‘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 west’s 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
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: www.wvat.co.uk 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 / email@example.com
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 McLaren’s 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 Howell’s 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.
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.
Anthony Connolly, former winner of the Wiltshire Life Artist of
the Year award, is one of the country’s 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
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