Thursday, 16 October 2014

Art in Brecon 2014

This year sees the fourth Art Fair in Brecon. It is a time when both professional and amateur artists, along with groups from Brecon and District Mind, come together in St Mary's Church in Brecon to each have a stand and display their work. This year’s fair takes place on Thursday 16 (6 – 8pm), Friday 17 (10am – 4pm) and Saturday 18 October (10am – 4pm).

We talked to Sue Hiley Harris, a professional sculpture weaver, who has been involved with organising the Art Fair since the first one in 2011 and will have a stand.

Whose idea was the Art Fair and how did it evolve? Tell us more about the early years.

The first art fair came about when some of the members of Brecon and District Mind (then Brecon and District Contact Association) approached me – as chair of
the Friends – to see if the Friends could help them sell their art and craft work. We decided rather than an exhibition we would have a fair where each artist would set up their own stand and be there to talk to the public about their work. There are quite a few professional artists in the Friends and they were happy to get involved. The church was prepared for us be there and to rearrange the seats.

Gleanie II by Victoria Keeble

Is it different this year?

It is on for longer this year. Previously it opened on the Friday evening and was open all day Saturday. This year we were trying to avoid opening on the Friday evening as it clashed with a lecture on art in Crickhowell. I sent a message to the artists and the majority opted for an extra day. It is generally thought that it is a lot of work setting up so it would be good to stay open for longer. So this year we open on Thursday night with wine and jazz, and then will be open all day Friday and Saturday. It is then all hands on deck as we return the church ready for the Sunday morning service. The church has been very supportive.

Another first this year is a raffle. The artists have been asked to contribute and by the sounds of it they have been very generous. 

Allotment Retreat by Veronica Gibson

What do you feels works so well about the Art Fair?

I really like the mixture of professional artists, amateur artists and artist groups that all exhibit together. Contacts and friendships are made. To me this is one of the most important outcomes of the fair. We also have other people, Friends and members, coming in to help – either with the setting up or to give look after stands so that the artists can have lunch or take a break. So generally I would say a sense of community makes it work so well – and of course there are a great number of art and craft work on display and for sale.

Dragon by Anna Lawday

What do you get out of the Art Fair by exhibiting?

I really like to exhibit my work locally and it is an opportunity to see people I might not have seen for a while and introduce more people to my work. I often exhibit abroad or in other parts of the country but I do like to see how people I know react to new work. This is a really nice, safe, unpressured place to do that.

What will you be showing this year?

I am working on new work that is not really in a state to show so I have decided to do something different this year. I received an Arts Council of Wales ‘Creative Wales Award’ last year and my work is definitely changing. I will be showing some life drawings and collages, which has been a very new direction for me. I don’t have my new woven work ready for show so have decided to show a selection of my small woven sculptures from the last fifteen years in what I have called a ‘table retrospective’. Some weavers were at my studio for a visit a few weeks ago and I got out some of my early sculptural pieces. I decided that it would be good for me and for others if I had a little show of these works alongside the drawings. I will also be happy to talk to people about my new work and the direction it is taking me.

Artist Veronica Gibson teaches art classes at Brecon and District Mind. 
Here she is at her stand at last year's Art Fair, with Dave Griffiths, 
one of the members of the Art Group at Mind.

Art Fair Launch: Thursday 16th October 6-8 pm at St Mary's Church, Brecon.

The Art Fair will be opened by Philip Bowen, High Sheriff of Powys, and the Charles Castle Three  (Mike Chappell, Bert Morris and Mike Jones) will be playing live.

The Art Fair will also be open on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th October from 10am to 4pm.

You can find out more about Brecon and District Mind here.

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