'Artists are gnostics, and practise what the priests think is long forgotten.' - Hugo Ball

Monday, 26 May 2014

Mud, mud glorious mud

Jo, Patrick and Linda man the pitch
Well, I survived the Hertfordshire County Show! Six of us from the HVA manned a pitch over the Bank Holiday Weekend, showing off the wide variety of art that comes under the organisation's umbrella. It was a chance to talk to a lot of people about what we and the organisation does, and also occasionally get out and about and enjoy the show itself (thus avoiding Tent Fever). The Herts County Show is great. There were a lot of lovely cows, sheep posing on plinths, Cossack Horsemen charging about, 30 different places to buy Australian Outback All Weather Hats (yes I bought one) and a dangerous doughnut stall that was just too close for comfort (yes I ate one). Oh, and I fell in love with a horse.

Charging Cossack
I Love This Horse
Although we ended up having a huge amount of fun it didn't start too well - I got up at 5.30am in pouring rain and it kept on pouring all Saturday morning and off and on throughout the afternoon. The marquee had been pitched over wet grass and by the time we'd all gone in and out with our stuff we'd created a mud wallow that a hippopotamus would enjoy (possibly the only animal not at the show). We had the mud wallow all weekend and had to throw wood chippings at it to avoid sinking. I have never loved my walking boots so much for keeping my tootsies warm and comfy despite standing in a bit of a bog. Still - we got everything up on the grid-wall without disaster and then managed to arrange ourselves from complete chaos to order in about 30 minutes flat. Those do-it-all-in-an-hour reality programmes have nothing on the members of the HVA when they've got the paint brush between their teeth. When it was all up it looked surprisingly fab, despite the swampy atmosphere. In fact our whole tent was full of interesting stuff. We decided that the Made In Hertfordshire Tent was one of the Best Tents. If you had to be in any tent it was the tent to be in.

Our stall in all its glory
Hilary does her stuff
Sunday was lovely and warm and sunny. There were many more visitors, and they were all happier and more interested because they weren't sodden wet and seeking tent-refuge. We all had a much better day, made Open Studio converts and sold a bit of art. I went and stalked the Eagle and Vulture show because they had a Barn Owl. In fact I stared at the Barn Owl so much trying to memorise its feather patterns that the poor thing tried to hide from me behind its little podium. To give the Barn Owl a break I wandered over to the junior show jumping and ended up trapped in a cul-de-sac of horsiness and jodhpurs where I was distinctly Wrongly Dressed.

Strange Sheep Olympics Medal Ceremony
Latest News: Man's Head Eaten by Shire Horse
Although the weekend was, without doubt, a huge amount of work we all felt that the HVA should have a presence there, showcasing the arts 'made in Herfordshire' along with the produce and crafts. It was also a great showcase for those of us that took part and a chance to talk to a lot of people about what we create. So, a special Art Medal of Honour to the intrepid Hilary Taylor, Sarah Poppleton, Suman Gurjal, Linda Gifford, Patrick Joyce and, of course, myself, for taking it on. And an even bigger one to Jo Atherton for organising it and manning the fort (if only it had had a moat!) with us even though she wasn't showing her work. Guys - you all rock!!!!

Sarah captures the evening light
Baby Shire Horse!
Balloon wrestling
All photos: © Sue Wookey

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