First Weekend of Arts Trail Draws in the Crowds

Henley Arts Trail was back last weekend with a bang!  More venues, more artists and more smiles from both artists and visitors enjoying this live art event after many having been cancelled over the last year. Paintings, prints, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery, textiles, glass are being exhibited at 39 venues in Henley and the surrounding area.

New gallery and framing shop Artistry on Reading Road is one of the new venues for the 2021.  Owner and artist Sarah Pye is selling her own work alongside other resident artists which include ceramics, paintings and jewellery.  Kevin, the framer is also available to discuss all your framing needs.

Lucy Ryan at The Little Barn Gallery in Western Avenue has opened her studio for the first time on the Henley Arts Trail.  She is showcasing a wonderful mixture of her art which includes sculpture, prints, sketches and postcards. Lucy has a MA in printmaking and works as an artist, curator and pranic healer. She is also promoting her joint love of meditation and art, with a new course starting in September for children 8+ and adults which she says will “unleash your creativity and enhance your wellbeing.”

At d:two there were was a lovely atmosphere with the artists exhibiting in the hall with interludes of piano playing and in the foyer, artist Beverly Jones was painting “Hope, Opertunity and Transformation” picture for the Baptist church.  She said, “Today I am doing a piece for this church, it is representing the opportunity for people to get involved in community and the transformation of Henley.  It will be gifted to the church and it is then up to them how they use it.  They might look at having it reproduced into cards etc.”

Dorothea Reid was one of the artists exhibiting her work for the first time at d:two.  Her work includes printmaking and ceramics.  Dorothea said, “It’s been a really good turn out and what’s nice is people have stopped and asked about the work and how it has been made as a lot of my work is about coral bleaching.  I’ve sold a few things this morning (Saturday) already including the red shoe (in the picture above).”

Another new venue was the Boston Road Studio Group, where 8 artists are showcasing ceramics, photographs, wooden and metal sculptures and paintings.  Amy Etherington converted her garage for the venue.  She said, “My mother, Delia and her local and family friends got everyone together, once a week, around 2 years ago to paint and draw in each other’s houses.  The Arts Trail was something that we’ve always been to for so many years and I wanted to do it help mother and her friends to showcase their beautiful work and also as part of the community.  In Boston Road there’s so much creativity now in the road including the Boston Road Baker.  There’s so much going on behind closed doors.  Delia added, “It’s been lovely and I’m amazed at how many people we have had.”

The Reading Guild of Artists (RGA) will be opening their 90th Annual exhibition ‘Reconnected’ this weekend (17-18 July) at the Old Fire Station Gallery as part of the Henley Arts Trail until 27 July.  Guild member Helen Lunn will be exhibiting her piece ‘Onwards’, which she says is the result of experimenting with colour and a range of tools including kitchen roll tubes dipped in metallic paint. The paintings Helen made during lockdowns “focussed on marks and symbols which expressed pattern, communication and looking onward to different ways of living.” RGA President, Shiplake artist Clive Duncan (FRSS, RBA, SPS) said “For 51 years, Henley has been my home town. For a small town it has generated its own cultural impetus where many celebrated artists and writers have found stimulation and a sanctuary. I hope you enjoy this special show, especially after such a long period of lockdown. All the creative ideas and energy of the artists of the RGA will at last be given the oxygen all art needs, through the interaction of people – whether they be observers, spectators or witnesses.”

For the first time the Arts Trail is on for two weekends so you still have time to visit the venues this weekend.  Other Henley venues include the Eyot Centre on the Wargrave Road, David Rodger Sharp Workshop on Bell Street, Informality Gallery in Market Place, Henley School of Art in Hart Street, Chocolate Cafe on Thameside, Ceramics and Wood Works on Gravel Hill, Bronwen and Friends at the River & Rowing Museum and Nicole Etienne at The Pool House Cottage in Mill Lane.

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