This summer, Essex will be buzzing with art festivals, exhibitions and trails – all part of Essex Summer of Art. Essex is a diverse county, it has an image of being on London's fringe inhabited by Jamie and Essex Girls, but there are seaside resorts, marshes, market towns and tranquil picturesque valleys too.
Artists in and around Saffron Walden have joined forces to put together a weekend of Open Studios on 19th and 20th June, this will follow on from the Saffron Walden Arts Festival taking place the previous weekend. Yesterday evening there was a launch party in The Riverslade Gallery, to unveil the smart new brochures.
My studio is just a little too far away from Saffron Walden and it's just over the border in Suffolk, but I had a very kind invitation from one of the Riverslade Gallery exhibitors, Annette Jacob – she suggested that I join her in the newly refurbished garden studio at her cottage in Duddenhoe End. So, on 19th and 20th June you can call in to see Annette's beautiful rag rugs, knitting and stitching alongside my linoprints and cards, in the lovely relaxed setting behind a traditional Essex thatched cottage. I'll tell you more about our plans for the weekend nearer the day, but it would be wonderful to see some of you in this beautiful north-west corner of Essex.
Our excitement about the Arts Festival was slightly dampened by the sight of the bandstand which is the centrepiece of the newly refurbished Jubilee Gardens – its lovely curved roof has been vandalised by metal thieves who have stripped off most of the lead. The little garden shelter in the opposite corner of the gardens suffered the same fate. What a sad reality of life, but I'm sure all the events planned to take place in Jubilee Gardens this summer will go ahead as planned and the bandstand and shelter will soon be repaired.