By Gillie Tunley and Brenda Sandilands.
Our cultural journey began at the elegant Barn in Upper Redlands Road and we admired Joy Frey’s gloriously vibrant handmade original prints and Ursula Waechter’s gorgeous brush-decorated earthenware, so reminiscent of the classic and well-loved Aldermaston pottery. We also enjoyed watching the resident hens scuttling joyously over the velvet green lawn!
We then moved into the fabulously stylish New Road to visit the lovely home of Caroline Marriott and appreciate her colourful textile work, as well as the sumptuous and yet at the same time organic jewellery of Claire Wilkinson.
Next stop was the iconic Two Rivers Press display of publications celebrating local history, art and poetry; these were enhanced by the inspirational Sally Castle’s specially commissioned linocuts, illustrations and lettering. Her expressive paintings on the effects of Crossrail on the local landscape were also exhibited, and made us reflect.
The final destination on Day One of our mini-tour was Jenny Halstead’s beautiful rose-adorned cottage in Christchurch Road. Our eyes feasted on her delectable paintings and we pondered on her impossibly brilliant technique. Louise Walker also impressed with her stunning contemporary jewellery, lovingly crafted from recycled silver and fairtrade gold.
On Day Two, the elegant light-filled Museum of English Rural Life was an ideal venue for the fabulous figurative oil paintings and drypoint etchings of Katie Wilkins, featuring endearing animals and livestock. We were also dazzled by the imaginative and opulent fabric and needlework of Joan McQuillan and the vibrant textiles of the inspired designer/upholsterer Kate Powell.