Meet the tutors
Melanie Hopwood is an accomplished potter and runs her own pottery and ceramics business, and provides Chrysalis with fun, creative sessions for all abilities which are very popular with our members.
Under Mel’s guidance members undertake a variety of projects, which undergo firing, painting and glazing, to produce some beautiful objects.
Mel says: "I have enjoyed creating with clay for over 20 years. A graduate of Staffordshire University (1995), Artist-in-Residence posts at Barnard Castle School, Uppingham School and Pangbourne College gave the opportunity for me to explore and develop my earlier creative practice. My current studio is at The Hearth Arts Centre - my base since 2004 - in ideal proximity to rugged countryside, city and coast which happily fit with my work ideas and themes. Artworks are available to view at my studio but I also exhibit in group and solo shows around the UK and am a member of the Northern Potters’ Association. I enjoy sharing my love of clay with people of all ages and abilities. In addition to running regular sessions at Chrysalis, I have run ceramics/pottery workshops in schools, museums and many community venues."
Ian Brown is a professional musician with years of experience in providing music and singing to community groups and schools.
At Chrysalis, he runs regular singing and percussion sessions throughout the month, covering an eclectic mix of music from traditional folk to pop and show songs.
Ian is a Northumberland based singer/songwriter guitarist who features at many festivals in the North of England and beyond. Until the summer of 2012 he played regularly with Newcastle’s Tenth Avenue Band at festivals in England, Ireland and Germany. He has three albums of songs, ‘Dancing with Shadows’ – produced by Rick Kemp (Steeleye Span’s Bass man) in 2001, ‘Rough Around the Edges’ – 2008 and 'One Voice One Guitar' - 2018. Since returning to solo playing he has been involved in many festivals including Maddy Prior’s Stepping Stones festival, BBC's Hadrian's Wall of Sound, Music on the Marr, Woolfest, Prudhoe Arts Festival, Mestival, Nevfest, The Moorland May Festival, The Mighty Dubfest, Redefest, The Alnwick International Music Festival, the Corbridge Festival, The Lindisfarne Festival, Baafest, The Allen Valleys Festival, Northern Roots, Forgotten Lands festival, Waterfoot Wakes and the Broadstairs folk week. He also has built up successful events at an isolated venue on Hadrian's Wall which normally run outside the festival season. These events have been sell-outs in recent years.
Carl von Weiler
Carl von Weiler is a professional artist who runs our Arts Workshops.
Carl was born in the Netherlands and studied Fine Art in the UK. After 14 years living and working in London he moved with his young family to Northumberland in 2004. He continues to live and work from a base in Hexham.
He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, being commissioned to make work for several public sites, including Court 2001 for Jesus College, Cambridge as well as gallery installations such as Lullaby 2000 for Matt’s Gallery, London. In 2001-2003 he was included in the British Council exhibition, Black Box Recorder that toured worldwide and in 2005 he was commissioned by The Samling Foundation to make Monument in Central Station Metro, Newcastle. 2012 saw Carl as part of the Great Boxing Booth Revival team that ran a Cultural Olympiad project for the north of England. He has been resident artist at Kielder Forest in Northumberland, instigated many projects for schools and local communities, and taught in a number of universities nationally. Many of the projects have had members of the community involved in the making and realisation of the work. Carl has run innovative Art programmes for regional schools, through schemes such as ‘Creative Partnerships’ and the National Gallery ‘Take One Picture’ initiative. He has mentored ‘post 16’ students towards making their own works and worked as part the team supporting Sir Antony Gormley. Last year Carl set up MetamorphicART, a new ‘not for profit’ company, that seeks to use the powers that Art has, to benefit local communities towards better ‘Health and Wellbeing’. The ambition is to create a bespoke ‘Open Access’ Arts Studio in Hexham which will feed into the existing community groups, all of whom are changing lives positively and adding to the ‘Social Capital’ of our region. His work through MetamorphicART with Chrysalis has created a portable art installation on the theme of “Desert Islands and Driftwood Boats”, currently on display at our Chrysalis Centre in Hexham.
SMILE Through Sport
Our sports sessions are run by SMILE Through Sport, which was founded by Paralympian Stephen Miller MBE to create increased awareness, opportunity and ultimately enjoyment in disability sport throughout the North East of England.
Stephen has won multiple gold medals, and in 1996 became Britain's youngest ever track & field Olympic and Paralympic gold medalist at the Atlanta Paralympics; he went on to be undefeated in all competitions until 2005. He primarily competes in the F32 Club Throw, which is equivalent to the Javelin, but has previously competed in Discus and Shot Putt. He has represented Great Britain for over 25 years, competing in 6 Paralympic Games, 7 World Championships and 6 European Championships, so far winning 34 international medals.
SMILE Through Sport provide a range of services based around the three key themes of Inspiration, Education and Enjoyment. For Chrysalis, they provide inspiring sports sessions including cricket, tennis, boccia and basketball, which are competitive, inclusive and great fun.