Tuesday, 12 November 2013

ALL THINGS NEW! Christmas Album Launch

Save the Date!: 15th December 2013

We are very proud to announce our plans for Advent and Christmas 2013 and our forthcoming alternative Christmas album ALL THINGS NEW! in collaboration with A Deer For Your Lamb and Alex Ross.

Inspired by the likes of Sufjan Stevens, Slow Club and Bright Eyes, ALL THINGS NEW! is a collaborative project between A Deer For Your Lamb, Alex Ross and the Holy Biscuit. It brings together North East artists to create an alternative Christmas album - celebrating, deconstructing and reinterpreting Christmas music. 

Produced by North East musician and producer Alex Ross, the album brings together a variety of North East musicians. The album will be recorded at The Holy Biscuit in November and feature work by artists such as Meghann ClancyAURORACath and Phil Tyler, Sacred Harp singers, Rington, The Sons of Encouragement and others who are to be confirmed.

The album will be available to download just in time for Christmas and will be launched at a celebratory mini festival at the Holy Biscuit on Sunday 15th December. The album will be available to buy in the form of a download code, accompanied by original screen printed artwork by local printmaker Sarah Ingledew.

As part of the run up to the event, we are running a Kickstarter campaign.The money raised by this campaign will contribute to recording and production costs of the music and the production of the original screen-printed artwork to accompany the album download code. It will also enable all of the money raised from the sale of the album to go directly to the artists involved helping them to continue their creative practice contributing to the variety of awesome projects going on in the North East. BE PART OF IT!
We've created a blog inspired by the project to gather up different thoughts on the process and have different people contribute reflections and ideas. ALL THINGS NEW! will be available to listen to and purchase online, giving even more people the chance to engage with alternative takes on traditional songs. Be part of it!
The launch party, held at the Holy Biscuit on 15th December, will be a massive Christmas celebration where we welcome people into the gallery for an evening of music, art, food and drink. Each artist/band will perform their song from the EP along with a short set. There will be food available and it will be BYOB. SAVE THE DATE!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Writing out and out speaking ageing

Rachel Magdeburg, Clamgram, 2013

By Kay Steven, Curator of OUTING AGEING

Inside the gallery

What do you remember about learning to write? I remember a project notebook - and concentrating hard on the movement of the pencil. Creating little tails. Lifting the pencil at the right moment. There was a focus on the shape - repetition - getting it right.

To create her piece, Rachel Magdeburg has taken the time to try to relearn writing skills. To write with evenness and consistency  requires a discipline of mind and action. Rachel told me that she had to almost trick her mind to adapt itself to producing something with different tools. Not that she can't write - but her stye of writing has changed considerably since school. No longer as regimented. No longer consistent.

Writing is something we have stopped practising. We are too busy with our keyboards, our thumbs on twitter. Marks made on the page are hurried. Yet tiny details reveal something about us - our state of mind.  

In practising her writing Rachel has reconnected with an earlier part of herself and simultaneously engaged with her present self and its habits and practices. The younger pliable mind is a shadow of its former self. Puzzled perhaps that it cannot just write at will. It has to fight to connect hand with mind, mind with hand. Practising handwriting encounters already well practised rituals. There is an unseen collision of past, present and future. There is no backspace, no crossing out. It is tiring to use fingers and thumbs. There is a lack of a familiar rhythm. 

Rachel uses the process to create a memo to her future self. She dares to use handwriting from the past to explore future notions of herself - which she will at some point read in her future present and look back!

When she revisits the memo, will she be surrounded by old school jotters in attics. Will the handwritten notebooks of today become the artist's notebook of the future - not paint and brush but quill and ink? Does today's text becomes the future's sketch?  

I like the physicality of the work and the humour of if. The thoughts we all play around with in our head but are too scared to reveal are pinned down on the page. The uniformity of the well considered words seem to give the serious and monotonous nature of ageing, room to breath. You have to stay with the material for a while - word on word, line on line.

Outside the gallery 

I sat with some older people. We sat round a textile covered table. First introductions. Second words. Words that preyed on our minds forced their way out.

What am I going to do?

How can I live?

My identity - where will it come from - it is so wrapped up in my work and now I have to stop,

70 years old - why that's awesome.

70 years old. It means something but it doesn't relate to what is going on inside me, in my life.



Caged animal at 70?


Come and contribute to the Outing Ageing discussion this Friday 18th October, 19.00-21.00. The event is free and will be chaired by Marika Rose from Durham University. It will feature contributions by Dr Cathy Bailey, Research Fellow in International Ageing at Northumbria University, Moyra Riseborough, a researcher currently working with the Centre for Ageing and Vitality at Newcastle University and Fr Colin Carr, local intellectual and Catholic priest. This will be an opportunity for both the artists and the public to reflect on how the work in the show engages with broader notions of ageing, wisdom, maturity and death.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Outing Ageing

4 - 24 October 2013
Private View: Thurs 3 October, 2013 18.00 - 20.00
Outing Ageing, A Discussion: Fri 18th October 19.00 - 21.00

The Holy Biscuit is pleased to present ‘Outing Ageing’, a group exhibition curated by artist Kay Steven, tackling the topic of ageing, from 4-24 October 2013. The exhibitions features new work by a variety of artists and creative voices including, Wayne Medford, Rachel Magdeburg, Cath Walshaw, L.A Powell, Marcia Ley, Ron Moule, David Foggo, Jeff Lee, Sarah Crisp and Kay Steven.

In Coming of Age, Simone de Beauvoir referred to old age as society’s secret shame. Ageing affects everyone, yet it is often pushed to the margins of society, like a relative we are embarrassed. People respond to ageing in different ways – from embracing it to trying to manipulate its impact on their physical appearance. Exhibition curator, Kay Steven, says: “I am both fascinated by my own responses to ageing and slightly perturbed by its quiet presence. Changes happen every day - mentally and physically. Some changes are more perceptible than others.” Artists in this exhibition have responded to the call to out ageing through surprising subjects, memories and processes, putting ageing at the centre of conversations and communities.

The Private View is on Thursday, 3rd October 2013, 18.00-20.00 and will feature a performance piece by Sarah Crisp, which will engage us with our fears and questions about ageing. On Friday, 18 October, 19.00-21.00, there will be a public conversation event, with reflections by the artists, as well as academics from Newcastle, Northumbria and Durham Universities, on how the work engages with religious themes of ageing, wisdom, maturity and death, providing new insights and understandings on the subject.

Kay Steven won best in show at The Holy Biscuit’s annual Advent exhibition in 2012. Her practice is rooted in freeform textiles, crocheted/knitted pieces and sculpture, which emerge from a reflective exploration of connected and unconnected moments.

For more information, follow the Outing Ageing blog or go to the facebook event to let us know you are coming!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Julia Tryon: From Carpet to Heaven

28th June - 1st August
Private View: 27th June, 18.00-20.00
Gallery Open Tues - Sat, 11.00 -16.00

‘From Carpet to Heaven,’ is the culminating exhibition for Word on the Street, the Holy Biscuit’s Lindisfarne Gospels Engagement Programme in which the gallery has worked with Newcastle artists to explore urban multicultural responses to the Gospels. This community exhibition showcases work made by artist in residence Julia Tryon as she explored the contemporary relevance of the Lindisfarne Gospels, to the community of Shieldfield.

Through meeting local residents, visiting community groups, initiating workshops, curating an exhibition of work by the Biscuit Family Studio Artists, and exploring the visual architecture and language of the area, Tryon has sought to open new lines of communication with the local residents. The art work created at by local residents has been combined together to make a Shieldfield Art Carpet as a major piece in the show.

While the Gospels reflect a multiplicity of cultural influences, they also represent a specific culture, during a specific time, at a particular place. Mirroring the work of Eadfrith who combined  the artistic styles of different cultural and ethnic groups of the period to communicate a message of unity across the region, Tryon aims to combine the different cultural and religious influences of the area of Shieldfield and Ouseburn, producing an exhibition which reveals some inspiring connections between the Gospels and the locality. She has particularly explored the changing use of religious spaces over the past few years and how it has shaped the ever evolving identity of the area.

Julia Tryon was born in London in 1984 and graduated from Newcastle University in Fine Art in 2008. Working in painting, sculpture and photography, her work explores the feelings evoked by architectural spaces; depicting figures in fantastical settings with atmospheric light and colour. The process of making her work involves sculpture, photography and painting, reflecting her interest in transformations between two and three dimensions. She currently has a studio at the Biscuit Tin Studios, Newcastle.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Call for Proposals: Outing Ageing

Outing Ageing

Exhibition dates: 30 September - 17 October 2013
Proposal Deadline EXTENDED: 13 July 2013

The Holy Biscuit is now accepting proposals for our autumn exhibition, ‘Outing Ageing’, curated by artist Kay Steven.


In Coming of Age, Simone de Beauvoir referred to old age as society’s secret shame. Ageing affects everyone. Whether you are old, feel old or are appalled at the thought of growing older, we want to hear your ideas and proposal for art works which will out ageing. This is an open call out but we are particularly interested in contributions which have a collaborative element to them and which have a relationship or connection to the area immediately around the Holy Biscuit in Shieldfield and Ouseburn.

Please send proposals to outingageing@gmail.com no later than 21 June 2013.


The final selection will be made by a panel led by Kay Steven, in partnership with independent curator, Hannah Marsden, and the Holy Biscuit team.

Kay won best in show at THB’s annual Advent exhibition in 2012. Kay’s practice is rooted in freeform textiles-crocheted and knitted pieces and sculptures emerge from a reflective exploration of connected and unconnected moments. Kay has chosen the title for the exhibition as she is interested in curating a show which puts ageing at the centre of conversations and communities rather than pushing it to the margins or hiding it. She is especially interested in seeing how artists both approach ageing and conceive of it in respect of ‘outing’ in the various media and contexts they work with.

More information about Kay Steven can be found at:

Note: There is no submission fee and no fee will be paid for selected work. At this stage we have no money to pay artists but we are applying for funding.

Monday, 13 May 2013

TRANSMISSION LAUNCH: The Holy Biscuit does the Late Shows

Late night opening: Friday May 17 & Saturday May 18 19.00-23.00
Exhibition: May 17 - June 22, gallery open Tues-Sat 11.00-16.00

The Holy Biscuit are pleased to present an exhibition by Newcastle artist Lorna Bryan and school children from NewcastleGateshead, inspired by the legacy of the Lindisfarne Gospels. 

FRIDAY 17 May, 19.00-23.00 there will be a chilled out opportunity to enjoy the work over some coffee and cake.

SATURDAY 18 May, 19.00-23.00
Be among the first to see this unique exhibition when The Holy Biscuit will be transformed into a big party, with fabulous music from BRASSY B and THE FUTURE PRIMITIVES, a bouncy castle, ice cream stall, tuck shop, games and more!

The stories within the Gospels were intended to be shared and passed on to future generations. In the same way, Transmission brings together drawings, sound and photographs to form short animations. These videos can then be passed on using contemporary means, through YouTube and via QR codes. There will be a chance to chat to the artist in person at both events. For more information go to our facebook event

Monday, 22 April 2013

Winter Chapel Film Series: Sunrise, a Tale of Two Human Beings

Tuesday 30 April, 7pm (7.30pm) with questions and discussion after
£5/£3 Concessions includes free cake and hot drinks, BYOB

Following the success of previous events in our Winter Chapel Film Series in collaboration with St Dominic's Priory, we are happy to announce our next screening. We will be showing Alfred Murnau's acclaimed silent classic Sunrise: a Tale of Two Human Beings (1927). It is simply one of the greatest films ever made, an extraordinary tale of forgiveness and redemption,with great music too.

For further information go to our facebook event.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Art Workshops Day with the Biscuit Family Studio Artists - 27 April

To conclude the Word on the Street Exhibition, curated by Julia Tryon, Biscuit Family Studio Artists will be leading some workshops here at THB on Saturday, 27 April. Anyone is welcome, and there's no experience necessary!
Traditional Rag Rug for Beginners
10:00am - 12:00pm
Learn to make traditional hooky and proggy mats with Louise Underwood. 
FREE - Booking Essential

Photoshop Workshop
10:00am - 12:00pm
Make your own photoshop designs inspired by the Lindisfarne Gospels - 20 minute sessions.
£1 - Booking Essential

Felt making
1:00 - 2:30pm
Make a felt picture based on the Lindisfarne Gospels with Miranda Petersen
£1.50 - Booking Essential

Bookmaking with Celtic Patterns
1:00 - 2:30pm
Learn to make a small book and decorate with Celtic patterns

If you are interested, email lindisfarne.shieldfield@gmail.com to book spot, or show up on the day.

Thursday, 4 April 2013


Responding to the Book:
Open Day & Workshops
Workshops, 12:45 - 2:45pm
Open Day, 3:00 - 6:00pm

This Saturday, April 6th, we are hosting an Open Day at the Holy Biscuit, to celebrate the official launch of our programme of events and exhibitions inspired by the Lindisfarne Gospels' return to the region.

'Responding to the Book' is curated by THB's artist in Residence for the Lindisfarne Gospels programme, Julia Tryon, and features work by the Biscuit Family Studio Artists. Since the launch of the residency in March, Julia has been exploring the Lindisfarne Gospels and its legacy to the region, as landmark cultural and religious achievement, and its contemporary relevance to the community of Shieldfield, in Newcastle. She has been meeting with various community groups, schools, businesses, churches, and local charities, to discuss the gospels and what they mean to a diverse multicultural urban community.

Come to the open day, from 3:00 - 6:00pm, to learn more about the project and the residency, and have a chat with Julia Tryon and the other artists featured in the exhibition.

There will also be two workshops before the open day:

Bookmaking and Celtic Drawing
12:45 - 2:45pm
£1 - book in advance to ensure a place, but not mandatory
Book: lindisfarne.shieldfield@gmail.com

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Be Part of the Picture

by Amy Barnes

The schools programme is well underway at the Holy Biscuit, with a calendar packed full of workshops for schools in our local area. This year artist Lorna Bryan has devised a project inspired by the Lindisfarne Gospels, to coincide with their much anticipated return to the region to be exhibited this summer. The aim of the project is to introduce the Lindisfarne Gospels to primary aged children, and to help them understand the relevance of such a historic document. While working with the children, it has raised the question for us too, what do the Lindisfarne Gospels mean for us today? As I am discovering, there is inspiration in them for us all, not just in the text which, as we know, is rich with the teachings of Jesus and stories of His life, but on many other levels as well.

Although this reproduction of the Gospels was created by a Bishop Eadfrith on Lindisfarne, over 1300 years ago, in some ways their cultural context is not too far removed from the one we experience. Britain has such a rich history which has evolved over the centuries, and continues to change today. Cultural diversity is not a new thing to us, and the artist understood the importance of bringing creative aspects of all these different cultures together to create a unique style, making the stories of Jesus accessible and available to all. This is not a new challenge, but a very important one.

Another thing to consider is the phenomenal amount of effort and devotion poured into the creation of this work. Eadfrith used his skills for the Glory of God, which presents another challenge to us, are we doing the same?

Perhaps the most important lesson for me is that the story didn’t end when Jesus died on the cross, and rose again. It continues today, and we can choose to be a part of it. Just as Eadfrith shared the message of Jesus through creativity, diligence and devotion, so too did Aldred, who painstakingly translated them from Latin into English, so they could be understood by all. And now, over a hundred school children from Shieldfield, Heaton, Sandyford and Gateshead have been learning how to use their creativity to share Bible stories with a wider audience, they too are part of a much bigger picture. Their animated creations will be passed on and shared using YouTube, so watch this space, and be inspired to do the same!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Winter Chapel Film Series: Of Gods and Men

7pm (7.30) questions and discussion after
£5/£3 includes free cake and hot drinks. BYOB

After the successful launch of our monthly film series (despite snow!!!)
We will be showing the 2010 Cannes Grand Prix winner " Of Gods And Men" directed by Xavier Beauvois.

Set in 1990s Algeria Eight French Christian monks live in harmony with their Muslim brothers in a monastery perched in the mountains of North Africa in the 1990s. When a crew of foreign workers is massacred by an Islamic fundamentalist group, fear sweeps though the region. The army offers them protection, but the monks refuse. Should they leave? Despite the growing menace in their midst, they slowly realize that they have no choice but to stay... come what may. This film is loosely based on the life of the Cistercian monks of Tibhirine in Algeria, from 1993 until their kidnapping in 1996. 
© Sony Pictures Classics

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Winter Chapel Film Series: Babette's Feast

Tuesday 22nd January, 19:30
£6/£4 concessions (includes supper & hot drinks)

Holy Biscuit is proud to launch in partnership with St Dominic's Priory, our new monthly film series in the Winter Chapel at St Dominic', Newbridge St. Our first film will be great classic, Babette's Feast, followed by some informal discussion. A light supper will be provided and ALL are welcome.

For more information, and to let us know you are coming, please visit our facebook event

In 19th century Denmark, two adult sisters live in an isolated village with their father, who is the honored pastor of a small Protestant church that is almost a sect unto itself. Although they each are presented with a real opportunity to leave the village, the sisters choose to stay with their father, to serve to him and their church. After some years, a French woman refugee, Babette, arrives at their door, begs them to take her in, and commits herself to work for them as maid/housekeeper/cook. Sometime after their father dies, the sisters decide to hold a dinner to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth. Babette experiences unexpected good fortune and implores the sisters to allow her to take charge of the preparation of the meal. Although they are secretly concerned about what Babette, a Catholic and a foreigner, might do, the sisters allow her to go ahead. Babette then prepares the feast of a lifetime for the members of the tiny church and an important gentleman related to one of them. Click here for more information on the film.
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