Art and sculpture festival

3 April 2015, 10.00 AM - 6 April 2015, 5.00 PM

Easter Weekend, 10am to 5pm, Friday 3rd until Monday 6th April

Easter bank holiday; Friday 3 to Monday 6 April 2015, 10:00 until 17:00

Celtic giants, Flanders poppies, Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute’, bronzed Greek heroes, exotic tropical flowers and an original metal sculptural plant form being created over the weekend are just a few of the delights to be enjoyed at the Botanic Garden this Easter. The exhibitors are too numerous to describe in detail but here are a few highlights which can be viewed at this year’s Festival.

The unique sculptural plant form entitled ‘Callabora ferratum ‘Bringstii’ is being created on the spot by Bringsty Forge Blacksmiths, a group of three craftsmen, Tony Ingarfield, Adrian Legge and Henry Pomfret. This is the first time, there will be a working forge at the Botanic Garden.

Two other sculptors, new to the garden, are Kate Newlyn and Dan Broadley. Kate is a widely collected sculptor whose work “reveals a refreshing breadth of interest and technique rarely seen in today's high street galleries. Moving effortlessly between naturalism and abstraction, serious and comedic, with influences ranging from Michelangelo to Moore, she injects a life into the inanimate which sets her apart from many of her contemporaries...”

Originally trained in the Performing Arts she worked in London as performer/mask-maker for various mime companies. Gradually the focus shifted from the fluid images of mime to the stillness of sculpture. After an apprenticeship at a bronze foundry she moved to Greece (1991) where she lived and sculpted for 6 years. Following a further year in Turkey and various working trips to France, Italy and the U.S.A., she returned to the UK. She now lives and works in Somerset, sculpting to commission and teaching at the Newlyn School of Sculpture. The bronze “Eternity” sculpture featured here is based on William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence: “To See the World in a Grain of Sand.... Eternity in an hour.”

While Dan Broadley also features the human figure, his joy is using stone. He studied painting at Wimbledon School of Art and Brighton University. It was here he developed an interest in drawing the figure and the beauty of line. He worked as a freelance modelmaker for several years producing mainly figurative sculptures clients in museums, film, retail, and for other artists including Ron Mueck, David Mach and Marc Quinn. Some pieces were in miniature, others were up to twenty-five feet high. It was through using large blocks of polystyrene to create these large pieces that Daniel discovered his interest in carving, which led him to a course in stone carving at Tout quarry in Portland, Dorset. 

Other sculptors participating are: Karen Edwards, Jude Goss, Julian P. Warren, Adele Christensen, Jitka Palmer, Emma Jean Kemp, Aurora Pozniakow, Willa Ashworth and Ian Marlow.

Nicholas Wray, Curator of the Botanic Garden said: ‘The natural world has inspired the artists to make the varied and innovative pieces of artwork that will be on show at the exhibition. I am delighted that the Botanic Garden environment has provided so much opportunity and enjoyment for these local artists to display their work’.

‘Some of the artwork will be made during the exhibition, which together with the garden bursting into life will create the perfect environment for visitors to enjoy’.

Around 30 local artists, both amateur and professional, will be exhibited. The work on display ranges from detailed illustrations to the abstract, using a wide range of mediums and styles. Previous art exhibitions have proved very popular, with sales of a wide range of pictures, prints and cards.

Artist, Sheena Vallely is exhibiting at the garden for the first time. She has exhibited in London, Berlin and Dublin. One private commission led to her featuring a selection of her paintings for Grand Designs and she has also had work commissioned from The National Theatre, Southbank, London and The Pogues. Sheena has recently introduced the study of nature into her painting, reflecting an appetite for growing plants and the outdoors. She also teaches and runs drawing courses at the Botanic Garden with Pupgroup (Pick Up a Pencil group), who draw outdoors and directly from nature.

Another new artist is Vivienne Baker who explains the concepts behind her work: “My general working methods in the mediums of both painting and print-making involve a slow build-up of layers of differing tonal values and opacity and the use of colour contrasts and harmonies in the description of space. Starting points for recent paintings have been memory and the use of tiny low resolution photographs taken on a mobile phone. Through the use of traditional materials, using untraditional tools such as decorating rollers and spray guns, the image evolves and emerges from a slow multilayering process, creating undefined spaces that the viewer has to work to interpret. The images /memories that I work from are all scenes that I have encountered but changed and distorted during the process of painting, to reveal something new, capturing perhaps only the essence of a place or memory. They suggest that there is more to the story and stand like moments, stills from a film or an old home movie. Ancient woodlands have particular appeal because of the time scale of the life in these settings, compared to the relatively short life of a human or the fleeting moment of a human passing through”

Jacqui Habgood-Hall is a Bristol based artist specialising in watercolour and mixed media paintings of floral subjects. She takes inspiration from hedgerows through the changing seasons and has recently completed a commission for paintings to be displayed in the new Southmead Hospital.

Conny Ridge, born and raised in Holland has produced an Indonesian Batik painting entitled: 'Flanders poppies.' She explains the source of her inspiration from the stories of Flanders: “Whilst I was making it, I thought very much about my own father though, who died in the Second World War and who walked back through France and Belgium, having been made prisoner of war by the Germans after a failed attempt of escape at Dunkirk where they were torpedoed. I wondered if he came across poppies by the roadside on his way to the prison camp. He died when I had just been born, so I never knew his stories direct.

I wanted to convey the horror of war by a simple symbolic sign, the barbed war, and the slightly menacing sky, by the heavy crackling of wax. But I also wanted to represent the beauty and the hope of the poppies.’

A very talented, young artist is Clare Wyatt, who did a BA Graphics and Illustration, specialising in print making at University of Bristol. Now she is a full time Art teacher at Colston School. “I do anything” says Clare – linear work, digital prints, water colours, photo realism, cartoons.

A full list of the artists will appear here shortly.

Children’s’ activities, refreshments and garden tours.

Adults - £4.50; children under-16 - free

Friends of the Garden - free

University Staff, University Retired Staff and Students free

Bringsty forge blacksmiths, photograph by Malcolm Porter

Apple blossom by Sheena Vallely