Janice Thwaites

Visual Artist

Silent Music 2013-2022

'Mother and Child 2014' - By Janice Thwaites
Mother and Child 2014

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'Petworth 2014' - By Janice Thwaites
Petworth 2014

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'Cello Case Coffin with Cello Bones 2014' - By Janice Thwaites
Cello Case Coffin with Cello Bones 2014

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'Holy Family 2015' - By Janice Thwaites
Holy Family 2015

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'Leningrad. Shostakovich 7<sup>th</sup> Symphony 2016' - By Janice Thwaites
Leningrad. Shostakovich 7th Symphony 2016

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'Trumpet Shroud with Curtains 2018' - By Janice Thwaites
Trumpet Shroud with Curtains 2018

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'Swan Lake. Odette - Odile 2018' - By Janice Thwaites
Swan Lake. Odette - Odile 2018

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'Reflections from Swan Lake 2018' - By Janice Thwaites
Reflections from Swan Lake 2018

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'Madam Butterfly. Violin and Viola. 2020' - By Janice Thwaites
Madam Butterfly. Violin and Viola. 2020

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'Madam Butterflies. (Design for Silk Kimono) 2020' - By Janice Thwaites
Madam Butterflies. (Design for Silk Kimono) 2020

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'Off Beat No Rhythm. 2014' - By Janice Thwaites
Off Beat No Rhythm. 2014

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'Piano Graveyard Keyboard. 2019' - By Janice Thwaites
Piano Graveyard Keyboard. 2019

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The Silent Music project began in 2013 with the purchase of an old E flat tuba. A large instrument once played by a member of the Salvation Army. This fabulous horn, no longer played, began to resonate with Janice. The sculptural forms and pipes create an intricate object, as well as the added function of sound.

Most instruments are designed to fit the human figure for ease of playing. The human relationship to the instrument is another aspect that excites the artist.

The tuba was placed together with a tenor horn and covered with white couched paper. The tenor horn is a small version of the tuba. Set together they became a “Mother and Child” displayed with lilies, and placed in a church setting they became “Madonna and Child”.

Janice has acquired a large collection of musical instruments, many of them are covered in white couched paper, creating a pure, soundless display.

Instrument carrying cases have been another interest. In 2014 Janice located a finely crafted cello case made by W. E. Hill 1890-1900. The case has white couched paper fragments taken from a cello, and white painted cello strings installed in the case. These skeletal forms sit well inside this coffin shape container.

Janice recently came into contact with a poet and musician who has written verse relating to instrument carrying cases.



It's more of a physical thing,
Travelling companions,
Somewhat taken for granted
I take the hard knocks,
The gaze of strangers,
It’s me who feels the weather.

Heavy and awkward,
A thing of straps and handles,
Volume beyond my weight.

I’m the homemaker, the exoskeleton,
The coracle, the body-bag,
Hard on the outside,
Plush felted within.

I envy the way you touch her
The delicacy of her skin
When she cries
Everybody listens

In 2016 “Silent Music” work dealt with music rendered silent by war and oppression. “Leningrad, Shostakovich, Symphony No7” is a piece of work based on the television programme “Leningrad and the Orchestra that Defied Hitler” BBC2 2.1.2016. This programme had a profound effect on Janice as did the book “The Noise of Time” by Julian Barnes.

In 2017 a series of works using a trumpet “shroud” developed by using a trumpet painted black and wrapped in a shroud of white fabric. Selecting what Janice’s mother would wear in her coffin was a starting point for this work. The Turin Shroud came to mind. The trumpet prints have left dramatic marks. In some editions the trumpet has been overprinted, leaving more complex forms. One single print has been placed beneath a thin white curtain. This is again referencing the Turin Shroud, and similar also to the covering of an alcove containing the Holy Hosts behind an Altar.

Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake became another project to come out of Janice’s studio in 2017. Taking the black swan and the white swan, and the connotations of a black and white personality, this contrast, the artist has found particularly interesting. Working in monochrome and with Tchaikovsky’s music score, a violin has been sliced in half to represent the two side of Tchaikovsky’s swan. Viewing the traditional Royal Ballet version staring Natalia Makarova and Antony Dowell, and the contrasting Matthew Bourne interpretation of the same ballet, has led to a number of interpretations on this theme.

Janice first came across Puccini’s Madam Butterfly in 1991 as a student at Winchester School of Art. It was part of a history of art study on colonialism. The opera is about Butterfly, a fifteen-year-old girl. She is introduced to Pinkerton, an American sea captain who she marries. There is a conflict of cultures here. She renounces her family and religion. She betrays all she knows in the hopes of a different and better life with him. Pinkerton takes advantage of her leaving her pregnant. After he returns to America, he marries an American woman. It is a tragedy ending in despair and death for Butterfly. As part of the “Silent Music” project, it seemed appropriate to make a work using the format of an antique mounted up butterfly collection. Madam Butterflies in a box, frail, trapped and pinned down, could sum up Butterfly perfectly.

During the two years of lockdown 2019-2021 Janice has produced a large collection of work related to this opera, including a set of work that culminated in printed butterflies on a silk kimono.

Echoes of Influence

Page last updated: 18 June 2023