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September 19th saw the first Art Market take place at the town’s historic Lockmeadow Market Hall. Excited by the thought, I ventured along to see what it had to offer and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

The hall was buzzing not long after it opened at 9am with over 100 artists exhibiting across 85 stalls. The range of styles and mediums was vast. No two artists were displaying a similar style and works ranged from sculpture, multi-media, digital montage, etchings, performance art to knitting. All tastes were catered for and displayed to tantalise the eyes. This was a true showcase of some of the best contemporary art the South East (and further afield) has to offer.

A stage hosted an array of poets, singers and performers, providing entertainment for nearly 1600 visitors. Also on display were some fantastic artworks and other items which had been generously donated by Ralph Steadman, Billy Childish, Dame Kelly Holmes, to name only a few; all for the charity art auction. The money raised was a whopping £1721 and will be donated to two charities; Maidstone and Mid Kent MIND and The Foundling Museum.

The Art Market was the idea of Ali Farmer, who also set up Making Art Work, alongside Cathy Rogers. Making Art Work is a network of artists and creative people who want to develop their professional practices and achieve sustainable careers in the creative arts through a supportive community. They hold regular exhibitions for members. You can find more information at www.makingart-work.co.uk

Maidstone’s first Art Market was a massive success, with exhibitors making many sales and some also approached by art galleries. I hope that this becomes a regular event for local artists and art buyers. Well done to Ali, Cathy and everyone involved in making it such a success.

Here is just a smidgin of the talent that was showcased at the first Art Market:-

Rosie James – Textile artist
Rosie lives and works in Kent. She has a BA Hons Textiles degree from Surrey Institute of Art and Design and an MA in Textiles from Goldsmiths College London. She mainly draws using a sewing machine and has exhibited her work all over the world. She has large scale pieces in hotels in the UK and the USA. Rosie has published a book, ‘Stitch Draw: Design and Technique for Figurative Stitching’. This book is her first and contains lots of examples of her work alongside that of others.
www.rosiejames.com

Fleur Alston – Digital artist/photographer
Fleur takes photographs of beautiful things found in the everyday environment and transforms them into intricate photo montages.
www.cargocollective.com/fleuralstonphotography

Laurie Harpum – Multi-media artist
Laurie lives and works on the Isle of Sheppey. She draws inspiration from her environment and the objects she finds that have been washed up by the sea, cast out or lost by their previous owners. Laurie then uses these found objects in her work. Laurie is also organiser of Love Sheppey X, which is an exhibition for professional Sheppey artists to showcase their work.
www.laurieharpum.com
www.lovesheppeyx.com

Angela Wooi – Artist/performance artist/teacher & dance teacher
Angela had made a most impressive tent where you were invited in for a ‘pretend’ tea party, reliving some childhood memories (I only had one cup) but there it was with a twist, which I can’t show photographic proof of, but let’s just say the tent was called Profani-Tea.
www.makingart-work.co.uk/this-is-us/angela-wooi/

Heather Haythornthwaite – Artist printmaker at Hazelnut Press
Heather produces etchings, linocuts, screenprints and letterpress works which are inspired by landscapes and histories. She uses ancient and modern presses, tools and techniques and she is the founder of The Hazelnut Press which is a small open access printing studio for intaglio and relief printmaking. The printing studio offers taster days and short courses for all ages and abilities.
www.hazelnut-press.com

by Suzanne smith

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