Friday, 12 July 2013

Three Cheers for Childwickbury!

cheeful greenery outside the large marquee
© Teresa Newham 2013
 Childwickbury Arts Fair is a wonderful chance to see local and international artists' work in a gorgeous setting.  We live close by, and it's such fun to visit, especially this year because Summer has arrived at last!  With temperatures soaring into the eighties we decked ourselves out with hats and sunscreen and made our way to the Childwickbury estate, once owned by film director Stanley Kubrick, and still home to his widow Christiane - a professional artist who initiated the first Arts Fair there ten years ago, helped by her jewellery-maker-artist daughter Katharina.

a wide variety of paintings for sale
and a chance to chat to the artists!
© Teresa Newham 2013
We joined the crowds flocking to the various marquees and outbuildings used to house the exhibition.  Half a dozen or so painters occupied the first marquee, all of whom appeared to be doing demos or chatting to visitors - including local artists  Millie Canning and Anna Perlin.  They were in for a long stint - Saturday's opening times were 10am to 10pm, with many people expected to delay their visit to the evening to avoid the high temperatures. 

Christiane Kubrick painting in her marquee
© Teresa Newham 2013
Christiane Kubrick had set up an enormous triptych in the corner of her marquee, with works of various sizes ranged around the walls.  Her paintings are mainly vibrant oils - some of them are huge - and many have been inspired by the house and the rolling countryside which surrounds it.

the entrance to the stable block
© Teresa Newham 2013
The most imposing of the outbuildings is the stable block, with its triple arch entrance - a work of art in itself - and the stables provided a wonderful respite from the heat outside; we spent a long time looking at the various stalls selling textiles, flowers, paintings, glassware and jewellery.

inside the stables - textiles and flowers
© Teresa Newham 2013

Apart from the spectacular setting, it's the little things which make a difference at Childwickbury:  artists demonstrating on paint-spattered wooden tables; picnics in the shade and live music -  this year, to add to the atmosphere in the stables, a harpist was playing by one of the doors.

inside the stables - music from a harpist
© Teresa Newham 2013

And then there are the flowers: shrubs growing in the grounds, roses climbing the walls, brightly coloured hedges, tubs and planters everywhere.  Exploring some tents next door to the stables, I spotted a great way of preventing folk from tripping over a guy rope (now there's a thought for Art on the Common!):

pots round a guy rope
© Teresa Newham 2013
As well as painting, sculpture, jewellery, glass and textiles there were woodworkers, furniture makers and potters all displaying their wares and in many cases their techniques - and everyone was happy to talk to visitors.  We found ourselves chatting to watercolourist Jenny Wheatley RWS about the paper she uses!

working in wood
© Teresa Newham 2013
The acclaimed French sculptor Gerard Bellaiche had a wonderful display of metal sculptures on show behind the stable block; these are made from mundane items such as cutlery, pieces of obsolete farming or engineering machinery - scrap metal!  Many of the exhibitors are regulars, and greet each other - and the visitors - like old friends.

metal sculptures to the rear of the stable block
© Teresa Newham 2013
By now we were peckish and stopped at one of the many food stalls in front of the stable block for thin-crust pizza baked in a wood-fired oven, eating at a table which we dragged into the shade of a rose hedge to keep the fierce sunshine at bay.  A live band had started up, with entertainment promised until late in the evening.

live music right through to 10pm
© Teresa Newham 2013
We made our way through the children's art class in the courtyard (seated on the traditional donkey easels I remember from my life drawing studies at Central St Martins) to the printmakers' shed in the cow yard, where we found  Geri Waddington demonstrating the most intricate wood engravings:

wood engraving - a demo
© Teresa Newham 2013

At least one of the printmakers usually brings a press on which to demonstrate, which I look at with a mixture of admiration and envy (one day . . . !) - I think the one in the photo below is an etching press.  I didn't get the chance to ask about it, but I did have a brief discussion about registering linocuts using a separate plate for each colour - something I'm keen to try out myself.

printmakers' exhibition in the cow yard
© Teresa Newham 2013

After tea and cake seated at one of the tables thoughtfully positioned in the shade of the stable wall, we bought some cards and made our way home.  Visitors were still arriving in droves - we knew they were in for a treat.  And there's the Childwickbury Christmas Market to look forward to later in the year - I've never managed to get to it yet.  But perhaps this time things will be different . . . !

1 comment:

  1. Always a great day out - plenty of interest to see and do, but not so massive that you get too tired walking round; it's on a nice 'human' scale, and beautifully organised. A good place to pick up ideas!