Ten years of arts and crafts by the sea

Katherine Renton presents competition winner Joan Clark with her limited-edition print.
Katherine Renton presents competition winner Joan Clark with her limited-edition print.

Artists and art fans from across the North East will be descending on one of the county’s seaside villages this weekend.

The preparations have been taking place since last September and Alnmouth is ready to host its 10th Arts Festival, which is now recognised as rural Northumberland’s major art event and last year attracted more than 3,000 visitors.

Francesca Simpson with some of her works.

Francesca Simpson with some of her works.

More than 80 individuals and groups will be exhibiting their work; artists, photographers and craft workers such as spinners, lace-makers and felt-workers. Some will also be demonstrating their crafts.

There are 25 venues ranging from private homes to cafés and halls.

Again this year, more exhibitors wanted to take part than could be accommodated.

There are many returning to what they say is their favourite event of the year and there are many taking part for the first time.

One of these is Hipsburn artist, Katherine Renton, who won the competition organised in conjunction with the Gazette to find the poster image for this year’s Festival.

Katherine’s painting of The Dune Walkway – Alnmouth, has been on display across Northumberland and beyond.

She says that the Festival is giving her the opportunity to showcase her latest work.

An artist returning for the fourth time is Francesca Simpson, who also lives in Hipsburn and won the competition to find the poster image for the 2012 Festival, after which she became a full-time professional artist.

Students from Year 9 at the Duchess’s Community High School in Alnwick will be exhibiting for the first time.

They have been learning about rag-rugging from the 2013 poster artist, Jane Jackson, who, with her colleague Margaret Kenny, has run a series of workshops in the school.

One of the students, Courtney Swain described it as, ‘a unique experience to express yourself through textiles and art’. You can see Courtney’s work and that of her fellow students in St John the Baptist Church.

There are also lots of free activities for children as well as music with a bar and a bring-your-own barbecue in Peases Park tomorrow evening.

Entry in to the Festival is free, although visitors might want to buy a Trail Guide for £1 which gives details about the exhibitors and where they can be found.

Bill Bourne, chairman of the Arts Festival Committee, said: “We have tried to have something for everyone and once more, I think we have succeeded.”

The Festival runs tomorrow and Sunday, from 10am until 5pm each day.

For more information about the event and the exhibitors taking part, visit the website.