommend you try Broadland’s hospitality for yourself.

The impressive dawn on Wednesday gave rise to this picture.  It wasn’t a fire but the sun rising over the camp.  This picture taken at about 5am.

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Chance for a final walk around naked and barefoot

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And it was time to pack up and make our way back to Buckinghamshire, via Norwich to drop off the millenials.

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For more information, there’s this You tube video of Broadlands, uploaded on 18 July 2014, an interesting article from the Guardian  ‘A stitch in time,’ Thursday 31 May 2007 and a Gallery on the Broadlands website.

Please allow 48 hours notice for day visitors and address any enquiries to Broadlands, as per the website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a while

since I posted here but I’m out of the winter blues and not being distracted by facebook’s allure😉  *more on that in a future post, I’m functional and productive again.

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In the light of recent *events, I’ve changed my focus and I’m carving up my social media time to greater effect in my (and our) continued efforts to dispel the untruths that circulate around naturism and our community, to educate and inform people who are intrigued by naturism who may wish to join us.

I’ve also been busy with my Practice since resurfacing so life is a bit of a juggling act but the curse of insomnia gives me much more creative time. I’d rather get more sleep but at least life is enjoyable!

My local naturist club is Diogenes Sun Club, a warm, friendly club in Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire. The club comprises a large manor house surrounded by six acres of beautiful grounds with about 300 members and rising.

I’m very fortunate to live close to a club with such amazing facilities . For someone who’s mad about sport, it’s the perfect complement to my training regime.

We hold regular events at Diogenes which I help to promote with social media, assisting our P.R.O. Andy.

Feast of St Peter, Andy & Emma

This weekend, we held out first minifest’ at the club, featuring a gig with Billy Bottle and Martine Waltier .  It was a huge success and will definitely become an annual feature. 

Without further ado  since Shakespeare is in the news, I’ll leave you with some recent pictures of Diogenes.  Our heated 60ft outdoor pool, widely regarded by members as the jewel in our crown was re-opened this past weekend after undergoing a 40K refurbishment.  Look and drool, it’s a sight to behold.
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The next event is this coming Saturday 4 June.  Specifically to try and encourage Ladies to try naturism for themselves, we’re hosting an evening at Diogenes between 6-9pm where guests are able to try out our facilities.  We boast two swimming pools, a 60 ft heated outdoor pool and a smaller but equally alluring heated indoor pool which is open year-round.

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As well as the ubiquitous tea and cakes which seems to underpin naturism; ask any naturist, guests will be welcome to look around Diogenes or wander around the well-tended grounds.

Ladies, if you’re interested in joining us on Saturday (the event costs just six pounds) here’s the relevant webpage  to sign up.

We’re keen to show the world how beautiful our club is and what a great lifestyle naturism confers. Honestly, once you’ve discovered naturism for yourself, you’ll be loathe to assign your freetime to the ‘textile’domain, especially when it’s hot!

We take our marketing and PR efforts out into the local community with our Diogenes Roadshow, hosting stands at local fetes and seasonal fayres.

Feast of St Peter, Andy & Emma

If you’d like to find out more about Diogenes, contact us as per the attached form.  Please note ‘when contacting us, remember that our club is run entirely by volunteers who will be pleased to help but are not always able to respond to you instantly due to work commitments.  Therefore, we politely ask that you allow at least 24 hours for any reply to be forthcoming.’

And Ladies don’t delay, get your ticket for Saturday so you can join us.  The forecast is promising and you can be assured of a warm welcome.

Emma and Nerida in indoor pool

 

 

 

 

 

Naturism

Naturistrunner's Blog

It’s been a while since I wrote about my stance on naturism. So it’s about time I posted my views again.

I believe that being clothes free is perfectly natural and nothing at all to be ashamed of. In fact, I would be happy to be naked anywhere given the chance. I love hiking naked in the mountains whete it is possible to be clothes free all day without hardly seeing anyone. I keep a pair of shorts close to hand juat in case.
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However society often objects to nudity as it is wrongly associated with sexual activity. However, public nudity events such as WNBR are now becoming increasingly popular and improve the public’s awareness of naturism being natural. I have done 3 WNBRs and found the experience so liberating.
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Anyone who has enjoyed the freedom of social nudity will agree that in doing so barriers are down and people…

View original post 72 more words

Hasting’s First World Naked Bike Ride, 2014 #WNBR

Last year I took part in my first World Naked Bike Ride.  Coincidentally the ride I elected to take part in was also a first, Hasting’s first WNBR which suited me because as a new ride, numbers were much lower and I’m not exactly confident on a bike.

A number of my friends have ridden on WNBR rides for years and quite a few organise and marshal the events so I had plenty of people to turn to for advice to allay my qualms, not only about my distinct lack of cycling prowess but also as a woman and naturist, taking part in such a public event.

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For those of you who have never witnessed or taken part in a WNBR ride, they’re joyous occasions transmitting a deadly serious message.  Although I haven’t cycled much in adulthood, I’m environmentally conscious, a belief structure which underpins the naturist community.  

Supported by naturists and non naturists, these rides are fundamentally protest rides designed to highlight the deleterious effect we are collectively imposing upon our broken planet.  Consequently riders who take part draw attention to the WNBR aims by daubing themselves in slogans such as ‘think bike’,  ‘it’s oil over,’ ‘less gas more ass’ and in some instances sporting full body paint or dressing up.

As an active networker and naturist, although a recent convert to public naturism (I joined British Naturism in May 2011), I quickly grew a large naturist network, both in the UK and overseas.  One member of my network, Richard Foley a British ex-pat now residing in Germany became a good friend and we communicated actively about naturism/nudism.  

A published author and founder of a free international naturist/nudist networking site the Naktiv Network, Richard has been involved with naturism for many years and is passionate about the WNBR and what it stands for.  In 2012, Richard published his book on the World Naked Bike Ride and asked me to review it for him.  

Many of the questions I had about the ride were dispelled.  The questions I had about my cycling abilities remained and still do to this day.  I do have a bike now but I am still loathe to go out on it unless I am chaperoned.  Lame I know!

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Hastings pictured during the WNBR 2014

I’m a member of Diogenes Sun Club, a large family-friendly naturist club in Buckinghamshire, one of the counties bordering London where I live.  Another member Andy Crawford kindly agreed to take me to the ride and keep an eye out for me which was reassuring.  Andy and I get on well.  He has a great sense of humour and is equally blunt and outspoken which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on your viewpoint.

As the ride approached I was still wrestling with the thought of being fully naked given how public these rides are.  Not because I have any issues about nudity but because as a woman I have concerns about the invasive, predatory individuals who leech around these rides with their macro telephoto lenses, whose quest appears to be to take as many photos of the women in attendance as they possibly can and upload them, goodness only knows where on the web.

After reviewing Richard’s book, the activist in me was stirred to think I would do the ride naked.  Nudity serves to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists and being stripped bare on a WNBR ride simply brandishing slogans helps to emphasise the key environmental messages, which the founders of the World Naked Bike Rides were striving to convey to maximum effect.

The body is judged in society just as clothes can demark people.  Every year at least one council representative becomes apoplectic with indignation that a WNBR ride is scheduled to pass through their town or city, failing to take into account that nudity is perfectly legal in England and perfectly normal!

However, most people who favour public nudity, whether ascribing to the term naturist or nudist, choose not to ‘flaunt’ their nudity as some of the tabloids would attest. The WNBR is designed as a peaceful protest, the body brandished for emphasis. 

Nudity still has the power to shock and sadly for many, nudity is wrapped up with sexual connotations, hence the neurotic assumption that a naked body is automatically associated with sex.  It’s an assumption we constantly have to challenge in the naturist community, especially in relation to children.  Infact children who are brought up as naturists are likely to have higher body confidence and self esteem and be more conversant with so-called societal ‘norms’ and perceptions and how the modern media projects its cultural and gender bias.  In turn, this fosters disharmony between the sexes with its pervasive, malign misogyny and in turn encourages a whole host of eating disorders; anorexia nervosa, bulimia, body dysmorphia, low self worth, low confidence.  I could go on….

By encouraging riders to go ‘as bare as you dare’ the founders of the WNBR intended rides gain the optimum amount of publicity and coverage.  However, in recent years in the UK, national media has appeared to fight shy of covering the rides although the local press will cover it widely and generally with good humour, acknowledging why participants take part naked or partially clothed and stressing the environmental issues at stake.

So what did I decide to do on my first ride?  I chickened out and wore knickers.  As a naturist, I’m not shy in getting the message out about naturism and our community.  I did a short interview with Stephen Smith on Newsnight after all but the prospect of those telephoto lenses was more than I could bear.

The ride itself was a relatively gentle, circular six miler, taking in the beautiful promenade and seafront and fringing the shops, which were lined with a combination of largely supportive bystanders.

A carnival atmosphere prevails on the WNBR rides.   Daubed in colourful slogans, some head to toe in body paint, riders honk, cars toot and some members of the public shout out in support while the occasional person crows or chooses to shield their child’s eyes from the sight of a raft of naked people cycling past. As a parent and a naturist I feel sorry for the children, it just serves to perpetuate the ridiculous notion that the body is something to be ashamed of.  My children are completely comfortable with the human body, having been brought up with a naturist parent although there are times when I  embarrass them morbidly.  Isn’t that the role of a parent ;)?

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Hastings frontage

Numbering about fifty, we set off from Alexandra Park, escorted by Sussex Police.  I’d hired a bike from Bell’s Bicycles.  What a treasure this shop is and I got exactly what I’d requested, an old fashioned sit-up-and-beg bike.  I don’t do gears darlings.

Initially I was nervous and useless quite frankly but by the end of the ride I was whizzing along, emboldened somewhat by PC John Beacham’s presence who was safely astride a robust touring bike.

PC Beacham was one of the police who had been assigned to ensure the ride progressed peacefully and safely.  I spent much of the ride at the front of the convey where my wobbling gait couldn’t bring other riders down but also to highlight the fact women also participate in these rides and we can be top free too!

Probably because of the reasons I outlined earlier, women are less likely to take part although nudity isn’t mandatory.  “As bare as you dare,” is a key message churned out by the ride organisers and one lady who joined the ride spontaneously on the day having heard about the ride that morning, took part with her boyfriend and participated fully clothed.  It’s more about taking part and embracing the key environmental issues the ride seeks to promote.

We stopped for a quick break along the route near a lovely little park where I discovered Harold and Edith.

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Ever the joker, I seconded Andy to replicate the pose

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And PC Beacham proved to be a real sport too.  I did warn him I was a blogger and his picture was likely to end up all over the web.

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After the ride, Sussex Police stuck with us so we were able to have an impromptu skinny dip without being unduly harassed.  There was the odd catcall but passers by who were keen to impress upon them why we were butt naked, brandishing slogans settled the taunters down and we enjoyed half an hour or so on the beach.

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Roger Coupe, one of the Hastings WNBR organisers after Hastings WNBR 2014

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Today is the second Hastings WNBR. Sadly I can’t be there but I have friends who will be, organisers and riders.  If you are in the area, why not go along to show your support or better still, take part?

People are meeting at 1230pm in Alexandra Park and the ride starts at 130pm.  Rain is forecast but what better way to spend a rainy Sunday. Live a little🙂

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WNBR. Hastings World Naked Bike Ride 2015

TODAY, Sunday 31 May 2015http://bit.ly/1SJoyIW

WNBR Hastings, Facebook grouphttp://on.fb.me/1rfx9If

WNBR Hastings, Facebook event page:  http://on.fb.me/1JaSiLT

My first nude run at the Naturist Foundation

“See if you can beat Emma James!” crowed the Naturist Foundation via twitter last September,  knowing that I’m all over the web like a rash, sporty and I was booked in on the BHnude5K .

I groaned.  I might enjoy running but I’m so slow, my son can run faster than me backwards!  What I lose in speed, I gain in endurance but you wouldn’t have known it last September. I’d have given up half way through, if it wasn’t for the fact it was a race,

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In recent years, my running has varied from spluttering starts to regular training.  At one stage I was running up to 2 hours 20 minutes.  That’s what I now strive for but I’m currently in spluttering mode, aided and abetted by insomnia.

I favour running solo, seeking out woods and trails like a bloodhound.  With my infamous sense of direction (ask my children Alice and Arthur) I’m limited to running in one direction and then at the appointed landmark, increase my distance by a field or two, turn tail and run back.

Unencumbered by modern day trappings; keys/phone.  I carry water and when I run far enough to justify it, hydration tabs, stripping off as I go along and on my return, retrieving clothing.

The BHnude5K provided the first official opportunity I’ve had to run naked and I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about running nude on the day even though I’m a pretty hard core naturist because my breasts are normally bound up in a sports bra.  Knowing this was a rare chance to run naked, outdoors and not get lost!  I decided to dispense with the bra and stood in line, waiting to be marked up with a fetching shade of red lippy.

Number 24.  BHnude5K, Sept 2014

Number 24. BHnude5K, Sept 2014

It was a glorious day on 21 September 2014, just as it was on 17 May 2014 for the most recent BHnude5K. I’d travelled a short distance from my sister’s nearby where I stayed overnight with the family so I was refreshed, having turfed nephew Tom out of his bed for the night.  Not my decision.  Poor Tom.

The first thing that struck me about the Naturist Foundation was the scale of the site which boasts around fifty acres of lush green English countryside and the range of amenities which naturists expect and hope for.

The large community hall, containing a thriving cafe and bar, also houses the office where race participants were being duly ticked off on arrival and routed through to collect their numbers.  Organised by Dave Walton, the race has been running for a number of years and is meticulously planned.

I’m not sure how many we numbered in total last September.  In the region of 60 runners I believe but this May, Brockenhurst had a record 110 entrants.  Dave is excellent at getting the word out via various forums on the internet and leverages the Runners World chat forums to great effect where the prospect of a nude run raises the standard good humoured banter but also generates interest and participants.

Lined up at the start, I started chatting to an affable wirey man who wasn’t a naturist but entered the race along with the rest of us, in naturist mode and having completed the race reverted to ‘textile’ mode.

I hadn’t been training actively in the weeks leading up to the race and was sharing my qualms with Richard? (I have a dreadful memory for names) who kindly offered to run with me.  I think he was joking because he sailed past me pretty quickly and ended up as the ultimate winner.

The Naturist Foundation 'Brockenhurst.'  Main camping field and starting point for BHnude5K September 2014

The Naturist Foundation ‘Brockenhurst.’ Main camping field and starting point for BHnude5K September 2014

The route wends itself around the woods encircling Brockenhurst’s amenities and was well marshalled. Members of the club lined the route to encourage and point us in the right direction or added good humoured quips from the relative comfort of their deckchairs, as we periodically came out into the bowels of the site itself and ran through the static camping areas.

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Although I hadn’t been training consistently, I was surprised how awful I felt on the run.  Even the water at checkpoints wasn’t helping and I was uncharacteristically breathless.  What I hadn’t appreciated was that I was sickening for a bug and in retrospect, I could well have been running a temperature.  Like most sporty people though, I was damned if I was going to give up and finally trailed in with the final few runners at a desultory 35 minutes and 21 seconds.  At least that time should be easy to beat for future runs🙂.

Dave Walton, having now re-assigned himself as photographer, was skirting the course, snapping participants who were willing to be papped and presided over the awards ceremony.  My certificate has been on display in my bedroom since, along with an official post race picture.  Relieved and very pink.

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I spent a convivial few hours after the race chatting with a club stalwart Dennis and meandering around the club, taking pictures.  Of all the pictures I took that day, this one has to be my favourite

Russell and Shane playing table tennis at the Naturist Foundation

Russell and Shane playing table tennis at the Naturist Foundation

Housed in a spacious corrugated barn were about six table tennis tables (memory failure again) and two naturists, Russell and Shane enjoying a game.  I could easily see a tournament taking place here.

The Naturist Foundation hold regular events and have an active social programme in place so it’s not just runners who are catered for.  This coming weekend, 22-25th May, there’s the annual Spring Bash, the 25-28 June is the highly regarded Jazz and Real Ale Festival and during the summer holidays, Billy’s activity week is between 21-30 August.

An artistic club, they attract musicians and artists and hold regular plays which are lavish affairs, supported by clubs members and friends and family.

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The facilities at Brockenhurst mean that a wide range of sports are played out on a regular basis.  I didn’t take any pictures of their fabulous pool on the day I was there out of courtesy because in common with many naturist clubs, there’s invariably someone in the pool and you have to respect individual discretion. Not everyone is happy to be featured.

Childrens' play area.  The Naturist Foundation, Orpington, Kent

Childrens’ play area. The Naturist Foundation, Orpington, Kent

I’m looking forward to a return match and have marked the next BHnude5K in my diary on 27 September 2015.  It will also give me chance to spend time with my sister, husband and her five children.

“Aunty Em” as I’m known, enjoys turning up to visit with presents accumulated in the intervening months.  My children are too old to spoil like that anymore.  After returning, with presents duly dispensed Aunty Em retired, planning to return to Bucks on the Monday with a full working week on the cards.  It wasn’t to be.  My sister ended up with yet another person to look after!  I woke up with no voice and a raging temperature so naturally I attributed my dismal performance to the bug I was evidently brewing.  A fair assessment?  We’ll have to see.

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Useful URLs

Naturist Foundation @natfound: http://www.naturistfoundation.org/

BHnude5K, May 2015: http://bit.ly/Ysx8UB

Runners World @runnersworld (online)http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/

Runners World (magazine)http://bit.ly/1LnnDc9

Discussions on Runners world for previous BHnude5Ks:   Start date 16/4/15 http://bit.ly/1L0kaPS &  21/8/14 http://bit.ly/1KXxHZp in advance of the May and September 2014 BHnude5K races respectively

The Lady doth Protest

Originally posted on Sunzu a business networking site on 4 April 2013, after I attended Guerrila Galleries ART and PROTEST exhibition.  Their eagerly awaited exhibition FORBIDDEN takes place between 6-8 January 2015. 

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ART and Protest, the latest exhibition by Guerilla Galleries, an innovative outfit from East London, gives up-and-coming artists the chance to showcase their work and enables their patrons and public chance to see and buy their art.

With a special interest in the nude in art, Guerrilla Galleries who are pro naturist were brought to my attention by fellow naturists who had raved about their previous exhibition 100% Nude.  Yesterday I trailed over to Holloway to see a “very private Preview “ of ART and Protest which is being held at The Daniel Libeskind Space between 3-5 April 2013.

I’m no stranger to this part of London.  Before moving over to the depths of Buckinghamshire, I lived in Hackney, Haggerston and Stepney and I was reminded of the vibrancy, energy and fresh outlook which East London engenders, without the same price ticket!

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Overall, the work on display is a very high quality.  Art is subjective of course so what appealed to me may not appeal to another.

And to explain their cause, from the Guerrilla Galleries website

At Guerrilla Galleries we engineer, produce and curate an annual series of exclusive shows, exhibitions and events. We provide a platform for emerging artists and talented creatives to showcase and bring their work to new audiences.

We operate and work with galleries and independent spaces throughout London, producing innovative, thought provoking shows featuring the best in digital art, interactive installations, photography, sculptures, drawings, textile art, sound and paintings.

As firm believers in delivering and exhibiting meaningful original work anywhere and everywhere, we are keen to continue challenging the conventions and bucking trends.

Dare to be different, sign-up today and join our revolution as we continue to deliver quality art by any means necessary.”

DELIVERING ART BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!

One of the flyers I picked up SCREAMS…. they’re fond of capitals🙂

LIKE IT

BUY IT

Stick our Art in your space

To add to the ambience, a small independent brewery XT Brewery, one of Guerrilla Galleries Sponsors were in attendance with a fine keg of beer.

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“At Guerilla Galleries (London) we work with some of the freshest, emerging artists, offering them a platform to showcase and exhibit their stuff.

In return we get first dibs on displaying some of the best, newest stuff the art world has to offer.  Now you can get first-hand access to a gallery showroom brimming with exciting off-catalogue pieces, straight from the artist’s studio.

We continuously come across new talent and constantly acquire new, interesting and innovative, original one-off pieces.  We are always adding quality stuff to the Guerrilla Galleries art collection – a collection we are happy to share with our Patrons and Partners.  So why not as the Guerrilla Galleries how you can get your hands on quality artwork that includes, photography, illustrations, paintings, mixed media pieces, textiles, prints and sculptures in varying styles.

Ask to see one of our team today.  We will be more than happy to help you.”

So what is FORBIDDEN?

Do you want to take part in a clothing-optional private viewing?   Or be more sedate with tea and cakes? Or be a sponsor (I’m one) on kickstarter to help support the event?

Either way, I hope to see some of you there.  I wouldn’t miss it for all the tea in China!

Does anybody recognise this?

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It was one of the exhibits at ART and PROTEST.  I loved it so much, it’s the header picture on Socks Off.

Life Models wanted, Southampton

Received via British Naturism “I am currently working at a college in Southampton and we are desperately looking for paid life models for our Foundation Art and Design Course.The students come from a range of artistic backgrounds but are doing a foundation course in preparation for a degree in the creative arts, and usually life drawing takes up a large percentage of their portfolio.It would be an on – off position, paid on a hourly rate, and would involve students drawing a nude model in a range of poses for a range of different lengths of times (some 1 minute poses, to 45 minute poses).

The teachers contact email is:  jolene.Farren@southampton-city.ac.uk

She has some more detail on dates and pay.”

Many thanks for your help.”
Applicants will be required to have an current DBS check because it’s an institute which has young people attending.
If I can obtain any further information, I’ll add to the specification i.e. phone numbers etc but this is all I’m privvy to at the moment (Emma).