Ella Mills, Ingrid Pollard, Paul Arnott
L-R: Dr Ella Mills, Ingrid Pollard, Cllr Paul Arnott

Ingrid Pollard Three Drops of Blood has opened to wide acclaim at Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG)

An intriguing new exhibition by Ingrid Pollard, renowned artist and 2022 Turner Prize nominee, has opened at THG in Devon. This exhibition of new work commissioned by talking on corners features photography, print, mixed media, text and found objects.

Ingrid Pollard Three Drops of Blood is the culmination of Pollard's two-year research project in Devon. It draws on the history of ferns and botanicals, particularly how they are represented in local lace-making including the renowned Honiton lace, the town in which THG is based, as well as the unique historical collections of books at the Devon and Exeter Institution.

The location of the lace is of particular importance to Pollard's approach. The 'colonial pathways' along which lace has travelled from Belgium to Honiton to Nigeria show how lace-making is touched by other nations and cultures and then distributed back out again. References to lace pattern papers can be found throughout the exhibition in the prints featured dotted patterns. Sheets of parchment are the basis on which the lace maker pins out their pattern. The placing of gilded and nameless portraits within the pattern paper breathes new life and potential into those lives and stories.

Bark boxes feature in the exhibition, with their highly skilled craftmanship and tiny, perfect compartments, they also hide treasures. 

Ingrid Pollard explained,

Within the Devon and Exeter Institution's collection they have a whole series of bark boxes. They are classifying trees in a particular way, so it looks like a book, but the spine is the bark of a particular tree, that then has its name on it. In the curve of the bark, for example, it might be an oak tree. But it's a container rather than a book. It looks to me like an artwork. 

The exhibition opening was attended by 180 visitors and was opened by Councillor Paul Arnott, Leader of East Devon District Council.

Councillor Paul Arnott, Leader of East Devon District Council said,

I am delighted to open Ingrid Pollard Three Drops of Blood. This internationally significant exhibition developed in partnership with Thelma Hulbert Gallery puts a spotlight on Devon’s fascinating cultural heritage. …with a touch of magic.

East Devon is breaking new ground; working with a Turner Prize nominated artist and recently launching our 10 year cultural plan… this really is a pivotal moment for East Devon!

Over the next few months, THG will offer an inspiring programme of activities to coordinate with the exhibition's key themes. Watch out for music evenings, artist talks and inspiring workshops from photography to embroidery, boat building to creative writing. 

THG's Creative Cabin will be out in the community leading workshops promoting and supporting disappearing heritage crafts including boat building. Renowned boat builder and storyteller Gail McGarva will demonstrate boat building skills to create 'ghost boats' with local refugee groups. Artist Laurel Coxon will lead workshops using ferns to create cyanotype lampshades for ROC Creative and Honiton Carers Support Group.

The exhibition continues until 29 October and is open Wednesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

It is part of a wider project in Devon produced by Dr Ella S. Mills of DIY curatorial practice, talking on corners, focused on the work of Pollard with a full calendar of events across all partners. Project partners include the Devon and Exeter Institution, South Devon College and the The University of Plymouth, the Department of Arts & Culture at the University of Exeter, Natural England and Libraries Unlimited

In addition to the partners and funding from Arts Council England, the project is generously supported by the University of Exeter’s Geography Departmentthe Association for Art History, the Paul Mellon CentreLewisDavey, and Kaleider.

Ingrid Pollard Three Drops of Blood
Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Dowell St, Honiton EX14 1LX
THG's coordinating programme of events:

Evening with international folk singer Kate Young: 20 August, 5-7pm.  £15.
Digital Photography workshops with Monica-Shanta: 22, 29 August + 5 September, 5-7.30pm. £5 per session/ £12 for all three.
Camera Obscura workshop with Ingrid Pollard: 24 September, 10-3. Free, drop in.
Artist Talk with artist Ingrid Pollard and Project Curator Ella S Mills: 24 September, 5-7. £5.
Print and Stitch with Michelle Moinzadeh: 1, 8 October, 10-3.30.  £35/day. £60 for both.
Disappearing Lines with Gail McGarva: 12 + 13 October, 10-4. £120 for two days.
Creative Writing Workshop with Louisa Adjoa Parker: 22 October, 10-3. £10.
Exhibition Tour with Liz Wells: 29 October, 5-6. £5.