The Henley Arts Trail usually runs during the bank holiday weekend in May and features some 30 plus artists. It runs every year, well nearly every year. This year it was of course Covidised and is taking place this weekend (and last weekend but I missed it) in a much-attenuated form. In fact I could only discover two manifestations of it.
The first of these was a display of the wares of Margaret Wainwright (above). There are two parts to her practice, ceramics and wood. The ceramics are solid and earthy in blacks, browns and golds. Assembled in coils, they have a very tactile bulbous quality, and the rougher-hewn ones appealed to me particularly. They are all inspired by Charnwood Forest, from which the wood, carved into the various shapes you can see, is sourced. It can all be found on Gravel Hill in Henley outside number 36. It is open today and I recommend going along. I plan to come away with something.
Down the hill and in the Old Fire Station Gallery, behind the Town Hall, are three artists. Again we have ceramics by Karen Marks (above left), well… porcelain to be exact. These silky wave forms have lovely crinkly edges and sinuous blue patterns across them. She has some lovely conical pots in the same style if your desire is for something more practical.
Sharing the space are these animal-themed stained glass panels (above right) by Jaci Foster. I prefer my stained glass to be more abstract, but if you are attracted by animal themes (and many people are) these are of good quality. There is one featuring two bunnies (it is the small one in the centre) that I thought was particularly fine.
The work of Jennie Jewitt-Harris features mottled multicoloured backgrounds on which sits a figure (usually a famous figure) converted into a fairy. The best of them, which is greatly enjoyed, is the one above of Mo Mowlem.
Hopefully next year the Henley Arts Trail will take place in full and I can explore it all.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.