Art across the Shropshire Hills
PUBLISHED: 13:30 28 April 2014 | UPDATED: 13:33 28 April 2014
Shropshire Hills Art Week (SHAW) is a new celebration of the visual arts, taking place from May 31 until June 8, providing an opportunity to enjoy the art produced in the community, to meet artists and designer-makers, see their materials and hear their stories - all for free.
The Shropshire Hills is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and whilst the views and abundant wildlife are often taken for granted by those who live and work there, they have long been an inspiration to artists and crafts people.
Art aficionados and everyday enthusiasts alike attending the Shropshire Hills Art Week (SHAW) will be able to meet painters, print-makers, ceramicists, sculptors and textile artists who live and work in the Shropshire Hills as they share their work through free exhibitions and demonstrations for the public.
Visitors are invited into a range of spaces to enjoy the exhibitions of work including artist studios, the grass-roofed Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre in Craven Arms, Aardvark Books in Brampton Bryan which houses thousands of books in ‘The Bookery’ - and a 19th century barn in which you can browse whilst sipping on a dandelion and burdock. It is here that sculptor Andrew Eastwood will display artist books, created from leaves collected locally, alongside figurative ‘cat-walk’ bronzes. There will also be stylized landscapes in vibrant acrylics by Diana Nuttall and classical gemstone jewellery by Mary Simpson.
Ceramicist Shannon Donovan has created a series of pieces inspired by the beauty and delicacy of the animal skulls that a walker might find in the Shropshire countryside. Shannon is fascinated by skulls, particularly the way in which they are delicate, yet visually and structurally complex.
Shannon said: “Coming to the UK from Philadelphia, we planned to move to the South East, but visited some friends in the area and fell in love with it! The Shropshire hills are such an inspiration and I’m delighted to be able to have a chance to show the art I’m producing because of them with the people we share them with!”
Shannon’s work will be exhibited in Brampton Bryan, a 700 year old fiefdom of the Harley Street family of Harley Street fame. Other artists exhibiting in the fiefdom are Leila Anderson with her abstract paintings and drawings of Ludlow, as well as Jane Keay, whose passion for fine line drawing comes from early years immersed in books brimming with imaginative black and white illustrations.
Jane explained: “Inspiration comes to me from living close to nature, and hours of walking amongst the hills and valleys, constantly drawing. I am moved by seasonal shifts and motions, particularly from light sources, be it from sunlight, moonshine, or starglow - all around me that I can see, feel and sense.”
Artist Steven Keating, from Lower Wood near Church Stretton, was in social work for 25 years before becoming a full time artist. In the inspirational surroundings of the Shropshire Hills, with chickens pecking at his feet, he built his own artist’s studio in the garden of his cottage.
He tries to take a quirky approach to capturing the animals around him on canvase, some of which are as big as four-by-five feet and tower over the viewer.
Steven said: “Many of the animals I paint either live with me, I look after or I meet on my travels. I try to capture an animal’s individuality and personality and I like to isolate the animals in my paintings, taking away the distraction of the background. I believe strongly that art is about one’s interpretation of a subject and shouldn’t be photographic.”
Although Steve exhibits all year round in Leebot Wood’s The Pound Inn, home to the chef who brought Shrewsbury it’s only Michelin star, he is excited about opening his studio space during SHAW and having the chance to meet the people who are interested in his work.
For more about SHAW (May 31-June 8), visit: www.shropshirehillsartweek.co.uk