Welcome back again. The Herefordian weather has not been kind to us at all lately, so it’s good to sit in the warm office, drinking hot chocolate and reminiscing about the events that took place last month. September has been very busy and we absolutely loved it. You should know us by now: if something is happening nearby, we are either at the centre of things or we are the ones organizing it! The h.Art was, of course, no exception. Mal and Rita went everywhere, took a lot of pictures, befriended many of the local artists and wrote this little report in case you have missed all the fun. We are sorry, we have no souvenirs or lousy t-shirts for ya, just a great deal of high quality memories we will gladly share with you for free!
You can ask what exactly the h.Art festival is. In their own words, this is “an annual showcase aimed at promoting the large number and wide variety of artists and craft makers working in the region”. We prefer a much shorter definition. It’s the biggest art extravaganza in West Midlands. Let the numbers do the talking: two weeks, 600 artists, 110 venues, nearly 80 exhibitions and 50 art presentations, 100 private art studios, workshops and galleries open to the public, 35 000 visitors. Are you impressed yet? You should be! The first h.Art festival has been created in 2001 and 2012 marked its 11th edition. The festival is organized by h.Art board in partnership with Herefordshire Council and NHS Herefordshire.
If you’d like to read more about the festival please take a look at the following links:
The official press release:
Electronic map for 2012 edition:
It was simply impossible for us to visit all places, but we did our best to see as much as we could.
This year, the most interesting things were happening in the same heart of the city. On the 8th and 9th of September, the main square has been turned into an art market. Nearly 40 artists shared their secrets and techniques with the audience and offered their creation for sale. It was amazing to see the craftsmen at work with our own eyes, we have learnt so much just by looking at them!
Let us present some of the artist that we spoken to during the Artist market.
Metal worker, jeweller and designer, Sharon McSwiney has more than 20 years of experience in the business. For the last 10 years, she has been running a successful private workshop in converted farm building at The Fold in Bransford, Worcestershire. Sharon specializes in designing contemporary jewellery, animal brooches and creating decorative wall panels & plaques. She mastered the use of silver, copper and brass. Sharon is also a talented illustrator. Her works have been exhibited all over Europe.
Sharon is also a popular blogger in her own right. And she mentioned us there!
Please see for yourself by clicking either on the link or on the picture. Thank you Sharon!!
Rachel Pritchard – contemporary ceramics
Her website: in preparation,
Email address: email@example.com
Where to find her: 35 Old Hollow, Malvern, Worcestershire
Rachel Pritchard is one of the most famous Herefordshire ceramics artists, specializing in the classic earthenware techniques. Her works can be found in private homes, galleries and museums. Rachel is well known for her simple yet luxurious collections that include bowls, pots, jugs, vases, lidded jars and sculptural vessels. She travels extensively nearly all year long and you can meet her at most art festivals. Come and say hello, she is a truly charming lady that had the patience to answer every question coming from her audience. Rita’s favourite, a vase entitled “Blueskin” was sadly sold before she could ask for the price. It was just stunning!
Niki Guy – not your typical glass jewelry
Her website: http://www.nikiguy.co.uk/
More information: http://www.madeinshropshire.co.uk/makers.php?company=niki-guy
Before we have even met Niki in person at the market, her original jewellery caught our eyes the moment we saw several members of the public wearing them. It will not be an exaggeration to say that her creations were an absolute hit among the buyers. Niki uses tumbled glass to make hundreds of different bracelets, pendants, necklaces and earrings and mosaics. When asked, where she gets her inspiration from, Niki revealed that as a child she was mesmerized by the glass she found on the beach. She decided to make a bracelet for herself from different pieces of sea tumbled glass and discovered it could be a great idea for a career! Remember this name people, Niki Guy will soon be a well known brand, we tell you that!
Murgatroyd & Bean – Handmade curiosities
Their website: http://murgatroydandbean.wordpress.com/
Their store: http://www.murgatroydandbean.folksy.com
More information: https://www.facebook.com/MurgatroydandBean
The fantastic duo (or maybe a trio, we will explain in a second) called Murgatroyd & Bean are something out of a fairy tale, or at least a successful series of children’s books. As their website says, Murgatroyd (the Owl) and Bean (the Hare) have known each other since they were but a chick and a leveret. At a young age they were apprenticed to the Applewood’s tailor, Meles-Meles the badger, where they learnt their stitch craft and became friends with the Human, Kathleen. Kathleen serves now as their manager, taking all their hand-made goodies out and about and showing the duo’s skills to the outside world. Murgatroyd & Bean are also great teachers. Their two-hour workshops are very popular and tickets sell out almost instantly. If you want to learn from experts, please contact them as soon as new lessons are advertised.
The wonderful people at Murgatroyd and Bean have even posted a link to this blog on their official Facebook! We are truly honored and because we like to brag about our achievements, here’s the screenshot to prove we are your local celebrities.
Kate Wigglesworth – dancer with a paint brush
Her website: http://www.katewrigglesworth.com/
Her gallery: http://www.katewrigglesworth.com/gallery/index.php
Not many artists are masters of few trades but Kate Wigglesworth is an exception. She is a classically trained dancer that performed on many stages around the country and abroad. Painting was Kate’s secret passion that soon became equally important to dancing. At first glance, her artworks look like painted by child’s hand, but don’t be fooled. It takes years of practice and great deal of talent to create fantastic world full of abstract perspective, mirror-like reflections and harmony of colours. At the market, Kate brought not only her oil and watercolour paintings but also hand made prints and postcards. We are waiting for a publishing house to discover Kate’s potential – her incredibly imaginative artworks could embellish any book!
Kate brought several large paintings with her and displayed them on her stand. In no time, they gathered quite a crowd of onlookers. We took a picture of one of them. It would look lovely in our living room!
All right. That’s all for the part one. We still have lots of pictures from other artists so please return quickly to read the second part of our review. You wouldn’t belive what the next life of your old windows or front door could be like!
Lots of love and arts
From Mal and Rita