The Somerset Art Works festival began with a flurry of private views and opening nights and last Friday I was able to attend an inspiring ‘craft supper’ held in the magnificent setting of Forde Abbey.

The evening was curated by Yvonna Demczynska who hosts similar events as part of Flow, her London Gallery’s profile. Yvonna has been central to selecting and commissioning the makers involved with A Landscape of Objects for Somerset Art Works and since June visitors to the gardens at Forde Abbey have been able to view installations set within the grounds; guests to the craft supper were able to preview works newly installed within the house interior.

Katie Spragg

Ceramic artists Katie Spragg and Kaori Tatebayashi were awarded the wonderful opportunity of a week-long residency at the Abbey, which is still a family home, and it was this time spent sketching, photographing and discovering the house and grounds that was to inform their creative process.¬†Katie paid particular reference to the welsh poppies, maidenhead ferns, succulents and clovers that make their home within the stonework, and Kaori’s ceramic fruit and vegetables echo the walled kitchen garden viewed from the library window where the work is now displayed.

The food for the evening was prepared by acclaimed chef Sophie Magill and guests delighted in the abundant, colourful canapes that welcomed them – everything was just so fresh, light and appetising, and of course beautifully presented. The tableware had been commissioned principally for the occasion. Jessica Joslin made the dinner plates, Kaori Tatebayashi made a selection of dessert plates alongside Christina Vezzini, who was also responsible for creating the delicate sculptures currently adrift on the garden lake.

Christina Vezzini

The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all and was a true celebration of food and craft in harmony with the magnificent setting. I strongly recommend a visit to view the work currently on show at Forde Abbey. I love the way Kaori Tatebayashi pumpkins and squashes playfully radiate out from the dark, structured confines of the library bookshelves, and the tapestry corridor that leads to this room is like walking through a forest from a fairy tale.

Kaori Tatebayashi

Kaori Tatebayashi explaining her making process to guests

swallows nesting in the library by Kaori Tatebayashi

Listed as Venue 93 in the SAW Festival brochure the opening times are

Gardens: 10am – 4.30pm

House: 12pm – 4pm

Please note entry charges do apply and the house is closed on Mondays and Saturdays.

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WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY by Davina Jelley

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Published on September 29, 2017 // Davina Jelley