What to expect at this year’s 10 Parishes Festival

Aga Karmol is an artist, printmaker and photographer

Aga Karmol is an artist, printmaker and photographer - Credit: Archant

Visual and performing arts are the centrepiece of a nine-day celebration of creativity near Taunton

Victoria Ward will showcase her bullfinches and goldfinches in ink and watercolour

Victoria Ward will showcase her bullfinches and goldfinches in ink and watercolour - Credit: submitted

The 10 Parishes Festival runs from the September 7-15 and the biennial event always has a central theme that artists and performers can reflect in their work, should they wish.

"Art is never finished, only abandoned." These are the words of Leonardo da Vinci, whom for some is the greatest artist of all time. The words are a powerful echo around the countryside west of Taunton in readiness for the event.

Reuse and Recycle surely must have been a feature of daily life in the time of Leonardo, yet consumer life exactly half a millennium since his death is somewhat different.

The popular current theme of refashioning allows visitors to appreciate different interpretations as they meander between artists' studios and exhibitions throughout the 10 parishes in and around Wiveliscombe.

The last festival in 2017 was the best in its 16-year history in terms of revenue generated for participants - more than £45,000. Along with live performances, market day and carnival procession on 8 September and other community events, the festival aims to bring people together whilst appreciating local talent.

Such talent includes Aga Karmol who is an artist, printmaker and photographer complete with an M.A. from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk. Aga has designed the 10 Parishes Festival brochure in recent years and will exhibit at Bathealton Village Hall. Aga's inspiration comes from local landscapes, travels and animals who in her words "share their life with me."

Just around the corner in Bathealton is another regular exhibitor, Tilly Willis. Tilly has exhibited at every festival since it began and her distinctive work has long been another feature of the village's creativity.

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Her studio reflects the industry and beauty of artistic work with a comprehensive number of pieces including local landscapes, portraits, still life and recent pictures of Africa in oil or watercolour.

Victoria Ward produced a beautiful series of maps for the last festival, based on the 2017 theme of the B3227. These proved to be popular both as paintings and on postcards, examples of the former still adorn the walls in the Wiveliscombe Community Office.

For this festival her work will also include patterned bullfinches and goldfinches in ink and watercolour on hot pressed artist's watercolour paper.

Victoria will exhibit at the Wiveliscombe Community Centre as part of The Wivey Art Collective along with John Abraham, Annie Musgrove, Doulla Aebli, Chris Howe and Teresa Wilson.

A remarkable and unusual photographic style provides a poignant backdrop to this year's event, through the work of David Carter. David was registered to exhibit at the 2017 festival but died unexpectedly a few weeks beforehand.

This will be another opportunity to view his work at Shillingford. David's photographs turn nature into abstracts, puzzles and painterly images that intrigue the mind and delight the eye. David's family are looking forward to sharing this beautiful legacy of locally-inspired images.

Live performance is always an integral part of events over the nine days of the festival. On Market Day in Wiveliscombe (Sunday 8th September), there will be live music all day in Jubilee Gardens.

Cotleigh Brewery also continues to be a popular live music venue in the town. Norwich-based folk trio Alden Patterson and Dashwood weave rich vocal harmonies, fiddle, dobro and guitar around beautifully written original songs and melodies and will appear on 14 September at 8pm.

Their music takes influence from folk traditions from both sides of the Atlantic with uplifting instrumentals and self-penned songs depicting tales of young travellers, sleepy seas and their affection for home.

Their stunning live performances have engaged and impressed audiences across the UK and Europe and have included an extensive support tour with folk legends Show Of Hands and main stage shows at some of the UK's most prestigious festivals.

Wellhayes Vineyard will once again feature as a live music venue, hosting The New Oxford Consort on September 14 at 7.30pm. This vocal ensemble comprises some of the finest young singers from Oxford and will perform a varied programme of unaccompanied choral music spanning 500 years.

Need to know:

The 10 Parishes Festival runs from September 7-15.

For a full list of participants, venues and events see 10parishesfestival.org.uk or consult the festival brochure which can be found at many outlets across the county.