Cornucopia exhibition 19th September - 4th October

Review of the Alde Valley Spring Festival 2015 -

This was the 12th year of the art exhibition that lies at the heart of the Festival, and the fourth year of the Spring Festival itself. It celebrates the coming together of local foods and the arts in a farmed landscape. For four weeks each year, the farmyard, old barns and pastures of White House Farm are filled with works by some of Britain’s leading artists and makers.

The farm was open during Festival opening times 10am – 6pm, Tues – Sun + Bank Holidays from18th April – 17th May. With an Art Wagon, Farmyard Classroom, Woodland Nature Walk, Hedgerow Nature Walk and Meadow Nature Walk there was plenty to see at the farm. On top of this was a growing programme of events, including Farm SuppersFestival Walks and TalksPop-Up Tea Rooms and Open Studios.

Entry and parking are free – come by foot, bike or car. Families and children are also welcome – please look after children at all times. But no dogs please - the farm was a working sheep farm with ewes and lambs in some of the fields.

The Festival Exhibition presents new works by over 30 local, regional and international artists. For 2015, the Festival theme explores a sense of place thorugh the eyes of different artist and makers. A point of inspiration has been Ronald Blythe’s description of John Clare’s ‘dropping down’ in the landscape to listen and observe it ; to be present. This was reflected in new paintings and drawings by Tessa Newcomb, Ruth Stage, Roger Hardy and Clara Drummond – all of whom were on residencies at the farm in 2014/15. The largest building was given over to new works by other artists, including new works from the Walls of Water series by Maggi Hambling and new life-size works in bronze by the sculptor Laurence Edwards.

On the food front, the Spring Festival holds a small programme of Farm Suppers each Thursday during the Festival. These are prepared by renowned Suffolk chef Peter Harrison and served at the farm’s home-made oak refectory dining tables Each week’s Farm Supper celebrates the work of a different local farm or food business. For full details, please visit the Farm Suppers page. And at weekends the farm’s dining rooms open up as Civil Sue’s Pop Up Tea Rooms. Civil Sue was Suffolk dialect for stew with dumplings – but the Pop Up Tea Rooms serve much more tasty fare ! Pastries and cakes supplied by Suffolk chef Peter Harrison and famous local pâtissier Henrietta Inman.

The Farm Suppers are complemented by a programme of Festival Talks. These are held each Friday evening in the farm’s old Threshing Barn. Guests include Maggi Hambling, Linda Farrow and George Farrow Hawkins. Maggi Hambling will be talking on the 1st May about her life and work, including recent exhibitions at the National Gallery and Somerset House in London. On Saturday 16th May the Festival was holding a special Finale Weekend Talk by the sculptor Laurence Edwards, looking at new works. Each talk was followed by a light supper and refreshments.

To work off the food, we are also launching a programme of Festival Walks for 2015. These will look at the local landscape and wild foods. They are led by Forager and Gardener in Residence at the farm Sam Starke. For more information, please go to Festival Walks. On Sunday 10th May we are opening a small Woodfraft School project with writer and wood-worker Jon Warnes. This will offer a one-day introduction to Den-making and Firelighting and was designed as a fun and instructive day out for children and families.

The celebratory ethos of the Festival has also led to a growing programme of  international links and residencies. These include a sister food and cultural festival in Bario in Sarawak, East Malaysia – in the Kelabit Highlands of Borneo. Fully owned and managed by the Kelabit Highlanders, Pesta Nukenen dan Kebadayaan Kelabit was now entering its tenth year.

The Finale Weekend on 16th / 17th May will celebrate a growing range of international links that The Alde Valley Spring Festival was slowly developing – with Malaysia, Ireland, Bulgaria and Sri Lanka. Come along and join us. If the weather was fine, we hope to welcome guests and visitors to a Big Spring Picnic at the farm’s oak picnic table..

We hope to see you here at White House Farm in the beautiful Alde Valley of East Suffolk. If you are visiting the area for the first time, we recommend a DIY local Food Adventure and a selection of many wonderful Places to Stay ..!

With all good wishes for 2015,

Jason Gathorne-Hardy ~ Festival Director

For more news please visit the Festival Blog.

With thanks to our Sponsors / Supporters for 2015

The 2015 Alde Valley Spring Festival has been very generously supported by The Suffolk Coast DMO Festivals and Events Fund  and Aspall Cyder

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.
email us - click here >

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