Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Saffron Walden Arts Festival 2012

So many outdoor events have fallen victims to the weather over the past few weeks . . . the Cambridgeshire County Show was called off and the Suffolk Show closed after just one day. But the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant went ahead and the French Market stallholders on Saffron Walden Common were determined to stay, come what may; so full of British grit and determination the Saffron Walden Arts Festival carried on regardless of rain and gale force winds . . .

The four "Living Crafts" tents became two after one tent blew away and another had to be dismantled for safety reasons; here's the view of the Common as I arrived on Saturday morning – the good thing was that it was not raining.

Within an hour I'd transformed my corner of the larger tent with a display stand of prints and cards and working area . . .

I was busy serving customers and demonstrating carving a lino block for most of the day; we could hear a great selection of live music from the main marquee next door – the audience is well wrapped up!

Sunday. Time to do it all over again . . . but look – blue sky and sunshine :-) the third tent had been erected and the tent-sides were opened so we didn't get too hot!

We put up a board advertising the workshops . . . thinking on my feet, I decided to allow people to drop-in at any time for £5 in line with the other activities in the same tent.

Outside I could see lots of things going on: tai-chi, the local art society exhibition and an amazing display by Maggie Auld and Dennis the dog (wish I'd been able to photograph that but it sounded such fun!)

On the other side of the tent Katherine Childs was popular with hands-on pottery sessions, and a huge communal coil-pot was gradually growing in size (I can't believe I didn't photograph that either!)

Returning to my workshop table . . . by afternoon it was getting really popular and I had a full table of people cutting lino and making prints.

Here's some of their work . . . all absolutely brilliant!

Then a band arrived! The Drum and Bass workshop band arrived from the Castle to show off what they'd learnt . . . fabulous stuff!

Then it was all over! Goodness knows how I managed to get all my stuff packed into my car as the scouts demolished the tent around us . . . and here's the view from my car/tardis as I prepared to drive off the Common and home.

To say I was tired was a huge understatement . . . thank you to Cliff who helped me set up on Saturday and was there when I got home on Sunday with the Plymouth Gin and Fever Tree tonic lined up ready!

Unpacking the jumbled mess from my car on Monday wasn't fun but looking back it was a good experience . . . and I really enjoyed teaching the workshops (something I might do more of – I'm making plans). I hope everyone who came along enjoyed all the activities – lots of people had put in a massive amount of work to make it all happen.

And it didn't rain!



  1. So pleased it all went well, just a shame I couldn't drop in and see you at work too.
    Mind you Plymouth Gin & Fevertree tonic sounded the best bit ;-)

  2. It sounds like you had an excellent weekend.

  3. My kinda weekend, I would have loved to join in with the lino printing, such pretty results. Glad the sun shone for you x

  4. Oh I am pleased that you had a good weekend! Like you said, so many people had a rotten time, or were turned away from cancelled events. Someone I know ended up soaked, frozen and had no sales, after shelling out a lot of money to take part in her event. It's great that it wend so well for you at Saffron Walden!
    The stall looked good, the work table looked fabulous and I love the photos of the mini-workshops! I also enjoy teaching people - it's just great to see what people come up with, after a little bit of instruction! Good luck with your plans to do more workshops.
    Hope you have had a good rest and are feeling almost normal again, Celia!

  5. Wish I could have been sounded like good fun - glad you enjoyed it and no rain - what a bonus.

  6. Arr! They breed 'em tough in Suffolk!
    Sounds like a good time had by all.I always l;ike to see the delight on faces when people try something new.:-)

    Waves to Lizzie.

  7. So sorry we missed it - it looks like brilliant fun!

  8. Wished I could have popped in and taken part but we had a busy weekend and there was no room to squeeze it in. I'm keen to join in with any future workshops you put together - although you might need a very large G&T after teaching me!

  9. Sounds like you had a great weekend and so glad your tent never blew away :-) Hope you enjoyed the Gin x x

  10. I'm so pleased that it went well. I did think of you when the rainclouds were loitering...

  11. Celia, I just keep thinking of those lucky folks who had the experience of having you show them a thing or three about linoprints!

    Iffy weather certainly did not keep those folks away.

    I loved your reporting on the tents. Hoping that by now you've had opportunity to have a good rest and have revived all your energy.


  12. I am so glad that it went so well for everyone, it would have been dreadful if it was cancelled or shortened.

    I think you had a lot of fun.

  13. Well that looks fab. I would have loved to have been there and to have shared in the G&T afterwards.

  14. So glad the weekend went well despite the weather; how British!You obviously had a good time.

  15. Thank you everyone!
    It has given me ideas for possible further workshops... if that happens you'll be some of the first to know :-)

    BTw Dinamow, Saffron Walden is in Essex... it's confusing when you live at the corner of three counties!

    Unpacking the car and cleaning everything up took a while!!!


  16. That looked like such a fun weekend, despite, or perhaps because of, the weather :) Wish we could have been there, I still miss lovely Saffron Walden even after all this time.

  17. Sorry to have missed this Celia. What a hardy lot we Brits are!



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