Malta Artisan Fairs – Artistic Spring Market in Valetta

Good day artists!

Please don’t hate us, but we are having a ball! The last weeks were really busy, yet we have been to many places and seen things  that we have never seen before.  We went to wedding fair in Hereford (review is coming up shortly), travelled to see rare porcelain museum in Worcester and been hanging with the best artists in The Mediterranean. Yes, you heard that right. Malta might be a small island but it has a great and vibrant artistic community. To be perfectly honest – the island is a great place to live if you are an artist. Beautiful views, sunny weather, houses of character can be easily turned into ateliers, cats living in flocks in any neighbourhood (artists like cats, you should know it!), slower pace and great minds to discuss your art with. We don’t have to mention the tourists invading Malta each year from early April to late January. They are always looking for souvenirs and hand made items. Setting a small stand in your front garden near a busy shopping street is the way to go.  You just sit under the umbrella with a drink in your hand and watch them line to buy something from you! Trust us, sometimes it is just that easy! * (after purchasing a special trading license that is. You know death and taxes 😛 – Mal)

Malta Artisan Fairs official logo

Malta Artisan Fairs official logo

Despite working on their own most of the times, the artists are sociable creatures and they enjoy getting together for a tea and gossip exchange. Crafts markets are the perfect opportunity to meet others, sell something and have fun. So far on our blog, we have written about English heritage fairs that are incredibly popular in the United Kingdom. This time, we visited the Maltase artisan market to decide who does it better – The UK or the Maltese locals. Please take a look at the chosen artists and make your own mind. We already decided the winner – but we ain’t telling a word!

Phoenicia picture from the official site

Phoenicia picture from the official site

The Artisan Spring Market has taken place in Valetta on Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th April 2013 in one of the most beautiful, 5-star hotels on the island – The Phoenicia Hotel in Floriana. For a whole weekend, between 10:00 am and 18:00 pm, the incredibly posh Phoenicia Ballroom was turned into a special spring market filled with live music, exhibition halls and food stands. We were mighty impressed, the English markets are usually organized in the open fair, on main squares or on large green spaces near city centres. Maltase have a different approach – they have rich history, unique architecture and a taste for splendour. Visiting  a market like this will leave a lasting impression. Elegant 1930’s interiors, professional attitude and jazz standards would turn every visitor into the firm believer in Maltese genius. The Hotel has been used by Queen Elizabeth II during her official visit to Malta, so if it’s good enough for her, it is good enough for us!
You can visit the hotel’s official website here: http://www.phoeniciamalta.com/

Main hall of the market with banner advertising local food, arts and crafts

Main hall of the market with banner advertising local food, arts and crafts

Now, before we proceed any further to show you the wonders of the market, we need to say a good word about the organizers. The body responsible for the event is called Malta Artisan Markets. The organization has just been launched in 2011. Despite being the new kids in the business district, Malta Artisan Markets are part of The Definitive(ly) Good Guide Co, the publisher of The Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants in Malta & Gozo and The Malta Baby and Kids directory. The lady responsible for the smooth operating of things is Charlotte Stafrace, and she holds the position of market’s manager. Charlotte and her team (Denise, Kristina and Andrea) did a splendid job of keeping everybody happy and everything right on schedule.  Another market is booked for the beginning of June, so hurry up!

If you have any enquires or  you’d like to join them, please contact them at:
Malta Artisan Markets
Address: 34 Bishop Palace Street, Vittoriosa, Malta
Telephone: (00356) 2180 2383
Email: manager@maltaartisanmarkets.com

Or do it digitally by visiting their official website: http://www.maltaartisanmarkets.com/
Facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/MaltaArtisanMarkets

All right! Now, after the introduction is done and the pleasantries are said, we can move to the best part of the blog: stalls reviews! Mal and Rita have chosen the Magnificent 7, in our humble opinion, the most talented and outstanding craftsmen/craftswomen we have met during the weekend! Of course, every stall was wonderful and each artist deserve an honorary mention, but sadly we are not able to write about everybody. Without any further delay, let us introduce you to Magnificent number 1!

Company: Decorizeme
Owner: Miriam Cassar
Contact: (356) 7762 8833 or by email: miriammin@onvol.net
Website: http://decorizeme.wordpress.com or https://www.facebook.com/Decorizeme

Diamonds might be the girls’ best friends but a true lady would never say no to Swarovski’s crystals. Jewellery maker, Miriam Cassar loves working with the crystals and the results are breath taking. Miriam is the owner of Decorizeme, a small company specializing in designing and making bracelets, necklaces, earrings, pendants and other items using Swarovski’s elements (crystal beads, peals and geometrically cut stones). Each piece is one of a kind as Miriam doesn’t like making the same items twice. If you decide to buy something from her, you have the confidence you are supplying the special person in your life with an uncommon gift. We have spoken to Miriam about the way she makes her small masterpieces and about the newest trends in domestic design.  Mrs Cassar is also an experienced interior designer and her Shabby chic style of decorating houses should be introduced in the UK. All those overpriced “country living” specialists, could learn a thing or two from her! Her line include scented candles, hanging hearts, hanging hearts with T lights, plaques, painted frames and Christmas decorations.
Please visit Miriam’s blog for the newest information about her products. We have been informed that she is opening a virtual store for international clients shortly.

Miriam, the owner of Decorizeme is pictured giving a standing ovation for the live band playing jazz standards

Miriam, the owner of Decorizeme is pictured giving a standing ovation for the live band playing jazz standards

Decorizeme stand at the market

Decorizeme stand at the market


Company: Hilda
& Anna Quilting & Patchwork and Design Matters Ltd (also known as Christmas All YR)
Owner: Hilda and Anna
Contact: (00356) 7952 3792 or (00356) 9949 8037
Email: Christmas.allye@yahoo.com
Website: not known

Do you know that everything happens for a reason? It is hard to believe but even the most unpleasant or stressful situations always lead to a happy end. We would have probably missed the lovely ladies at Hilda & Anna Quilting & Patchwork and Design Matters Ltd, if it wasn’t for an unfortunate confrontation at other stall (we won’t reveal the name). Mal has approached one of the exhibitors to take several pictures for the blog, when the owners angrily started to shoo her away. We were told to leave and not take any pictures.  Before the discussion turned really sour (enough to make the babies cry), we have been approached by Hilda and Anna. They had nothing against us taking pictures, they even asked to have copies sent to them. We didn’t just stop to take few snapshots – we bought three pillows with cats for Kat-a-log project! Olympia is at cloud number nine and cannot wait for the parcel to arrive. Both artist are very skilled with needles and can make everything from patchwork rugs, traditional quilts, mascots (you should see the penguins and a giraffe!), pillows and bed covers. Hilda and Anna are well known to Artisan market visitors as they also participated in market in 2011 in Senglea. Please wait for a new issue of Kat-a-log to see pictures of their kitten-friendly crafts!

The beautiful creations and Anna and Hilde

The beautiful creations and Anna and Hilde

Closer look at the stall with the owner in the background!

Closer look at the stall with the owner in the background!

Company: Create Hope
Owner: Collective
Contact: (00356) 7925 5387 or by email: sciclunamark@hotmail.com
Website:
http://www.create-hope.com/home or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Createhope/293354550679584

Create Hope is a Maltese art collective selling hand made crafts and artworks to collect money for charity. Their motto is to bring the smile to those in need. Create Hope has a huge catalogue of items you can purchase: mascots and toys, bracelets, hand made purses and bags (including real leather ones), jewellery, tea light candle cards, magnetic bookmarks, scarves, hats and shoals, Christmas decorations and our favourite – Bubble wrap Advent Calendars! We have taken a closer look at the crafts presented at their stalls and we can only tell you one thing – they are simply beautiful. The makers are using the best materials available on the market to ensure the best quality and long life of the final products. Please remember, by supporting the collective, this year you are donating funds to Fondazzjoni Suret il-Bniedem, a NGO fighting the problem of homelessness on Malta.
To learn more, please visit the organization’s official site: http://www.fsib.org.mt/

A lovely representative for the artists collective at Create Hope stall

A lovely representative for the artists collective at Create Hope stall

One of the creations in details - isn't it beautiful?

One of the creations in details – isn’t it beautiful?

Company: Designer bags by Fransina
Owner: Fransina
Contact: (00356) 9966 6184 or by email: fransina684@hotmail.com
Website:
https://www.facebook.com/FransinaHandbagDesigner

The title of Magnificent number 4 belongs to a lady named Fransina. Her stand at the market has been placed between the stalls of Burlesque Candles and Monstri Boo. Francina is an incredibly talented hand bag designer that dedicated her entire life to the passion of creating. At 16, she started studying fashion design and then spend nearly a decade working in the fashion industry. After founding her own business Designer bags by Fransina, the artist has been working hard to establish her position on local and international markets. We have a great feeling about her and we won’t be surprised to see her excellent handbags in exclusive boutiques in London or NYC one day. Fransina makes bags and purses for every occasion (garden parties, wedding receptions, White House Ball and Red Carpet galas), but also special covers for tablets and smartphones. A real fashionista should have at least one bag from Coco Channel, Louis Vuitton and Fransina. Remember about that!

Handmade bags made by Fransina

Handmade bags made by Fransina

Fransina with her family member at her stand at the market

Fransina with her family member at her stand at the market

Company: Burlesque Candles
Owner: Joanne Monte-Bello
Contact: (00356) 9962 1184 or by email: jomontebello@gmail.com
Website:
https://www.facebook.com/BurlesqueCandles

After visiting Fransina’s stand, we didn’t have to look far for another Magnificent artist – Burlesque Candles were located at the neighbouring stall. Joanne Monte-Bello, the project’s originator and the owner (two in one!), is an acquaintance we hope to meet again at Earth Garden festival in Ta’Qali this year!  We had a long chat about our Earth Garden experiences, ecological candles and friends from New York  who happen to be vegans and animal activists (Hi Val!!) Jo’s products are handmade using exotic fruits, dried flowers and spices mixed with natural essential oils and candle fragrance. Each candle is inspired by Burlesque Dancer and has approximately 50 hours of burning time. Rita’s favourite is the ‘LUSCIOUS LOLA’ – candle that smells of lemongrass & ginger. Especially for the market, Jo has prepared an unique promotion,  a free baby Miss L’Amour candle was given to every customer who purchased two other candles.  Please keep your eyes open as Joanne is on the roll and will be attending few other markets – she recently book a place at Earth Garden 2013!

A very burlesque stall of  Burlesque candles

A very burlesque stall of Burlesque candles

Company: Monstri Boo
Owner: Dor Attard
Contact:  (00356) 9931 5930 or by email:
doriatt7@gmail.com
Website: https://www.facebook.com/MonstriBoo or www.etsy.com/shop/monstriboo

We nicknamed the three neighbouring stalls: Designer bags by Fransina, Burlesque Candles and Monstri Boo, the ladies corner. All three companies have been started by a woman and have been exhibiting next to each other. Monstri Boo is our Magnificent number 6 and be aware, the monster toys are so sweet you will fall in love with them at the first sight. The project belongs to immensely talented 19 year old artist Dor Attard. She describes herself as a person with the “hobby of creating stuff”. Indeed, Dor sews, paints, draw, sculpts and “does anything her eyes want to do”. Her’s creations are made from good quality materials and fake fur, have buttons for eyes and are filled with polyester cotton or fabric scraps. We have spoken to Dor for a short while at the market and purchased a cuddlable white plush rabbit for our friend Olga. Now the rabbit will be on her way to Poland!
If you’d like to get a monster like that for yourself, come to Valetta Waterfront on 28th of April as Monstri Boo will be taking part in street market there!

For the newest information about the company, please visits Dor’s official blog at: http://monstriboo.blogspot.co.uk/

Monstrii Boo stand at the market

Monstrii Boo stand at the market

Monstri Boo White Bunny we bought as a gift for a friend. She will love it!

Monstri Boo White Bunny we bought as a gift for a friend. She will love it!

Company: Lexy Creations
Owner: Alexia Vasallo
Contact: (00356) 7702 0978 or by email:
lexvassallo@gmail.com
Website:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/LEXY-Creations/296628230356960 or http://lexycreations.webs.com/

You know the saying, save the best for the last? Lexy Creations, our Magnificent artist number 7 was the last stand we visited on Saturday and it quickly became one of our favourites. One look at the beautiful and colourful creations of Alexia Vasallo and we were sold! Financial analyst by day (she holds B.Com HONS in Economics from University of Malta and MSc degree in Finance & Financial Law from University of London), Alexia in her spare time has a second career as a crafts genius. Handmade jewellery, personalised gifts (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine, Carnival, Easter etc.), cards, wedding/engagement invitations, envelopes, kids toys and figurines, home decorations, souvenirs, masks – we are convinced that Alexia can do it all. Her creations are quite popular and she is a frequent guest at other Maltese arts and crafts markets and festivals. The Times of Malta has also wrote article about her – how cool is that! If you’d like to read it, please click here:
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20130204/thezone-careers/a-business-opportunity-with-a-part-time-hobby-in-crafts.456189

The colourful world of Lexy Creations

The colourful world of Lexy Creations

Close look at the personalized gifts presented at the market

Close look at the personalized gifts presented at the market

We hope you have enjoyed reading the review from our first Maltase crafts fair. The festival was not only limited to arts stands, as the guests could also buy food from local producers and listen to the live band playing. Since art has always been our primary interest, we decided to skip the food stores this time to give our readers a review concentrated on the artists and their creations alone. However, we would commit a huge social blunder, if we didn’t thank the excellent musicians for making the visit to the market a memorable experience. The band was simply called “The Band” and the members come from the School Of Music. Their rendition of Ella Fitzgerald’s classics will be remembered for a long time. Thank you so much gentlemen, we had a real ball!

Live band playing in the background

Live band playing in the background

Another picture of the band playing for the guests

Another picture of the band playing for the guests

If you have any additional information about the market, as usual, please send us a message. The contact address is always the same: rdabrowicz at yahoo dot come. We would love to hear from others who attended and to exchange opinions.

Be back soon as we have Helen Stringer, wedding fair and lots of cats coming your way very soon!
For now, have a great weekend!

All the best from Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz xxx

***************UPDATE! 2013.04.14****************

Wow! We would have never imagined, that our blog would become so popular! The response from the artists, organizers and visitors was amazing. Thank all of you so very much!

Please take a look at several comments we have received!

1. Malta Artisan Fairs have posted a link to our blog on their official Facebook page:

A link to our blog has been published by the organizers

A link to our blog has been published by the organizers

2. Crate Hope – an art collective gathering money for many charity projects, were also kind enough to featured our review on their FB profile. Thank you very much Joanne! Your stand was the best!

Create Hope were so kind to us!

Create Hope were so kind to us!

3. Burlesque Candles – Joanne Monte-Bello not only posted a link to our blog, she actually shared some of the review itself! Please support Joanne’s business, as her candles are simply the best!

Few nice words from Burlesque Candles

Few nice words from Burlesque Candles

4. Decorizeme ‘s owner,  Miriam, was really suprised that we featured her in our blog. We are suprised she was suprised! Mrs Cassar is a real jewellery queen, and her designs can turn any girl into a princess. You have our word for it!

Decorizeme comments were really sweet - we love to surprise people.

Decorizeme comments were really sweet – we love to surprise people.

5. General public – we are truly thankful for our readers! Thanks for your time and clicks! Our stats show we have fans even in Nepal, Australia, Slovenia, Brazil and The Philippines!

Two days and much ado about something :)

Two days and much ado about something 🙂

***************UPDATE 2! 2013.04.16****************

 It’s very rarely that we would do two updates to the same entry but since our review is quite popular, why not 😉 Actually we wanted to share a photo of our friend in Poland – Olga – who just received her present and she simply loves the mascot. She keeps it next to her bed. She wanted to tell the creator of Monstri Boo that the bun will be taken care of.

Here she is posing on Facebook with the Bunny monster. Ten of her friends just got jealous.

Olga and the Bunny

Olga and the Bunny

Have a great day and keep on visiting!
Rita and Mal xxxxx

The H Art festival – Even more artists of the Hereford Open Exhibition

Heya everybody!

A big thank you to our fantastic readers! Yesterday, our blog was visited so many times that it was mentioned in WordPress statistics on a list of hot blogs of the day! We are delighted to know that we are reaching so many people!  Rita wished she could grab a screen shot of this honourable mention, but it disappeared before she thought of it. If she finds out how to dig that information out, she will post it here to brag about. Rita is very meticulous and collects our every claim to fame in form of screens and scans.  She also likes cards, cats and expensive chocolates. It was her birthday not-so-long-ago, so if you want to make her day, now you know what to do!

As usual, if you have missed the previous entries about Hereford Open Exhibition, please take a look at the links below:
Our review of  the opening day:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/the-h-art-festival-private-view-of-herefordshire-open-exhibition/

Introduction to the artist exhibiting their works:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/the-h-art-festival-artists-of-the-hereford-open-exhibition/

A screenshot of the official website for the Hereford Open exhibition.

The increased traffic to our blog brought many interesting questions. We have been asked for example, how the works were chosen for the exhibition, who was the judge and when the artists should submit their works to be considered for next edition of the h.Art festival. The last question is very easy to answer. New submissions are being accepted just a month after the last edition ended. If you’d like to take part in h.Art 2013, please prepare a short presentation about yourself. Make sure you include a bio that mentions your education (if art related) and lists all previous exhibitions/awards or achievements you have. A personal letter to organizers is also advised. It should contain explanation of what you do and how do you imagine yourself being presented at the festival. Don’t forget to add scans or pictures of your works and voila! You are ready to go. All submissions can be sent electronically to: leonilinton-h.art@hotmail.co.uk. There is one condition, however: your works must be fairy new (created in the last 12 months) and they can’t be previously exhibited anywhere else.

Gallery workers at the main entrance encouraged the audience to sign the impressively big guest book. By the end of the evening, it was completely filled by comments from the visitors!

The judging panel sorting through the submitted works usually consists of 5 to 7 people chosen among the library workers, museum officers, council members and Herefordshire artists.  This year, the committee has been led by Clare Woods and Andrea McLean, both well known artists residing in the city. We have spoken to Clare at the opening and she said that the selecting process was very long as many great artists submitted their works. To be exact: the judges received exactly 159 pieces of art from 79 creators, ultimately only 92 pieces by 50 artists were selected.
If you’d like to know the names of all artists or learn more about the exhibition and selection process, please visit the official website at:
http://h-art.herefordshire.gov.uk/hartvisithart2012/hartherefordcity/the-herefordshire-open-exhibition-2012.aspx

Selection and judges are not everything. What truly matters the most, is the art. We are still very impressed by the quality of the artworks and the diversity of the whole project. We cannot write about each artist (they all deserve a mention anyway!) but we did a choosing of our own. The following artists, in our humble opinion of course, are something to look out for. We are sure that in the next few years their names will be a household brands in the world of contemporary art! Remember, we wrote about them first!

Lily Giles – acrylics and nature
Official website: in preparation

Lily Giles is a painter extraordinaire. She is probably the only artist in Hereford with a patented painting technique. Her works are very easily identified: semi abstract (mostly) flowery compositions on canvas, created with an incredibly smart fusion of mixed media, acrylics and digital photography.  Lily paints with bright and vibrant colours that capture the wild spirit of rural countryside and typical English gardens. During the h.Art week, Lily and Ted St George exhibited their paintings on Widgeon Hill Estate near Leominster (Venue Number 61).

The glory of Herefordshire gardens on canvas by Lily Giles

Caro Sweet – born to be a sculptor!
Official website: http://www.carosweet.com

Caro Sweet has not only a brilliant name, but also a biography that could be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster. Before becoming an internationally recognized artist, Caro worked in every possible profession, (including being a scuba diver!) and had a close brush with death. Luckily for the world, Caro recovered and now graces us with her enormous talent and killer technical skills. Mrs Sweet spends half a year in the UK and half a year behind the big pond, where she designs and teaches a new generation of artists. Her sculptures have been exhibited numerous times and several of them are in private and museum collections on few continents. Caro is also a member of The Royal British Society of Sculptors (ARBS).

“Holy cow” by Caro Sweet. This iron cast sculpture became one of the most popular pieces of art during the exhibition

Lexi Strauss – painting prodigy
Official website: in preparation
More information: http://www.axisweb.org/seCVPG.aspx?ARTISTID=15414 and http://www.saatchionline.com/lexistrauss

Another young artist from Herefordshire, Lexi Strauss is considered a true prodigy. Her talent was obvious from the very beginning and allowed her to study fine arts at Hereford College of Art. Lexi graduated this year at the top of her class and immediately has been accepted to Royal College of Art in London. Despite her young age, Miss Strauss has exhibited her paintings all over Europe and won several prestigious awards, including scholarships from Windsor and Newton (London) and Universitat der Kunste in Berlin. Lexi is now preparing for a solo exhibition in Birmingham, set for the Summer 2013. Two large paintings entitled “Ozymandias” and “Debutants” from her ” Empty chair” series have been displayed during Hereford Open Exhibition and received rave reviews from critics and general public.

Lexi Strauss created a whole series of pictures insired by the empty chairs. Here you can see painting entitled “Debutants”

Polly Miller – watercolour wizard
Official website: http://pollykington.wordpress.com

Kington resident Polly Miller is one of the best watercolourists in the county and a senior artist associated with the h.Art festival. Her symbolic works have been displayed since the early editions and have always been singled out for praise. Polly knows that her art might be a little hard to understand for an untrained viewer, but she likes the idea of playing with her audience. Hidden objects, ambiguity and mystery are her trademarks and leading motifs in her art. Outside of artistic career, Polly is also a successful business woman and proud owner of unique bed and breakfast nicknamed The Brick House. Her guests can visit her studio located in beautifully designed garden and purchase her paintings and hand-made cards.

One-of-its kind artwork by Polly Miller entitled “Cuckmere Heaven”. The watercolour masterpiece took its unusual name after the flood plains in Sussex, where the river Cuckmere meets the English Channel between Eastbourne and Seaford.

Maggie Banks – contemporary landscape
Official website: http://www.maggiebanks.com

Margaret Banks, known better as Maggie, belongs to a group of popular contemporary landscape artists living and creating in Herefordshire. With more than 20 years of professional experience (and a decade as an artist in residence at Cape Cornwall), Mrs Banks’ serene and atmospheric paintings are the public’s favourite. Maggie has always been mesmerized by the ocean, the changing colours of water, colourful sunsets and the salty breeze. Her mastery lies in the ability of portraying the scenery so vividly, you nearly feel the cold ocean wind on your face! Oil and acrylics paintings have been displayed in the UK and abroad. Maggie is represented by several art agencies and currently prepares herself for two solo exhibitions scheduled for the Spring of 2013 and 2014.

Two contemporary landscapes by Maggie Banks: “Summer morning, tide in” (left) and “Early misty morning” (right)

Special mention: Ellen Tremayne Exton
Official website: unknown

This review could not be complete without mentioning Ellen Tremayne Exton. Sadly, we have had no luck finding any information about her. Please take a look at the picture below and you will understand why we needed to include her too. Rita is a big fan of abstract art and she was very happy to see a fully abstract work among semi and half-abstract paintings. As an expert herself, Rita swears that Ellen’s skill with acryl and oil paints are to die for. The triptych painted on thick wooden panels was entitled “Carn Calver”, possibly after the Neolithic settlement and mine, Carn Galver.

“Carn Calver Triptych”, oil and acrylics on wood by Ellen Tremayne Exton

Well our friends, this is the end of the ride. We hope you have enjoyed this (a bit long) review but there was so much we wanted to share with you all. The h.Art festival will be back next year in early September and we shall be there, ready to report again.  
Stay tuned as coming up next we have a new, exciting Kat-A-log issue and  a very delicious report from Flavours of Hereford food festival.

Stay beautiful,
XXXXX

Rita and Mal Dabrowicz

The H Art festival – The artists market part 2

Hi everybody!

How are you all? The weather in Hereford is terrible this year! It’s cold, dark and rainy, feels more like February than glorious October. But let’s not despair. Art is the best way to get rid of the doom and gloom, and luckily, here at Vanadian Avenue, we are never short of it!

If you missed the first part of our review of the h.Art festival, please click  on the link below:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/the-h-art-festival-the-artists-market-part-1/

Official folders for h.Art 2012

We also have good news for those of you who live in the West Midlands and would like to participate in the artist market next year. It was announced few days ago, that the next edition of h.Art has been confirmed and will take place on the 7th – 15th of September 2013. The call out for artists and craft makers has already started so contact the organizers to book your place right now. The h.Art festival board is also looking for venues, if you own a good spot, let them know as well! The main goal of the festival is not only to promote the art, but to give the local business a boost and help the members of the public to (re)discover the county.
You can place your adverts for free on the official webpage:
http://h-art.herefordshire.gov.uk/hartvenueartistcallout.aspx

But lets us focus on the artists again. The festival is the celebration of human creativity and skills. Herefordshire has long been known as the craftsmen’s heaven and once again it was confirmed to be true. In addition to the creators introduced in the previous entry, we have selected a few more that just cannot be missed.  All of them have had a strong impact on the artistic scene of the city and established themselves as leading forces in the rural cultural revolution.

Jo Dewar – contemporary textiles and wire art
Her website: http://jodewar.com
More information: http://www.wgdc.org.uk/designers/textiles/jo-dewar.html

Jo Dewar’s art is probably the most innovative we have ever seen. Would you believe that her creations are made with just colourful enamelled copper wire, various textiles and paper? The idea for wire art was introduced for the first time in Italy during the 1960’s and became known as the “Arte poverta” – “The art of the poor”. Italian art students manipulated the wire into necklaces or earrings and sold them to the tourists to make additional income. Despite the humble beginnings, wire art has now become incredibly popular and fashionable. Wire knitting is not as easy as it would seem, as it requires a lot of strength and dedication. Jo added a lot of “Britishness” to the Italian roots: apart from jewellery, she makes jugs, teapots, plaques, candle holders and fruit bowls. A proud member of the Worcester Guild of Designer Craftsmen, Jo Dewar is a truly unique maker!

Jo Dewar uses wire to create her design

Helen London– silversmithing with a soul
Her website: http://www.helenlondon.co.uk/home
More information: http://www.craftsingloucestershire.co.uk/classes/hlclasses.htm

Our next guest, Helen London is Jo Dewar’s exact opposite. A jeweller as well, Helen represents the traditional school of jewellery-making. She is a silversmith and designer, specializing in creating items that could easily be worn on the red carpet or during the visit to The Buckingham Palace. Helen learnt her craft at the London Guildhall University and later studied at the Bishopsland Educational Trust in South Oxfordshire. Her skills are widely recognized, and helped her to secure numerous exhibitions and loyal clientele.

Helen London smiling and welcoming her guests

Helen is also a successful teacher and co-operated with many cultural and art organizations in the UK and abroad. In her spare time, she runs jewellery making classes for others where she teaches the art of filigree wire work. If you’d like to make a ring in a day, contact Helen and she will show you how!  Helen swears she loves her work and we love it as well! It is simply stunning. Don’t you agree?

A closer look at the silver jewellery made by Helen

Alison Evans – precious metal designer
Her website: in preparation
More information: http://www.alloyjewellers.org.uk/alisonevans.html
How can you reach her: alisonnicolaevans@hotmail.co.uk

Alison Evans’ stand on the market was located right next to Helen London’s and there was a good reason for it. Both ladies are not only precious metal workers but also long-time friends and collaborators. Just like Helen, Alison is the graduate of the prestigious Bishopsland Educational Trust in Oxfordshire. She is an active member of Alloy Jewellers collective that holds a permanent exhibition in The Courtyard Centre for the Arts on Edgar Street in Hereford. Alison takes the inspiration for her art from nature. Birds, leaves and flowers are recurring themes in her silver jewellery and the silverware she makes. Alison’s design is very elegant, a bit traditional but with a modern twist. It can please both – tradition lovers and contemporary art admirers.

Alison Evans presenting her crafts at the market

Glass on Glass – the great, second life of a recycled glass
Their website: http://glassonglass.co.uk/contactform.html
More information:  http://www.blue-ginger.com/gallery_glass.htm

The main force behind Glass on Glass is Elaine Mason, a glass maker and designer. Elaine recruited her family members and friends to help and now the project is truly a family affair! In 2008, Elaine travelled to Corfu and discovered the kiln-formed glass making method. She fell in love with the luminous and clear effect and decided to try to do it herself. For her work, Elaine uses only recycled glass: everything from old windows, tomato sauce jars, milk bottles to potato puree tubes or used glass crates. The glass comes from local businesses who happily supply the artist with all glass objects they no longer use.

Glass on glass stand, unfortunately we forgot the name of the gentleman selling the good! Our apologies.

It is a wildly known fact that Mal and Rita are crazy about cats. We were absolutely delighted to spot the three-piece red dip dish decorated with a picture of a black cat. This is a purrfect dish for Halloween snack!  If you’d like to make your own dish like that, please contact Elaine. She is running a weekend glass-making classes in her studio in Allensmore near Hereford.

We want that dish for a birthday present! It’s on the 29th of October if you have forgotten!

Garry Jones – your one and only cartoon sculptures
His website: www.garry-jones.co.uk
More information: http://www.craftanddesign.net/magazine/210/garry-jones.php

It was a love at first sight. We met Garry Jones, Welsh born artist and Midlands resident of 30 years, when he was busy sculpting a cat. Yes, you heard us right. He was the only artist on the whole market, not only selling and displaying his work but actually creating! He had his hands dirty with clay and talked to the crowd of buyers and passer-by’s with a rare passion. Self-taught genius, Garry is great animal lover. He says he owes everything to the animals, they are his inspiration, his best friends and companions.

Garry Jones making a clay cat figure at the market

We had a long conversation with Garry about his art, starting his own business several years ago after leaving his secure day job, dogs sculptures and his admiration for sheep and … hens. He told us, he was a dog-person rather than cat’s but found a great pleasure in sculpting a feline. He even joked that it’s a good sport or else he would forget how the cats looked like. We can hardly believe anyone is capable of forgetting a cat, but we have taken a detailed picture of the cat-in-the-making just to be sure. It looks great to us!

Closer look at the cat sculpture. We love it to bits!

Garry Jones is an award winning artist that specializes in what he calls “the cartoon sculptures”. His main goal is to make his audience smile. To receive a comical effect, he incorporates unusual objects into his art like an old front door with a cat flap, rusted car parts, wood fence and even a bathtub. He portrays mostly domestic animals but he gives them a lot of human characteristics. Garry also likes to play with words. Cleverly twisted titles give certain well known phrases, a completely new meaning.

Dog looking through a window – this sculpture became the public’s favourite

A full view of Garry's stand during the h.Art festival

A full view of Garry’s stand during the h.Art festival

Outside of the h.Art festival, the artist market is organized twice a year: in April, just before the Easter holidays and in mid-December.
If you would like to meet any of the artists described here, your next chance in Hereford will be on the 8th – 9th of December 2012.
We will be there so watch out!

Have a good weekend and come back soon.
We are not done yet!

All the best

Mal and Rita D.

*****************************************
EDIT – 2013.01.09

As promised, we have paid a visit to the Winter Artist Market on the 9th of December 2012. Sadly, the market was limited to 8 stalls only and was largely ignored by the public. Truth be told, it was one of the coldest days we have had this winter in Herefordshire and the weather was not encouraging to shop, still there was little to write about.  We have stopped by Garry Jones’ stand hoping to speak to him but unfortunately he was gone and his friend was looking after his art. Not our luckiest day, yet we managed to take few pictures of his newest creations. The cat sculpture has now been finished!!

Garry managed to finish the sculpture and we couldn't stop laughing seeing the finished artwork!

Garry managed to finish the sculpture and we couldn’t stop laughing seeing the finished artwork!

The scratching kitten sculpture was not the only new one in Garry’s portfolio. A massive (nearly 110 cm tall) installation with a dog jumping through a window, impressed passer-by’s and art lovers.

Just look what he  holds in his mouth!

Just look what he holds in his mouth!

The details are incredible: please notice the  broken glass (made from plastic) and the nets in the window!

The details are incredible: please notice the broken glass (made from plastic) and the nets in the window!

Mr Jones has also started sculpting another installation – we cannot wait to see what it will look like once finished. It will be probably shown during the spring market in April. 

New dog sculpture

New dog sculpture

Have a good day!
Rita and Mal xxxx

The H Art festival – The artists market part 1

Hello all!

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!

The official logo of the h.Art festival

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:
Official website:
http://h-art.herefordshire.gov.uk/

The official press release:
http://h-art.herefordshire.gov.uk/media/761482/press_release_july_2012.pdf

Electronic map for 2012 edition:
http://h-art.herefordshire.gov.uk/media/760471/hart_map_2012.pdf

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.

Sharon McSwiney – metal work and jewelery with a unique sense of humour
Her website: http://www.sharonmcswiney.co.uk/
Store: http://uk.etsy.com/shop/SharonMcSwiney

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 Mc Swiney presenting her artwork on her stand

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!!
http://blog.sharonmcswiney.co.uk/2012/10/little-feature.html

Sharon mentioned Vanadian Avenue on her blog !

Rachel Pritchard – contemporary ceramics
Her website: in preparation,
Email address: rachel.pritchard66@tiscali.co.uk
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!

Rachel Pritchard – the ceramics genius

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!

Niki Guy – the sea born jewelry

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.

Hurgatroyd and Bean

Murgatroyd and Bean – handmade heaven

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.

The team talent from Mugatroyd and Bean paid us a visit and lived to tell about it 🙂

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 Wigglesworth artworks on display

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! 

The bigest painting on the market!

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! 

Stay beautiful,

Lots of love and arts
From Mal and Rita
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Art Sale wrap up

And its done

Photo by Mal

The Art Sale had closed at 15:00 today. We had quite a nice crowd considering the fact that it was raining.

What can we say? It was a great expeprience, both meeting people and selling art wise. Pauleen managed to sell a big painting, Rita sold two of her cat series collages and all of us sold prints. Not bad for the first time, not at all. Actually we are thinking of setting up another one in May next year. It will be a third consecutive year of the art sale and we plan to organise some really cool stuff. Want a teaser? How about combining filigree and photographic prints? Or offering unique items to collectors? Ha, we told you that it is going to suprise you. We will keep the best bits to ourselves for now. It needs a lot of preparations, you know, Rome wasnt built in a day.

Photo by Mal

As we have mentioned before we had a nice crowd, it felt vey intimate in the same time and everyone was simply fantastic. Mal managed to snap some nice images that show the atmosphere:

Photo by Mal

Photo by Mal

And we had a group photo at the very end.

Photo by Mal

We are really really pleased. We also hope that next time all those who couldnt attend will be able to join us.

Hope you all had a great week end. We had a ball. As seen on this photo take by Roseann:

Photo by Rose Ann Borg

Now full steam ahead for the next event that will be on 16th of November.

Update cooming soon.
Hugs and hot chocolate because its cold outside

Mal and Rita.

Day One is over

Photo by Mal

Folks,

Just a really quick message and few photos to go with it. We had a great time this evening. It was intimate but worth every second and we have first sells! We have actually got more than after Notte Bianca.

Just to remind you there are four artists participating in the Art Sale this week-end in St Paul`s bay: Malicia and Rita Dabrowicz, Pauleen Micallef and Rose Ann Borg.

This afternoon we left our home with a suitcase full of artworks and Rita `s masks. We also got a very nice wine with us with cool names. We mean: who can resist a wine that is called: Harmony, Character or Elegance? It sums up the artwork that we are offering so we just couldnt give it a miss.

Photo by Mal

Photo by Mal

Once at Pauleen`s studio we arraned very quickly. In two hours all the studio have been turned in a lovely art gallery. Each artist has two tables. Our stand lookd like this and is near the entrance:

Photo by Mal

Photo by Mal

Photo by Mal

And this is what Pauleen and Rose Ann have in store:

Photo by Mal

Photo by Mal

Photo by Mal

There is also  abit of food and a guestbook to sign.

Photo by Mal

On Sunday we open at 10:00 clock and will trade untill early afternoon. So if you havent got to meet us yet, please do. We have sold some of the items already and since we are dealing unique items and limited prints, it is worth coming over to St Pauls Bay. You may not only end up with a collector`s item but also you can hang out with the artists and have a glass of wine.

Photo by Mal

This evening we ended up having all female panel discussing everything from politics, art, travelling to taxes and eating out. Wish you were here. Warm greeting s go to Mrs Connie Bugeja for being a truly remarkable lady.

Still excited,

M+R (+P+R)

A small update in the middle of the night

Hola,

Photo by Mal

A quick update before we hit the bed. We thought that we will show you the splendid leaflets we have made for the event and the press note that was published by Malta Independent today. We have distributed the leaflets across st Julians today leaving them hanging in the windows and putting them in in busy bistros (a big warm hello to everybody at Ta Mache Bonta and Wembley`s Taxi. You were a big help!).

Photo by Mal

 We also managed to get an invoice booklet. We are nearly ready. Only the price list remains to be done for tomorrow. 

Photo by Mal

It is really exciting to work with Pauleene again.

Oh there she is – photographed by Mal while posing at th dance studio.

Photo by Mal

G`night all!

M+R