The Wokingham Paper

Commentary: Tony Johnson visits the Henley Arts Trail

Henley Arts Trail
As well as her signature “torso” models, Suzanne Needham has brought new finishes and is developing her figurative modelling with this seated leafy thinker.
Shadow’s Kiss is one of 2 pieces of Catherine Ingleby’s which have been shortlisted for the David Shepherd wildlife artist of the year competition. Also this year, Catherine has been invited to be a guest artist at the Mall Galleries while the Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition is running (27th June to Sat 1st July).Matthew Burley’s “I love NY” an acrylic on canvas with a New York background created with an air-brush giving a soft focus contrast to the colour pools in the foreground Matthew Burley with “Four Candles”, which definitely don’t look like Ronnie Barker’s “fork handles”, though they are a pleasant reminder of the TV sketch.Guy Philp’s carved tree trunk has created a wine rack - a la “Sabrina” (1950’s pin up), with one of Guy’s painted and varnished tree blocks in the background.Sophie Wallace’s March Hare - in MaySofie Eddols, the Silver Fairy, with three of her bangles at the entrance to the barn at Coltman’s farmPolly Pollecutt	Flowers and grass - Polly’s stunning glass art brings the picture alive when back-litCaroline Budden’s mosaics - with mirrors, numbers and even a face - all of which are newly created for 2017Helen Holroyd	Helen with one of her popular creations, The Toucan.Jo Budden wearing one of her floral headdresses. Make-up stylist Jo uses a portable “Hollywood mirror”, allowing her customers to see what’s happening during the creative process.Jo Budden wearing one of her floral headdresses. Make-up stylist Jo uses a portable “Hollywood mirror”, allowing her customers to see what’s happening during the creative process.Rosie Taylor (sister to Jo and Caroline) who with neighbours run the kitchen at Coltman’s providing a selection of home baking, teas and coffees. This year the kitchen, together with a charity cake raffle, raised just over £800 for Cancer Research.Dick Budden with huge white umbrella mobile, and with his super-sized Elton John glasses.Dick Budden with huge white umbrella mobile, and with his super-sized Elton John glasses.Sandy Barron's "Startled Hare" - in full surrealist form - ready for the tea partySandy Barron's "Startled Hare" - in full surrealist form - ready for the tea partyPenny Murray with a selection of her white and blue dot tablewarePenny Murray with a selection of her white and blue dot tablewareDianne Varley’s character figures have a whimsical and humorous appeal to them - including the Victoria Wood style batherDianne Varley’s character figures have a whimsical and humorous appeal to them - including the Victoria Wood style batherDianne Varley’s character figures have a whimsical and humorous appeal to them - including the Victoria Wood style batherAs well as her signature “torso” models, Suzanne Needham has brought new finishes and is developing her figurative modelling with this seated leafy thinker.Joanna Lynch’s textured pots are reminiscent of some of the world’s most well known studio potteries. A number of the pieces have superb “exfoliating” properties for the potter's hands - thus limiting their production rate.Joanna Lynch’s textured pots are reminiscent of some of the world’s most well known studio potteries. A number of the pieces have superb “exfoliating” properties for the potter's hands - thus limiting their production rate.Vivienne Everton, Steve Everton and daughter Caitlin visiting Steve Batty’s works at Buratta’s. We were to meet up many times on both Saturday and Sunday as we toured the arts trail.Steve Batty with new pieces for 2017. As well as portraiture, Steve continues to create car fronts and dramatic vehicles in motion.Steve Batty with new pieces for 2017. As well as portraiture, Steve continues to create car fronts and dramatic vehicles in motion. Sponsor Jenny Buratta with one of her striking fabric creationsJenny Buratta with grand-daughter Freya modelling the mad hatter’s tea party hat which Jenny created for Freya’s “Alice in Wonderland” 7th birthday party.Christine Brewster seen here concentrating on weaving a spiral plant trainer.Sally Castle’s “Shipping Forecast” tea-towel prints are proving very popular this year.Sue Mundy with her signature “long bottles” and a shelving display of “The moon, the sea and everything in-between”.Marc Juon with a selection of his unique designed rings on display.Imogen Waller showcasing one of her silver designs in necklace form - cutaway river-banks with flowing spheres.Imogen Waller showcasing one of her silver designs in necklace form - cutaway river-banks with flowing spheres.Rebecca Howard celebrating the joy of the British seaside with Brighton pier and the harbour arm at Margate.Rebecca Howard celebrating the joy of the British seaside with Brighton pier and the harbour arm at Margate.A new direction in 2017 for Lucy Keeble - nature writ large with this wide close-up of roses and tulipsRichard Conway Jones with one of his recent pieces “The Gull”.Liz Chaderton with the hare triplet - circling on a gold background, meanwhile the “golden deer” look on from overhead.Liz Chaderton with the hare triplet - circling on a gold background, meanwhile the “golden deer” look on from overhead.Catherine Hadler’s molecular art develops with new works for 2017 including this piece titled “Gin and Tonic”Andrew Breeze’s creative use of textured aluminium as the base for this detailed rendition of a graffiti’d McDonnell-Douglas Phantom jet aircraft.Satu Vartiainen’s Winter Sun and Ice Coast shown at the Twyford Studios exhibit area in the URC Church Hall in TwyfordSatu Vartiainen’s Winter Sun and Ice Coast shown at the Twyford Studios exhibit area in the URC Church Hall in TwyfordHolly Louise Inglis and friends - the “laughing trio” look on while fellow artist Dawn Carroll poses for these photosAnd here’s Dawn Carroll - showing both styles that her ceramic creations take, one with the standing spirit; alongside is the other, a seated man with dog, cat and fish.And here’s Dawn Carroll - showing both styles that her ceramic creations take, one with the standing spirit; alongside is the other, a seated man with dog, cat and fish.Holly Louise Inglis with one of her new pieces for 2017, this fiery orange dragon. Also, showing surprise as one of her birds takes a bowHolly Louise Inglis with one of her new pieces for 2017, this fiery orange dragon. Also, showing surprise as one of her birds takes a bowElaine Martin with two of her signature "fork ’n elephants" silver jewellery pieces.Connie Fielder with this March Hare in the Twyford URC Hall with other exhibitors and visitors on SaturdayLu Willis showing her screen print decorated unique tables in both flat and cubic form.Stephanie Gay with one of her cloisonné style painted silk creations - Tulips.Agata Szymaniec here showing the depth of watercolours in a street scene titled “Paris”Vallari Harshwal has developed this range of ceramic lampshades to accompany her flatware designs for the dining table.Linda Saul with the enigmatic red door on the sea shore.Customer Seth Russell collecting the “Longships” painting from Linda Saul at the end of Saturday afternoonCarole Stephens’ striking Chrysanthemum’s and Sunflowers demonstrate her floral style in painting“Bright Day” with creator Este Macleod in her newly refurbished home.	Last year’s picture was entered by a gallery into Artist and Illustrator magazine’s “Artist of the Year” competition where it won the “peoples choice” award.Sarah Pye demonstrating arboricultural design creativity to the visiting Jacobs familySarah Pye demonstrating arboricultural design creativity to the visiting Jacobs familyAs an R.H.S. Gold Medal Holder, Lorna Minton’s always striving to achieve accuracy in her Botanical Art. This new creation of Hellebore Cultivar looks like it hits the spot.Phil Miller is seen here with his recreation of an ancient Korean “moon jar” form, similar to that which can be found in the British Museum.Michaela Fishwick seen here with one of her Flower turquoise necklace (inset) pieces of jewellery.Michaela Fishwick seen here with one of her Flower turquoise necklace (inset) pieces of jewellery.Branching out into lighting this year, Jenni Pink Costello is gently illuminated by one of the two lights she had on display in addition to her glasswork jewellery and art creations which she's better known for.Pictured here with a “one fish sushi dish”, glass artist John Eastwood portrayed a range of stained glass and glass beakersThe dragon pot, one of Lucie Lambourn’s new pieces for 2017 was being shown on it’s special stand. Fortunately, it’s creator agreed to be a good sport and so this photo could feature both the work and the worker.Rosemary Harper’s jewellery includes ethnic designs, such as the corded bangle she’s shown with here.Rosemary Harper’s jewellery includes ethnic designs, such as the corded bangle she’s shown with here.Artist Pat Shenstone was first surprised then amused by the photographer’s comments, as can be seen in these during and after shots with “Can you hear the dance” and “Pink Roses” on the wall behind herArtist Pat Shenstone was first surprised then amused by the photographer’s comments, as can be seen in these during and after shots with “Can you hear the dance” and “Pink Roses” on the wall behind herCarolyn Beale with one of her landscape watercolours - “Chilterns"Shelagh Casebourne with “Mary’s Dahlias”. These are a tribute to ex-florist Mary whose shop in Wargrave is now closed - but who continues to grow and sell her dahlias each year with the help of the local Wargrave village shop.Charlotte Martin with her colourful abstract piece - “Metropolis NYC”.Jenny Law is seen here with three paintings of different scenes - “Mountains”, “Harbour Steps”  and “Oak Walk” in a distinctive yellow and black impressionist-surrealist styleArtist and sculptor Allan Henderson with one of his newest pieces “Diamonds”. These really fool the viewer's eye as they appear to be different shapes from different viewing angles.Artist and sculptor Allan Henderson with one of his newest pieces “Diamonds”. These really fool the viewer's eye as they appear to be different shapes from different viewing angles.Artist and sculptor Allan Henderson with one of his newest pieces “Diamonds”. These really fool the viewer's eye as they appear to be different shapes from different viewing angles.Artist and sculptor Allan Henderson with one of his newest pieces “Diamonds”. These really fool the viewer's eye as they appear to be different shapes from different viewing angles.Organiser of Wokingham’s ArtFest, Mick McNicholas is seen here with his life painting of Abby.Organiser of Wokingham’s ArtFest, Mick McNicholas is seen here with his life painting of Abby.Wokingham based jewellery designer Jan Richardson is wearing two different styles of lapel brooch, each based on the original jet aircraft that the RAF’s Red Arrows flying display team used - the Folland GnatCaroline Gatfield, a Wokingham ceramics artist is pictured here with two of her signature subjects - boats and horses.Caroline Gatfield, a Wokingham ceramics artist is pictured here with two of her signature subjects - boats and horses.

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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