Soup Collective

Doesn’t look like a Book

Artists from across the UK and overseas have produced 25 ‘books’ after a call out from Wendy Williams (Alternator Studios, Wirral) to submit artworks that reference the ‘book’ without ‘necessarily resembling a book’. The works submitted were then subsequently ‘hidden’ for visitors to find in The Williamson Art Gallery and Museum. 

The artists involved in this exhibition, are a mix of those who responded to the open call, invited artists and several members of ‘Soup Collective’ and ‘SCI’.

The Williamson has a formidable permanent exhibition of paintings, an impressive collection of Della Robbia pottery and fine porcelain, marine vessels mixed with antique seafare, regional watercolours and fine prints.Armour PS

The maritime connection is impressive as is the ‘Parade Amour’ a 19c re-production of a much earlier coat of arms. How fitting that a further re-interpretation is placed cleverly on this breast plate – small sheets of print enclosed referring to another 20c knight Philip Marlowe, with extracts from The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler enclosed, by Pamela Sullivan.

The walnut wood and exotic decorative images particularly on the huge fireplace in the far room offers a spectacle rich with the oriental. Look carefully and you can see a further book in the form of laboratory test tubes & rack by Emma Dolphin. To the side, an embroidered mobile by Swedish artist Anna Granberg – ‘A poem in silk, words and no words’.

The display of ships, house the largest amount of hidden books. Three are found quite openly in the large display cabinet at the back of the room (a space themed pop-up book by Keiron Finnetty, a wooden bobbin attached with flags made from a book on maritime shipping, by Sharon Hall Shipp and a cable lead into which two tiny books have been inserted into the transformer box and plug, by Wendy Williams)

Ship models are the perfect setting to include a sewing box that a Lilliput could own. German artist Monika Kiszegi has created a sewing box which contain three mini books -a button book, a pin book and a string book.

Sewing box

Moving around the room, between the ships, we find contact lens casings by Swedish artist Susanne Torsstenson,  a pack of playing cards, each card displaying a poem by Bosnian artist Enes Kurtović, A delicate, what appears to be at first a feather duster, by Alice Bradshaw ‘ Mass-produced, anonymous objects are often rendered dysfunctional caricatures of themselves’.

So, how can more miniatures be found amongst this rich historical collection?

The clue is in the way we are made to look for the hidden works – the connections between eye and the true historical object (the model ships) and in this case the miniature. They are not all easy to find, particularly ‘The Egg’ found on a walk in Northumberland by Sally Madge measuring 5cm x 3cm! The plaster cast was modelled leaving traces of sketches taken from her studio and placed on a decorative ceramic plate at its side a canvas house with brick letters deconstructing ‘The Three Little Pigs’ by Sara Wicks.

The Nest

Your eyes have to scan the cabinets so intense that the ‘curiosities in the cabinets’ are almost like a forensic task for the visitor.

Ceramics placed along ceramics are surprising hard to find. The series of nests by Caroline Scott Huby, or the Spinning top by American artist Grant Beniot blend in beautifully. Even its bold American flag didn’t seem at all out of place sitting snuggly among the museum collection.

Catherine Harrison’s ‘ Box of Nails’ is also difficult to spot, the trinket box was found in a charity shop corroded and rusted with the natural chemicals contained taking over the life of the box. The words inscribed on the nails contain symbols taken from Alchemy texts holding a further key to life matched perfectly by the marine artefact it accompanied. Works are stacked close, the ‘new’ reinvigorating the ‘old’.

The artefact galleries have a ‘Wonder Room’ aspect to it objects collected and displayed are mostly from a colonial past. 18c scientists would use the ‘natural world’ to display interesting or unusual items unearthed or found, today the Williamson has a strong local identity and connecting interests which favour’s rather than hinders its appeal such as in ‘The London Factory of Lime House’ room and its strong connection with Liverpool porcelain decorators.
The ‘Porcelain Room’, was Jacqueline Kerr’s resting place her submission placed delicately in the lid of a berry jar; a ‘Book of Clocks’ all perfectly re- printed formed her sensibility as being part of a wider project .

The exhibition runs through to the 1st November

Written by Deborah Laing, edited by Wendy Williams

Images by Catherine Harrison


April to July

Its been an incredibly busy few months for both SCI and Soup Collective. From Stockholm to Sheffield, LightNight Liverpool to London…then back in Liverpool .

Here’s some images from the year….

First stop Stockholm (as SCI) Back in April

Then in May, we (as Soup Collective) took part in Liverpool’s Light Night at Tate Liverpool.  To shake things up a bit, we hid our work and asked the public to find the works using a treasure map. It was a huge success!

In June, we headed to Sheffield for the Castlegate Festival

July… we were invited to exhibit at The Crypt Gallery, London

Soup Collective

soup flyer 2014

As part of its Liverpool Biennial programme, Soup Collective exhibited ‘This is not my beautiful house’ at  Tate Liverpool

This new Soup Collective exhibition takes its title from the song lyrics of ‘Once in a Lifetime’ by Talking Heads.

Using the Liverpool Biennial’s 2014 ‘A Needle Walks into a Haystack’ and Tate Liverpool’s Biennial programme as points of reference the Soup Collective (SC) artists  presented their own interesting and creative interpretation of the inherent themes and ideas through a variety of media.

Images from the exhibition :

Exhibiting artists :

Steve Ashton,  Sharon Bentley, Michael Borkowsky,  May Chong,  Clare Craig,  Alexander Dodgson, Ruth Edwards, Stephen Edwards, Kieron Finnetty, Catherine Harrison,  Gary Hartley,  John Hughes, Gareth Kemp,  Tifany Kendall,  Jacqueline F Kerr, Colette Lilley, Joanne McClellan,  Ruth Morrissey,   Jason T Richardson,  Alice Roberts,  Roger Sinek, Emma Sumner,  Nick Sykes,  Andrea Walsh, Kate Watson, Janet Wilkinson, Wendy Williams


For more information contact:



Colonize Images


‘Colonize’ is spread over two galleries in Jamestown NY – Dykeman Young Gallery   and 3rd on 3rd so it was quite a fete to go through the work and decide what should be hung where.

PV images

We started off the PVs at 3rd on 3rd (18.00 – 20.00) and ended at Dykeman Young ( 20.00-22.00) bridging the two with a performance by Susanne Torstensson.  She lead all of the participants from one gallery to the other.

More images of the work can be seen on the videos artists and work page