Monday, 1 December 2014

5 to 4

The inconceivable but inevitable has happened. The family, my family, my unit, my security, my strength has decreased. A section has been torn away.
We were five, all my life we have been five. And now we are four.


In 2014 I made this sculpture in a small size, last year I scaled it up.
The figure is tiny compared to its family support, the figure sat looking out with all that strength behind it.
Then the weight suddenly shifted.
Now we are four.
We four have been strong for a month, but off and on we will loose our balance.
November's shock made us robust. And busy. But on the hills in between England and Wales I saw a beauty, and briefly I let what has happened in a little. Not enough to fall but enough to understand the pain a little. It is inconceivable that my Daddy is gone but I know Mummy now sleeps alone and the pain I know she must feel hurts us also.

"Family 5
Is about what I can be with the support of my family, we are 5."

Although in memory and experiences we will always be five, to live now we must try to rebalance ourselves. The four girls, my mother and my two sisters and I will shift our balances.
We are strong and will be strong.
We will never be as we were but through him we are as we are now and we will address the weight and support each other as I have been supported through them all my life.
And while we are here the moon will always shine down on us.

Land and Leaves

In Barcelona I painted this painting

"A moment caught between the noise. I see my 'Family Tree' painting and realise its not a family tree at all its just about parents and me. The orange pair of leaves is them, as strong and intense in colour as the land. But I am a leaf. They are leaves."

The other leaves represented sisters and friends, support. But in orange there has always been the land and there has always been my parents.

And leaves have their time and then they are returned to the earth.

Monday, 15 September 2014

For Ed

I did not know Ed but I made a sculpture of him in wax then made a mold and then cast it into bronze and when I looked through the lens as I photographed him, I saw him for the first time, and I saw that he was not with us anymore.

Meningitis took him away from his parents, from his friends and from his future. The meningitis left grief that will remain. It left containers of grief, that spill when jostled or knocked.

The containers are made of egg shells and are so fragile they are almost transparent.

But in time the shells of the eggs will thicken, they will become stronger. The grief will not shrink, it will just be more tightly contained, allowing the shells to move about with more courage. One day they will feel that they can engage freely again with life and they will not break.


Ed was a peer mentor at his school and this is in memory of him to give as an award each year to the best peer mentor for years to come.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Chinese whispers

Chinese whispers _ Carol Peace Poetry Competition

Encouraging the freedom to find words

For me this dialogue between words and sculpture started many years ago with a poets visit to my open studio. John Terry wrote a few poems including ‘Listen’ that made me look again, the figure had a new story, a new life.

Sculpture can be like this. Maybe its just a suggestion to a thought, a step, a bridge to another story, I have my ideas but like chinese whispers the message is often reformed through other eyes.

Words are like this also, I listen to poetry or the prose in a song and it ignites something in me and I respond. Docket is in response to a Caitlin Rose song. The piece Man with Mouth Open is in response to the famous poem by Stevie Smith*. There was something in their words that resonated with me so I responded, I moved on the story.

I too like to play with words and I write terrible poetry but I don’t mind, its just when I can’t describe it in clay I use words, as Joan MirĂ³ said “I am neither a printmaker or a painter but someone who tries to express himself with all available means". 

This competition is about that freedom. Its about enjoying words no matter the skill level, I can’t spell and my grammar is shocking but I look and I see, and like an observational drawing I react to whats in front of me. Imagination is left for sculpture but my writing is like drawing, when you start looking you see more.

I do try to make my words good, it is not about not trying, but it is about not being afraid to start, its about the freedom to express ourselves, without a bit of confidence and a bit of freedom we can not start to be the best we can be. As John Terry said about my work back in 2006 “They are first of all, real people. They yearn but they also give. They rise, they don't fall. They strive; are eternal optimists. They look perhaps slightly disorientated, but there is no pleasure in falling, or in giving up, so they keep on. 'For us there is only the trying’ "

Competition Details
Write a piece of poetry or prose in response to a sculpture or group of sculptures at Carol’s Open Studio 6 - 16th November 2104
Or if you are not local to Bristol or find it difficult to get to the show then use these four sculptures for inspiration.
Love, Standing in the Wind, Personal Balloon and May
The prize is, of course, firstly the completion of your own poem, and secondly the winner of each of the three categories will receive a sculpture made to celebrate The Reading Agency.
Most loved poem any age by online voting system
Under 18
Under 12
Age limit - Under 18 - submit online with an optional donation to The Reading Agency
Closing Date - 30th November
Voting online and judging 1st - 14th December
Winners announced - 15th December
To be announced
The sculpture - made to celebrate The Reading Agency will be similar to the pictures below and 20% of all sales will go to The Reading Agency throughout the Open Studio event either online or at the show.



* if you listen to the wonderful clip of her speaking you will hear that she used her own drawings "Another thing I like doing with my poems is to illustrate them: I draw a lot and often a drawing will suggest a poem - it is often that way about. "- See more at:

**JOHN TERRY is interested in industrial archeology, bridges, and sunken wrecks. He believes that life consists of oddly-shaped pieces of rusty metal and sees poetry as an attempt to get all the rivet-holes to line up. He’s won two slams, four open poetry competitions and has been published in a number of otherwise respectable magazines including Acumen, Magma, and Smith’s Knoll. His narrative poem Insecurity Report is published by Driftwood and his collection Building Wings by City Chameleon.


Press Release

An exhibition of new work made in and inspired by 6 months in Barcelona.

Carol’s work has often traveled the globe. Four life-size bronzes were recently installed in Barbados; her work is collected in Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as the United States and Canada. Closer to home, she shows in Stockholm and Frankfurt, and has had solo shows in The Netherlands, France, Marbella, Athens and Zurich. Carol spent some time painting in Lagrasse, France in 2011 but never before has she taken herself off for 6 months solely to look and work.

“Although you take yourself with you, you leave a lot of your history behind, there is a freedom to that.”

Returning home she brings back with her some of the freedom that she found there in this new and unique body of work. 

“These are the sculptures of my imagination, set free by Catalonia.”

After an incredible year of exhibitions the work now comes home to the studio. There is something special about an open studio, this is her home, this is where the work moves on, where thoughts, not just finished works, are laid open to see. She comes back to Bristol to her 22 years of sculpting history, stories from past works swirl around, there is an identity and a grounding to that but distance can bring clarity.

“Like a leather glove holds the memory of a particular hand, I fit snuggly and happily back into my history and into the changing seasons of our life here, but wherever I live, I always want to remain a tourist, wide eyed and stumbling" 

Open Studio - Bristol Barcelona
6 - 16th November 2014
Private View Thursday 6th November 6 - 9pm
Unit 5.3 Paintworks, Bath Road, Bristol, BS4 3EH
Monday – Saturday 9.30am – 5.30pm Sunday 11am – 5pm
Information: 07989515172

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Words night

The preparation for the show in Cambridge is nearing completetion and my thoughts turn back to the studio and to words. Met with Judy and Natalia yesterday and discussed our 'lit night' the spark of which was the story Judy wrote from an open studio in 2011.


The hot afternoon sun is making Chloe drowsy. She blinks, focusing her eyes on the path of a bumblebee drifting from one clover bloom to another. The scent of honeysuckle and chlorine mingles in the air. A faint trickle of sweat slowly wriggles its way from her scalp to the space between her shoulder blades. Her book is still lying on the other side of the lawn in the shade her twin cousins dragged her from when they cast her in the role of umpire.
The game of draughts is the third challenge of the day, following a venomous tennis match, won by Amandine, and a swimming race won by Blake. She can see the pool water drying on their bronzed, over-privileged limbs and remembers something her mother once said, about how, the higher up society you go, the thinner the veneer of civilisation, like oxygen on a mountain peak, stretched brittle and insubstantial over the bloodlust.
“You’re cheating!” Amandine’s voice rings out. “Chloe, he’s cheating! He put it in his mouth!”
Chloe sighs and rouses herself. “Blake, is it true? Open your mouth.”
Obligingly he does so, sticking out his tongue, the disk balanced on it like a rosy indigestion tablet. His eyes are laughing as he plucks the draught piece between finger and thumb, dropping it onto the board like something disdainful – he knows full well that his sister won’t touch it now it’s tainted with his spittle.
“Game to Amandine,” Chloe decides, and the cousins erupt into shrieks of glee and outrage.
Next on the agenda is rhetoric, and Chloe feels her skin tighten with dread, imaging the barbed words waiting to be unfurled and flung.

Author bio: Judy Darley is a travel journalist and fiction writer. Previously she’s had fiction published by literary magazines and anthologies including The View From Here, Gemini Magazine, ‘Crab Lines from the Pier’ and ‘The Love of Looking’. Her travel writing has appeared in magazines, on websites and in ‘1001 Retreats to Make Before You Die’, published by Penguin. Recent journeys include visits to Slavonia, Iona and Tunisia. She tweets at

Thursday, 21 August 2014


Just getting a proposal together for this piece and found the words I wrote with it some time ago now.

This started with the idea of a ticket, a letter, a scrap of paper with some potential, the paper holds the figures thoughts.
Then listening to Caitlin Rose – Dead Flowers - Docket
her song seemed to some up what I have been thinking about but not been able to put into words so well. “I got a docket in my pocket it says all I ever want to be is free” 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014


I know I need to get on with the business of the day but thinking of Barcelona last night, out of instinct I soaked white beans and this morning boil them for breakfast, while still warm coat in an intense garlic, lemon, chilli and parsley dressing to have with ripe chopped tomatoes and peppery rocket from the severn project .

Simple, pure and intense.

As it was then and hopefully will be again.*

As Miro said "for me to gain freedom is to gain simplicity"

"Keep it simple silly" ... Grahams words when we first met which I seem to have developed into a catchphrase for him as he has the ability to cut through to the truth, I think of it like chess, he can see the quickest simplest path. For someone who has to walk down all the paths just to see, I think after a bit of said meandering I finally found the right man!

*2 more shows and then hopefully by January I will be able to give self that time again to move this work on.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


I have always felt insecure about painting from memory tainted by imagination, the picture of Graham and I on the hill was done from a feeling, from memory of colour and space. If I had the courage and the talent to do more I would as its something else, a path to being a painter possibly. I like to stick to reality as even that gets pretty intense when you start to let colour in.

It was painted in Barcelona  about the time of doing the 'Imaginary Sculpture' painting, I am going to keep at as my memory of our trips up the hill after work, a couple of tinies and some crisps and we would sit and stare at the light changing colour. The disk in the sky is the moon.  I wrote in my sketchbook then

"we are up north now, and Graham thinks too suburban which is true, it does feel a long way from 'town', it's next to Sant Pau and Sagrada Familia of which both we can see from the terrace. The terrace is why we are here, it was imperative actually on our search, while its interesting seeing the non touristy area I think we could have lived without the terrace and kept the park and the promenading*. But as I have said before the grass is not always greener but it is different and different is good sometimes.

Being here makes me appreciate where we were but it also has it's advantages. Round the back of Sant Pau is park guinardo and I am sitting near the top in evening sun with a warm breeze filtering up through pine, apart from the hub of the city below and the expanse of ocean just beyond it you could be deep in the country and after a day of painting in the attico it feels amazing to be up here.

I feel slightly cautious up here on my open but at this time of night its mostly older people taking their promenade, they just must be a bit fitter up here as its a hell of a hill. There are flats at the bottom and to get to those there is a series of escalators and lifts. Imagine taking an escalator up park street. If park street was here it would have one. Molly's not allowed on the escalator ( although on monjiuc we did resort to putting our bikes on them, Mid day mad english people biking up the other hill in Barcelona, intact we often find ourselves up a hill**)

I am sitting by the water spout and dogs come and wait by the tap for their owners to press the nozzle. Molly's not really got to grips with drinking from a tap, I don't think she correlates drinking with cooling down so her panting and odd wining is louder than the ambulances and city down below. She is wining occasionally as sitting down on walks is not really appropriate.

At the crown of park guinardo is an old settlement and you can see north, south, east and west. Its like another part of Spain altogether, a little village. To me it feels quite warm, it's actually really comfortable and at 7pm it's finally cool enough to sit in the sun, but I have seen 3 joggers go past in the time it has taken to write this. I think its time for a beer!

Went to the bar with the terrace and view and watch the city turn from yellow to orange, to pink, to pinky blue, to night."***

* The attic was painted green and orange and red, it was hot and intense and away from the tourist areas which gave me solitude and maybe while not comfortable, it gave me the space away from the shared studio to experiment. It was further to bike to the studio and for Graham to come and walk Molly at lunchtime so the practicalities dictated that I stayed in the flat and gave me a chance to paint instead.  It provided the kind of atmosphere that is potentially perfect, not to comfortable ( i.e. herefordshire is just too nice, its wild and it may work later but its too 'known' too content at the moment ) the Bristol studio is too busy, too much business and too many visitors ( although it does have doors!? ) this was the perfect type of solitude to work, not something I would want to replicate long term but to dip into oneself further now and again to see what comes out is needed. You need the valleys to be able to see from the mountain.

** smile to myself as now we live on one in England

**Graham arrives hot and panting up the hill on his bicycle at some point within that change of light, we drink cold lager and the owner is enthusiastic and we order too many plates of little fried fish and calamari.



Not having children I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about my place, where I should live, wether I 'fit in' anywhere so going back through a sketchbook tonight it makes me smile at myself when I adamantly reveal an important idea... that later I forget... then implement... and then later wonder what I am doing contemplating living in the memory is truly terrible.

I wrote this at the Miro foundation after reading "in the summer of 1956 Miro moved to Mallorca. there he was able to work freely in the studio his close friend the architect Josep Luis Sert had designed for him" note to self read"find property search agency to find me a plot to build a studio, that space to 'work freely' no restrictions, would really like to try work live for a bit, rent out flat straight away before we get reattached"

I find his work difficult to respect. I watched people when I went to the museum and wrote down "people are laughing, is it out of joy or confusion...a little of both". But there is something in the gut of his work that must have filtered through as now when I look at  'Primary Angel' I think I should probably call it " After Miro' it has so much of his work in it.


Went back to the flat in redland today to do a 'changeover' for airbnb as Suzie is away. It was sunny and quiet and I sat. I imagined/remembered a room full of people, shadows left over from a rowdy meal where things got times. I know in the garden is the remains of a rose given to me after one of our miscairrages, I planted it out, it died but I know the remains are there...sad times.

The flat is peaceful and has flickers of life left but mostly it is not ours anymore. The studio, the worklive holds more, more potential, a white space for thought, a place where I can fit in. Not the corridors of houses designated for family making, cake baking and walks to school.

So back in my white box the business swirls around me but I make a space for order, for thought as I look at work for my show with Byard Art. A moment caught between the noise. I see my 'Family Tree' painting and realise its not a family tree at all its just about parents and me.

The orange pair of leaves is them, as strong and intense in colour as the land. But I am a leaf. They are leaves.

In my sketchbook I wrote about another painting similar to this also a "Family Tree"
"The family members, the leaves float away, become fish or birds or sails. But ever practical there are yellow structure lines suspending a future 3d reality."
Obviously still confused wether they are paintings of sculptures or paintings.

And then I go on to write about a painting that I never painted it was when I was in the tamar valley which must have also been in my mind, the colours I remembered and sketched them out "It's blue sky's and a green bottomed boat with a red sail on blue water backed by green fields all lit by a late day orange sun" 
Then trying to understand the tree painting. The leaves shimmer like light on moving water, or sun haze on fields.
"Its about sailing and flying and swimming and dying"

There is a sculpture called parents as well which was never finished.

I did the original drawing for the paintings in Miro park, then called just 'Tree' and 'Flower'

I wrote this poem when I made the painting, the colours in the painting set off the words

Friday, 1 August 2014


press release for upcoming show in cambridge....

B Y A R D  A R T
14 King’s Parade, Cambridge, CB2 1SJ, UK
T: +44 1223 464646  E: info@

New works by Carol Peace
18 September – 26th October

Returning with an exhibition of recent works on show at Byard Art, Cambridge, Carol Peace, sculptor, reignites a connection to the place that helped her be where and who she is today. 
Carol went to Long Road Sixth Form College on the bus everyday from Shudy Camps, a little village just outside Cambridge.  The art teachers at Long Road went above and beyond to help Carol on her journey to become an artist. One teacher in particular made a conscious and very timely effort to try and get her an interview at Winchester School of Art even though she hadn't done a foundation course, which you need for art school. 
The inspiration for starting the Bristol Drawing School (founded by Carol Peace and partner Graham Woodruff) may well have started at college in the 'fill a sketchbook' week. "Everyday somewhere new, from a forest in Norfolk to a day in a massive room filled with tremendous plaster casts, those teachers could set a spark." 
Carol remembers her time in Cambridge and explains that "One evening a week I would go into King’s College and sit in a tiny room with the chairs stacked up on weird platforms and tables so we could all see to draw the model. I remember one summer night the window being open and drawing away to the sound of singing and the organ from King’s College Chapel. It’s that kind of inspiration that gets under your fingernails, in your blood."
After school with no outlet for expression, Carol metaphorically kicked down the doors of her loving family; all that support, all that love, and threw it right back at them, stole their car and stormed away into a more turbulent side of Cambridge.  “A misunderstanding, a standoff meant I learnt what it is like to have 'no fixed abode’, you can’t do anything, and you travel in a loop. No job, no money, no home and so no job, and then no money and then no home.”    
But although she had ‘no fixed abode’, she had a structure from her family upbringing, her schooling; “the foundations they had laid were in my bones.” And so Carol was able to start her own business in the King Street Run making lunches and Sunday roasts. "I broke the circle of poverty because I was never really there; inside I was rich, educated and inspired." 
During the exhibition Carol will be donating 20% from the sale of the piece ‘Bird Bath’ to The Big Issue Foundation. “Sometimes we need a hand to be the best we can be, the Big Issue believes in a ‘hand up and not a hand out’, its about igniting a belief in yourself, sometimes hopefully, it may just need a spark” 
Throughout the months of September and October you will find a fabulous collection of over 30 sculptures on display at Byard Art, directly opposite King’s College Chapel.
There will be an opportunity to meet Carol in the gallery and discuss her collection at the Preview on Thursday, 18 September from 6.30pm–8pm


Exhibition: Travel, new works by Carol Peace
Venue: Byard Art, 14 King’s Parade, Cambridge CB2  1SJ.
Dates: 18 September–2 November 2014
Opening hours: Monday–Saturday 9.30am–5.30pm; Sunday 11am–5pm. 
Exhibition preview: Thursday, 18 September 2014, 6.30–8pm. All are welcome.
Information: 01223 464646
Admission: Free
Access: Wheelchair access to the main exhibition space at ground floor level.

For further information and images, or to arrange an interview with Carol Peace, please call Jessie White on 01223 464646 or email

Tuesday, 29 July 2014


I was chatting to Judy Darley yesterday about John Terry and his poems and how I enjoyed our back and forth of writing when I was away in Barcelona, at home there seems little time to write letters. I was talking to her about how much I loved this poem he wrote after coming to my open studios back in 2009. An epic sketch!
"Hi Carol, Just to say how much I enjoyed your open studio on Friday. Dammit, I even found myself sketching lines around the lines of your new Listening piece. No more than a sketch, just a response to your piece.
You're right, one has to keep sketching all the time. Thank you. john"

Listening (sculpture) Carol Peace

She rests one naked ear 
against bare boards
and listens. 

Furniture pushed away,
fitted carpet torn
from its grippers,
quilted underlay thrown aside. 

Senses focused on sound
her stare sees nothing.

Does a faint vibration of life
seep through the ceiling
of the room below, 
shiver the flat black nails 
that clench floor to joists?

The house speaks changes 
of temperature, 
strength of wind.
One wall expands in sunlight,
another shrinks in shadow.

Tensions hold hands with tensions
until all quiver in sympathy:
every sash window, each ill-fitting door,
every lath beneath its plaster, 
creaks sotto voce.

Is anybody there? she asks.

Among this whispered racket
of dead trees 
is there one 

recognisable human sound?

John Terry

you can buy his book here

this was the sculpture which is now out of edition