Commentary: Tony Johnson visits the Henley Arts Trail

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As the first major art event of the local year, the Henley Arts trail was originated by the Henley Art & Crafts guild in 2006 and includes the Northern Parishes of Wokingham Borough.

Current organisers Jo Keiller (Trail Coordinator), Cate Stuart (Chair),  ​Kate Findlay (Treasurer), and ​Maria Meerstadt (Sponsors Coordinator) are ably assisted by many local volunteers and organisations who help to make the trail a well known and respected set of venues for local creative and artistic talents.

With around half of the venues being in the the northern parishes, it’s a pleasure to visit to see what’s being created and displayed in 2017.

There’s something about the Arts Trail which makes it easy on the eye as well as restful for the soul. Going round, there’s a warm welcome at every single venue – whether it’s a person’s studio, part of their home or a local village hall. There’s plenty of encouragement to just look, as well as opportunities to purchase most (but not quote all) of the pieces on display.

While most of the participants I met are only known locally, often members of provincial societies or guilds, there are a number of nationally and even internationally recognised artists who open their doors for us all to visit them each year.

While the topic of setting prices is usually the hardest decision the creators need to make, the majority of pieces on sale are original pieces, ranging in price from below ten pounds to a few hundred pounds. Larger, more complex pieces can go above a thousand if you’re looking for something special.

Plus, it’s a pleasure to meet and chat with the artists themselves in a friendly and open environment where they’re happy to talk. A chance to learn as well as to ask questions.

And if you missed this event, it’s less than a month until Wokingham’s Art Fest, which this year is taking place in Broad Street on Saturday 3rd June.

Thank you to one and all who made the event so enjoyable.

Order your souvenir photos here

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