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19 February 2014


This time last year I wrote about the first walks at Westcott Farm and how artist and owner Lyn Mowat was keen to make the barns and outbuildings an artistic and creative hub for SAW 2013. I certainly think that the artists involved achieved their goals and the mix of work exhibited were all a great success. So what is to be this forthcoming September?

SAW 2014, as a whole, is following a different format this year, as it's about drawing art weeks back to its roots, focusing on the individual artist in their working environment. Which basically means that you get to have a nose into the cluttered chaos of their creative studios! Some do tidy up beforehand but I often prefer visiting those that haven't. Others naturally work in a more organised environment and as a result the open studios format allows you a wonderful insight into the inspiration and creative workings behind each artist's journey to the finished piece. 

Last Sunday Lyn invited a group of us along to the farm once more to take another Westcott Walk, one year on.

I really expected a call to say that due to the extreme weather that the year has so far tested us with, that the walk would be postponed. For once I found myself actually believing, hoping the weather forecast for Sunday was correct and that we would see the sun filled day that the forecasters promised. We did, it was, glorious in fact! 

Wellies on, we gathered in the farmyard and before we set off Lyn read out a saying that a friend had written out for her some year's ago. None to sure about her attempt at a West Somerset accent though...

If you sees a rook by heself,
then he be a crow.
But if you see a whole load of crows together,
then they be rooks.

And so armed with a little extra bird knowledge and spotting book in hand we set off.

Amongst the mud there were welcome splashes of colour. Acid green catkins against that rare, winter blue sky, where we could see and hear the buzzards relishing in the thermals above.

Rain soaked inks creating new patterns 

and true vibrancy, woken by the warmth of the weather.

It was just so so nice to be able to pause, feel the sun and not be battered by extreme wind and rain. Beccy stopped to collect some river washed stones with the beginnings of an artistic project in mind and the drops glittered in the light.

Time for lunch we made our way back to the farmhouse, where, as is part of the ritual, soup waited and plans for SAW 2014 were discussed.

Were the artists keen to do regular walks at Westcott this year? Who would like to join Lyn exhibiting at the farm, bearing in mind the restriction on numbers, a maximum of three artists per venue. What other projects could evolve at Westcott or elsewhere?

Last year's walks had a goal and it was felt that this year those involved previously needed to focus on their own practice and their own individual venues, which sadly means that there will be no more Westcott Walks throughout the year. However I am hoping Lyn will organise just one as part of SAW. However it does looks likely that she will be joined once more, by neighbouring artist Peter Messa, who is planning to exhibit a collection of his larger canvases, making full use of the space offered by the barns at Westcott.

If you are thinking of opening your studio as part of this year's SAW the deadline is fast approaching, in fact it's next week, 3pm, Thursday, 27th February. So you need to get proactive if you haven't already done so.

Some of you may have found yourselves in the sad and daunting position of having been flooded recently; particularly those of you based on the Levels. It may mean that you are having to seriously think twice about future exhibitions and  committing to SAW 2014. If your studio has been affected SAW is happy to delay your deadline and/or help you find an alternative venue so do contact the team at the office on 01458 253800. I hope it is of some help in what have been testing times.

Also if you are planning exhibitions and projects that you think would benefit from featuring here on the SAW blog do get in contact with me via the e mail above. I look forward to hearing your plans for the year ahead.

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