Monday, 27 September 2021

On the trail of real art

THE Henley Arts Trail is in its eighth year — and the organisers are expecting even more people to join

THE Henley Arts Trail is in its eighth year — and the organisers are expecting even more people to join the May bank holiday event.

As spokeswoman Diana Seidl explained, the trail gives members of the public the chance to go into studios and talk to the artists in person, as well as viewing hundreds of exhibits over the weekend — and perhaps even buying a piece of art.

She said: “The point of going is to have the most lovely day out, and to walk around the town where there are quite a few venues taking part.

“At all of the venues you can have a cup of tea and take your time. The artists are often there to talk about their work so you can have a personal exchange with them. It’s very interesting for people to be in touch with real art and the people making the art.”

Mrs Seidl, who paints semi-abstract work in acrylics, and also teaches adults in private art classes in Henley, is a member of the Henley Art and Crafts Guild. As a semi-professional, she is typical of the artists exhibiting their work during the trail.

The Henley Arts Trail was set up eight years ago after the organisers decided that they wanted a more local event.

Originally, many of the participating artists exhibited in the Oxfordshire Arts Trail, but felt that Henley was too much on the fringes of such a large county for the trail to be effective.

Mrs Seidl said: “What’s nice about it is that people can walk or drive the trail in a weekend whereas the Oxfordshire trail is vast. This is why we wanted to start our own.”

The Henley event starts on Saturday, May 4 and continues until Monday, May 6. Venues include the Old Fire Station Gallery, which will house an exhibition of Henley Art and Crafts Guild, Shiplake Memorial Hall and Greys Green Farm, but the trail extends as far north as Bix and as far south as Woodley.

Mrs Seidl said: “The trail attracts a tremendous amount of people. It has now become quite an established thing to do for that weekend. This year, a group from our twin town of Falaise in Normandy is coming over specifically to visit the arts trail. The numbers have just grown and grown.”

Work on display covers all the main disciplines, including paintings, sculptures, print work, embroidery, patchwork, jewellery, glass, quilting, and wood carvings. Painting, sculptures and objets d’art can be bought for a range of prices, starting from £5 up to £3-4,000.

Altogether, 25 venues are included in the trail, displaying work from about 75 artists.

A display of 24 canvases from the Henley Art and Crafts Guild is currently in the window of the municipal library in the Waitrose car park. The canvases, all 8in by 8in, will be on sale at The Old Fire Station gallery during the trail and all profits will be donated to a charity to fund art workshops in Henley primary schools.

lFor more information on the trail and its artists, and to view a map, pick up a leaflet at the library or visit the arts trail website at www.

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