Tuesday, 8 May 2012
Another weekend, another festival..
Hot on the heels of the World Heritage weekend, this bank holiday weekend has seen Saltaire's 2012 Arts Trail, when the village hosts artists and creative people, both locally based and from further afield, in its houses and exhibition halls.
For the first time, the programme has received funding from the National Lottery through the Arts Council England, as well as support from other organisations and individuals - a significant step in that it recognises the growing importance of the event and has allowed investment in new art and exhibitions. I think some people don't really like the increasing 'professionalism' of the event which is perhaps moving it away from its earlier 'local community based' feel. On the other hand, it is recognisably a good thing for putting Saltaire on the map, with coverage in the national media and hundreds of visitors descending on the village over three days.
Personally, I love it and find it really inspiring. I've had such an enjoyable time exploring the various exhibitions. Most of the work on display is of very high quality and - as far as I could see - pretty reasonably priced on the whole. There were at least three paintings that - if I had the wall space and the cash - I might have bought (one by Hebden Bridge based Kate Lycett, shown above) as well as fine art photographs, ceramics, textiles, jewellery and all manner of small gifts. It's a great place to pick up very special and individual greetings cards (I always stock up) and this year I've also ordered an unusual little side table for my newly decorated sitting room.
It's interesting to see what grabs my attention (not always what I might have expected) and I often have uplifting, 'stop me in my tracks' moments, when a particular work really engages my emotions. This year I was almost moved to tears by a photograph of an elderly lady holding her own wedding dress. It was part of a project by Jessa Fairbrother in the exhibition 'Interwoven: Photography, Cloth and Memory', curated by Pippa Oldfield and displayed in her own apartment. If you'd like to see it, it's image no 5 in this 'Telegraph' article (though seeing the actual large photo had more impact on me than the web image does).
Incidentally, the programme with its engaging artwork of a Saltaire street (above) was designed by Firecatcher.