Wednesday 23 December 2020

The art of the #CygnetGallery

The #CygnetGallery is a cooperative of around 25 fabulous artists and makers. Whether you're out to buy a greetings card or a piece of original art you'll always be welcome.

Pop in for a browse. There's always something new to see.

Our range pretty much covers the lot: paintings and prints, jewellery, fused glass, woodwork, leatherwork, textile art, photography, pottery, sculptures, metalwork.

A veritable cornucopia. No wonder we're known as the creative ❤️ of Shaftesbury.

We're open Monday to Saturday, 10 'til 4.30. We've hand sanitisers and follow all the government social distancing guidelines.

    f i n e   a r t i s t 

Rotas for week commencing 28 December & 4 January

From: Grenville Allen
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2020 at 09:16
Subject: Re: Rotas for week commencing 28 December & 4 January
To: Des Alner 

Oh dear, Des. Sounds like with FIVE in the gallery last night it was hopelessly over-staffed. If there'd been Lisa's idea of putting bouncers on the door it would have been nigh on impossible to keep socially distant. Remember the government guidelines: wash your hands, cover your face, keep space. Hands ~ face ~ space!

Anyway, that was that. Late night openings are over now. But. With normal opening hours from Christmas to the New Year the Cygnet could possibly be in with a few sales. We've found many people are out looking for something to do during the aforementioned period and are keen to spend their gift money.

If ~ and admittedly it's a big if ~ we can continue without being put into a complete lockdown. Government announcement due for the latest tiers and guidelines from December 30. I fear the worst. But like you, Des, I don't want to appear too negative. It's like we're living in a horror movie. Surreal.

Our experience on Sunday at Salisbury gave a fair indication of how the public is reacting to all this. Most wearing masks. V subdued. We took a third of what we took there last year.

Hazel and I up for it ~ hands sanitised, masks on, socially distant. As I say though, there'll probably be a complete lockdown soon! 

So to sum up: we'll be guided by the science

PS Rent goes back up from January 1. Unless we hear to the contrary.

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On Mon, 21 Dec 2020 at 23:11, Des Alner wrote:
Hello All.

 Having helped with tonight`s late opening. The whole town was shut after 5pm. apart from Swans yard. So extremely quiet. There were 5 of us in and in discussion were of the opinion that we should close from Xmas to new year on the 4th. As Lindsay and Diana have already expressed their views ,I propose we extend the views to all. Most of town will be shut and considering our current crisis , we need to decide quickly as many of us have to deal with family issues etc. which have been impacted by the crisis.  So does the committee want to take this on or leave to everyone`s response ? I think we need a decision SAP . Not wanting to be negative. 

  take care  Des     

On Monday, 21 December 2020, 11:51:27 GMT, Liz Shewan wrote:

I take it we're staying open... aren't we lucky when everywhere else is going into tier 4!  Logically we all sit in the gallery or shop for groceries and mix with people not in our households as it is, so I do wonder what's the difference to any other time?  

Happy Christmas everyone x


Rotas for week commencing 28 December & 4 January

Subject: Re: Rotas for week commencing 28 December & 4 January
To: Liz Shewan 

There's talk of tier 5, Liz! So we're especially lucky!

And more good news: we went up the step ladder to unlock the towel dispenser high up on a wall in the Cygnet Gallery kitchen ~ and then filled it with paper towels

Actually, Roz was on hand the other morning to supply me with a paper towel to staunch the blood caused by a little nail which caught one of my fingers. The nail was jutting out from one of the A-boards when I was taking it out to set up. All ok now, Roz, and no signs of any tetanus.

I've attached the tier 5 rules. And an overhead shot of how the proposed area in tier 5 will look....

A merry socially distanced Christmas, everyone, and HNY21! ๐ŸŽ…๐ŸŽ„

    f i n e   a r t i s t 

On Mon, 21 Dec 2020 at 11:51, Liz Shewan <> wrote:
I take it we're staying open... aren't we lucky when everywhere else is going into tier 4!  Logically we all sit in the gallery or shop for groceries and mix with people not in our households as it is, so I do wonder what's the difference to any other time?  

Happy Christmas everyone x

Subject: Re: Rotas for week commencing 28 December & 4 January
Well done, Kate! I admire your positivity.

One really can't assume that everyone's mixing with other households. It'll be business as usual for Hazel and me. We don't mix with people as a general rule.

Hazel and I are in for the Saturday and we'll be happy to do Christmas and the New Year.

And ~ by the by ~ we've just been into the gallery and pinned up the new rotas in the kitchen for those not online. We went in and did this after doing the #SalisburyChristmasMarket where we saw Fiona and OH Stuart also doing a stint there. It was fairly quiet and we took a third of what we took last year. Still, it was good to get some feedback and make a few sales.

Cheers! And #HNY21! ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŽ„

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On Sun, 20 Dec 2020 at 12:54 Kate Toms wrote:
Dear All, 
I can cover for Diana on Wednesday afternoon.
Best wishes

Sent from my iPhone

On 20 Dec 2020, at 11:58, Anna McDowell wrote:

I agree with you Lindsay, this is definitely something to think about.
Best wishes
For all you want to know about the heritage craft of Dorset Buttons

On Sun, 20 Dec 2020 at 09:53, Lindsay Keir <> wrote:
Dear all
Sorry Diana but I can't help but this does bring up a conversation that should be had about coming into the gallery during the week between Christmas and the New Year. 
We will all be mixing  with a couple of different households maybe and I feel that we should close to limit the risk of infection. 
Coconut and Cotton reopen on the 4th and we could follow suit. 
Does anyone feel the same? 
It's usually very quiet anyway. 

Best wishes for Christmas and a vaccine in the New Year. 


Sent from my iPhone

On 20 Dec 2020, at 09:34, Diana Girdwood  wrote:
Dear All,

Really sorry to do this but I am in Yorkshire caring for my parents and in tier 3.

I am down for a shift this Wednesday 23rd Dec. Being responsible I should self isolate when I get back. 
Would anybody be able to cover for me please ? I will do a full day instead of a half on one of my next shift days.

Thank you



Subject: Rotas for week commencing 28 December & 4 January
'Evening All

Here's the rotas for weeks commencing 28 December and 4 January. Please note that the shifts are all full so ignore the handwritten rota in the kitchen for these two weeks as they are incorrect. I will leave hard copies in the gallery when I can get there.

Happy Christmas



Friday 18 December 2020

Late night opening

And while you're there just click on this too!

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Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2020 at 10:08

Just click on this! And then click on the triangular arrow.

From both of us here in East Melbury!


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Tuesday 15 December 2020

Application for chair of Cygnet role

 ---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Grenville Allen <>
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2020 at 12:17
Subject: Re: application for chair role
To: Window live 2018 kate toms

I put my name forward a couple of months ago but received a nasty email from Colin so Hazel said no for me. And withdrew my application in the strongest terms! BIG BOLD SHOUTING CAPITALS from her!

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On Tue, 15 Dec 2020 at 12:09, Window live 2018 kate toms wrote:
Thanks Hazel for the thought but no thanks.

Wednesday 9 December 2020

'Time Lapse'

Gold Hill is famous for the Hovis brand
And the plaintive strains of a colliery band

{Hazel hums mellifluously in a much higher key than the last time we heard her]
Daa-daa-daa dee-dee

But beyond the cobbles 
And beyond the bread
There's a lot more to Shaftesbury 
It has to be said

In 888 or thereabouts
Aethelgifu, Alfred's daughter, shouts
"Come one and all to my nun-nery
It's vast, has stone walls, gardens
And it's right here in Shaft-es-bury!"

It's now over a thousand years on
The walls have almost gone
But the gardens are still a delight
Day and night

What's more you can Listen to Alfred
It's on every day
If you're local you can listen to Alfred
And have your say

Shaftesbury to Semley, Motcombe to Melbury 
You'll not be left out
What about the Donheads?! I hear you shout

Yes, Donheads St Andrew, St Mary, St James 
All within reach ~ not out of range
Community gossip, anything topical, anything strange

You text, you message, you post, you tweet
It's all on the 'net and right up your street

You can record yourself too
Like Grenville's keen to do

[Grenville replies grandly ~ weighing his words]
Captured on podcasts so it all lasts
Forever and a day.
Marvellous, eh?!

[Hazel again]


Sunday 6 December 2020

Cleaning vacancy

 ---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Peter Alleyn
Date: Sun, 6 Dec 2020 at 12:59
Subject: Re: Cleaning vacancy

Hi Grenville,

Thanks for your message.

Excellent idea this - it would be good to have the job done on a regular basis without having to take up the time that an artist could spend more creatively.

Also, an additional point is, that with so many people now desperate to find some sort of employment in these troubled times, it would be at least a small supportive gesture to the local community.

All Best Wishes


Sent: Saturday, 5 Dec, 20 At 18:51
Subject: Cleaning vacancy

'Evening All

Since Lisa relinquished her role it was agreed at the recent committee meeting that we need someone to make sure the gallery is kept in tip-top shape. As yet no-one has stepped forward to continue with this vital work.

Because of its importance it was decided that the gallery will have to employ someone to do an early morning/evening shift ~ an hour at the beginning of the week and another at the end of the week. Payment would be £10 an hour. (So £20 a week would have to come out of the £3.50 a month payment all artists contribute. As a consequence this may well have to be increased.) The job would entail:
  • steam-cleaning & vacuuming the floor
  • cleaning the kitchen
  • washing & replacing tea towels
  • cleaning both door windows
  • emptying the bins
  • cleaning both desk areas & screens
Artists' display areas remain the responsibility of each artist to keep clean and tidy. So it's up to you to keep them looking fab.

If any of you would like to take up this vacancy please let me know within the next 7 days. If l don't hear anything the job will be advertised.

Grenville Allen

Cygnet Members Liaison Officer

Twitter PR

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Victoria Garland <>
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2020 at 20:47
Subject: Re: Twitter PR
To: Grenville Allen <>

Why, thank you Grenville.  That is a really lovely piece on twitter.  You are obviously a man of words and I alas, am only fit for pictures.  But I shall pay attention to what social media has to offer.  Best wishes, V

There you go, Victoria. As you've written on FB, you rarely post. But these other email recipients I've included here do retweet๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿฆ and like❤ on Twitter.

It's all getting your name about. Admittedly in a v piecemeal fashion but it's free.


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Monday 30 November 2020

'Dreaming Spires' and 'A World Beyond'

 ---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Laura 
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2020 at 10:44
Subject: Re: Dreaming Spires and A World Beyond
To: Grenville Allen <>

Hi Grenville, 

All received! They are absolutely beautiful - really excited to give them to my parents next month. 

Very best,