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18 July 2013

SAW MUST SEES 2013 - Part One

The brochures for the 2013 SAW Festival have arrived in all their eclectic, colourful glory! Following on from Natalie's 'Most Wanted' post last year featuring her top picks I felt it only right to choose my selection from this year. So enjoying this wonderful Summer weather I relaxed in the shade and perused the guide. With a total of 109 exhibitions featuring the work of more than 400 artists this is no easy task. Some instantly leap from the page, those with more images instantly draw your eye, others take a little delving to read and to appreciate what is truly on offer. Last year I planned which venues that I was going to visit, one hadn't caught my attention from it's picture in the guide but I passed it's yellow sign en-route to another and decided to call in - it turned out to be my favourite venue. So be flexible, follow the yellow signs, explore creative Somerset and go buy some art!

I love my Corvids so this really has been chosen from a personal perspective - indulge me!

Cruciform against blue skies, soaring and tumbling, silent, raucous, always here or there, coming and going: crows, jackdaws, jays, magpies, rooks and ravens command attention and demand representation. As a group of five artists we celebrate the sound, sight, image, texture, and movement, shape, and character of these paradoxically ubiquitous but enigmatic birds. 

Artists: Alice Crane, Michael de Friez, Hilary Dixon, Sarah Hitchens, Nigel Vincent.

Everyone's favourite last year as it won 'Most Favourite Venue 2012' as voted for by the visiting public. So no pressure this year then and surely a must visit in 2013.

Jane Mackey- Printmaker Artist: Original woodcuts, screen prints, etchings, monotypes, linocuts and paintings celebrating the Somerset landscape.

Rod Dyson-Painter: Working with plaster and acrylic to produce a series of innovative abstract pieces merging colour and texture.

Sue Dyson-Photographer: Exploring the shape, colour, form and texture of landscapes and nature in colour and black and white.

Tony Smith- Landscape Weaver: Wall hangings and rugs woven on a vertical loom using mainly hand spun wool and vegetable dyes.


If you only get to visit one exhibition this year then I think it really has to be Make the Most in the wonderful house and grounds of the National Trust's Barrington Court. Alongside the Abundance Trail this surely has to be the flagship of SAW 2013.

The exhibition will celebrate contemporary makers, skills, materials and thinking about craft. It also features Somerset based raw materials suppliers and producers recognising their contribution to the local ecology, economy and enabling of craft practice.

Five contemporary makers have collaborated with local suppliers and producers of willow, paper, wood, leather and stone. The new work demonstrates imaginative and innovative use and manipulation of materials and is also made in specific response to the context of Barrington Court. Makers are Laura Ellen Bacon, Maeve Clancy, Thomas Appleton, Laura Youngson Coll and Gary Allson.

In addition, ‘Treasures of Somerset’ features a selection of work by six local makers to highlight the vitality and wealth of craft practitioners whose work is not always seen locally. Makers are Mike Dodd, James  Horrobin, Tom Kealy, Caroline Lytton, Patrick Reyntiens and Jacy Wall.

Visitors are invited to meander through the ‘Old Kitchen’ filled with a large scale installation created by Laura Ellen Bacon in collaboration with Musgrove Willows, Bridgwater. The Great Hall will be transformed into a paper environment. Maeve Clancy in collaboration with Two Rivers Paper Company, Watchet.

*Please note normal National Trust admission fees apply.

After the recent SAW blog post featuring Gillian Widden how could I not include this venue. I have a considerable amount of respect for this group of artists -  their professionalism and unending energy for seeking and delivering new projects. The building itself is also a must see.

Skills Unearthed’ explore the crafts and industry of the Blackdown Hills encompassing the interests of those living and working in this area of outstanding natural beauty. With themes such as: nature in industry - teasel cultivation and hand weaving, local folk traditions - corn dolly making, farming history and managing the land, ecclesiastical architecture and World War Two airfields past and present. A number of events are also planned.

Having created art installations within woods myself during past Somerset Art Weeks I find this exhibition highly intriguing and alluring. It is also refreshing to have an exhibition that will be under open skies.

The 62 Group of Textile Artists have taken up the challenge of working in the beautiful woodland environment that is known as Pink Wood. Their work is normally exhibited in galleries so this 'outdoor gallery' will no doubt push their skills to create some innovative installations. They describe the project as an adventure and the public are invited to walk along the grassy paths, discovering the art work amongst the trees – they may meet an artist or two still busy creating.

I do urge you to look at their website

Well there's five to get you started, I would love to hear which venues are on your must visit list for SAW 2013.

If you haven't got your FREE guide yet simply post a S.A.E (postage value £1.10) to 

Town Hall
TA10 9QR

and you will receive one  by return post. They are also dotted about numerous locations in Somerset so do keep your eyes peeled!

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