May 23-31 2015 WYLYE VALLEY ART TRAIL 2015 Wylye Valley Art Trail - Open a 'pdf' of this press release - return to Galleries PR Index

The largest visual arts festival in Wiltshire’

The Wylye Valley Art Trail is a vibrant festival of visual arts and crafts;

following a meandering trail through some of the south wests most beautiful

landscapes, country lanes and market towns, including: Hindon, Mere,

Tisbury, Warminster, Westbury and villages in between. It takes place for 9

days, from Saturday 23 - Sunday 31 May. There are 75 venues in a 10- mile

radius from the centre of the Wylye Valley, South Wiltshire. You don’t have to

go far between them and there are no entry charges!

This is the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Wylye Valley Art Trail and

it is now the largest and most diverse visual arts festival in Wiltshire,

attracting many local artists, craftspeople and groups and bringing large

numbers of visitors into the area.

Over 300 artists and craftspeople open the doors of their studios and

workshops to visitors. Or show their work in galleries and exciting group

exhibitions. The artists taking part range from regionally and nationally

acclaimed figures, to those who are making names for themselves locally,

to some who are just discovering their talents as students or members of

groups. Each have a unique vision, a particular way of making art, and

contribute to the exciting cultural profile of this part of the county.

Artists are often fairly reclusive creatures. The Wylye Valley Art Trail offers a

rare opportunity to meet and talk to them about their ideas, inspirations and

techniques. A wide range of high- quality visual arts is represented, including

painting, sculpture, printmaking, furniture making, jewellery, installation art,

digital art, ceramics, photography, glass and textiles. Much of the work on

show is for sale. Many of the artists will be demonstrating their work, and you

may also get the chance to have a go and get your hands dirty in the ‘take

pArt sessions!

Colourful and attractive brochures are available free from Tourist Information

Centres, Arts Centres, and many other locations. These provide listings of

the various venues, a map of the art trail area, show images of work which

can be seen and give directions and opening times.

The website: has all the information that can be seen in

the brochure. In addition, there are links to artists own websites, enlarged

images of artwork and links to the Wylye Valley Art Trail facebook page with

lots more images.

Wylye Valley Art Trail is an artist- led, non- profit project, organised by an

enthusiastic team of volunteers.

For further information / artists details or hi- res images contact:

Laura Rich (co-ordinator) t: 07910 736563 /

Rob Whelpton

Olivia Clifton-Bligh

Jenny Ford

Richard Howell

Trail Artists Include:

David O’Connor is a polymath: painter, sculptor and

photographer. He considers himself a landscape artist, and the

quiet serenity and stillness of the Wiltshire countryside can be

discerned in his somewhat austere, highly abstracted pieces.

As he says: “(my) work is not directly representational in the

traditional sense. The world is an infinitely beautiful place but I

believe it is beyond representation. What we do as artists is

remind people of this by alluding to the sublime nature of our

existence. The work is poetry not prose”.

Sally McLarens paintings, drawings and prints are highly

abstracted, yet, like the work of David O’Connor, retain a strong

link to the landscape they represent. As she says: “Landscape in

all its facets preoccupies me. The air, the elements, the

geological make-up. The life that springs in landscape, the spirit

of it, the growth and organisms of centuries, the effects of wind

and rain and sun, and the marks left by man from past to present.

In my work - painting, drawing, etching - I seek to convey these

elements, the energy and the spirit and rhythm that surrounds us.”

Richard Howells work is not easy to define. Mostly sculptural,

but with some relief work, his pieces are intricately crafted using a

variety of materials, some found and others made or altered, often

tied or sewn together with copper wire. He is currently involved

with creating a series of reliquaries, small wire vessels containing

strange but pertinent objects; his first one houses a simple cross

tied to a medal band from the Crimean war, made to honour the

soldier to whom the medal band had belonged.

Ruth Dresman creates exquisitely decorated glass vessels,

delicately etching through coloured layers of the material. Her

medium is not only glass, but light: she designs the way light

travels through her pieces, achieving great depth of colour and

piercing highlights of pure transparency.

The company Matthew Burt, a small team of designers, makers

and managers led by Matthew and Celia Burt, create beautiful and

functional furniture, from individual pieces to room sets and even

the furniture for an entire house. Clean-lined and pure, these

pieces have a contemporary yet classic feel to them.

Matthew Burt

David O’Connor

Sally McLaren

Ruth Dresman

Laura Rich

Joanna Still

The style of the potter Joanna Still has evolved considerably

since she started exhibiting on the Wylye Valley Arts Trail. Her

earlier work was colourful and gorgeously decorative domestic

earthenware: plates that you would use and admire every day.

Gradually her work has evolved into pots that are more art than

utilitarian: beautiful, spare and rather elemental, reflecting the

way they are made - the fired pots are wrapped in various dry

plant materials and buried in a kiln chamber where they are

coloured by smoke from a slow burning fire.

Nick Andrew

Anthony Connolly, former winner of the Wiltshire Life Artist of

the Year award, is one of the countrys best portrait painters. One

of his paintings, a portrait of the Cambridge don Dr Victoria

Bateman, was featured in the Times, Guardian and Daily Mail

newspapers last year; Dr Bateman had elected to be painted

nude. Anthony Connolly does not restrict himself to portraits, and

paints exquisite and unusual still lives: real jewels.

Nick Andrew, the founder of the Wylye Valley Arts Trail, is a

landscape painter particularly inspired by the Wylye River and its

environs. He aims to portray the freshness and vitality of the

ever-changing vista around the banks of the river. Widely

collected, his work can be found in such illustrious collections as

those of the Houses of Parliament, Sainsburys PLC, Shell UK

and Weetabix.

Laura Rich was recently commissioned to paint 64 large

paintings for the new P&O cruise ship ‘Britannia’. Although

trained as an illustrator, Laura works predominantly now as a

landscape painter. Her work is an attempt to explain the

emotional connection to the Wiltshire and Dorset landscape;

though she does not try to represent the landscape figuratively,

she always starts from her sketchbook and her memory of the

place, trying to connect with how she felt at the time of sketching.

Though abstracted, there is a strong connection to reality,

reinforced with such gorgeous titles as ‘When the boys were

fossil hunting’, ‘Red wellies out and ‘Wonderful was your love for


Also exhibiting is the award-winning sculptor and printmaker,

Olivia Clifton-Bligh, the pastel landscapist Joanna Sims, the

printmakers Jenny Ford and Jennie Gilling, the potters Rob

Whelpton, Jenny Gilbert and Russell Coates, and so many


Anthony Connolly

Joanna Sims