Festival Theme for 2014

The Festival has supported a range of arts projects in East Anglia over the autumn and winter period. A selection of old and new pieces from The Suffolk Chair Collection, including a new Akenfield chair, were sent to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich for Masterpieces ~ Art in East Anglia. At the same time a collection of contemporary chairs and tables by Jim Parsons, Tim Whiting and Raymond Hopkins were loaned to the amazing inaugural Flipside Festival at Snape Maltings in October 2013. 

As the seasons swing round, attention has shifted to new projects for 2014 / 2015. These include the creation of new seasonal workspaces at White House Farm, the home of the Spring Festival, and a new Festival residency programme. The latter takes inspiration from the book A Painters’ Place  [published by Abbott Hall Art Gallery with Redcliffe Press] together with art residencies managed by the Cill Rialaig project in Kerry and the South Lookout Tower in Aldeburgh.

An emerging theme for 2014 has been connections, combined with a sense of place. Amid the busyness of contemporary life, filled with multi-media links and vast spates of digital information, it is easy to become detached from the roots of our existence and the passing moments of both places and seasons – be it the punctuation of a landscape by a solitary tree or a hedge in winter, or the dusk-time chorus of song-birds returning to their secret roosting places.

The arts can contribute to a sense of place as an over-layer of observation : a collection of thoughts presented and re-interpreted in paint, words, music, sculpture or the drawn line. Just as the lie of the land and its composition – its topography, scars, plants, paths, climate, wildlife and structures - can tell a story, so too can the arts when applied to it or added to it.

Sometimes the beauty of a place is fleeting. It can come in quietly or suddenly. At other times it can remain obscured until one looks back, either over a shoulder or as a recollection or memory in time. Another way it may become clear is when the viewpoint is altered - when  a place or a moment has been portrayed and represented through the hands and eyes and thoughts of another. My hope for 2014 is that the new workspaces, the residency projects and the collection of new works in the Festival Exhibition will in their own way add to a sense of place here in the Alde Valley.

There are over 150 catalogued works in the Festival Exhibition, which is open from 19th April – 18th May [Tues – Sun 10am – 6pm]. It presents new works by over 35 Festival Artists and makers exhibited in the farmyard barns. A pop-up Festival Shop sells beautiful hand-bound books by Judith Wiesner, baskets by Peter Dibble and hand-made bags by Nienke Jongsma [Studio Vandertas] – together with new publications by Full Circle Editions. It also sells cards, wooden chopping boards and books published by Full Circle Editions.

For a full list of Festival events, including Festival Talks, Farm Suppers, Festival Walks and the Big Spring Picnic, please have a look at the 2014 Festival Programme. The farm is open from 19th April – 18th May for the Festival period. There is free parking. Children and families are welcome and there is wheelchair access to most areas of the Festival Exhibition. White House Farm – part of the award-winning Great Glemham Farms partnership - is a working sheep farm, so we ask that guests and visitors don’t bring dogs, if possible.

If you come at a weekend during the Festival, you will find tea, coffee, cordials and delicious cakes and pastries available for sale in Henrietta’s Pop-Up Pâtisserie in the farmhouse. We can’t recommend these enough ! The pastries and cakes are fantastic – having tried a lot of samples in early March I recommend them wholeheartedly ! The Farm Nature Walks are also open, so you can burn off the calories with a brisk [or leisurely] walk afterwards.

If you are visiting the Spring Festival for the first time, please have a look in Places to Stay and Food Adventures for places to visit in the beautiful Alde Valley of East Suffolk. It is still superstore-free from source to sea and home to one of the UK’s most innovative, job-creative and delicious local food economies. But don’t take my word for it – come and find out with your own food, arts and landscape adventure !

With best wishes for the coming Spring and Summer ~

Jason Gathorne-Hardy

[Director, Alde Valley Spring Festival]

The Cill Rialaig Project : www.cillrialaigartscentre.org
The South Lookout Tower :

The Alde Valley Spring Festival Ltd is a registered company no. 7592977 and a member of Suffolk county's Green 100 businesses. White House Farm is part of the Great Glemham Farms partnership. Finalist 2008 Future of Farming Awards. Runner-Up 2009 FWAG Kerr Cup Farm Conservation Competition. Suffolk Agricultural Awards 2010 Special Award for Conservation. Regional Winner RSPB 2012 Nature of Farming Awards.

For information about the Alde Valley Spring Festival's sister project Pesta Nukenen Bario in the Heart of Borneo [24th-26th July 2014], please visit www.ebario.com or facebook : Bario food festival.

Works for Sale

We have some wonderful works by artists that exhibit at the festival currently for sale. Details >
The Festival Shop

Stocking a range of unusual cards, books, walking sticks and other handmade items made on the farm & by local artisans. Details >
The Suffolk Chair Collection

The Collection of original early – mid nineteenth century Ball Backs has been set up as a design reference collection. Details >

Icon Painting in the Alde Valley

For more information....
Details >
Food Adventures

We have listed some of the Alde Valleys outstanding food businesses.
Places to Stay

The Alde Valley and East Suffolk are full of good homestays, holiday cottages, B&Bs and hotels.
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