The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Kent Edition

Affordable art ALERT

20 Oct 2016

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Mr Muddy Kent and I were given some art as a wedding present. At the time we barely owned a full set of cutlery, so it seemed mighty extravagant (if you’re nosey, like me, and would like to see what it looks like, click here, to see this post featuring my sitting room). It’s a beautiful canvas by a Vietnamese artist (I know nothing about art or Vietnam) but of all the things we own it has probably brought me the most enjoyment over the years. (Am I including the Mini Muddies when I say that? Well, I’ll let you decide. I suppose technically I don’t own them – they are a law unto themselves that’s for sure…)

Anyway, my point is, while on the surface of things art might seem like an indulgence it is actually one of life’s simplest pleasures. It’s a celebration of life, of community and has existed since the dawn of time. I’d even go so far as to say that, for some, it fills a spiritual void.

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There’s no doubt that buying prints and posters is fun (and affordable) — but (I don’t know, maybe it’s an age thing) I’m becoming increasingly sold on the idea of saving up for a piece of one-of-a-kind art. Which is why I’ve let a friend talk me into accompanying her to The Cranbrook Art Show where some of our brilliant local artists will be exhibiting. (And we have to support them, don’t we? Let’s face it, an ‘art-less’ world is not one I’d want to live in.)

And so that I don’t look entirely clueless I’ve been swotting up on the artists who will be showcasing their work this year, including Gill Brown, the sculptor behind these gorgeous swans and ballerinas, above.

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Then, there’s Karen Birchwood, an artist with a fashion design background who makes such popular pieces that John Lewis sells her landscapes and seascapes as prints. So imagine actually hanging a piece of her original work above the dining table? I could zone out of the spag bol food fight in front of me and be transported to a beach in Rye…

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I’ve also been eyeing up these stunning bowls and vases from Kent-based potter Jane Bridger. A piece of unique artwork would certainly bring richness and personality to my otherwise factory-made-furniture filled home. Mr Muddy K, it’s time to remortgage! I’m throwing out the framed prints – no more characterless walls for me!

Actually, I exaggerate, because according to my friend you don’t necessarily have to sell your Granny to take home one of these fabulous pieces. There are lots of affordable pieces from £20 to £200. Although, for a more personal choice, such as an original painting or bronze sculpture you can pay up to £2000.

If you too decide to go, as ever, let me know what you think. Even if you have no serious intention of prising open your purse, it makes a great day out. The Vestry Hall is on Stone Street – home to no less than three Muddy Stilettos Award Winners. You’ve got Spice (Best Gift Shop) Capital To Coast (Best Interiors Store) and Cocolicious (Best Café). So do a little shopping, have some scrummy cake in Cocolicious and then visit the art show for a potter (boom, boom).

The Cranbrook Art Show, The Vestry Hall, Stone Street, Cranbrook, TN17 3HA, Thursday 10 November – 10am to 8pm, Friday 11 November – 10am to 5pm, Saturday 12 November- 10am to 5pm, cranbrookartshow.org.uk

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Kent Edition