Last weekend the brilliant annual Saltaire Arts Trail took place in my village. I enjoyed a great day wandering round the houses, through the historic streets, and in and out of strangers’ kitchens.
Saltaire Arts Trail is a community arts event, with an unusual slant. Local homeowners throw open their living-rooms and kitchens to the public, allowing artists from across the UK to exhibit their works right inside the villagers’ tiny Victorian terraces. There is also a makers’ fair in the magnificent Victoria Hall, loads of events for kids, and every cafe and pub is bursting to the seams.
We started our afternoon by having Sunday dinner in a pub cheekily named Don’t Tell Titus. Titus Salt was the entrepreneur and philanthropist who built the mill village in the nineteenth century. In Sir Titus’ day, alcohol was banned throughout the village. Anyone found drunk would be sacked on the spot. Nowadays, Don’t Tell Titus stands right opposite Titus Salt’s famous mill, and people sit in the windows brazenly drinking their pints of bitter.
The first exhibition we visited was in the lovely Saltaire second-hand bookshop. (Or rather, it was right through the bookshop, and into the owner’s living-room at the back.) There was a fabulous display of Bonkers Clutterbucks 3D models hanging from the ceiling and draped over the mantelpiece. And we also witnessed one of the visitors trying to buy some of the owner’s own vinyl records. One of the perils of opening your living-room to the public! (And Bonkers Clutterbucks later won the Best of Open House award for the weekend.)
I loved this garden at number 6 Harold Place, and my photo hasn’t done it justice. It was an unusually fine weekend, and the house owner, Paula Dunn, placed some of her landscape paintings outside in her garden, to great effect. You can see some of her own (much better) photos here on her blog
My absolute personal favourite artist in Saltaire is Claire Caulfield, who lives on Fanny Street. Yes, that is the actually the name of the street :) Fanny was a common name in Victorian times, and Fanny Street was named after Fanny Salt, Sir Titus’ second daughter. (There is also a real ale pub called Fanny’s Ale House in Saltaire now – which Sir Titus would definitely not approve of.)
Claire Caulfield works in pen, water-colour and mixed media and has a very distinctive style. I couldn’t take a photo as her tiny living-room was packed with visitors, but you can see many of her works here on the Heart Gallery blog , and I’ve reproduced one below:
If you’re interested in checking out any more of the artists, and news from the Saltaire Arts Trail, there are loads more photos and gossip here on the Saltaire Arts Trail Facebook page. And if you’d like to see more photos of the village, and hear some old stories from weavers, you can read more in my prevous post about Saltaire.
Hope you enjoyed some of the photos from my village. Do you have any community arts events in your home town? And do you enjoy visiting art exhibitions? If so, who are your favourite artists? Please leave a comment – I’d love to hear from you!