THE first of this year’s visual arts festivals is a very special celebration – the tenth biennial Wylye Valley Art Trail, Wiltshire’s largest visual arts event, running this year from 18th to 27th May.
Founded by Nick Andrew in 2001, it covers some of Wiltshire’s most beautiful scenery, and includes Hindon, Mere, Maiden Bradley, Warminster, Westbury, Wylye, Tisbury and the villages in between.
Nick, who will be exhibiting at his Bull Mill studio at Crockerton, with his partner artist Tanya Hinton, says: “I had long recognised the need for a framework for visual artists living and working in this area to bring their work to a local and wider audience. So, following much research, funding applications, endless meetings and planning, our small organising team brought the first Wylye Valley Art Trail into being in May 2001.“
That first trail included 80 artists in 34 venues. Ten of those original participants have exhibited every Wylye Valley Art Trail and will be taking part again this year. They are: Nick Andrew, Ruth Dresman (Hindon), Pepe Argo, jeweller (Hindon), Pat Armstrong and the Look and See Group (Kingston Deverill), Julie Ayton, ceramics (Hindon), Matthew Burt, furniture maker (Hindon), Olivia Clifton-Bligh, sculptor and printmaker (Crockerton), David O’Connor, sculptor and painter (Heytesbury), Joanna Sims, painter (Crockerton) and Hilary Turnbull, painter (Mere.)
This year’s trail will be the biggest yet, but retains its unique character as an eclectic patchwork of art and craft, with work by nearly 400 artists and makers, ranging from well known names with international reputations – such as glass artist Ruth Dresman – to emerging artists at the beginning of their careers.
It is a chance to meet artists and makers in their own studios and workshops, to turn off the main roads and explore some beautiful areas. As well as seeing artists’ work, there are also demonstrations, workshops and talks.
To celebrate the anniversary, this year’s Wylye Valley Art Trail has been extended to ten days. For more information pick up a WVAT brochure or visit www.wvat.co.uk
Pictured: Cyrouba, acrylic on canvas, by Nick Andrew