Window Gallery is proud to present our 2nd solo exhibition by Teigh-Anne Shave. This is an uplifting, narrative exhibition which was created especially for the Window Gallery. It is the perfect antidote to the dull, grey days of January. Come and see the work in the gallery on Broomfield Road until Friday 4th February 2022. Check out our Instagram feed across the month for a closer look at the artworks being created and an interview with the artist.

Welcome to the Joy Germ

Each of the 3d characters started as a water bottle filled with plastic that cannot be recycled. Essentially they are filled with rubbish! The display tells the story of a germ fully in his head: worried, angry and stressing. He then becomes changed by a joy germ, a creature who fully sees with their heart full of compassion, love and non-judgement. Their love starts to change the brain germ as soon as it lands. Pulled up by the joy germ they are held as the ‘infection’ spreads transforming it to see with it’s heart also, becoming a joy germ. They then go on to spread joy wherever they go too.

This is also a story of our own two sides and how we can ‘rescue’ ourselves with it being our own heart/mind. This work was inspired by International Joy Germ day (January 8th) which was started by Joan White in 1981 on her mothers birthday to counter the statistical worst day of 9th of January.

She proposed we spread kindness, compassion and laughter in abundance instead. I became a Joy Germer a few years ago and this character was created years ago when I started sending my Nan postcards every day when she turned 100 and felt depressed.

Each one had a face made of a heart for eyes (a hug) and a smile. She loved them and told me how they made her day! They made her smile and she felt loved.

For me, winter used to be very difficult. In all those years of depression I think I’d have benefited from someone saying “you are loved” and then I realised I could be that person. I figured we could all do with a little joy germ spreading right now so created this piece to shine some light in the wintery month of January, spreading a different kind of infection, and with valentines day approaching to let people know they are loved no matter what.

Our future selves are whispering in our ears…we just have to listen.

We shall be making smaller versions out of our own rubbish during the Recharge retreat at the end of February! There are two spaces left! Details can be found on my website

When did you start making art?

I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember.

I come from a very creative family and my Grandad would teach me all about perspective, tone and how to draw from a very early age. After he died, I stopped creating for many years. Although I didn’t go to college to study art (for too many reasons to go into here) I did study computer studies and started my career in IT.

What sort of art do you create? Has this changed over time?

I find this difficult to answer as I tend to find something I want to say and then this can take many forms whether that be sculpture, painting, spoken word, poetry etc. I would consider it all art. I feel like my art is story telling. Yes it has changed over time – but I tend to create for the space I am offered. For instance with the Window Gallery, I am able to create something that spans across a whole shop front which I have very much enjoyed.  With the Tiny Trail with the Chelmsford Art Trail many years ago I created a series of miniature worlds in shoe boxes where the people were made from corks.

What inspires you?

The overall theme for my work is essentially to make people stop and laugh, smile or shift their thinking in some way. I feel this has been consistent over everything that I have done over the last 10 years especially in Chelmsford with The Share a Smile Campaign, Make it Mental etc.. all of it was to try to create a feeling of lightness, empathy or togetherness for improved mental wellness. This is what inspires me the most I think. Smiling is such an important action that we can take and so if my work does this to anyone who sees it then it has fulfilled its purpose.

What do you do if you’re not inspired?

I don’t know.. not create? Ha ha ? I’m usually working on something but the medium may change. I may write some of my silly little rhymes for a while or sketch out some ideas, or create in other ways like putting together retreats or work on the little yellow caravan that I take around the UK in the summer. There is always something to inspire me.

I am most inspired when I have a big project to work on though that is going to be seen somewhere – like The Window Gallery or an Art Trail somewhere. I’m working on a book and have been for many years now – that is a great filler for around other projects.

Where do you practice art?

I have a log cabin in my Garden in Springfield although, after living in Chelmsford for 37 years, I shall be moving to Lincolnshire in the Autumn of this year.

Do you have any connections with the art community in Chelmsford?

I am a member of Chelmsford Creative Collective and have been for many years, and also enjoy Ignite as a community. I think this will be the thing that I shall miss most about Chelmsford as this area has really evolved since these groups came to be.

How often do you create?

I try to create something every day. Creativity comes in so many different forms though and I feel that being an artist is more of a way of being than a way of doing.

What’s the best thing about being an artist?

I find it fascinating the way we can manipulate materials and create something into being that before did not exist and my favourite part of it all is seeing the impact that the work can have on another. Even if that is a profound dislike to something. The best part over all though I think is the act of creating, and the power it takes to keep going despite the fear of whether someone else will like it – or whether they will reject you. That is quite profound I think. I make silliness, or at least that’s what I feel it is. Silliness is something we should all be doing more of to create mental wellness and I enjoy using art in the other projects I do in holistic and laughter therapy, NLP etc in the retreats I run.

Where have you exhibited before?

I have had work in various Art trail exhibitions in Essex over the years including Chelmsford, Billericay, Maldon and Rochford as well as, of course, the Window Gallery.

Do you sell your work? If so, is it difficult to part with it?

No I don’t because yes it is difficult to part with it. Ha ha – Seriously I would rather turn my art into products and sell those than part with my original pieces and the work I’ve been creating over the last few years is to be displayed rather than to sell – like the last and this work for The Window Gallery. I am going to endeavour to get the Joy Germ piece that is displayed in this months window into other towns in the future and have plans to turn the characters into ornaments to sell too. I very rarely part with an original though. I enjoy sharing the work locally though.

What superpower would you have and why?

I would like the superpower to create a different world. To create more compassion and for people to see hearts beating over anything else. For everyone to become joy germs over night and to spread kindness, community and love. I wonder how the world would change if some more hearts were mended. Especially those who are in power.

Instagram @An_experiment_with_joy

Facebook @Teigh-anneShave Artist