Warm welcome at art fair

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Claire Henley showing her painting to Alan Cook and, right, one of the Shakespeare Puppies

A CHILLY weekend was lent warmth and spirit when the Contemporary Arts Fair: Discover, Gather, Give took place at Stratford Town Hall (5th to 6th November).

Herald arts popped into the lively private view on Friday night, when over 200 guests visited ahead of the fair opening to the public on Saturday and Sunday. The Cotswold Distillery was on hand to ensure things went with a swing… and a lovely gin and tonic!

All together there were 54 local artists gathered to display their wares, which included the well-regarded sculptor Rachel Higgins, jeweller Lucy Jade Sylvester and painter Melanie Charles.

As well as offering the opportunity to see the wealth of artisanal work in the region, there were opportunities to buy works or commission pieces, perhaps to give as Christmas presents. The ‘discover, gather, give’ ethos is very much the spirit of the arts fair.

The organiser, Judith Layhe-Cook, said she had wholly positive feedback from exhibitors, with good footfall, solid sales and a great atmosphere.

She added: “It was absolutely brilliant! There was a wonderful atmosphere, and the town hall is a great venue. So many local people came in over the weekend, it felt more like a social occasion than an arts fair!

“We had lots of compliments of how good the exhibition looked, how well set out it was, and praise for the quality of work on display, which is great as we aim to keep it interesting and inspiring, and are in it for the long term.

“We’ve already booked the town hall for next year!”

The Gold Café kept visitors refreshed with Monsoon Estates Coffee Company, based in Alscot, and bakery products from Knead It! based in Tiddington.

Although entrance to the arts fair was free, contributions were collected at the door for Shakespeare’s Puppies, which supports Guide Dogs for the Blind. And by the end of the weekend, the local charity were chuffed to have collected £720.

For more information about the Contemporary Arts Fair: Discover, Gather, Give, and the local artists who took part, see the website: www.discovergathergive.co.uk