Arts and crafts on display at Symondsbury Estate

Land art by John Calder welcomes visitors to the ‘Natural Forms’ exhibition

THIS week is the last chance to view ‘Natural Forms’, Lyme Bay Arts’ first exhibition since lockdown with more than 80 local artists taking part.

The exhibition is being held at The Gallery at the Symondsbury Estate, near Bridport, where visitors have been greeted in the courtyard with enigmatic pieces of land art created by local artist John Calder and entitled ‘Primordial Life’.

John said: “On retirement I retrained to learn how to lay hedges, coppice woodlands and make charcoal from the resulting waste. The purpose of the retraining was to enable me to manage some farmland in West Dorset which I had inherited, but a parallel journey into land art began.

“For ten or more years I have produced sculptures inspired by the natural forms that caught my eye in my routine work. I would save them, cherish them, and in the fullness of time something would emerge from them.

“This installation, composed for this unique location, has given me the chance to restate my excitement about the primordial forces of life that emerge from trees.”

Natural Forms is open Thursdays through Mondays from 10.30am to 4.30pm until August 31.

Lyme Bay Arts will then be opening ‘Contemporary Crafts’ in both The Gallery and The Space on September 3, offering a rich harvest of crafts made by experienced designers from the South West.

With the spotlight on skilled craftwork, traditional methods and contemporary designs, these crafts will include hand-forged metalwork, Dorset buttons, willow basketry, wood-turned bowls and handmade quilts. 

In addition, ceramics of all types will be on display, from delicate blue and white vases, hanging pots and earthenware to slip-decorated pottery and framed tiles. 

Textiles too will be well represented with felt wraps, wool snoods and striking silk scarves as well as hand-printed lampshades, cushions and books. 

Not to be forgotten, there will be jewellery, fused, painted, etched and stained glass hangings and sculptures.

And if you’ve always wanted to know more about how crafts are made, there will be three demonstrations where you can watch and speak to makers at work. 

On Thursday, September 10 from 10.30am to 4pm it’s the turn of Liz Kent, as she transforms branches into functional bowls on her lathe; on Sunday, September 13 from 10.30am to 1pm, Rosalind Atkins will be showing you how to make traditional Dorset buttons; and on Thursday, September 17 from 12noon until 4pm, stained glass expert Ann Pengelly will be demonstrating how her distinctive stained glass panels are made.

This showcase offers visitors the perfect autumn treat, not to be missed! It will be open Thursdays through Mondays from 10.30am to 4.30pm until September 21.

Admission for both of the above exhibitions is free, with social distancing measures in place and free parking is available in the estate car park.

For further information, visit or call 01308 301326.

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