It is only possible to provide a taster of my recent forays into the wealth of artistic talent in our county – but I urge you to spend a lovely weekend absorbing as much as possible.

NB Before visiting do check the website for visiting details and opening hours:


Travellers Rest Farm Durweston

Judy re-creates and re-imagines fragments of ceramics, natural stone, and Lyme Regis sea glass into mosaics. She has always loved drawing and as she said: “You need real vision, for mosaics are only as good as the initial drawing.” Starting with pottery classes, a love of jigsaws and a passion for taking things apart, it was a visit to the mosaics of the Basilicas in the Italian city of Ravenna which inspired her. “Everything has a story, a narrative!” so each of her charming, quirky mosaics has a tale to tell.

Judy with her mosaics in the Stables at Travellers Rest image by Edwina Baines

David, a musician, took up painting in his retirement and now paints daily in his farmyard studio at Traveller’s Rest. However, some of his time is spent in France and a new phrase has entered his vocabulary “une lumière éblouissante” – a dazzling light. Hedgerows sparkle with May blossom – a nod towards Hockney and French garden landscapes in oil re-create this luminosity. Also included are local scenes of Hambledon Hill and still lifes of vegetables (including some freshly dug Maris Piper potatoes!), fruit and flowers. His first painting in lockdown incorporated a more modern feel but is contrasted with an ornate gold frame – donated by Sheelagh.

David in the Stable with his lockdon painting image by Edwina Baines

Sheelagh studied Fine Art at Bournemouth College of Art and exhibited in the very first Dorset Art Week in 1992. Her flamboyant still lifes, vivid patterns and life drawings come entirely from her imagination. “Anything with colour,” she says. Currently she has moved from oils into collage and watercolours, posted each week on Instagram.


The Old schoolhouse Child Okeford

Sarah constructs striking images of harbour scenes and landscapes of jumbled cottages. Look closely and you can find fragments of hidden stories, trawled from ancient newspaper articles of nineteenth century West Country shipwrecks and smugglers. “I really love all things ancient and all things textured, so I weave the two passions into my paintings. As a child, I used to cut up pieces of cardboard and make board games. I prefer to use my hands rather than a paintbrush. Initially my work was more figurative but I am attracted to derelict, dilapidated buildings with nooks and crannies and buildings poking out of each other.” I was also drawn to two different works portraying Hardy’s Cottage and Lyme Regis with words, book titles and history notes scratched into the modelling paste.

Ex Graphic Designer Diane likes to pare an image back to simplify it and combines the creaminess of gouache with an attractive muted minimalist pastel palette. “I like to try and create quirky poster-like artworks based on imaginary and real West Country villages, where you can lose yourself in the architecture and wonder who used to live in the houses. I’m attached to the sea and, choosing a different area each time, I’m trying to walk the South West Coast path in different sections.”


Artisan House East Street Blandford

Joe studied at the Central School of Art and later at the Royal College of Art, where he studied stained glass following his father’s art. He worked in his father’s studio until 2015, when he moved to Blandford. In his watercolours and prints, there is a certain precision in the interlocking shapes: he looks for rhythm, structure and energy in both nature and music to express personal themes.

Sheila’s intricate artworks are influenced by her training in stained-glass (with Joe’s Father!). Light and colour, and the process of gardening are her inspirations. “Not knowing what is going to happen. Being open to possibilities. A state of searching.”

Lucy’s work is easily identifiable and her boldly decorated pots and sculptural pieces reflect her love of pottery as a timeless art form. On show were her bowls, mugs and dishes in terracotta with swirls of ultramarine but also beautiful platters, sensitively decorated and some of her newer ventures into oil painting.


Hawkers farm Barn Stour Provost Gillingham

An old milking parlour has been converted into an event barn, the home of Hawkers Re-Creatives. With workshops, displays of up-cycled fashion, textiles and rural crafts, this is a Community enterprise to encourage sustainability. Handmade gifts and embroidered panels are showcased and sold in aid of Sambhali Trust, a non-profit making organisation based in Jodhpur, India, which aims to empower Dalit women and children in Rajasthan by teaching them to sew and run their own businesses. In addition to hosting sustainable film nights, during DAW, demonstrations and activities for adults and children have been held. 

290 Annie Field

Hartgrove nr Shaftesbury

Annie Field in her studio in Church Lane Hartgrove nr Shaftesbury image by Edwina Baines

Annie was an interior designer for thirty years and her stunning house and studio are testament to this fact. She presented ‘Finishing Touches’, the first TV interior design program, filmed in the UK and America. Annie’s Nemesis sculpture was chosen by the Chelsea Arts Club to go on their fifth column in the garden from January to April 2020. She now works mainly in abstract oils with a love of colour. Many of her paintings record images from her sketchbook, taken on travels from the extremes of Yorkshire to Ethiopia.

15 Phyllis Wolff

Hawkcombe Lane Compton Abbas Shaftesbury

Inside Phyllis Wolf’s Studio at Compton Abbas image by Edwina Baines

Originally a student of fashion at St Martin’s, her varied artistic routes and love of the natural world have led to this current exhibition’s title: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic…I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.” (Greta Thunberg). In the beautiful gardens of her cottage nestled into the hillside, with wonderful views across to Melbury Hill, exuberant and distinctive canvases are a feast for the eye in Phyllis’s studios. She has been described as a vibrant colourist and there is a generous spontaneity and freedom of expression in her work: “My painting has always been about my connectedness and relationship to the landscape. Devastation to the Natural world is increasingly evident even in ‘this small corner of Dorset’.”

By: Edwina Baines


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