Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Artist to cover bridge in knitting for project

WHITCHURCH Bridge is to be covered in knitting and needlework for an art exhibition.

Decorative artworks made by people from Whitchurch and Pangbourne will be displayed on large panels and on top of the railings along the length of the pavement on the western side of the bridge for two weeks from April 29.

The theme of the display will be the Thames Path and it will include a range of materials, including wool, thread and shredded plastic bags in different colours.

The exhibition is being organised by artist Gill Williamson, who is about to launch a weekly “knit and stitch” club to encourage others to get involved.

The first meeting will take place on Thursday and there will be two sessions each week, one from 1pm to 3pm and the other from 7pm to 9pm.

The club is open to people of all abilities and will continue to meet after the bridge project has ended.

Mrs Williamson, of Eastfield Lane, Whitchurch, came up with the idea after seeing a similar display of “yarn bombing” at Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset.

This involves covering items of street furniture in knitted designs at night and in secret.

She has been given permission by the Whitchurch Bridge Company for her display, which she may use to raise money for charity. Mrs Williamson, a mother-of-four who used to work in marketing, said: “Knitting has become a bit of a lost art, although there’s quite a lot of interest among younger people these days.

“This will give people the chance to work with some different materials.

“It will also be a good way of bringing the two communities together.

“I really want to wow people and make that journey across the bridge a delight. I’ve had quite a bit of interest already and everyone I’ve spoken to says it’s a wonderful idea.”

Last year Mrs Williamson launched a Saturday morning art café at the Old Stables in Whitchurch, which sells drawings, paintings, photographs, ceramics and sculptures by local artists.

It is run by a different charity or community group each week and made more than £8,000 in its first 12 months.

The beneficiaries have included the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance, Whitchurch Primary School and Pre-School, the Royal British Legion and the British Heart Foundation.

Mrs Williamson, who studied for an art degree in 2014, was inspired by the fund-raising coffee mornings that take place at Woodcote community centre on Saturdays.

She said: “After a slightly slow start, it has really taken off and I didn’t expect to make that much money for charity. I’m really pleased.”

She is seeking donations of wool and help towards the cost of the bridge display. For more information, email her at gill@artcafe.co.uk

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