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Artweeks show by East St Helen's Group, St Ethelwold's House, Abingdon
Twelve members of this well-established group of artists have contributed work to this exhibition. The show is housed in the historic St Ethelwold’s House in the heart of old Abingdon. St Ethelwold’s provides a charming community space within its medieval interior, one that is well worth visiting in its own right, as well as supplying a sympathetic setting for this interesting and talented mixed-media exhibition. The show extends into St Ethelwold’s delightful garden which runs down to the River Thames and affords views across the Oxfordshire countryside. Emma Cavell will be showing her colourful mosaics in the garden and also offering courses in mosaic making from her studio there.
A major theme of the show is the work of the group’s painters, variously executed in water colour, oils, acrylics, pastels and dry print. Their subject matter includes prints of Oxford, landscapes, portraits and abstract work. By contrast, Wendy Hughes is showing her delicate shot-silk wedding hats and hangings and Barbara Payne her distinctive pottery.
Additional contrast is provided by Chris Cattle’s work. Cattle taught and still practises as a furniture designer. He became aware of the expenditure of energy on furniture production and started to think about ways in which furniture could be made differently. He observed that fruit trees are trained to specific shapes, espalier and the like, and decided on the basis of this that furniture too could be produced by training growing trunks and branches. Grown ’n’ Growing, illustrated here, shows how grafting can create and indeed be ‘grown’ into the basis for a stool that only needs harvesting and capping with a seat to make an attractive artisanal addition to the home. And in the spirit of Artweeks, Cattle is offering people quite literally the chance to grow their own furniture.
The exhibition is at 30 East St Helen Street Abingdon. It is open daily, 11am-5pm, from Saturday until May 27.