Bromyard Speed Festival – in pictures

Dear fans of speed and antique vehicles.

Royal Automobile Club Association logo

Royal Automobile Club Association logo

Malicia is taking over the blog and we will do something completely new around this time around. Rita asked me to look though all the pictures taken during Festival of Speed on April 3rd and edit the best ones. Thing is, so many pictures were good that once I sat down and started editing, I ended up having over 100 imaged processed and  complied into two groups: cars and motorcycles. It would be a waste not to use them all!

We have done quite a few image based posts and they are always well received, but never before they included so many shots in one go. It feels more like proper photo reportage than a visual recording of a particular area or event. And why not, to be frank. The Festival of Speed was so diverse and detailed, that you had to go Japanese tourist mode to see it all. Each car is a different tale and they all form a part of what makes British heritage so important and valued.

It was a whirl of colours, wheels, brands and historical artefacts. You can’t show it all in just few clicks. The rule says that one photo should be enough to tell a story, but sometimes you need one hundred pictures to do justice to the event. Mind, we only had a mobile phone so don’t expect that we will win Pulitzer Prize for feature photography (we will leave that honour to Tyler Hicks) but we tried our best. There will be few cut off heads or wobbly horizons and strange angles on the shots. But this comes as a part of the package – you have a small tool and a very limited time and too many objects that just can’t be missed.

Although Malicia is usually responsible for visual aspect of the blog, this post is the first time she was responsible for choosing, editing, chronological order of all the images and commentary. Proper editorial job and she is very proud of herself.

It is very important to support local cultural events – either by attendance or writing about them. Pop and local culture events don`t have big budgets, they don’t often find themselves presented to big audiences and they hardly receive coverage in major newspapers. But they are crucial to understanding of local history, customs, feelings or grievances. Such local events often shape and form individuals that become huge stars later on. Want an example: try to understand The Smiths without detailed knowledge of Manchester area in the 80s. Or better – try to understand Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear phenomena without attending one of those fairs full of old racing cars, past glories and strange characters.

We hope you will enjoy our (hectic) coverage of Speed Festival 2016. If we got any car brands wrong, please point it out. We`ll correct ourselves.

You can read of review of Festival of Speed here:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/bromyard-speed-festival/

Ta,

Mal & Rita

 

Cars brands:

 

Aston Martin

Aston Martin profile

Aston Martin profile

Aston Martin from the side

Aston Martin from the side

Aston Martin inside

Aston Martin inside

Aston Martin logo

Aston Martin logo

Bentley

Bentley profile

Bentley profile

Bentley front

Bentley front

Bentley logo

Bentley logo

Bristol

Bristol profile

Bristol profile

Bristol profile

Bristol profile

Bristol logo

Bristol logo

Caterham

Caterham profile

Caterham profile

Caterham side

Caterham side

Caterham mascot

Caterham mascot

Chevrolet

Chevrolet profile

Chevrolet profile

Chevrolet seen from the side

Chevrolet seen from the side

Chevrolet logo

Chevrolet logo

Chevrolet engine

Chevrolet engine

Factory Five

Factory Five car profile

Factory Five car profile

Factory Five car profile

Factory Five car profile

Factory Five car engine

Factory Five car engine

Factory Five logo

Factory Five logo

Ferrari Pininfarina

Ferrari logo

Ferrari logo

Ferrari Pininfarina front

Ferrari Pininfarina front

Ferrari Pininfarina profile

Ferrari Pininfarina profile

Ferrari Pininfarina back

Ferrari Pininfarina back

Classic Ford

Ford profile

Ford profile

Ford seen from the side

Ford seen from the side

Ford Austin

Ford Austin front

Ford Austin front

Detail #1

Detail #1

Detail #2

Detail #2

Ford Austin logo

Ford Austin logo

Ford Thunderbird

Ford Thunderbird engine

Ford Thunderbird engine

Ford Thunderbird front

Ford Thunderbird front

Ford Thunderbird logo

Ford Thunderbird logo

Ford Thunderbird profile

Ford Thunderbird profile

Jaguar

Jaguar front

Jaguar front

Jaguar profile

Jaguar profile

Jaguar logo

Jaguar logo

Jaguar steering wheel

Jaguar steering wheel

Jensen Healey

Jensen Healey front

Jensen Healey front

Jensen Healey profile

Jensen Healey profile

Jensen Healey logo

Jensen Healey logo

Lola Cars

A pair of Lola cars

A pair of Lola cars

Lotus Cars

Lotus racing car #1

Lotus racing car #1

Lotus racing car #2

Lotus racing car #2

Puma

Puma profile

Puma profile

Puma front

Puma front

Puma logo

Puma logo

Sunbean Bluebird

Sunbeam Bluebird full body of a legendary car

Sunbeam Bluebird full body of a legendary car

Sunbeam Bluebird profile

Sunbeam Bluebird profile

Sunbean steering wheel

Sunbean steering wheel

The inside of the car

The inside of the car

The flag

The flag

Engine of the Bluebird was regarded as exceptionally advanced in its time.

Engine of the Bluebird was regarded as exceptionally advanced in its time.

Sunbeam 16/20 Sports

We are living for the history - as the song goes

We are living for the history – as the song goes

Sunbeam logo

Sunbeam logo

Shelsley Walsh racing course in an old photograph.

Shelsley Walsh racing course in an old photograph.

Sunbeam profile

Sunbeam profile

The seats - we wonder if they were comfortable.

The seats – we wonder if they were comfortable.

Sunbean seen from the side

Sunbean seen from the side

Sunbeam spare wheel

Sunbeam spare wheel

Turner GT

Turner seen from the front

Turner seen from the front

Turner profile

Turner profile

Turner seen from a side

Turner seen from a side

The wheel

The wheel

Turner logo

Turner logo

Mdina Grand Prix 2015 - the car that went a long way.

Mdina Grand Prix 2015 – the car that went a long way.

TVR

TVR seen from the front

TVR seen from the front

TVR profile

TVR profile

TVR seen from the side

TVR seen from the side

TVR steering wheel

TVR steering wheel

Wolseley

Wolseley seen from the front

Wolseley seen from the front

Wolseley profile

Wolseley profile

 

Motorcycles brands

AJS

AJS profile

AJS profile

BSA

BSA bike in full glory

BSA bike in full glory

Can Am

The background on this unusual motorbike

The background on this unusual motorbike

Can Am profile

Can Am profile

Cab Am seen from the side

Cab Am seen from the side

Ducati Desmoquattro

What a machine!

What a machine!

Ducati Desmoquattro seen from the front

Ducati Desmoquattro seen from the front

Ducati Desmoquattro profile

Ducati Desmoquattro profile

Ducati Diavel Carbon

Ducati Diavel Carbon - if you prefer toned colours

Ducati Diavel Carbon – if you prefer toned colours

Honda 750

Honda is one of worlds most recognized brands. More than Adidas, bet you didn't know that!

Honda is one of worlds most recognized brands. More than Adidas, bet you didn’t know that!

Kawasaki

Not always a ninja...

Not always a ninja…

Norton Superior

Norton_Superior
Suzuki

One of the best bikes we have ever seen

One of the best bikes we have ever seen

Yamaha 400

Another legendary brand - Yamaha

Another legendary brand – Yamaha

 

Till the next time

M/R

Bromyard Speed Festival

Hello, hello!

Ready, steady, Go!

Ready. Steady. Go!

West Midland life can be hard if you are an outgoing person without a car. Herefordshire and Worcestershire are sparsely populated and you need your own transport to get to many interesting places. Birmingham has an excellent public transport system but the further you are based from Birmingham, the worse it gets. At Vanadian Avenue, we are constantly keeping our eyes and ears open in search for some local things to do, yet we are not able to get to all events, just because there is no decent bus connection. Luckily, sometimes we can get a lift and we enjoy a fantastic day out.

Map of the event

Map of the event

Leaflet #1

Leaflet #1

Leaflet #2

Leaflet #2

Old photos always get Malicia`s attention

Old photos always get Malicia`s attention

We learnt about Bromyard Speed Festival by accident. An unconfirmed internet rumor that Jeremy Clarkson has been booked to open the first edition spread quickly like Californian forest fire causing great excitement among locals. We were a bit skeptical as he is currently filming the equivalent of “Top Gear” for Amazon Prime, but tempted to see him in real life, we decided to give it a go.

The event was to take place on Sunday, 3rd of April so exactly at 11:00 am, we arrived in Bromyard and we set ourselves up on the main street waiting for the vintage car show to start.

Car parade in full swing!

Car parade in full swing!

Rare, precious and still kicking!

Rare, precious and still kicking!

You could buy some curios trinkets at the festival

You could buy some curios trinkets at the festival

For those of you who know very little about Bromyard, we need to say few words about it. It is a medieval market town located in Herefordshire, placed exactly halfway between Hereford (22 miles) and Worcester (20 miles). According to Bromyard and Winslow Parish Council statistics, it has nearly 4,500 inhabitants, several pubs (including two traditional half-timber “black and white” buildings), one local library, one theatre (The Conquest Theatre) small S-F Museum, two hotels and St. Peter’s Church dating back to Norman times. Bromyard may seem like a quiet place but it has several very active clubs and societies organizing nationally known events such as Bromyard Gala, Nozstock Festival of Performing Arts or Folk Festival among others. It also has a strong claim to motoring fame – Morgan Cars were originally set up in Bromyard before moving to Malvern and The Chairmen of the Austin, Bean and Morgan motor companies lived inside or close to town for many years. You can learn more about Bromyard motoring history on festival’s official website: http://www.bromyardspeedfestival.co.uk/history.html

We want this car, like now!

We want this car, like now!

Preparation for the car parade

Preparation for the car parade

Car parade is about to begin

Car parade is about to begin

By 11 o’clock, the town was already packed and several vintage cars were driving through the town centre forming a small parade. At first, we thought that we have missed the formal opening and Jeremy Clarkson’s speech but soon we found out that that Mr Clarkson’s appearance was not confirmed at all and it was probably an April 1st joke, a clever publicity stunt or a local gossip. To be very honest, the entire event was very well organized and there was no need for any special guests. Rita is not a big fan of the pompous presenter so she wasn’t bother by the fact he wasn’t there. At least nobody got beaten up when the food stand ran out of burgers around midday!

General view of the festival

General view of the festival

Rows and rows of truly unique vehicles

Rows and rows of truly unique vehicles

We love antiques. Hand on the heart. One of these days we will do a blog from Antiques Roadshow!

We love antiques. Hand on the heart. One of these days we will do a blog from Antiques Roadshow!

First editions of any events are usually plagued with many unfortunate incidents so Speed Festival organizers should be praised for a nearly flawless delivery. Each point of interest has been clearly marked on maps, volunteers were helpful and well informed and guests were directed to the right places. The organizers took serious security measures and the visitors were separated from the car parade by proper fencing. We had 3 emergency ambulances points, West Mercia police stand in Co-op car park and two emergency vehicle access points. The only thing we could complain about was the prices. Although the event was generally admission free, you had to pay 3 pounds to access The Paddock situated by The Conquest Theatre and another 3 pounds for the flyers or the event plan. We didn’t mind paying for the access to Paddocks as we had a chance to see the famous Blue Bird, but paying the same amount of money for a single leaflet seems a bit too much. Other than that – we are truly impressed. Overall, the Bromyard Festival of Speed attracted more than 3000 people, so hopefully it will become another annual attraction for the picturesque town.

Festival menu

Festival menu

Memorabilia corner

Memorabilia corner

Festivals as such always bring sellers who offer many artifacts from the good old days

Festivals as such always bring sellers who offer many artifacts from the good old days

If Mal wanted to buy every old photograph she fancies, she`d have to live at Tate Gallery...

If Mal wanted to buy every old photograph she fancied, she`d have to live at Tate Gallery…

Talking about the car parade – it was a very impressive sight. More than 130 vintage and classic cars took part in it, driving slowly in circles from Rowberry Road, passing the Council Corner, turning into The Cut then into the Broad Street, and finally arriving on High Street and Rowberry Road again. The cars were touring in groups of 20-30 cars at 20 minutes intervals. You could see the very impressive Royce-Royce Bentley MK VI Special (produced between 1946 and 1952) limousines in motion carrying up to 5 people, a lot of classic Morgan cars (Plus 4 Coupe from 1954, Morgan Super Sports from 1933 or Family 3 Wheeler from 1935), superb vintage cars (previously unknown to us SunBeams, Diatto Targa Florio, Riley Brooklands and Railton Straight Eight) or fan favourites Hill Climb Cars (including Porsche Cayman SV-R, Caterham Seven or Jensen Healey). Hillclimbing motorsport is a fascinating thing and maybe one day we will write more about it. You can read a short description about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillclimbing

Caterham

Caterham

Jensen Healey

Jensen Healey

Younger visitors were also mesmerized by a large collection of classic racing bikes and rally cars. We have to say, we are not interested in motoring or racing cars but some models were simply stunning. It was hard not to fall in love with them. Rita was especially pleased to spot a classic Ferrari and Mal was happy to discover that one of the vintage cars took part in The Mdina Grand Prix Classic Car Event in 2015.

Turner GT

Turner GT

Mdina Grand Prix 2015!

Mdina Grand Prix 2015!

We have mentioned the Blue Bird above but it needs to be explained why this car was the biggest attraction of the festival. We have never heard of the Blue Bird before but it has a fantastic history worth of a blockbuster movie. It was designed by brilliant French automobile engineer Louis Hervé Coatalen in 1920 for Sunbeam, a marque registered by John Marston Co. Ltd of Wolverhampton. It was officially known as Sunbeam 350HP and was equipped with a modified aero engine. Considered to be the fastest car in the world, it was tested by famous aviation pioneer and pilot, Harry Hawker. In 1922, it was purchased by Sir Malcolm Campbell, who had it repainted blue and nicknamed it the “Blue Bird”. The rest, as they say is history. The Blue Bird won several land speeding records and Sir Campbell became a true motor racing legend. The car has been recently renovated and is visiting motoring festivals all over the country. It is also on permanent display in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, Hampshire. If you’d like to support the restoration of this fantastic machine, please see the links below. The museum needs to collect nearly £30,000 for a new gear box.

The legendary Blue Bird

The legendary Blue Bird

Look at the engine. It used to power the fastest car on the planet.

Look at the engine. It used to power the fastest car on the planet.

The Blue Bird links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunbeam_350HP
https://www.beaulieu.co.uk/news/the-sunbeam-350hp-appeal/
http://www.bluebird-electric.net/bluebird_history/sunbeam_blue_bird_Malcolm_Campbell.htm

National Motor Museum links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Motor_Museum,_Beaulieu
www.beaulieu.co.uk/
http://www.nationalmotormuseum.org.uk/

It would be very unfair, if we missed another very old and very unique Sunbeam model that was displayed right next to the Blue Bird. The other Sunbeam known professionally as Sunbeam 16/20 Sports is even older as it has been made in 1911 and is in private hands (owned by Hicky Hickling). This 4 cylinder, 4300cc vintage monster of a racing machine can go at 100 m/h at the top of its speed and is the oldest surviving competition Sunbeam in the world. The car has won numerous racing competitions and held hill record at the Shelsley Walsh racing in 1912, the oldest motorsport events in the world running continuously from 1905 until today. Restored in mid-1990, it also travels around the UK being admired by new generations of speed racing fans.

Sunbeam 16/20 Sports profile

Sunbeam 16/20 Sports profile

Sunbeam 16/20 Sports from side

Sunbeam 16/20 Sports from side

Photo of Shelsley Walsh racing course

Photo of Shelsley Walsh racing course

Sunbeam logo

Sunbeam logo

The history of Sunbeam

The history of Sunbeam

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelsley_Walsh_Speed_Hill_Climb
http://www.skwimages.com/media/802fbcec-236c-11e3-aae3-371ff1c67724-hicky-hickling-in-the-sunbeam-16-20-4-3-litre-1911-kop-hil
http://www.autocar.co.uk/blogs/motorsport/shelsley-walsh-relives-its-rich-history

We would love to write about each car or motorbike we have seen but it is simply impossible. Please take a look at our pictures and if we are missing any vital information about any of the models, please contact us and we will try to add them. Thank you kindly for your assistance!

Bromyard Festival of Speed:

Points of interest:

  • The Paddocks – located near the Conquest Theatre. Large vintage car display including the Blue Bird and Sunbeam 16/20 Sports
  • Prestige Car Display – located near the Old Road
  • Autojumble and Trade Stands – located near Sheep Close and on Pump Street
  • Motorcycle display – two locations, first one close to “Rose and Lion” pub near Little Hereford Pub and second on New Road.
  • Morgan Display – located near The Cut

Official website: http://www.bromyardspeedfestival.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BromyardSpeedFestival
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BromyardSpeed
Email: enquiries@bromyardspeedfestival.co.uk
Phone:  01885 555010
Post: Bromyard Speed Festival, c/o Holden Vintage and Classic Ltd, Linton Trading Estate, Bromyard, Herefordshire, HR7 4QT

Another of great cars - Bristol

Another of great cars – Bristol

Festival hosted a large collection of motorcycles as well

Festival hosted a large collection of motorcycles as well

Local news:

BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-35953755
Hereford Times: http://www.herefordtimes.com/news/14401961.Crowds_flock_to_Bromyard_Speed_Festival/ http://www.herefordtimes.com/sport/14306797.New_motoring_event_to_take_place_in_Bromyard/
Classic Cars for Sale: http://www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/news/event-news/1603/blue-bird-to-appear-at-bromyard-speed-festival/
Bromyard Info: http://www.bromyard.info/index.php/78-news/1716-bromyard-speed-festival-to-take-place-on-april-3.html

As usual, thank you kindly for reading and we hopefully will see you very, very soon!

Have a lovely day,
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum Part 2

Welcome again!

It’s good to see you again! What a lovely time we are having recently. We don’t want to spoil the surprise but very soon, you can expect some excellent stories to be published on our blog and we are absolutely thrilled! This month has been a true ball for us and we don’t want it to end! All we can say for now is, we have been to some extraordinary places, met and talked to the hottest names on the national TV and have tons of pictures to prove it. Give us a week or two to write it all and you will not regret coming back.
Thank you for all views and click, we are always grateful for those who stop by and dedicate their spare moments to read what we have to say. We are pleased to know that you liked the first part of Queenswood Park review and today we will continue our journey through this beautiful ancient woodland. As we always say, Herefordshire is a hidden gem, there is so much to see it and almost nobody knows about it! The time has come to change it once and for all.

Queenswood Park

Queenswood Park

Blossoming tree

Blossoming tree

Japanese cherry sakura

Japanese cherry sakura

If you have joined us today, please click on the link below to read the previous article:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/queenswood-country-park-and-arboretum/

Queenswood Park can be enjoyed everyday and every season. Come rain or shine, there is always something interesting to do. If you are keen on jogging, yoga or cross country walking, you have several perfect trails to practice. During our visits, we had a chance to see people preparing for many national and international highly publicized events like London Marathon, Boston Marathon and even the most famous, New York Marathon. In 2012, several Olympians were seen jogging around the arboretum in their last preparations before the Olympic Games. It’s funny that local residents could give us very detailed accounts who trained where but the local press was totally oblivious of it. Maybe it is better that our athletes were left alone and could practice without anybody pestering them for pictures or interviews. Yet, we are sad that another great opportunity for promotion has been lost. Anyway, you should treat this as the highest recommendation – if Queenswood is good enough for an Olympian to train there, it is good enough for anybody. Put your trainers on and off you go for a jog!

Redwood Grove

Redwood Grove

Redwood trees can grow up to 100 meters

Redwood trees can grow up to 100 meters

Badger Trail

Badger Trail

Solitary training is great but the park is a splendid place for group activities. We have mentioned picnic stands, family luncheons at the Queenswood Café and dog walking, but what do you say about a biology lesson outside of the classroom? Did you know that the country park is often visited by organized school trips? Believe us the kids are having so much fun playing in the forest, walking around and discovering different animal species and plants and the teachers don’t have to scream to gain their attention. We have met all age groups there: from toddlers, middle schoolers to art students that arrived to paint and take pictures. Watching one school trip was a great learning experience for us as well. A group of kids, about ten or twelve years old, was sitting around two female teachers on the grass, laughing and eating their lunch. The teachers were describing all plants that the kids could see around them. They were answering all type of questions, from ecology, recycling to modern history and gardening. It was a biology lesson but the kids were interested in very wide range of topics. If the teachers didn’t know the name of certain plants or trees, they would take a picture with their cell phones and promised to have the answers ready for the next lessons. Do we have to tell you that the kids were absolutely delighted? Some of them were writing the names down on pieces of paper, some even picked up the wild flowers to dry them as souvenirs. We are sure this is the best way to interest the younger generations in science, biology and learning in general. Of course, the kids were given home work and had to make tree and plants sketches that were later collected by the teachers, but nobody protested or argued! Instead of boring routine, there was a load of laughter, discovering and fun. Parents and school officials should take a closer look what’s locally available. Many institutions are struggling financially during the crisis and school trips and days out are the first ones to be taken out of the budget. It is important to take the kids to London or abroad to show them the world, but we seem to forget that the learning starts at home, or close to home in general. To quote one of our favourite movies – “think locally, do globally”. Hire a bus, convince parents to help during the trip and show the children a local park, museum or a listed building. Chances are the kids have never been there at all! Now, we know it’s not as easy as it seems. Everybody can be a critic. There are health and safety rules to follow, kids are misbehaving and parents don’t want to co-operate. These are very valid points but any obstacle can be overcome. Enthusiasm is contagious and the costs are small when you are discovering what’s closest to you.

Meadow with bluebells

Meadow with bluebells

Lets walk on the wild side

Lets walk on the wild side

Another great picture of walking trails :)

Another great picture of walking trails 🙂

Please excuse this prolonged digression, but Queenswood is a terrific learning ground and this is something we feel really strongly about. Let’s hope school directors and head teachers will come across our blog (or any other blog that promotes alternative teaching methods) and maybe they will give it a try. Nothing to loose and everything to gain!

Now, all artistic souls are asked for immediate attention. If you are enjoying nature or macro photography, you will not find a friendlier spot for your hobby. Despite large crowds visiting the country park on Saturdays and Sundays, for the majority of the week, Queenswood is still and you shall not be disturbed. Photographers are arriving usually early in the morning and stay throughout the day. Sometimes, you can see them wandering about even after the nightfall, especially if they are trying to photograph birds or animals. Artists prefer the Autumn Gardens, a real maze of sunshine and colours. Japanese maple trees with bright red leaves, blooming magnolias and cherry trees look like sparkling gems on the green background of trees and grass. It’s a real pleasure to see the painters at work. We have approached several of them and had a nice chat about acrylics, organizing art exhibitions and H-Art Festival. You don’t have to ask for permission to paint or take pictures, admission to the park and car park are free – all you need is a canvas, easel, paints, a sandwich and a bit of inspiration! Rita loves sketching in the summer house, a small wooden structure decorated with faces of nature spirits and deities. It is hidden far away from the main walking routes and offers visitors a great deal of seclusion and privacy. You can listen to music, have a dinner and feel like the Queen of the World 
Queenswood has 6 main walking trails that are worth exploring. Each trail has a different difficulty, ranging from basic to the most advanced ones. Usually the routes are going in different directions but some of them can merge into mega-trails that will have you walking for hours.

Fox Trail

Fox Trail

Deer Trail

Deer Trail

Be careful!

Be careful!

You should start discovering the park with the Badger Trail. The trail encircles the main attractions and gives you easy access to Lime Avenue, Autumn Gardens, Cottrell’s Folly, Oak Avenue, The Summer Garden, Sovereign Walk and ends at the View Point. The paths are well surfaced and the journey takes about 30 to 45 minutes. The Badger Trail is perfect for small kids, lazy strollers and beginners. After mastering the basics,  you can move onto something harder. The Fox Trail is 1, 5 miles long and it will take you 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete it. It has a medium difficulty and when it rains, you can expect a bit of mud under your feet. The trail looks amazing during early spring walks sometime around the beginning of April just as the bluebells are starting to bloom. It is probably our favorite route flowing through the arboretum,  beech plantation, the Redwood Grove and into the ViewPoint. The longest and the hardest trail available for walkers is the Deer Trail. It is 2.5 mile long and an hour and 30 minutes are needed to  finish it.  Before you set out to conquer this trail make sure you are in good physical condition and you have a pair of sturdy boots on. We like this road because you have to give your very best: you climb up and down,  jump above ravines and avoid slippery stones. The spectacular views are your reward – Redwood Grove, the wildest part of arboretum, beech plantation and untamed
beauty of north and south parts of Queenswood.  The three remaining trails were created to showcase the beauty of the park and  give the tourists a chance to enjoy it. They are: Animals of the Forest sculpture trail, Early autumn tree trail and Late autumn tree trail.

Forest deity featured in summer house

Forest deity featured in summer house

Summer house  - West

Summer house – West

Summer House - Letter H (do you know what it stands for?)

Summer House – Letter H (do you know what it stands for?)

Summer spirit  carved onto the summer house

Summer spirit carved onto the summer house

Animals of the Forest sculpture trail is probably the biggest attraction of Queenswood Park. 7 wooden sculptures have been cunningly hidden among the trees and your mission is to find them. We have located them all but it felt almost like hunting for Pokemons (gonna catch them all). If you don’t like spoilers,  kindly skip our trophy session below:

 1. Black bear and a curb from American Pacific Redwood forests (Ursus americanus)
More information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_black_bear

Climbing the Redwood tree

Climbing the Redwood tree

Mama is watching

Mama is watching

Don't turn around

Don’t turn around

2.  Scandinavian pine forest eagle-owl (Bubo bubo)
More information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_eagle-owl

Look into my eyes

Look into my eyes

Splendid and glory

Splendid and glory

3. Munching hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius)
More information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazel_dormouse

Food!

Food!

Food again!

Food again!

Loads of food!

Loads of food!

4. Family of European badgers (Meles meles)
More information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_badger

One badger

First badger

Second badger

Second badger

Third badger

Third badger

Fourth badger

Fourth badger

All together now

All together now

5. European pine martens playing (Martes martes)
More information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_pine_marten

Playtime part one

Playtime part 1

Playtime part 2

Playtime part 2

Playtime part 3

Playtime part 3

6. Lesser-horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros)
More information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesser_horseshoe_bat

Look up!

Look up!

7. Common buzzard hunting for a dinner (Buteo buteo)
More information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_buzzard

Free as a bird

Up and away

Up and away

There is another sculpture of black bear located by the entrance to the park.It is another American black bear, but this time he is welcoming all visitors!

Welcome, welcome

Welcome, welcome

All sculptures have been made by local chainsaw sculptors, Steve Elsby and Harry Thomas. Steve is based in Hereford and Harry lives  near the Welsh border, at the edge of the Radnor forest. Both artists have  more than 20 years of experience and are  award winning creators. This year Steve and Harry took part in APF 2014 – A W Jenkinson & UPM Tilhill European Chainsaw Carving Championships. Harry was ranked 6th and Steve finished at 10th position. Congratulations to both of you!

Steve Elsby official website: http://www.elsbycarving.co.uk
Harry Thomas official website: http://www.thomascarving.co.uk
APF 2014 website: http://www.apfexhibition.co.uk/

Well dear readers, there’s nothing more we can add! Please visit Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum one day and see it all for yourself. We will leave you with a beautiful photo-session taken in magnolia garden. after all, pictures are worth thousand words!

Magnolia 1

Magnolia 1

Magnolia 2

Magnolia 2

Magnolia 3

Magnolia 3

Magnolia 4

Magnolia 4

Magnolia 5

Magnolia 5

Magnolia 6

Magnolia 6

Magnolia 1

Magnolia 1

Have a splendid day!
XXX
Rita and Malicia D.

Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum

Hello hello hello!

Can you believe, dear readers that it’s May already? Days are disappearing like magic and soon half of 2014 will be behind us! Don’t despair – we have many interesting stories to tell and hopefully, you will be paying us a visit loads of times before the year is done.
Recently, we have received a comment from one of our readers. The gentleman complained that since we have moved to Worcester, Herefordshire doesn’t get mentioned on the blog anymore and surely it has been forgotten.

Rita loves proving everybody wrong and today’s issue will be dedicated to the pristine shire that she called home for nearly three years.  If she was to publish all materials, stories, anecdotes and pictures regarding Herefordshire she collected over that time, this blog would have to be renamed Hereford Avenue! You can be assured – nothing has been forgotten and Rita is still better informed than the Hereford Times – sorry guys, you know that it is true!

Entrance to Queenswood

Entrance to Queenswood

A plaque with information about the park placed at the entrance

A plaque with information about the park placed at the entrance

Viewing Platform

Viewing Platform

Looking through the telescope

Looking through the telescope

If you haven’t been to Hereford yet, know that you are missing a lot. Herefordshire is one of the most picturesque and unspoilt counties in the United Kingdom and it’s a real shame that the local council doesn’t do anything to promote it. Yes, we have had that discussion in the past, some people are convinced that printing newsletter and updating Facebook page once a day equals to a strong and efficient marketing campaign. We hate to disappoint you folks but it’s not enough to bring tourists and businesses into Hereford. A new shopping center will not help either. But let’s leave the politics aside.  Rita’s personal opinion will not change anything so we will save our breath to tell you something that truly matters. Hereford is the summertime is simply gorgeous yet there are special places where the nature is at its most beautiful all year long. The ancient woodland commonly known as The Queenswood is not only a popular relaxing/camping spot among the locals but has been voted as an important place of scenic beauty and natural significance by TripAdvisor and Natural England. Recently two new titles were added to a large collections of awards recognitions already owned by Queenswood: Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Local Nature Reserve (LNR).

Queenswood logo

Queenswood logo

Forested meadow

Forested meadow

Bluebells in bloom

Bluebells in bloom

A typical Queenswood trail

A typical Queenswood trail

In short, coming to Hereford and not seeing Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum is considered to be a serious faux pas. Mind your manners kids, Herefordians are a proud folk and they hardly ever forgive those who dare to disrespects (and ignore) the natural splendor of the Shire.

The only designated country park in West Midlands consists of 123 acres of semi natural and ancient woodland, 47 acres of tree collection with over 1,200 rare and exotic trees from different parts of our globe, several forested meadows that are the home to many unique and endangered species including rare dormice, polecat and yellow-necked mice, whilst fallows and muntjac deers. Over 190 rare plants and wild flowers have been discovered in Queenswood in recent years, among them very uncommon wood vetch (Vicia sylvatica) and Paris quadrifolia (herb paris) that hasn’t been seen in this part of the UK for a long time! The Queenswood Coronation Fund and Herefordshire Council (both responsible for managing the park) recorded also about eight different species of orchids such as birds nest (neottia nidus-avis), butterfly (platanthera bifolia), early purple (orchis mascula) and common spotted (dactylorhiza fuchsii). You can also see bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), wood anemones (anemone nemorosa), foxgloves (digitalis purpurea), columbine (aquilegia vulgaris), giant bellflower (campanula latifolia) and many, many others.

Redwoods

Redwoods

Redwood trunk

Redwood trunk

Young fern

Young fern

Japanese Maple in the Autumn Gardens

Japanese Maple in the Autumn Gardens

The Arboretum or collection of rare trees that are not native to England was started in 1953 to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Launched by Sir Richard Cotterell, Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire and founded from public donations, the collection is considered to be one of the greatest on British soil. It consists of nearly 400 trees including Japanese maple trees, California Redwoods (that can grow up to 100 meters tall!),  nearly 40 species of oak, beeches and alders. In 1981, The Arboretum received a gold medal from International Dendrology Society in recognition of the quality and for the number of trees. Each tree in the collection has its own identification card and unique catalog number (. The card is usually located near the tree and contains basic information about the species: country of origin, Latin name, name of  tree sponsor and date when it was added to the collection.  Some trees have a special Tree Register number included on the card. They are known as “Champion Trees” and are the finest (and the biggest) examples of their own kind that can be found in the UK and Ireland. There are 10 Champion Trees in Queenswood and you can visit them all by following the Champion Tree Trail:

Click to access Champion%20Trees%20of%20Queenswood%20TROBI%20leaflet.pdf

Magnolia Star Wars

Magnolia Star Wars

Identification card

Identification card

Flowering Dogwood

Flowering Dogwood

A unique tree from Chile known as Monkey Puzzle

A unique tree from Chile known as Monkey Puzzle

If you’d like to know more about Queenswood fauna and flora, please see the official website at:
https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/queenswood-country-park-and-arboretum

More about Natural England sites of Special Scientific Interest:
http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/conservation/designations/sssi/default.aspx

Detailed history of Queenswood Park, from the first mention in the Doomsday book, to the times of Queen Victoria:  https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/media/2708415/Archive%20information%20for%20Queenswood.pdf

Queenswood offers everything you can dream of and it is not just a slogan to sell admission tickets. The entry is free of charge and you don’t have to pay a dime for a spacious parking. There are seven walking and trekking trails of varying difficulties from basic ones that can be completed under one hour to long, complicated routes that take nearly 4 hours to finish. Visitors have access to a picnic area with several barbeque designated places,  small family run cafe (the food is delicious and very cheap!), country store that sells ice-creams and drinks, tourist information center, playground area for kids and even a small book store!You can bring your dogs with you  under condition that they are well behaved.

Darrell Dean Magnolia from USA

Darrell Dean Magnolia from USA

Cherry Shogetsu from Japan

Cherry Shogetsu from Japan

Small brook flowing through the park

Small brook flowing through the park

 

Isn’t it a gorgeous place to be? Please come back tomorrow as we are going to show you our favorite trail and an art gallery in the middle of forest!

Till our next meeting,

XXX
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Doctor Who – 50 Years Celebration in Hereford

Hello Timelords!

Welcome again dear readers! It’s almost the middle of the month and we are getting really excited here! The 23rd of November is getting closer and if you do not know what we are talking about, you probably have been living under the rock!
50 years celebrations do not happen every day, but when they do, they are usually remembered for a very long time. And when it was announced that Doctor Who 50 years celebration will be held in Hereford, Rita and Mal started celebrating straight away!

Official poster for Doctor Who 50 year celebration in Hereford

Official poster for Doctor Who 50 year celebration in Hereford

All reincarnations of the Doctor - special poster promoting  a special anniversary episode entitled "The Day of the Doctor"

All reincarnations of the Doctor – special poster promoting a special anniversary episode entitled “The Day of the Doctor”

Compared to other Doctor Who events held  throughout the country, the Hereford one was probably very small and rather local.  We didn’t have professional actors or special guests paying us a visit, nobody from the cast or crew arrived to meet the fans, there was no screening of the anniversary trailer either, but we have to say, we were absolutely blown away by how well everything was organized. The whole celebration was prepared by just a small group of Doctor Who series enthusiasts and it was a hit. No, we are not kidding you: at least thousand visitors arrived to Shire Hall on October 19th to meet the Doctor, his companions and enemies.

Time machine in front of Shire Hall - it's easy to test if you are a true Time Lord!

Time machine in front of Shire Hall – it’s easy to test if you are a true Time Lord!

Dalek is ready to exterminate. Run for your life!

Dalek is ready to exterminate. Run for your life!

The Shire Hall  located on Union Street in the heart of the city is a perfect spot for Doctor Who gathering. The building has been designed by Sir Robert Smirke, famous architect responsible for construction of Eastnor Castle, The British Museum and The Royal Opera House in London among many others.  Shire Hall was built between 1816 and 1819 and stands on the site of a medieval gaol (city jail). This Greek-revival building is said to be one of the most haunted houses in the Marches, with ghosts of hanged criminals, former judges and members of the public roaming its vast corridors at all times. The Hall still serves as a court house and  the workers have seen a lot of paranormal activity even during the daylight! We kid you not – this place is so spooky that when you walk through the door, you almost feel like entering The Twilight Zone.  Also, the DJ hired to entertain the crowd  had a truly wicked sense of humor: he was welcoming guests by playing short clips of music from well known horror movies or TV series. Our  friends arrived to the main theme  from “The X-Files”, “Psycho” or “Rocky Horror Picture Show” while we were greeted by popular tune from “The Ghost Busters”. “Who you gonna call?… Good question, Ghost Busters or Doctor Who?

Dalek guarding the entrance to the Shire Hall. It doesn't matter if you have a ticket or not. All shall be exterminated!

Dalek guarding the entrance to the Shire Hall. It doesn’t matter if you have a ticket or not. All shall be exterminated!

Golden Tardis on  bunting  decorating the main hall

Golden Tardis on bunting decorating the main hall

An image of Super Dalek on decorative bunting in the main corridor of Shire Hall

An image of Super Dalek on decorative bunting in the main corridor of Shire Hall

Sadly, The Ghost Busters services were not really needed as we haven’t seen any ghosts or spirits. It was more of a case for Moulder and Scully or at least for Man in Black – the whole convention was raided by Aliens ! Some Extraterrestrials were friendly, some offered us strange looking refreshments, others were  concerned about our health or moved swiftly behind our backs with suspicious  intentions. One particularly nasty Space Traveler even attempted to strangle Rita! The vast majority of Outlanders however were not interested in any kind of close encounter with humans. All they wanted was to exterminate us and conquer our home planet. Luckily we had few Time Lords with us and nobody was harmed – but it was close! Never, ever trust a cyborg or a moving statue, we tell ya!

Rita was brave enough to have a picture taken with an empty Dalek shell. Nobody in their right mind would ever approach the real Dalek.  It's a big no-no and don't ever even think about it!

Rita was brave enough to have a picture taken with an empty Dalek shell. Nobody in their right mind would ever approach the real Dalek. It’s a big no-no and don’t ever even think about it!

Artist and sculptor Raymond Noakes as the Terror in silver - The Cyberman

Artist and sculptor Raymond Noakes as the Terror in silver – The Cyberman

Once we got rid of the menacing strangers, we were free to walk around and take part in offered attractions. We had a meet-and greet with an (empty) Dalek shell, entered the Tardis and we posed for a commemorative photo taken by professional photographer Becca Wilkin. We have known Becca for years and had seen her in action many times so it was not a surprise for us that we had to queue for almost half an hour to say hello. Oh well, if you are friends with a photographer with skills out of this world, you have to suffer a bit. We couldn’t help ourselves and we returned the favor  by taking picture of Becca hard at work at her laptop editing images. Standing in line at popular event can be quite fun. We chatted to a lovely couple who traveled nearly for three hours just to take part in 50 years celebration and several kids entertained us with short stories about the Doctor that they wrote themselves. If the series continue for another decade, we are sure they could become official script writers! One of the stories consisted of a living portrait, an aquatic monster, two lawyers from Exeter and the fictional King of England, Henry the IX. Brilliant.

To see Becca’s photographs, please visit her at: http://www.beccawilkinphotography.com

Official event photographer Becca Wilkin editing images for Doctor who fans.

Official event photographer Becca Wilkin editing images for Doctor who fans.

Rita and the Tardis - a new companion?

Rita and the Tardis – a new companion for the Doctor?

The highlight of the event was meeting with Mike Collins, the artist and writer for official Doctor Who magazine. Mr Collins started his carrier in early 1980’s by working for Marvel Comics. He was the penciller and cover designer for Spider-Man, Transformers and Zoids. He was also a frequent contributor  to Judge Dread, Rogue Trooper and popular weekly comic 2000 AD. A decade later, his talent was appreciated by Americans companies and Mike Collins made his debut behind the Big Pond by joining DC Comics. He has worked on every important series in the business: Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, The Justice League, Teen Titans and many others. Outside of comics, his artworks have been used in Star Trek magazines, Harry Potter collectible cards and War Hammer 40 000 movie. Mr Collins joined Doctor Who magazine in 2006 and since then, he became one of the most important  artists associated with the title.

Mike Collins meeting the fans

Mike Collins meeting the fans

A quick sketch of the 11th Doctor for a young visitor. Can you believe, he only needed 4 minutes to draw this?

A quick sketch of the 11th Doctor for a young visitor. Can you believe, he only needed 4 minutes to draw this?

Hand drawn master copy of "The only good Dalek" - fantastic work!

Hand drawn master copy of “The only good Dalek” – fantastic work!

Meeting such well established author can be an intimidating adventure, but Mr Colllins was very kind and approachable. He kindly signed autographs, answered lots of questions and even drew several caricatures of cosplayers and visitors. Rita had a long discussion with him about comic market in the UK, new media, marketing and events management. As we found out, he was aware of our blog! Before coming to Hereford, he did a little research on the Internet and came across our review of Malta Comicon and Herefordian Arts and Crafts market. We also have several common friends on Facebook (including a ridiculously talented  Worcester based comic artist Steve Pugh) so the conversation quickly turned into a very personal chat.  Mr Collins signed Doctor Who print for Helen Stringer, a British writer living in America and good friends of ours (from author to an author, as he described it) and in the end allowed us to take few photographs of hand drawn  master copy of his book “The only good Dalek”.  Thank you Mike! You are truly wonderful and if you are reading this know, that the signed print is on its way to the old good USA!

Mike Collins’ official website: http://www.freakhousegraphics.com/
Mike Collins on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MikeCollinsFreakhouseGraphics

Mike Collins print kindly presented to our friend Helen Stringer

Mike Collins print kindly presented to our friend Helen Stringer

And mike's signature on the back. Thank you!

And mike’s signature on the back. Thank you!

While speaking to Mike Collins, we were told about a small display of rare Doctor Who memorabilia located somewhere in the building. The display was nowhere to be found in the main hall so our next mission was to locate the exhibition and investigate if there was something interesting to see.  The task was not really hard to complete as the display was located in one of the back corridors but many people simply missed it not knowing they were allowed to enter. The rare collection consisted of books, audio dramas and mini novels released at the beginning of 70’s and 80’s. We have also seen Doctor Who Annuals, first copies of official Doctor Who magazines and hand made posters used to advertise the first series in 1963. The items most intriguing to us were the four little metallic figurines used in the production of series Four, Five and Seven: Dalek, Super Dalek, Cyberman and Davros sitting inside the Dalek shell. All figurines were the originals used by the TV crew and only several of them have been made. They were so expensive, they had to be kept in a special glass case borrowed from West Mercia Police. The owner laughed we wouldn’t be able to open it even if we used a sonic screwdriver!

Doctor Who Annuals on the display

Doctor Who Annuals on the display

Davros figurine

Davros figurine

Cyberman figurine

Cyberman figurine

and The Super Dalek figurine as well

and The Super Dalek figurine as well

We love talking to artists and looking at gadgets and memorabilia connected to the series, but the best thing about the Doctor Who convention is always the cosplay!  Kids and adults prepared some incredibly realistic costumes and a group photographic session was so much fun. There was at least 9 Doctors (including Second, Fourth, Fifth, Tenth and Eleventh), two Daleks, one Davros, several Venetian Vampires, Clockwork Droids (Men and Women), two Weeping Angels and one lovely Sister of Plenitude who asked about our well-being! We haven’t seen all cosplayers as we arrived in the afternoon, but we were told there was one lady dressed as Jenny (Doctor’s daughter), two or three companions (including Rose Tyler the companion of  the Tenth Doctor) and Susan Foreman – Doctor’s granddaughter.

Rita took several pictures of the whole group posing near the Tardis.  Would you believe the whole photo-session took more than two hours? Time sure flies when you are having fun!

Clockwork Woman  posing for a picture near the Tardis

Clockwork Woman posing for a picture near the Tardis

Kindra Jones as a Sister of Plentitude

Kindra Jones as a Sister of Plentitude

Weeping Angel covers her face and the Eleventh Doctor

Weeping Angel covers her face and the Eleventh Doctor

And a Group picture with a fan

And a Group picture with a fan

Doctor Who 50 years celebration in Hereford was a huge success. The food and drinks prepared by Hereford Sixth Form College and Whitecross High School students were excellent, the guests were interesting and the company – the best in the universe. What else would we want? The only complain we have is  that such celebration do not happen each year and we will have to wait another half a century for a party like that!

Luckily, the birthday extravaganza is not over yet. We still have 6 days left to the premiere of the 50th anniversary special episode of Doctor Who, entitled simply “The Day of the Doctor”.  It will be broadcasted on BBC One on 23 November 2013 in both 2D and 3D. Also, make sure you do not miss the web mini-episode “The Night of the Doctor” that shows the last  moments of The Eight Doctor (portrayed by Paul McGann) and his regeneration into the War Doctor.

You can find see the episode here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U3jrS-uhuo

BBC America has also released 26 photos from the “Day of the Doctor”. You can see them all here:
http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/11/17/doctor-who-50-photos/

Enjoy!
Rita and Malicia D.

H-Art Festival 2013 – Herefordshire Open Exhibition

Ohayo!!

Welcome back to the last part of Hereford Art Festival 2013 reviews!  We had such a great time writing about the artists that presented their works at Herefordshire Open Exhibition, and we hope that you will enjoy our selection.

If you have missed our previous entries, do not despair. We have them all archived properly and links are posted below for your convenience.  Just a reminder – The Call of the Wild was dedicated to Love Zimbabwe and the art of Karl Hamilton -Cox. Part two took us to back alleyways where we had a chance to discover places that are normally closed for the public: The secret gardens of Apple Store Gallery and Fired Earth in-store exposition.

Part 1: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/h-art-festival-2013-the-call-of-the-wild/

Part2: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/h-art-festival-2013-apple-store-gallery-and-fired-earth-exhibitions/

h.Art Herefordshire Open Exhibition leaflet - front

h.Art Herefordshire Open Exhibition leaflet – front

h.Art Herefordshire Open Exhibition leaflet - back

h.Art Herefordshire Open Exhibition leaflet – back

Today’s entry is a comeback to the mainstream. Herefordshire Open Gallery and Herefordshire Young Open Exhibition (which we sadly had to miss this year) are the two main events for H.Art Festival. Organized in the same heart of Hereford City, both of them draw huge crowds of visitors on their opening nights and remain popular through out their duration. We concentrated on Herefordshire Open Exhibition as it offered the best selection for our needs: younger artists were exhibiting next to well established local creators and international stars.
We tried to present sculptors, painters, mixed media artists and abstract painters – each reader can find something of interest for themselves.

Some artists had a chance to show their works twice: at the Herefordshire Open Exhibition and again at their own studios or homes (usually called venues). The full list of all venues opened during h.Art festival 2013 can be found in PDF folder below. Each place has a link to the official site, short description and one selected work that represents a solo artist or a group:

Click to access guide_2013.pdf

Enjoy our picks and do not forget to write to us to tell us what do you think!
You can reach us at rdabrowicz”yahoo.com. No spam please and thank you!

And now, Ladies and Gents, we are proud to present Vanadian Avenue Guide to the best art and artists of h.Art 2013! Enjoy!!

AND THE WINNERS ARE:

Julian Meredith – Woodcut prints
Official website:
http://www.julianmeredith.co.uk
More information: http://www.northhousegallery.co.uk/art-exhibition/artist/julian-meredith/bee-eel-elm-tree-extinction/

You know what they say – size matters, especially in art.  Julian Meredith is one of those artists, who can steal an entire exhibition with just a single piece of his work, and he did exactly that at Herefordshire Open Exhibition.  Julian knows how to work with big formats – sometimes hundreds of feet long and the final effects are simply breathtaking. Born in 1952, Mr Meredith has a long and very successful career in arts: he received  at least 30 prestigious awards, held multiple solo exhibitions and participated in group art displays on several continents. His works can be found in almost all important museums and private galleries in the UK and abroad.

Julian is fascinated by history, fossils, stones and natural prints of animals that inhabited the Earth million of years ago. His artworks feature mostly fish (eels, whales, tunas), but also birds, otters, deers and insects. He portrays an unique relationship between species and their environments. His favorite medium are wood cut prints colored by hand with oil and ink. Mr Meredith loves working outside of his studio as well: he is known to create enormous artwork in sand, snow or grass.  We were amazed how detailed his artworks are.  The picture you can seen below shows “Bluefin (Tuna)” one of his delicate prints made on rice paper. Every line, every bone or scale is clearly visible. The viewer has a feeling like his is watching the fish through the lens of a microscope – we are full of awe as we didn’t know such surgical precision in printmaking is even possible!

Mr Meredith’s daughter commented her father’s work with those excellent words: “My father lives in a world where wood becomes water which flows into fish which fall eaten to the bone crushed by stone into lime that lives as a whale formed in a field in a sea full of grass where water once ran.” We think no other comment is truly necessary.

Bluefin (Tuna), wood cut print by Julian Meredith was priced at £6,000 (framed) and £5,00 (unframed)

Bluefin (Tuna), wood cut print by Julian Meredith was priced at £6,000 (framed) and £5,00 (unframed)

Elmigration -wood cut print by Julian Meredith

Elmigration – wood cut print by Julian Meredith

Wendy Houghton – Porcelain paper-clay
Official website:
http://www.wendyhoughton.co.uk
More information: https://www.facebook.com/wendyceramics

If you haven’t heard about porcelain paper-clay, don’t you worry, you are not the only one!  Rita and Mal has covered hundreds of art exhibitions and spoke to many artists, but we have never came across such medium in our art related  journeys before. Wikipedia to the rescue – by definition, paper clay is any clay body to which processed cellulose fiber (paper being the most common) has been added. Wendy Houghton uses porcelain paper clay to make the most delicate and elaborate ceramics sculptures we had a chance to see this year.

It takes years of practice and a lot of skills to use paper-clay. There is no single, universal recipe how to prepare this medium. Each artist composes his or her own mixture and works with it. If you’d like to give it a go, do not pester others to ask how they did it. The best way is to try it yourself, by trial and error. Porcelain paper-clay art is not for people who give up easily. Wendy has been perfecting her art for nearly 30 years but the works are worth all the pain, sweat and tears. Mrs Houghton says she is fascinated by the fragility, delicateness and vulnerability of the surrounding world and tries to add those qualities to her sculptures. One artwork named “Nest I” has been voted as one of the most popular pieces of art at Herefordshire Open Exhibition by the visiting public – and rightly so!

Nest I by Wendy Houghton (on the left) with another artwork in the background - priced at £450

Nest I by Wendy Houghton (on the left) with another artwork in the background – priced at £450

Will Carr – steel sculptures
Official website:
http://willcarrsculptures.co.uk
More information: https://www.facebook.com/willcarrsculptures

Will Carr is one of the youngest abstract and figurative sculpture makers from Herefordshire. He was raised on a farm and since the early age, was drawn to  technical and practical skills. He taught himself to weld old machinery parts  and by accident discovered his passion for creating and sculpting. Will has extraordinarily imagination that allows him to picture the final product before the work begins. He doesn’t need to sketch the concept or divide his time on separate parts.  His unusual vision and skills allow him to easily finish an entire sculpture in one take – something very rare for an artist that is at the beginning of his artistic path.

2013 proved to be an excellent year for Mr Carr. He has exhibited his works all over the county and won the prestigious Hereford Young Artist Bursary Award. Please keep your eyes open for Will – we will hear a lot about him in the nearest future!

Turkey Tail Fungus by Will Carr - wood and steel sculpture

Turkey Tail Fungus by Will Carr – wood and steel sculpture

Helen Crawford – Embroidery and textiles
Official website:
http://www.rubiconart.com/%5Cartists.asp?artist=hc
More information: http://h-art.herefordshire.gov.uk/hartvisithart2013/harteast/helen,-gilbert-and-rebecca-crawford,-rachel-padley-and-paul-shepherd-%281%29.aspx

H-art festival has always been a very important event  for us. We love discovering new trends, meeting talented people and looking at the beautiful pieces of arts. This year’s edition is double special as we not only had a chance to learn from the artists themselves by watching them at work, but also because we discovered Helen Crawford. Helen, a well established artist in Herefordshire, lives in small village of Bromesberrow near Ledbury. She specializes in embroidery, textiles and mixed media creating artworks so unique that they can only be called a true masterpieces. We know, we shouldn’t have our favorites, but Helen’s artworks are mesmerizing. Talking to the curators of Herefordshire Open Exhibitions, we were told that Helen has been taking part in H-art for about six years now and each year her artworks are well received by the critics and public. Rita thinks that last year, she must have been completely blind as she cannot find any other rational explanation how she managed to miss Mrs Crawford’s artworks. Helen holds a degree in Stitched Textiles from Gloucester College of Art and Technology and completed two City and Guilds Courses in Embroidery (Part 1 and Part 2). She is inspired by woodlands and wild landscapes surrounding Malvern Hills, music and poetry.

As  a member of Rubicon artist group , this is how she describes her own works: “My silk paper seascapes and landscapes are created from hand dyed silk fibers, which give me a rich palette for washes of color. Composition and content are integrated during the construction and subsequent enrichment of the surface with machine stitch and mixed media”.

Helen’s artworks were displayed in Venue 75 along with works of Gilbert and Rebecca Crawford, Rachel Padley and Paul Shepherd. We are not sure if Helen is related to Gilbert and Rebecca, but if she is, then the artistic talent runs in the entire Crawford family!
If you’d like to see Gilbert’s furniture and Rebecca’s hand made jewellery and artworks, please click on the links below:

Gilbert Crawford: http://www.herefordcraftguild.org.uk/#/gilbert-crawford/4549142865
Rebecca Crawford: http://www.myspacefruit.com/

Golden light by Helen Crawford - silk paper, mixed media and stitch

Golden light by Helen Crawford – silk paper, mixed media and stitch

Detailed picture of Golden Light from Helen's official website.

Detailed picture of Golden Light from Helen’s official website.

Véronique Avon – French artist in the UK!
Official website:
http://www.artavon.com/
More information: http://www.atelierveronique.co.uk/index2.htm

What can happen if you take a French artist, move her to British country side, give her “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint Exupéry’ and a lot of  free time? The answer to this question is surprisingly easy: she will start painting!  Avon has been born and raised in Provence and moved to Herefordshire over 20 years ago. She still misses the sunshine, flowers and cicadas of France but is mesmerized by  black and white village trail, picturesque river Wye and the lovely landscape.

We admire Véronique for her well – defined style and for not being afraid to experiment. Her works are very colorful and beautifully designed – each painting has many layers, specific mood and a leading theme. Did we mentioned that she gives her paintings a long titles?  They are in fact haikus – our favourite is “Angels of the past, Of far away memories, Gardeners of the souls…” which you can see below on a picture.  Outside of painting, Mrs Avon is interested in medieval illustrations, stained glass window art and making prints and hand made cards.

Véronique Avon's fantastic work entitled "Angels of the past, Of far away moments, Gardeners of the souls..."  - oil on canvas

Véronique Avon’s fantastic work entitled “Angels of the past, Of far away moments, Gardeners of the souls…” – oil on canvas

Anita Louise Davies – geometric and expressionist  abstract art
Official website: http://anitalouisedavies.wordpress.com
More information: http://ciderhouseartists.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/anita-louise-davies-questioning-geometric-and-expressionist-abstract/

Anita Louise Davies is  an abstract artist specializing in geometric and expressionist forms.  There are not many artists out there who create such specific artworks and we have to admit, Mrs Davies is doing an excellent job. Her work entitled “Collateral Damage: On Face of it” has been made with aid cotton bandage, painted cards and safety pins and gained a lot of attention from the public. Anita exhibited two works at Herefordshire Open Exhibition and participated in collective display at The Cider House, Lodge Farm Barns in Canon Pyon  with Miranda Goudge, Caroline Holt-Wilson, Liz Morison and Dani Sangway (Venue number 9 as Cider House Artists).

Collateral Damage: On the face of it by Anita Louise Davies. Cotton bandage, acrylic paint  - not for sale

Collateral Damage: On the face of it by Anita Louise Davies. Cotton bandage, acrylic paint – not for sale

Professional picture taken by the artist. There are 16 small canvases on board

Professional picture taken by the artist. There are 16 small canvases on board

Anita took several detailed pictures for her blog and they can be seen here:



Simon Meiklejohn – kinetic art
Official website: http://www.simic.uk.com/
More information:
https://www.facebook.com/simon.meiklejohn.5

There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy – said Hamlet to Horatio. Yes there are things in this world of art that Rita and Mal hasn’t heard of  yet. Well, we are learning fast! Another surprise after porcelain paper-clay, is the kinetic art.  Some of you might be really surprised that we just recently learned of its existence, especially when first kinetic sculptures were produced at the beginning of 20th century.  However, please note that we never studied art and everything we know comes from self studies and discoveries, exactly like this one. When we come across something new, we tend to research the topic, until we have a good understanding of it.

Simon Meiklejohn is a very well known kinetic sculptor living and creating in Hereford.  He studied fine art sculpture at Teesside University in Middlesbrough, UK and in Cleveland, USA.  He is also a certified mechanical engineer on both sides of the Big Pond. His works combine the best of both worlds: the precision of engineering and the beauty of art. His skills are unquestionable and Simon’s sculptures can be seen in many prestigious museums and galleries including Riverside Museum in Glasgow, the Royal Institute of Art in London, The Sea Henge exhibition in Kings Lynn, The Kelvingrove Museum & Art gallery in Glasgow.

Steel kinetic sculpture "Fleeting moment" by Simon Meiklejohn in motion

Steel kinetic sculpture “Fleeting moment” by Simon Meiklejohn in motion

Fleeting Moment in motion again

Fleeting Moment in motion again

Fleeting moment in motion for the third time

Fleeting moment in motion for the third time

Simon is the owner of engineering/artistic company named Form and Function and is open for commission work.
You can visit his business site here: http://www.form-and-function.co.uk/
Or visit his official YouTube channel to see the kinetic art in motion: http://www.youtube.com/user/simeiklejohn

For the H.Art, Simon contributed several sculptures: three were displayed at Herefordshire Open Exhibitions and others were displayed at Venues 65 and 113.

John Meiklejohn sculpture entitled "I''ll give you all you ever wanted (But if you want too much, I might go off you a bit)"

John Meiklejohn sculpture entitled “I”ll give you all you ever wanted (But if you want too much, I might go off you a bit)”

Simon Meiklejohn sculpture entitled "Of my own making"

Simon Meiklejohn sculpture entitled “Of my own making”

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

As last year, we would like to award some artists with Honorable mentions on our blog. We have chosen 4 creators that deserve to be watch closely. We loved their artwork and if our intuition is correct, they going to be huge in the next few years.

Honorable mention number 1 for 2013 is Andrea McLean.
Official website: http://andrea-mclean.co.uk/cv.html
More information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/artists/mclean-andrea-b-1968
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrea-McLean/189946051039253

Andrea McLean was born in 1968 in  Denbighshire, Wales. She studied at Falmouth School of Art, the Slade School of Art and the British School at Rome on an Abbey Scholarship in Painting. Her painting “A Contemporary Mappa Mundi’ is on display at the British Library as part of their permanent collection and can be found near the entrance to the map room.  Andrea has been voted as a favorite painter by BBC website viewers for their art project “Your Paintings”.  She lives and works in Ledbury.  For H.art Herefordshire Open Exhibition she donated “Ledbury Dreamscape”.

Andrea McLean's Ledbury Dreamscape, oil on canvas

Andrea McLean’s Ledbury Dreamscape, oil on canvas

Closer look at the Ledbury Dreamscape by  Andrea McLean

Closer look at the Ledbury Dreamscape by
Andrea McLean

Honorable mention number 2:  Jeremy Stiff
Official website: http://www.jemstiff.co.uk/
More information: http://www.axisweb.org/p/jeremystiff

Jeremy Stiff is living in the wilds of the Black Mountains, in South Wales, with his wife Menna Angharad a painter and a  daughter. They are in charge of a large  animal farm, an orchard and a bit of private forest. Outside of taking care of animals and  the nature, Jeremy is also an accomplished sculptor with many solo and group exhibition to his name in the UK and abroad. Mr Stiff holds HND (Higher National Diploma) in Figurative Sculpture and MA degree in Fine Arts from Cardiff Metropolitan University. At Herefordshire Open Exhibition, Jeremy displayed one of his newest sculptures entitled “Essentials”

Plaster sculpture Essentials by Jeremy Stiff being displayed at HOE

Plaster sculpture Essentials by Jeremy Stiff being displayed at HOE

Jeremy Stiff  plaster sculpture called Essentials

Jeremy Stiff plaster sculpture called Essentials

Honorable mention number 3:  Xaviere Hughes
Official website: none yet
More information: http://www.hca.ac.uk/About/Whos-Who/June-2013/Xaviere-Hughes

Xaviere Hughes completed his BA Honours Degree in Fine Art from Edinburgh College of Art, and an MA in Art & Design from Gray’s School of Art before studying for a Post Graduate Certificate of Education with the university of Wales and working in Arts Education. As a teacher at Herefordshire College of Arts, he mentored many young students who achieved national and international fame. In his own art, Xaviere concentrates on mixed media that mixes real life domesticity with careful composition and articulations of detail and colour.

In recent interview, Xaviere described his art with those  words:  “I am concerned with the choices and decisions that a person has the opportunity to make within their lifetime. I am interested in the way in which an ever changing and disposable society such as ours, can influence the hopes, dreams and aspirations of a generation. I am attempting to capture an essence of ‘lifestyle’ media bombardment by manipulating messages and imagery that have been conveyed both through history and via the mass media and mass consumerism. Take it or leave it…the choice is yours.”

Xaviere Hughs political incorrect art entitled "Mother Fucker", mixed media on paper

Xaviere Hughs political incorrect art entitled “Mother Fucker”, mixed media on paper

Honorable mention number 4: Kate Morgan Clare
Official website: http://morgan-clare.com/?page_id=36
More information: http://www.breconwomensfestival.co.uk/section582168_211332.html

Kate Morgan-Clare mixed media sculpture was Rita’s favorite piece of art at the Herefordshire Open Exhibition.  Entitled “The Granny chair”, it was made of delicate paper, beautifully colored and designed by the artist.  Kate lives in The Welsh Marches and currently is studying  for Fine Art Honours Degree at Hereford College of Arts. She has been painting for many years and her works has been exhibited numerous times. She is concerned with human condition, identity and a sense of place and memory.  Her best known work is a series of  mixed media drawings dedicated to children living in the UK during the WWII. Kate spent a lot of time investigating clothes, toys,  old photographs and histories trying to create works imitating real life during difficult time of loss and uncertainty.

Kate Morgan-Clare's Granny chair - mixed media art. Sadly, not for sale.

Kate Morgan-Clare’s Granny chair – mixed media art. Sadly, not for sale.

Wow! A real art overload. We could write on and on and on, and yet we would not be able to describe all  the wonderful artworks and  talented people who made them. If you have  a bit of time, please visit Hereford Library on Broad street, opposite the Cathedral. The art gallery is located on second floor, just upstairs from the library. Herefordshire Open Exhibition can be seen till the end of October. The Gallery is open 5 days a week (except for Mondays and Sundays) between 9 am and 19:00 pm and admission is free.
You can contact the Library by telephone at 01432 383600 or by email: herefordlibrary@herefordshire.gov.uk

Our next blog will be published on Halloween and it going to be dedicated to Doctor Who, so please make sure you stop by to read it!
You know you want to!

Till then,
Rita and Malicia D.

H-Art Festival 2013 – Apple Store Gallery and Fired Earth exhibitions

Welcome back art lovers!

We are really sorry that you had to wait so long for another part of the H-art review. Rita had a bit of health issues and needed to undergo a thyroid operation, but now she is feeling fine and is back at work! You can expect a lot of blogging in the next few weeks as Rita is having a lots of great ideas and cannot wait till she shares them with you all!

Official Logo for  Herefordshire Art Week

Official Logo for Herefordshire Art Week

If you missed the first part of the H-Art 2013 review, please clicks on the link below to read The call of the wild. The first part was dedicated to Martha Holman (Love Zimbabwe art and charity) and Brian Hamilton-Cox:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/h-art-festival-2013-the-call-of-the-wild/

For the second part, we decided to do something completely different.  First of all, we went off the beaten track and skipped the grand openings that we attended last year. We love socializing with artists and people but since we have seen it all just 12 months ago, a small change was  very much needed. It was decided that we should skip the bigger events and concentrate on the smaller venues that are likely to be missed by general public. The experiment was a huge success in our opinions – not only we could spend a lot of time looking at the artworks without being pushed around by the crowd, but we had the time to speak to the artists and owners of art galleries. Of course, do not misunderstand what we just written – while visiting the H-Art venues we were never alone. H-art is a very popular festival with hundreds of visitors and passer by’s, but we had the luxury of photographing artworks without having to watch for other peoples elbows being stuck in our lenses or being stamped nearly to death by art enthusiasts. Skipping the night openings and exhibitions previews can be a fun experience too. You might not be able to grab a free drink, but you can contemplate  and enjoy the art in silence as long as you please.

Official Create Herefordshire logo

Official Create Herefordshire logo

Smaller venues do not usually organize any openings but they offer you a bit of privacy and the feeling is really important to us. You can walk around the venue,  stick your nose into every hole and explore freely. For example, we have noticed that some venues have additional visiting rooms that normally are closed to visitors as they are either part of private workshops or stores. In normal circumstances, walking into those parts of the artist’s house or gallery equals to trespassing. During art festivals, artists not only open their own houses for the public, but they will happily give you a tour of their garden or show you an old barn that has been turned into painting atelier or a photography studio.  Art galleries are acting in similar fashion.  Backrooms and offices are normally inaccessible, but if you pay them a visit after the opening madness has ended, you will find out that the extra rooms are being open and serve as additional exhibition space.

We have chosen two smaller galleries in the Hereford City Center especially for this review: Apple Store Gallery on Bridge Street and  Fire Earth Store on King Street. We would like to thank the owners for showing us around their premises and introducing to three wonderful artists. It was a real pleasure to speak to them and learn more about their work.

APPLE TREE GALLERY

Official Apple Store Gallery Logo

Official Apple Store Gallery Logo

Apple Tree Gallery has been founded in 2005 by husband and wife team, David Laws and Marion Campbell, in an Arts & Crafts apple store in Brockhampton, Herefordshire. They moved to Bridge Street offices in 2010 and since then, they became a very important spot on Hereford art map. David and Marion have nearly 30 years of experience in art management and work very closely with numerous Herefordian artists, painters, jewellery makers and arts and crafts people. If you are new to the area and you’d like to talk to somebody who knows what is going on in the county, David and Marion are your best bet. We have met them for the first time in 2011, and they are  wonderfully well informed couple, always ready to help and direct the lost souls in the right direction. Apple Tree Gallery is open all year long and organizes literally hundreds of events. Every time we walk into the art gallery, there is something happening there. The place is so popular, that the gallery is booked solid till the end of 2014! David and Marion will  speak to new artists and if you’d like to exhibit your works at Apple Tree, all you have to do is to contact them and explain what you do.

Apple Tree Gallery offers additional services as well: you can buy  art materials, frame your artwork and learn how to paint. During the H.Art festival, the gallery was a sponsor of Herefordshire Young Open exhibition and End of Year show for the BA Fine Art Degree at Hereford College of Arts.

Apple Store Gallery Official page: http://applestoregallery.com
Apple Store on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Apple-Store-Gallery-in-Hereford/174009972629325

Address: 3 Bridge Street, HR4 9DF Hereford, Herefordshire
(Tuesdays to Fridays from 09:30 am to 16:30 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 13:00 pm)
Telephone: 01432 378436
Email address: applestoregallery@btinternet.com

Apple Store Gallery banner

Apple Store Gallery banner

We have visited Apple Tree Gallery on Saturday 7th of September to see what David and Marion have prepared especially for the H.Art Festival. The first thing we noticed was that the gallery have been redecorated: some cabinets  were removed to make more space for exhibition stalls and easels. A small corridor leading to the back of the building was also decorated with paintings and portraits and the garden was now opened for the visitors. It was actually the first time, we could enter the garden and take look around.  It is beautifully designed and looks like a real secret garden should. Among wild flowers and narrow alleyways,  we have discovered a white tent containing beautiful artwork by two artists: sculptor Sally Grant and painter Roland Moore.

SALLY GRANT – Sculptures with a soul

Sally Grant is an internationally renowned artist with many years of working and exhibiting experience. She has been born in Aberdeen in 1973 and became interested in painting and sculpting at a very young age. She has studied Visual Arts at Cheltenham and holds MA Degree in Arts Management from Cambridge.

Sally Grant sculpture in the Apple Store Gallery garden

Sally Grant sculpture in the Apple Store Gallery garden

Sally Grant sculpture entitled "Remembering Head"

Sally Grant sculpture entitled “Remembering Head”

What we truly love about Sally’s art is her uniqueness – her style cannot be mistaken with anything or anybody else. All you need to do is to take a one, quick look at her works to be sure it is her. Rita has been interested in abstract art for many years now and she is always happy to discover a new abstract artist living and creating in Hereford. Sally’s sculptures have semi abstract feel to them, but they are not overly abstract or too hard to understand at the same time.

Sculptures on display

Sculptures on display

Sally has exhibited her sculptures inside the Apple Gallery  (in the main hall) and in the garden.
Official  website: http://www.sallygrantsculpture.co.uk

RONALD MOORE – the beauty of the Welsh border

Ronald Moore is one of the best known artists working at the boarder of Herefordshire and the Wales. His skills are almost legendary.  Mr Moore has a long and very successful career:  he is not only a renowned painter that exhibited his works all over the world (Asia, USA, Japan and majority of Europe), participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, but he is also a famous art historian and art teacher at several universities and colleges in the UK. The most fascinating thing about Ronald Moore is that he has spent  35 years working as a painting conservator for museums and galleries, English Heritage, the army and the church and has handled paintings by Caravaggio, Turner, Constable, Rembrandt, Canaletto and many other major names.

Beautiful landscape by Ronald Moore

Beautiful landscape by Ronald Moore

Ronald Moore artwork displayed in Apple Store Gallery

Ronald Moore artwork displayed in Apple Store Gallery

Mr Moore has several degrees to his name including:
1961-66 Birmingham and Oxford Colleges of Art.
1975 BA (Hons) History of Art at London University
1970’s Research in the psychology of perception with reference to early 20th century non objective painting.

In 2013, he has exhibited in Australia and New York  and his paintings can be found in private and public art collections in New York and New South Wales. He is also represented by British Royal Collection as well.

Mr Moore is represented by Ardent Gallery and Management:
http://www.ardentgallery.co.uk/acatalog/Ronald_Moore.html#aRM49

Show me the way to the next art gallery....

Show me the way to the next art gallery….

We have left Apple Tree Gallery thinking that we would not be able to find another artist that could show us something as beautiful as Sally’s sculptures or so skillfully presented as the paintings made by Mr Moore. As usual, we were mistaken! Our next stop was FIRED EARTH, a store that specializes in hand made floor and wall tiles, paint, wallpaper, bathrooms, kitchen furniture, handwoven rugs and wood flooring. Wait a minute, you may think. Why after leaving an art gallery, suddenly we decided to go to a tiles store? Well, we didn’t go there to choose our next bathroom tiles, but to see a small exhibition by ceramic artist Kate Davson.  The cool thing about H.Art festival is the whole town is involved in it. You do not have to be an owner of an art gallery to participate. Many stores, cafeterias and coffee houses take part by allowing artists to put their works on displays in main windows or inside the shops.  Kate being a ceramic artist chose Fired Earth as the best place to showcase her ceramic wonders.

Fired Earth logo and design catalog

Fired Earth logo and design catalog

FIRED EARTH is located on 11 King Street Hereford, Herefordshire, HR4 9BW
Telephone: 01432 277000
Email: hereford@firedearth.com
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 9.30 – 5.30
Website: http://www.firedearth.com

KATE DAWSON – decorative & sculptural Raku

Kate Dawson made her official debut at H.Art 2013 with a group of other artists known as The Bredwardine Bunch (Kim Davis, Jackie Edwards, Rob Grunsell , Sam Hughes, Kate Pritchard and Jacky Thomas). The Bredwardine Bunch were located at Bredwardine Village Hall in small village of Bredwardine, nearly 13 miles away from Hereford (aka Venue 101). Kate’s ceramics however were displayed in several other places, one of them being Fired Earth where we had a chance to see them.

Kate Dawson exhibition in Fired Earth store

Kate Dawson exhibition in Fired Earth store

Raku pottery by Kate Dawson - Rita's favorite piece of art this year!

Raku pottery by Kate Dawson – Rita’s favorite piece of art this year!

Kate has spent many years exploring different mediums (including painting, jewellery making, textiles, Chinese brush painting and others) before she finally stumbled into ceramics in 2002. Since then she  acquired City and Guilds degree in 3D Design and Ceramics and opened her own ceramic studio with huge success. She specializes in raku – type of Japanese pottery that is traditionally used in Chanoyu – the tea ceremony. Kate and her husband live very close to the Welsh boarder and  work together from their studio overlooking the Wye Valley.

Please visit Kate’s Official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kate.dawson.1460
Kate official website can be found here: http://www.ceramakate.co.uk/
Telephone: 01981 500696
Email: kate@ceramakate.co.uk

Detailed picture of Kate's  timeless raku pottery

Detailed picture of Kate’s timeless raku pottery

Since moving to Herefordshire in 2006, Kate has become a very active member of the artistic community. She is one of the senior members of Herefordshire Guild of Master Craftsmen and runs Hereford Life Drawing Group. She is also the main organizer of popular Portrait in Clay and Life in Clay workshops. If you are interested in purchasing one of her ceramics or taking a part in her classes, please contact Kate  and don’t forget to mention our blog!

We hope you have enjoyed this little trip through the back streets of H.Art festival. Please return shortly as we are going back to the mainstream! The third and the last part of our review will introduce you to young and very creative Herefordian art wolves that are planning to take up the art world by storm!

Have a good rest!
XXX
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

H-Art Festival 2013: The call of the wild

Hello art lovers!

It is September again and it means that summer laziness is finally over. No more sleeping late, bye-bye to all night parties and time wasting. Mal and Rita are ready for some action! With all students back in schools and universities, the city life is much more varied and active. And the beginning of calendar Autumn in Hereford is, as usual, extremely busy. At this time of year, all Herefordians are truly able to think about is art.  Don’t misunderstand us, Hereford folks are very down to Earth and hard-working type of people for the remaining 11 months of the year. But with the ever popular h.Art festival happening all around the city and with hundreds and hundreds of tourists, it is almost impossible to pay attention to anything else.

h.Art logo

h.Art logo

Last year, we promised our readers that we would return and we have kept our word. If you’d like to read the reviews from 2012 edition, please click on the links below.

h.Art Artist market reviews:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/the-h-art-festival-the-artists-market-part-1/
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/the-h-art-festival-the-artists-market-part-2/

h.Art Herefordshire Open Exhibition reviews:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/the-h-art-festival-private-view-of-herefordshire-open-exhibition/
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/the-h-art-festival-artists-of-the-hereford-open-exhibition/
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/the-h-art-festival-even-more-artists-of-the-hereford-open-exhibition/

h.Art magazine cover

h.Art magazine cover

The Art Festival has grown again this year. More artists, more venues, more visitors – and more walking for the art lovers. We have noticed that the festival is slowly leaving the Herefordshire and venturing into Wales and Worcestershire.  We had a chance to travel by car from Hereford to Worcester and we noticed at least 6 signs inviting us to  stop and visit private workshops and houses of artists participating in the h.Art festival. Last year, going the same route, we noticed only two signs along the road. Rita is especially pleased with this as Hereford doesn’t get much love and exposure in the national media, despite being nearly an idyllic place to live. Honestly speaking, if Hay-on-Way can be internationally known thanks to their Book festival, then Hereford has equal chances of re-introducing itself to the world as the town of art, music and creative individuals.

h.Art 2013 in numbers is very impressive: Hereford Times estimates that more than 15.000 visitors arrived to Hereford in 9 days between 7th and 15th September, the festival had 119 venues housing 154 artists (local and guests coming from all over UK), and 12 stand-alone events like church exhibitions, artists markets, grand openings, talks, workshops and meetings. As usual, the biggest celebration took place in the same center of Hereford and the highlights of the festival included: Apple Store Gallery on Bridge street, Aylestone Court (Artsite 3 and Artspace Gallery Open Exhibition), Castle House (Fizz Watkins Contemporary Works exhibition), Hereford Cathedral School Art Exhibition (fine art and textiles produced by its 11-18 year old pupils), Hereford College of Arts (collection of work from BA Hons Artist Blacksmithing alumni together with cross-section of final year students work from higher and further education programmes), Herefordshire Young Open Exhibition in St Peter’s Church in The High Town, The Old Mayor’s Parlour at  23 Church Street, (Karl Hamilton-Cox exhibition),  The Courtyard Centre for the Arts on Edgar Street (contemporary art and The Limes – ecological project  to save old Lime Trees in Hereford) , The Herefordshire Open Exhibition in Hereford Museum and Gallery on Broad Street and The Three Amigos at 53 Stanhope street (Steve Richards, Raymond Gordon and John Feeney).

h.Art Map

h.Art Map

Hereford venues for h.Art Festival

Hereford venues for h.Art Festival

Detailed map of the  festival can be found here:

Click to access map_guide.pdf

Guide to h.Art festival 2013 can be downloaded here:

Click to access guide_2013.pdf

It is impossible of course for us to visit all sites and exhibitions and to write reviews. We are not even sure if the readers would be  interested in reading so many entries dedicated to just one art festival! That’s why, we have allowed ourselves to choose the most interesting people (and places) from our point of view and write about them on our blog. This entry is dedicated to two remarkable artists that take their inspiration, surprisingly, from the same source despite huge differences between them. We have mentioned one artist on Vanadian Avenue before, the other have been introduced to us by a mutual friend and we have never met him before.  Let us tell you this: art has a fantastic way of bringing the audience, artists and journalists together, creating an incredibly strong bond between us all. Ladies and Gentlemen, without any further delay, please let us introduce you to a very special review of h.Art Festival inspired by African culture, life, tradition and wildlife.  This blog is entitles “The call of the Wild” and features two distinctive artists: Martha Musonza Holman and Karl Hamilton-Cox.

MARTHA HOLMAN
If you ever meet Martha is person, you’d be surprised how strong and powerful she is. We are not talking about physical strength, but the dynamic and energetic personality that brightens the world around her and lifts your spirits. Mrs Holman is not only an artist, but co-founder of Love Zimbabwe Charity, business woman, art dealer, writer, teacher and spokeswoman (not to mention that she is also a mom of three and runs an entire household!) We have met her for the first time in May 2013 during the Love Zimbabwe Spring Event at All Saints Church in Hereford and it was a life changing event.  Please click on the links below to learn more about Martha’s NGO and how to support the Love Zimbabwe Charity:  https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/love-zimbabwe-spring-event-in-hereford/

Sophisticacated dsiplay - wire and beads animals

Sophisticated display – wire and beads animals

The biggest animal made from the beads and wire. The giraffe was about 20 cm tall (nearly 8 inches)

The biggest animal made from the beads and wire. The giraffe was about 20 cm tall (nearly 8 inches)

When we found out that Martha has been selected to participate in the h.Art Festival, we have been ecstatic! Becoming a part of such a prestigious festival is not an easy thing to do, as the h.Art is known for its selective process. As we haven’t seen each other in several months, we went to the All Saint’s Church to say hello. To our surprise, we have been greeted by somebody else, and Martha was nowhere to be seen. Our concern has been quickly resolved by information that  Martha was invited to another festival (The Abergavenny Food Festival) and unfortunately couldn’t attend both events in one single day. The young gentleman replacing her, was in fact her son and he did a splendid job speaking about the artwork and advising customers.

Zebra or a horse made  from especially polished beads and  artistic wire

Zebra or a horse made from especially polished beads and artistic wire

Detailed loook at the Safari decoration from Love Zimbabwe's stand

Detailed loook at the Safari decoration from Love Zimbabwe’s stand

As usual, Martha’s stand has been filled with beautiful hand made jewellery, metal animal sculptures, wood carvings, masks and our favorite wire and beads animals from Kotwa village. All items have been carefully placed on large hand woven blankets and arranged to represent real Zimbabwean wild life: safari, animals accessing the water, animal gatherings, hunting and others. The most sophisticated scene involved more than 200 wire and beads figurines gathered in a enormous circle showing the most popular African species.

Metal power - collection of garden sculptures

Metal power – collection of garden sculptures

Metal sculptures available for purchase - this was the buyers' darling, a metal whild boar :D

Metal sculptures available for purchase – this was the buyers’ darling, a metal wild boar 😀

Anybody wants a butterfly?

Anybody wants a butterfly?

The hanging gallery has been filled with Martha’s unique Batik fabrics and shawls. Batik is an ancient way of dying cloth using manual wax -resist dyeing technique and creating patterns with a sharpened tool. Batik originated in Yogyakarta and Surakarta in Indonesia, but quickly became popular in Egypt, Middle East, China, Japan and all over Africa. Martha’s batik clothing is contemporary and can be classed as tribal. The patterns on her clothing include animals, floral prints and traditional Zimbabwean dancing and hunting figures.

Martha's newest batik clothing with elephant

Martha’s newest batik clothing with elephant

Luxurious batik with traditional Zimbabwean pattern

Luxurious batik with traditional Zimbabwean pattern

If you are interested in learning more about Martha’s art and life, please turn to BBC2 Radio. Recently, she has been invited to record an interview with Jeremy Vine. The program is still available online so please listen to it here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03bpy9k

Martha being interviewed by Jeremy Vine for BBC2, picture used with permission

Martha being interviewed by Jeremy Vine for BBC2, picture used with permission

KARL HAMILTON-COX

How many artists do you know that create their artworks on real leather?  We haven’t met anyone like that yet, so visiting Karl Hamilton-Cox’s gallery was a bit of novelty for us, especially if his exhibition was organized in a completely new exhibition hall. The Old Mayor’s Parlour at number 23 Church Street is a beautiful XIV or XV century building, located very close to Hereford Cathedral. It has been recently refurbished and renovated to the highest standards and serves as a small gallery or conference room for the Hereford Council. The space has been used in the past to display crafts and needlework, but the venue made its official debut this year for the h.Art festival. We have never been inside the gallery and we have to admit, that the interiors are simply amazing. Ceiling and walls are decorated with coats or arms (City of Hereford and family crests of previous owners), filed flowers and wild wine. Despite now being painted entirely in white, the reliefs make a really strong impression on the visitors.  Another great thing about this place is the unique fresco depicting Hereford Castle. The fresco was painted around 1657 in black and white and looks absolutely stunning after restoration. It is easy to miss, so don’t forget to raise your heads when passing through the doorway!

Entrance to the Old Mayors Parlour art Gallery

Entrance to the Old Mayors Parlour art Gallery

Beautifully decorated interiors of the art gallery

Beautifully decorated interiors of the art gallery

Hereford Castle fresco inside the gallery

Hereford Castle fresco inside the gallery

Yet, even the greatest gallery is nothing without the great art. The organizers couldn’t choose a better place for Karl’s artwork. The contrast between the ancient building and the contemporary art is striking but harmonic. Nothing seems out of place and the viewer can fully appreciate both the gallery and the artworks. On the other hand, Karl Hamilton-Cox is an extremely talented painter and nobody would feel disappointed even if he had exhibited in a garden shed. He has been living and creating his art in Herefordshire for about 20 years now and is well known in the artistic circles in the county.

Karl Hamilton-Cox posing for a picture on Sunday, 8th of September 2013

Karl Hamilton-Cox posing for a picture on Sunday, 8th of September 2013

Karl's paintings inspired by Africa and wildlife

Karl’s paintings inspired by Africa and wildlife

Small framed prints were available to buy for onlu 15 pounds

Small framed prints were available to buy for only 15 pounds

Karl’s art can be classified as nature realism and covers a wide range of subjects: wildlife, tribal, pin ups, erotic and automotive among others. We were truly surprised when he told us that he was self taught (he is an engineer) but he polished his natural skills with art courses from West Dean College near Chichester, Hereford College of Art and Malvern Art College. Mr Hamilton-Cox had a very busy summer with his own solo exhibition in Chicago and several exhibitions in the UK lasting from June to late September. If you have missed the chance to see his artworks live, please take a look at his galleries online:

Fine art America: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/karl-hamiltoncox.html
Saatchi Online:  http://www.saatchionline.com/artistkarl

or visit his official website at: http://www.artistkarl.com/Artist_Karl_Hamilton_Cox.php

One of our favourite pictures - pin up entitled "Wet dog"

One of our favorite pictures – pin up entitled “Wet dog”

Erotic/pin up artwork painted on leather were incredibly popular with both sexes! "Boudoir Dreams" series cost 550 pounds per piece

Erotic/pin up artwork painted on leather were incredibly popular with both sexes! “Boudoir Dreams” series cost 550 pounds per piece

Smaller artworks desplayed on a wall. Two paintings in the upper row are entitled "Silk lady" and "Naughty chair"

Smaller artworks displayed on a wall. Two paintings in the upper row are entitled “Silk lady” and “Naughty chair”

Karl was incredibly kind to tell us about his work, he even showed us several sketches he has been working on in the art gallery  and explained why he loves to paint on leather (he finds the medium perfect for his art!) He loves animals and tries to portray them as realistically as possible. We have to agree, his tiger and lion portraits are detailed to the last whiskers and we were a bit afraid the cats are going to roar straight into our faces 🙂
We also liked his pin up collection especially “Naughty chair” and “Wet dog” paintings. His automobile paintings were very popular among older visitors who apparently owned the classic cars in their younger days.

Classic cars on canvas

Classic cars on canvas

Visitors talking to Karl's assistant about his paintings

Visitors talking to Karl’s assistant about his paintings

 

We hope you enjoyed reading this review, we had a  real blast writing it!

Please return soon as we have several very interesting artists waiting to be introduced.

For now, have a lovely week and support local artists!
xxxx
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Cinco de Mayo – Chilli Festival in Eastnor Castle

¡Hola amigos!

The sad news first our friends –  The May Day weekend is officially over! Three days of glorious sunshine, laziness and partying will remain in our memory for very long. The good news is that, it was one of the busiest, greatest weekends we have had so far living in the West Midlands! We have been all over the place – visited St Ethelbert’s fair in Hereford, travelled to Eastnor to see the famed Eastnor Castle and tasted the fierce goods at the Chilli Festival. On Monday, we drove to Worcester and did some Mother’s Day shopping in the city centre (Polish Mother’s day is celebrated on 26th of May) – it was insane and we loved every second of it! Mal has also edited the pictures we took and Rita scanned a beautiful brochure about the castle – we will write a nice blog about the trip so keep your eyes open wide and you shall not miss it!

Official logo of the Chilli Festival

Official logo of the Chilli Festival

Yard in the front entrance to the mansion

Yard in the front entrance to the mansion

This entry will be dedicated to the Chilli Festival – it was red, hot and involved everything chilli – from cholocate cream, to chilli chutneys, chilli wraps, chilli cakes, chilli ice creams, chilli wine and cola to traditional chilli con corne and chilli tequila! From the very beginning, the Chilli event has been a big hit with the West Midlands folks. The first edition in 2012 has been visited by nearly 5 000 people and second edition this year drew twice as many! We don’t blame anybody for coming, and those who didn’t come are blaming themselves for not showing up! Mark our words, the 3rd edition in 2014 will have to be moved out of the castle and into the park – it will turn into a real chilli madness! The organizers chose a perfect date for the festival as well: the 5th and 6th of May (Saturday and Sunday) are big celebration in Mexico and among Latin American communities in the US. Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for the 5th of May) commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla on the 5th of May 1861 during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). Once just a minor holiday, in recent decades it has evolved into a powerful celebration of Mexican culture and heritage with large parades, music festivals and street dance performances. While standing in line to enter the festival grounds, we had a chance to speak to American-Mexican family that really appreciated the opportunity to celebrate the Mexican holiday in a foreign country. Their kids loved the actor dressed in traditional falsa poncho and sombrero hired to entertained the crowd. We found his stereotypical sense of humour as fake as his Mexican accent and moustache and the overuse of the word “gringo” really annoying,  but at least he was kind enough to pose for a picture.  Surrounded by such a merry company, the queue moved really quickly and after paying the fee of £9.50 per person, we were allowed to enter.

An actor dressed in traditional Mexican attire poses for a picture

An actor dressed in traditional Mexican attire poses for a picture

Entrance to Eastnor Castle decorated with chilli banners

Entrance to Eastnor Castle decorated with chilli banners

It was our first visit to Eastnor and the castle (or rather a grand mansion built to resemble a castle) made a huge impression on us. We will try to describe it in details in a separate blog entry, but it is worth mentioning now, that the estate is simply huge. Before we reached the building and the festival site, we had to pass through a small park, picnic area and a knights maze. There are two entrances to the site: one in the front, near the main car park and the second in the far back near the Deer Park. The main entry leads through the shop and into a garden, the other offers a long walk around the estate forest and the lake. We chose the first path but even then, it took us almost 10 minutes to get to the right place. No complains here – we had a beautiful trek through the knights maze, stopped to dance to Pantasy Steel Band playing traditional Caribbean music and witnessed some of the cooking classes organized for the kids. We entered the main courtyard exactly at high noon – hungry like a pack of wolves and went straight looking for the food!

Visitors at Chili Festival

Visitors at Chili Festival

Big chilly pepper resting on a hedge near the entrance to the castle

Big chilly pepper resting on a hedge near the entrance to the castle

It wasn’t hard to find a great place to eat. Right by the entrance, we met a group of people queuing politely in a truly British fashion. You must know, that if a British person sees other people waiting for something, he or she will join them even not knowing what they are waiting for. We didn’t have to guess why our fellow visitors were lining up – within seconds our noses were filled by the delicious aroma of hot chilli con carne and rice. The decision to join the crowd turned out to be an excellent one – the food served at the stall was extraordinary! The company came to Eastnor all the way from Manchester and it would be a crime not to write who they were. Ladies and gents, kindly be introduced to Mango Rays!

Company: Mango Rays
Address: King Street Manchester, tel.  0161 445 9857
Website: http://www.mangorays.co.uk
Additional information: https://twitter.com/MangoRays and http://www.facebook.com/MangoRays

 Mancunian cooking wizards, Mango Rays, have been in the culinary business for almost 20 years and are very well known all around the city. Their bar is located on King Street in Manchester but being a mobile catering company, they travel all over the place to bring their “truly great homemade food” to an event right next to your door. Mango Rays are extremely busy people, on average, they visit about 20 biggest events in the UK annually including Glastonbury Summer festival, Beathurder, Shrewsbury Folk Festival, Kendal Calling, Food & Drink shows and their largest operation – The Manchester Christmas Market. Mango Rays holds the highest health and safely rating (number 5) given by Manchester City Council. We have tried their vegetarian chilli con carne with rice and baked veggies and oh-my-God that was a heavenly feast! If you see their stand somewhere, do not hesitate – as they say, you only live once and this might be your only chance to taste their food. Greetings to Monika, our great server, she did a magnificent job. To quote a famous move – we will be back!
Queue to MangoRays stand

Queue to Mango Rays stand

Mango Rays business card at their stand

Mango Rays business card at their stand

Monika and her friend serving their customers

Monika and her friend serving their customers

Chilly con carne at Mango Rays stand in the three biggest pans we have ever seen

Chilly con carne at Mango Rays stand in the three biggest pans we have ever seen

Company: The Chilli Peppers Company
Address: Stoney Bridge, Cark in Cartmel, Cumbria LA11 7PE, tel.  015395 58110
Website: www.chilliseeds.co.uk
Additional information: http://www.thedevilsgarden.co.uk/index.php?app=gbu0&ns=catshow&ref=Chilli-Pepper-Company-Geds

The Chilli Peppers Company is based in the lovely village of Cark in Cartmel in the Lake District. The Village is known as the home of sticky toffee pudding (that’s the home we like!) but soon things could change. Thanks to the hard work of Gerald Fowler and his wife, the place now rapidly becomes a hot spot on the map for chilli lovers! The Chilli Pepper Company specializes not only in super hot chilli sauces, chutneys and powders, but were the first business in the UK supplying rare chilli seeds for those who wanted to grow the chilli in their gardens. Gerald is a specialist when it comes to growing different chilli plants – if you need any advice, please contact him and he will gladly help you to become the local king or queen of chilli.  For those of our readers who are looking for extreme experiences, The Chilli Pepper Company has two very unique products: 10 Minute Burn Hot Sauce (banned at 3 food festivals for being too hot for a normal human beings – guaranteed to take your internal organs for a roller-coaster ride to hell) and 15 Minute Burn cutely nicknamed “The Pocket Rocket” (Bhut Jolokia chilli extract for the bravest of the brave).

Chilli Pepper Company banner

Chilli Pepper Company banner

Closer look at TCPC stand on the chilli market

Closer look at TCPC stand on the chilli market

Forget about Red Hot Chilli Peppers - here comes The Chilli Peppers Company!

Forget about Red Hot Chilli Peppers – here comes The Chilli Peppers Company!

Collection of the hottest spices

Collection of the hottest spices

Company: Cola Rebell
Address: Clay House,  5 Horninglow Street, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 1NG (UK branch)
German Headquarters: Flughafenstrasse 52a, Haus C Hamburg Hamburg 22335 Germany
Website: http://www.colarebell.de  and http://www.colarebell.co.uk/
Additional information: http://www.facebook.com/colarebell.uk and http://www.facebook.com/colarebell

Ok, some things in life are just too obvious. When we saw the rock and roll, black and red coloured stand of Cola Rebell, we immediately knew they are a kick ass company. We were right. Cola Rebell was founded in 2009 in Hamburg, Germany and quickly became a cult classic among young crowd.  In 2012, the rebellious spirit emigrated to the UK and with a little help of Derek and George Wainwright; a British branch was quickly set up. Cola Rebell  offers everything you need: great product (chilli and ginger plus natural cola), t-shirts with company’s logo, posters, decorative cans for coffee and teas and a truly rebellious attitude we simply love! German Cola Rebell is advertised with “Die cola mit kick” (Cola with a kick) while the British one is on a mission to save mankind from a plain cola. Maria, the hostess we met at the Cola Rebell stand at the Chilli Festival, was incredibly helpful and funny. She agreed to pose for a picture for us while giving a detailed description about the newest line of beverages. The lady surely deserves a raise and we won’t be surprised if Cola Rebell starts endorsing Motorhead in the future. Great minds think alike and Lemmy could drink something else than beer or whiskey! It is worth mentioning that Cola Rebell has a caring side as well and supports numerous charities like the YMCA, Children with cancer UK, and the St Giles Hospice.

PS. Check their YouTube channel to see the commercials – http://www.youtube.com/user/ColaRebell

The Cola Rebell stand - mixing the traditional cola with chilli!

The Cola Rebell stand – mixing the traditional cola with chilli!

Maria, our lovely sales assistant posing with the two newest products in Cola Rebell's line

Maria, our lovely sales assistant posing with the two newest products in Cola Rebell’s line

Cola Rebell's unique advertising with President Obama going , well..rebel

Cola Rebell’s unique advertising with President Obama going , well..rebel

Company: Ambalama Spices Limited
Address: Poolhullock Llandinabo Hereford HR2 8JB, Telephone: 01989 730398
Website: www.ambalamaspices.com
Additional information:
http://www.ludlowadvertiser.co.uk/news/ludlow/4430310.Getting_spice_into_your_life_at_free_workshop

The Ambalama Spice Limited Company was born in 2004, after the massive tsunami destroyed many South Eastern Asian countries. At that time, Nigel and Jean Sturtivant have just sold their Scotland hotel and went to Sri Lanka for a relaxing trip. They returned to the UK shortly before Christmas, only to find out that the places they have visited several days before didn’t exist anymore. In a desperate effort to help those affected by the tragedy, the Herefordian couple decided to fly back and ask if there was anything they could do. To their surprise, the locals refused charity and money. They wanted to earn their living in a way they have always had – by trade.  The Sturtivants decided to open a store with local spices and came back from Sri Lanka with orders for half a tonne of rare herbs and other specialities. After a decade, Nigel and Jean became specialists in herbs and spices from all over the world. They tried each one of them in their own kitchen and can advise how to turn a plain meal into a king’s feast. Their stand called “Ambalama Spices” drew a real crowd at the Chilli Festival and we had to stand a while to see what they had in offer. Jean was very kind and provided us with kokul mas spice. Now we can make a true Sri Lankan chicken curry!

The rich collection of rare spices from Bali at Ambalama's stand

The rich collection of rare spices from Bali at Ambalama’s stand

More detailed look - you won't get those spices anywhere else!

More detailed look – you won’t get those spices anywhere else!

Company: The Garlic Farm
Address: Mersley Lane, Newchurch, Isle of Wight, PO36 0NR
Website: http://www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk
Additional information: http://www.facebook.com/TheGarlicFarm and https://twitter.com/TheGarlicFarm

The saying goes that every beginning is a humble one. More than 60 years ago, Mrs Norah Boswell, a resident of Isle of Wight , planted garlic in her kitchen garden. This simple act had serious consequences not only for her family but also for the local community. The kitchen garden is now gone but The Garlic Farm is doing very well. The Boswell Family is one of the biggest producers of garlic in the UK, they own a café, a guest cottage,  education centre, heritage hall, a gift shop and their own garlic festival! Visiting the farm can be a great experience for individual visitors and organized groups: the guests can sleep in the cottage on the farm grounds, visit the garlic fields in special tractor trailer, taste the products while they are being made and have a picnic in the private 40 acre forest. The Garlic Farm makes garlic chutneys, sauces, olive oil, condiments, garlic butter and chilled treats. You can also buy cooking books written by Natasha Edwards, the daughter of Colin Boswell, current owner of the farm. In short – it doesn’t matter if you’d like to buy some garlic, spend a nice holidays on the farm or just visit the festival – The Garlic Farm have everything you need!

Garlic Farm was a big hit with visitor at the Chilli Market - the company is very client friendly!

Garlic Farm was a big hit with visitor at the Chilli Market – the company is very client friendly!

Closer look at the Garlic Farm's stall

Closer look at the Garlic Farm’s stall

Company: Chilli Pepper Plantation
Address: Cider Cottage, Upper Norton near Bromyard, Herefordshire, HR7 4PN,  telephone: 01885 488408
Website: http://www.chillipepperplantation.com
Additional information: http://www.hayfayre.org/stalls/chilli-pepper-plantation/

All right, we are probably stating the obvious here, but Pam Davenport, the lady owner of Chilli Pepper Plantation, is a real chilli expert. Even surrounded by other chilli professionals gathered at the festival, her knowledge made her stand out from the crowd. We had a pleasure to speak to Pam for a long while and she told us so many things about the chilli plants that we could write a book! Did you know for example that chilli is good for a sore throat or eating chilli releases endorphins, the happiness hormones in our bodies? Mixing chocolate with chilli now makes perfect sense – if you are ill or feeling blue, just one teaspoon of chilly flavoured chocolate cream will make you happy like a bunny rabbit during spring. Chilli Pepper Plantation has been founded just 3 years ago but it proved to be a hit with customers. The planation now cultivates 45 different chilli plants from all over the world (including rare deep purple and black ones!) but Pam wants to double their number in the next two years. All chilli peppers collected at the planation are used to make delicious jams, preserves and marmalades.  We have tried chilli jam with cumin and Vietnamese coriander – both delicious beyond any description.

Pam Davenport meeting her clients

Pam Davenport meeting her clients

Chilli Planation stand in detail

Chilli Planation stand in detail

Chilli Pepper Plantation and their red hot advertising

Chilli Pepper Plantation and their red hot advertising

Company: The Velvet Bean
Address: Church Lane, Ledbury Herefordshire, Hr8 1DH
Website: http://www.thevelvetbeanchocolates.co.uk
Additional information:http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Velvet-Bean-Chocolates/115746408529270

As you know by now, chilli and chocolate are match made in heaven. However,  if you think that further improvement of this heavenly union is impossible, please let us introduce you to our next guests. The recipe for success is very simple: all you need is the finest Belgium couverture chocolate, two highly skilled chocolatiers and the results will be astonishing.  The Velvet Bean located in the historic market hall in Ledbury, has been charming the local folks and tourists with their products since 2004. Ben and Melissa Boyle are always experimenting with flavours, shapes and sizes and each visit to their shop is a true adventure. Honestly, we would have never thought of mixing champagne with chilli extract but their tarts quickly became a sensation at the festival. Walking around the stalls, we noticed large groups of people eating beautifully decorated sweets. Curious, we asked some of them where the sweets were purchased and we were showed to The Velvet Bean stand. After several minutes, we had a huge bag of guilty pleasures and no regrets! If you are looking for unique celebration gifts (weddings, birthdays, parties etc.) The Velvet Bean is your best bet. The owners are also extremely nice people and it is a true pleasure to do business with them.

Handmade chocolate cake with popping candy!

Handmade chocolate cake with popping candy!

The Velvet Bean stand full of hand made goodies

The Velvet Bean stand full of hand made goodies

Our favourites - champagne flavoured tarts with chilli

Our favourites – champagne flavoured tarts with chilli

Company: Fat Man Chilli
Address: Preston-on-Wye, Herefordshire HR2 9JX, tel. 01981 501103
Websitehttp://fatmanchilli.webs.com
Additional information:http://www.chilefoundry.com/2012/06/16/fat-man-chilli-chilli-apple-jelly-with-lime/

Malcolm Knight, the owner of Fat Man Chilli, is a man of great sense of humour. Before we managed to find his stand, Rita has been given a Fat Man Chilli leaflet handed out by one of the organizers. We liked the name so much that we decided to write about the company on our blog straight away. When we located the stall, Rita greeted Malcolm by asking “Are you the Fat Man Chilli? and the response was: “I’m the fat man and my chilli is on the table”. After the laughs have been exchanged, we went down to business. Fat Man Chilli is a small, family run enterprise, but they have a great reputation and even bigger potential. They grow some of the finest chilli plants and use them to make sauces, preserves and jellies. We have tried their chilli-apple jelly with lime and we give it 5 stars. If you are a chilli newbie (or like in Rita’s case, you are not allowed to eat spicy food), you could be interested in excellent and very mild tomato ketchup. Rita tested it on herself and admits the sauce to be perfect for starters and have a lovely, rich texture. Fat Man Chilli workers are travelling all over the Midlands and attend at least 4-5 markets each month, but if you cannot meet them personally, all products are available in their online store.

PS. The company has an excellent motto: “Chilli heads unite!” (we just had to quote it!)

Malcolm welcoming his guests at the stand

Malcolm welcoming his guests at the stand

Colourful display

Colourful display

Company: Hills Chilli Cakes and Cookies
Address: Worcester
Website: none

We are extremely sorry, but we couldn’t find anything online about this wonderful company!  Their name is Hills Chilli Cakes and Cookies and as far as we know, they are based in Worcester. Hills Cookies (as we call them) are new to the market, they have  been founded just a month before the Chilli Festival and this was their first food market. The company is tiny: there are only two people involved (a lady and gentleman), but we sadly do not know their names. If you ever come across their stall somewhere, please try their cakes – we have no words to describe how delicious they were. We bought a classic chocolate cake with brandy/chilli flavour and we loved each bite. As you can see on the pictures, they had cupcakes, cheesecake, sponge cake and many, many others.

Hills chilli cakes and cookies were popular with the festival crowd

Hills chilli cakes and cookies were popular with the festival crowd

Chilli and home baking - a perfect recipe

Chilli and home baking – a perfect recipe

Company: Fire Foods
Address:7 Darley Dale Crescent, Grantham, NG31 8EH tel. 01476 574383 /07941152752
Websitehttp://www.firefoods.co.uk/
Additional information: http://www.facebook.com/FireFood and https://twitter.com/firefoods

FireFoods is a family business from Grantham, Lincolnshire run by Zoe and Woody. They say that chilli is their whole life and we truly believe them. We wish you could hear them talking with a passion about their products, chilli plants and plans for the future – their enthusiasm was as even hotter than their chilli! They are the only company in the UK certified by Guinness World Records for having the hottest chilli pepper on the planet. In 2010 their Infinity chilli has been given the rating of 1,067,286 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) after being tested by Warwick University. Two years later, the rating has been modified and The Infinity chilli now stands at 1.25 million Scoville units after further testing. If you are brave enough you can buy their Infinity chilli sauce for only 7.5 pounds and it will burn a hole in your stomach for free 🙂

You can find it in their online store here: http://www.firefoods.co.uk/product/infinity-chilli-sauce/

Zoe and Woody work incredibly hard and their products have been given the highest food hygiene ratings as well. Each product has been prepared by their own hands and they are very proud of their achievements.

Unleash the heat banner

Unleash the heat banner

Firefoods were heating up the festival atmosphere with their products

Firefoods were heating up the festival atmosphere with their products

Closer look at the products at their stall

Closer look at the products at their stall

Company: The Mini Jar Company
Address: 23 Kingfisher Close, Sheldon,  Birmingham, B26 2QF
Websitehttp://www.minijarcompany.co.uk/
Additional information: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Mini-Jar-Company/217146215028566
and https://twitter.com/minijarcompany

Advertised as “preserves with a difference”, The Mini Jar Company is a multi-award winning small business based in Birmingham. The company has been founded nearly three years ago and specializes in making chutneys, curds, mustards and preserves. Their products come exclusively in small 45 ml jars that are no longer available to be purchased from supermarkets.  The company uses only local plants and eggs. There are no artificial colourings, flavourings, additives or thickening agents used and each product is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The Mini Jar Company makes the preserves at a small production and processing facility in Newnam Bridge, Worcestershire. We purchased several jars of pickles and curds and they were gone within several days! If you are not able to attend any food festivals, please keep your eyes wide open as the mini jars are being sold in few local shops in Herefordshire!

Closer look at the mini jar collection

Closer look at the mini jar collection

The Mini Jar Company stand filled with local products

The Mini Jar Company stand filled with local products

All right! We hope you have enjoyed this little review. Please visit the festival next year, it is going to be massive!
And return quickly, we still have to show you around the castle – it is going to be a great ride!

Bon apetit, chilli lovers!
xxx
Rita and Malcia D.

Chilli Festival at Eastnor Castle

http://www.eastnorcastle.com/news.aspx
http://www.eastnorcastle.com/blog/
http://www.hha.org.uk/DB/news/chilli-festival-at-eastnor-castle.html

Date: 5-6 of May 2013

Entertainment:
Live music from Los Squideros, with their Latin Beats, and also Pantasy Steel Band playing traditional Caribbean music•
Children’s cookery school
Cooking Demonstrations from local chefs
Chilli Eating Competition… can you handle the heat?

Knight’s Maze, Children’s Adventure Playground and Junior Assault Course, Burma Bridge Treetop Walkway, Gift Shop, Tearoom, Ice Cream Parlour. 11.00am until 4.30pm (last admission 4.00pm)
Castle & Grounds Admission Adult £9.50, Senior £8.50, Child (3-15 yrs) £6.00, Family (2+3) £25.00

******UPDATE 2013.06.10*******
Wow! Thank you very much! Our review of  Chilli Festival has been viewed more than 500 times since we have published it online! We have received lots of attention, comments and likes from general public, but also from the producers themselves!
Please take a look at the little college we have made to show you the responses – we are truly grateful and really pleased.
Social media does bring the world together!
Likes and comments we have received after publishing the article!

Likes and comments we have received after publishing the article!

Very happy.
M+R Dabrowicz

Love Zimbabwe Spring Event in Hereford

Hello, Mhoroi and Sawubona!

World is full of surprises, let us tell you that!  If somebody have told us even yesterday morning, that by the afternoon, we shall stumble upon Zimbabwean fair trade market in the middle of Hereford, we would seriously thought they had too much cider on a Friday night. As strange as it may be, we have not only found the fair trade market in the same heart of the market town, but we also had the pleasure of meeting an incredible woman – Martha Musonza Holman. Martha has a resume that could easily put senior United Nations employees to shame: she is a very talented artist, mother, activist, teacher, spokeswoman and co-founder of NGO named Love Zimbabwe. Encountering people like her is truly a life changing event – only then we realize show lucky and privileged we are living in a country without war or hunger. The most amazing thing is, you won’t hear a word of complain from her! Martha is  a living example that it is possible to turn every struggle and hardship into something positive.

Official logo of Love Zimbabwe Charity

Official logo of Love Zimbabwe Charity

Sign near the door to Love Zimbabve Charity Spring Event

Sign near the door to Love Zimbabve Charity Spring Event

Love Zimbabwe is a registered charity (no. 1137434) trying to help people and artists living in Harare (the capitol) and its neighbouring communities. The charity has three major goals:

–  to provide a workshop for arts and craft producers and to have a place to work and teach others skills to trade,

– to establish permaculture into the way of life, creating sustainability for the community,

– to start a batik making business for a women’s group, who are mostly mothers supporting their disabled children.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batik)

To meet their targets, Love Zimbabwe Charity created a Community Interest Company (CIC).  The company brings African arts and crafts to the UK and sells them to private and corporate clients. All profits are going back to Zimbabwe, helping future artists to learn a trade and supporting those who are already working.  The money is also spent on providing the community with schools, clinics, running water and washing facilities. As an outcome, the artists and other villagers have steady income from selling their own goods and crafts; they learn new skills and have purpose in life – which is also very important.  Love Zimbabwe Company is part of fair trade movement and works tirelessly with many international organizations to break language and cultural barriers, introducing real, more positive vision of Zimbabwe to English and European citizens.

Traditional batik table cloth at the market

Traditional batik table cloth at the market

Clients shopping at the Love Zimbabwe spring event

Clients shopping at the Love Zimbabwe spring event

Martha Holman and her husband David live in Abergavenny, Wales with their daughter Tananka. They are both actively promoting the partnership between Wales and Zimbabwe and often travel to Harare to bring supplies for local schools and supervise their projects to be completed on time and according to budget. Martha is also working as a teacher and motivation speaker, visiting arts and craft shows in different parts of the UK. Her work with young children (traditional dance and drumming) has been officially recognized by Wales Council for Voluntary Organisations as part of Education for Sustainable and Global Citizenship (ESDGC) program. She is also the Fair Trade Support Officer for South Wales Schools and works closely with Waterloo Foundation and Fair Trade Foundation. Since 2007, Martha is also the chef organizer of popular African Green Village at The Abergavenny Food Festival’s Fringe market and The Wakes World Trade Fair. Her events have been sponsored by the British Council, The Welsh Assembly, Fairtrade Wales, The Cooperative, Oxfam Cymru, and Unltd Wales.

Please visit Martha’s offcial website at: http://musonzaholman.com
Or her newly created Twitter account: https://twitter.com/marthmusoholm (she is still learning how to tweet!)
To book an appointment or a meeting/talk with Martha, please contact her at 07879400897 or at Martha.fairtrade@gmail.com

If you’d like to know more about David and Martha’s work, please purchase David’s book “From A to Z – Abergavenny to Zimbabwe”. 50 pence from every buy is donated to the charity. You can buy it here:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/From-Abergavenny-Zimbabwe-ebook/dp/B00B0YBRVG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366567932&sr=8-1&keywords=David+holman+zimbabwe+diaries

Traditional rattle

Traditional rattle

Hand painted mugs and teapots

Hand painted mugs and teapots

The Love Zimbabwe Spring Event opened on 15th of April in All Saint’s Church in Hereford. The Church is located right next to the main square and has been active in the city for the last 800 years! Today, except for religious services, the All Saints Church runs a popular cafe and a gallery hall that is leased for many cultural events throughout the year. We haven’t been in the city centre for a while (the horrendous weather is to blame!) and sadly, we couldn’t come to the opening of the exhibition. It is very unfortunate, as we were told; we have missed quite a party. However, if you’d like to see all the amazing artworks for yourself, you still have the chance.  Martha will keep the ethnic market open till 27th of April and also has the plans to return to Hereford sometime this summer. It might be a good idea to bookmark this in your calendars. Visiting the fair trade arts and crafts show is the only opportunity to stock on very unique presents. Believe us; you haven’t seen anything like this yet!

 

a very unique dancing figures made from copper wire and bottle caps - ecological art is the best!

A very unique dancing figures made from copper wire and bottle caps – ecological art is the best!

Owls are incredibly popular this year and several of this fugures has been sold on the spot

Owls are incredibly popular this year and several of this figures has been sold on the spot

We have spoken to Martha and her guests about certain artworks that have caught our eyes and each item at the stand had a history. We know it sounds a bit strange, but Martha could talk for hours about when and how the items were made and by whom. These are not simple stories, sometimes it was hard to hear as they were full of corruption, human tragedy, death and illness. One of the wood carvings hidden in the back of the exhibition hall had one of the saddest background tales we have heard that day: police brutally removed a group of artists trying to earn money by selling their artworks by the roadside. Some of the workers were seriously hurt and had to escape to stay alive. They were too frightened to return to their usual spot and because they could no longer sale their artworks, whole families were starving! When David and Martha arrived in Chivhu in southern Zimbabwe to buy some sculptures from the artists, they were nowhere to be found. Thanks to detective work, two hour car ride through the jungle and some local connections, the couple were able to find the tribe and re-start the trade.

 

Wooden carvings with incredible amount of details

Wooden carvings with incredible amount of details

Collection of wooden staves - something for Gandalf!

Collection of wooden staves – something for Gandalf!

In 2005, Robert Mugabe’s forces destroyed one of the biggest local markets in the capitol in an operation “Murambatsvina”. As a result, 2.5 milion of people in Mbare Township lost their homes, work places and their livehood. This disaster affected the lives of two brothers, metal artists who worked with David and Martha in the past. Because two workshops they owned were completely demolished, the brothers could no longer support themselves and their families. Martha decided to ship all saved sculptures she could to the UK and tried to sell them in an attempt to help them. The metal birds were an instant hit among the British customers and they still sell well to this day.
Please read more about the operation here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Murambatsvina

Metal bird is one of the most popular  items sold at the market

Metal birds are one of the most popular items sold at the market

A whole flock of metal sculptures at the stand

A whole flock of metal sculptures at the stand

The most fascinating items at the market were the wire and beads animals. They are being made in the village of Kotwa, where Martha once used to be a teacher. The colourful figurines look amazing in the sun as the beads are especially cut and polished to reflect the sun beams, giving the viewer an impression of a halo surrounding the figures. The buyers could choose between African animals (lions, crocodiles, giraffes and elephants) and the Europeans ones (cows, sheep, dogs). We couldn’t find a cat and we filed an official complaint with Martha.  She promised to speak to the makers and have the cats ready for the summer! Puurrr-fect!

Wire and beads animals on display

Wire and beads animals on display

The Kotwa artists can make anything using the wire and beads. among the animals, we have seen cars and people figurines. Here you can see a figure of a lady carring traditional backet on her head

The Kotwa artists can make anything using the wire and beads. Among the animals, we have seen cars and people figurines. Here you can see a figure of a lady carring traditional basket on her head

The Love Zimbabwe Spring event was not only about traditional sculptures, metal art or batika clothing. We have seen handmade postcards, music instruments, African sweets and hand made semi precious stone jewellery. The jewellery was particularly popular with ladies and younger visitors. Zimbabwean earrings and bracelets are going to be very fashionable this year in Hereford judging by the number of girls going in and out of the exhibition hall tightly holding onto their treasured catches!

Hand made necklaces

Hand made necklaces

Another look at the jewellery section of the market

Another look at the jewellery section of the market

It was a real quirk of fate that we discovered the Zimbabwean fair trade market in the city. We had a real good time shopping and at the same time, we were given a chance to meet a group of fantastic and dedicated people. We would like to thank Martha and David for their time and information about the items, Annie (Martha’s Friend) for a nice chat and everyone else who visited and supported the people of Zimbabwe.

Sometimes, even buying something for yourself, makes a huge different in the world.
We shall leave you with a great picture we took on Saturday – a picture that is worth a million words and that all money in the world can’t buy. It is a picture of friendship.

Martha and Annie

Martha and Annie

See you next time, world!
XXXX
Rita and Mal