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24 March 2013

Spring Shoots for The Abundance Garden Trail.

There were very few signs of spring at the recent SAW Spring Soiree, except perhaps the new buds on the young Lime tree that was presented as a thank you to our host for the evening - Sir Benjamin Slade; I like to think he will eventually have a complete SAW Lime tree arbour in which to sit and reflect.

The first day of Spring was also the perfect date to launch SAW's Abundance Garden Trail which will be a major aspect of this year's art weeks. 

The project has been organised by Somerset Art Works, in partnership with the National Garden Scheme (NGS), supported by Friends of SAW and funded by Arts Council England Lottery Funding. The abundance steering group has selected eight artists who have been commissioned to create site specific installations that reflect the garden they have been partnered with. Their work can then be inspired by the cultivated landscape - the colours, the planting  or structure; or literally made from the materials that are to be found there. It will be  an interesting journey to witness how each individual artists responds and fulfills this challenging brief. 

Chatting with some of the artists who are fresh from college, they were excited to be given such an opportunity within Somerset and close to home. Yes, it was a little daunting, no project wouldn't be and they all agreed that working to a deadline made them far more creatively productive; a view shared by many artists. We joked that they wouldn't be able to work late into the night, locked into 'Tom's Midnight Garden' creating their installations!

Old Man's Beard in Thurlbear Woods by Gillian Widden

 The artists involved are: 

Pictured above are Friends of SAW Chair Lyn Mowat, Gillian Widden, Dilly Bradley NGS representative, Fiona Campbell, Zoe Li Abundance co-ordinator, Bryony Tidball, Sue Palmer, Leah Hislop and Kitty Hillier. Photo by kind permission of Sebastian King

I am intrigued to see what they will all deliver but must admit that I am particularly interested in seeing what Gillian and Leah create. I was surprised to learn that Leah had only just graduated as her previous work exhibited during art weeks was presented to a very high standard. I say roll on September but they may wish they had just a little more time!

The seven gardens taking part are:

The evening was an enjoyable opportunity for the Friends of Somerset Art works to socialise with one another and meet the artists involved with the new Abundance programme. There were prizes and awards; one lucky friend of SAW won a piece of work created by Lucy Lean for The Great Crane Project, another a black and white photograph by David Partner representing Rook Lane Arts in Frome. Also to win an award was artist Jane Mackay whose venue was voted 'the best' of 2012 - so no pressure there then for 2013. The print workshop that she has set up sounds very alluring especially to someone who misses the sound of a squeedgie being pulled -  I must go pay a visit.

For further details regarding the Abundance Garden Trail, opening times and admission fees click here. May the sun shine so that we may all relish in gently exploring these fine locations and discovering the art within.

There is also an Abundance Trail Blog featuring updates from all the artists involved if you would like to read more do visit.

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