‘Varx’ cushion by Cameron Short of Bonfield Block-Printers. ‘Varx’ is ‘fox’ in Dorset dialect.
In a week’s time Dorset artists and craftspeople will be throwing open their studio doors and welcoming visitors to one of the biggest arts events of its kind in the UK – Dorset Art Weeks.
Here in and around Lyme Regis, we have a galaxy of stars taking part. These include eminent and long-established painters and ceramicists, eclectic galleries and exciting new openings.
Top of the list is the long-anticipated opening of Bonfield Block-Printers’ workshop a little outside Lyme Regis. Cameron Short’s handmade prints have been attracting much attention in the last couple of years through his involvement with The New Craftsman. He’s had a slew of coverage in glossy interiors magazines that appreciate his fine handiwork.
Together with his partner Janet Tristram, Cameron creates block printed fabric, wallpaper, cushions, lampshades and limited edition prints. Their work is rooted in deep affection for the countryside, its rituals and folklore and bygone rural life.
Luxuriantly patterned handmade wallpaper is also a feature of a group exhibition in the centre of Lyme itself within a few minutes walking distance from Dorset House. Artist and designer Hugh Dunford-Wood is opening his amazing Georgian house as the gallery to display painting, textiles, prints, glass, mosaics and ceramics. The house was once the home of the glass engraver, Sir Laurence Whistler. Look out for Katerina Rose’s playful cabinets of curiosity and Esme Sharp’s beautiful handblown table glass.
Also within walking distance of Dorset House is Trisha Hayman’s studio. Trisha paints closely observed watercolours of natural subjects, many gathered on walks around Lyme. For Dorset Art Weeks she’s joined by Lyme ceramicist Linda Bristow, whose sculptures explore the fragility and diversity of British wildflowers.
With so much natural beauty around us here it is not surprising that many artists focus on the landscape and nature. Emma Bowring’s gallery, Edwards and Parr on Broad Street, is open year-round to show her detailed wildlife paintings. You can see Emma at work in her studio and browse a selection of originals, prints and cards.
Dorset Art Weeks dates
Dorset Art Weeks runs from 28 May to 12 June and is held every other year – see http://www.dorsetartweeks.co.uk Don’t worry if you miss this year’s event – all the local artists and makers we’ve mentioned can be visited at other times. Lyme is such a centre of creativity that there’s always something interestingly arty going on.