Chip­ping Nor­ton

From Spi­der-man to Cotswold sheep, Chip­ping Nor­ton is a mag­net for art-en­thu­si­asts dur­ing Artweeks. Words and pho­tog­ra­phy by Tracy Spiers

Cotswold Life - - CONTENTS - www.artweeks.org | www.cotswolds.info ex­pe­ri­encechip­ping­nor­ton.com

From Spi­der-man to sheep, the town is a mag­net for art en­thu­si­asts dur­ing Artweeks

“We are small but beau­ti­fully formed in Chippy and are sup­port­ive of all the fes­ti­vals we have go­ing on here”

Cre­ativ­ity runs through the veins of Chip­ping Nor­ton and this flows through into its cel­e­bra­tion of food, drink, lit­er­a­ture, arts, tex­tiles, mu­sic, dance, na­ture, craft, an­i­mals and hus­bandry which col­lec­tively make-up the mar­ket town’s an­nual fes­ti­val cal­en­dar.

Dur­ing Ox­ford­shire Artweeks, a plethora of artists, pho­tog­ra­phers, de­sign­ers and mak­ers from Chip­ping Nor­ton will be show­cas­ing their ta­lent in var­i­ous lo­cal venues. As well as the main brochure, an art trail will be avail­able to guide vis­i­tors around the area and the sur­round­ing vil­lages. For ex­am­ple in En­stone, Art Yard Café is an in­spir­ing art-themed en­vi­ron­ment, which holds reg­u­lar events and ex­hi­bi­tions whilst serv­ing a great value fam­ily menu, cof­fees as well as a se­lec­tion of fan­tas­tic cask and craft ales. For Artweeks, a di­verse ex­hi­bi­tion of paint­ings, carv­ings, fur­ni­ture, pot­tery and jew­ellery will be on show in the café.

On the op­po­site side of the road, An­drea Bates will be show­ing some of her much sought-after oil and pas­tel painted scenes of the Ox­ford­shire coun­try­side. Other sub­jects which in­spire her in­clude land­scapes, seascapes, por­traits, flow­ers, gar­dens, street scenes, still life, and oc­ca­sional ab­stracts.

There are 10 listed venues in Chip­ping Nor­ton it­self, five of which are new in­clud­ing Artweeks new­comer An­drew Wild­man, best known for his work as a Comic Book il­lus­tra­tor for Mar­vel Comics. An­drew will be show­ing some of his orig­i­nal art­work from Spi­der-man, Trans­form­ers and Xmen comics, sto­ry­boards from Dr Who, small can­vases of trans­form­ers and more per­sonal draw­ings, paint­ings, sketch­books and a graphic novel on life-coach­ing. An­drew is ex­hibit­ing with his wife Les­ley who trained in con­tem­po­rary glass and now cre­ates an amaz­ing ar­ray of qual­ity art in dif­fer­ent me­dia. They will be show­ing their work in their home and gallery space which was Chip­ping Nor­ton’s Old Fire Sta­tion – a 200-year-old part brick, part stone build­ing where the orig­i­nal horse-drawn fire en­gines were once stored.

In Spring Street, Chip­ping Nor­ton, Me­lanie Wright will be show­ing eques­trian and land­scape draw­ings, por­traits and her work­ing sketch­books, while at Rock­cliffe House, wood turner Martin San­ders will be show­cas­ing his fas­ci­nat­ing col­lec­tion of turned wood, which he has cre­ated from ash to Ze­brano. He ad­mits what he plans to make and what emerges can be to­tally dif­fer­ent.

“The work evolves and de­pend­ing on how the wood be­haves, the fi­nal piece turns out to be sim­i­lar or quite dis­sim­i­lar to the de­sign I had in mind at the start,” he says.

Other artists in­clude pho­tog­ra­pher Pe­tre Smith who will be show­ing work in Chip­ping Nor­ton The­atre. This photo ex­hi­bi­tion of Robben Is­land fur­thers the themes in the the­atre’s cur­rent Home­grown pro­duc­tion The Is­land. A brand new ex­hi­bi­tion space

for 2017 is The Gallery on the Stairs in Church Street, where Sarah Grin­sted and Han­nah For­ward will be show­ing their flair for paint­ing, print­mak­ing and col­lage. Artsweek new­com­ers in­clude print­maker Ruth Shaw-wil­liams and painter Ju­dith Yar­row who are jointly ex­hibit­ing at Cross Leys; jeweller Jane Grif­fiths at Dis­tons Lane and painter Carol Har­vey who is based at Bliss View Cot­tage in Worces­ter Road.

Ox­ford­shire Artweeks Fes­ti­val Di­rec­tor Es­ther Laf­ferty says there is a high cal­i­bre of ta­lent in Chip­ping Nor­ton.

“Chip­ping Nor­ton is an ab­so­lute mag­net for art-en­thu­si­asts dur­ing Artweeks be­cause ev­ery year there’s a wealth of qual­ity art and craft on show which peo­ple look for­ward to all year round,” she says.

“It’s also won­der­ful chance for the town to show­case its cre­ative ta­lent and this year there’s even more than nor­mal with 24 artists and de­signer-mak­ers ex­hibit­ing in the town cen­tre it­self, from sto­ry­boards by a well-known comic book artist to con­tem­po­rary pa­per sculp­ture, or­ganic glass sculp­ture, pho­tog­ra­phy to make

you think and dra­matic jew­ellery.”

Ex­pe­ri­ence Chip­ping Nor­ton (ECN) is an in­stru­men­tal vol­un­tary group set up four years ago which, us­ing its in­ter­ac­tive web­site, mul­ti­ple so­cial me­dia chan­nels and in­no­va­tive ven­tures seeks to in­te­grate and en­cour­age trade, tourism and com­mu­nity. ECN Chair­man Shaun Fa­gan, who has won a pres­ti­gious award for his role in the pro­ject pays trib­ute to the town’s cre­ative ta­lent.

“Chip­ping Nor­ton has an amaz­ingly vi­brant artis­tic and cul­tural life, with many artists work­ing in the vicin­ity. This in­cludes painters, pho­tog­ra­phers, de­sign­ers, pot­ters, jew­ellers and those work­ing in a va­ri­ety of medi­ums,” says Shaun.

“Lo­cal artist Nic Vick­ery has cre­ated an amaz­ing gi­ant hare sculp­ture as Chippy’s en­try in the 2017 Cotswold Hare Trail. Land­scape and an­i­mals fea­ture widely in Ox­ford­shire art, as we live in such a beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral set­ting. And, of course, sheep are cen­tral to our life and times. A pros­per­ous wool town in the Mid­dle Ages, Chip­ping Nor­ton still loves its wool.”

This month is Chip­ping Nor­ton’s an­nual Fi­bre Fes­ti­val which cel­e­brates this rich past, and the town’s friendly Fi­bre­works shop is a great source of wool sup­plies and ed­u­ca­tion.

Mike Tysoe, Chip­ping Nor­ton’s Town Mayor, is proud of the ef­forts made by in­di­vid­u­als and groups who host such events, which to­gether make up a rich so­cial cal­en­dar. This in­cludes April’s Chiplit­fest, run by vol­un­teers in the pub­lish­ing and writ­ing world; Chip­ping Nor­ton Town Fes­ti­val in June, a day when res­i­dents fill the streets for food, en­ter­tain­ment, live mu­sic and games; and The Big Feas­t­i­val in Au­gust, staged at Blur bass player Alex James’ farm in King­ham.

“We are small but beau­ti­fully formed in Chippy and are sup­port­ive of all the fes­ti­vals we have go­ing on here. We have a good se­lec­tion of venues to host a range of events,” ex­plains Mike.

“They bring peo­ple into town which is good for busi­ness and for ev­ery­one. I love liv­ing here. When I moved here 18 years ago I told my wife it felt like be­ing on hol­i­day. I still feel that way.”

Left : One of Me­lanie Wright’s eques­trian paint­ings

Above : Pe­tre Smith’s pho­tog­ra­phy at Chip­ping Nor­ton The­atre

‘Pur­ple For­est’, by Carol Har­vey

Op­ti­mus Prime, by An­drew Wild­man

Stained glass artist Ni­cola Kan­torow­icz

James Cochran’s fun sculp­ture

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