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  • Monday, July 25th, 2016

Local artists scoop festival sculpture trail prizes

Claire Louise Mather


A local artist and city centre arts organisation scooped the prizes in the 2016 Art in the Woods sculpture trail competition.

Artist Claire Louise Mather, from Saddleworth, won the Individual Artist prize with her installation called ‘I Stand Alone‘, a tree whose trunk was made of books with textile branches. Hoot Creative Arts’ arts and dementia project won the Community Collaboration prize with its work ‘Breathing Space‘, with recycled giant sized instruments bringing music and audience participation to the forest.

“I really appreciated the opportunity to be part of ‘Art in the Woods’ 2016,” said Claire.  “It was fantastic and such a surprise to win!”

Visitors to the sculpture trail were invited to vote for their top three favourite artworks and over 400 people voted in the space of just ten days.  Claire was awarded a cash prize of £400 and Hoot received £100. The prizes were presented by exhibition curators Sarah Branson and Jamie Frost at a special award ceremony at Choppards Mission.

Second prize in the Individual Artist category was awarded to the competition’s first ever international artist, Luca Serasini from Pisa.  His work, entitled ‘Alcor and Mizar‘, was of a constellation of stars with a telephone which rang.  Visitors who answered it found themselves talking to a star who was urging them to find it.

Luca Serasini

In third place was Hannah Honeywill with ‘Funambulism‘, a reality-defying installation with a chair balanced on a tightrope between the trees.

Curator Sarah Branson, was delighted with the overall response to the sculpture trail for its 4th year:

“This is the first time we have welcomed international artists and also community collaborations” she said.  “It has been a real treat to introduce the element of Artist and Community Partnerships this year, a fantastic way of getting more young people, community groups and their families involved and excited about an event which is growing in visitor numbers, enthusiasm and artist participation with each year.”

Other installations included six local schools working in collaboration with local artists such as Mick Kirkby Geddes and Elle Caldecott.  This year also the return of former Art in the Woods artists including Sue Jenkins in collaboration with the North Light Potters, Sue Clay and Judith Brown and many new artists to who have brought fresh ideas and energy to the sculpture trail.

Organisers were delighted at the turn-out.  Visitors were invited to decorate a pebble and drop it into a bag to record their visit and over 2,220 pebbles were counted over a 10 day period.

Claire Louise Mather (right) with Rachel Hogley and Tim Kirk

Claire Louise Mather (right) with Rachel Hogley and Tim Kirk

The Art in the Woods sculpture trail is staged every two years as part of Holmfirth Arts Festival with the generous support of Tim Kirk and his family who own the land around Holme Styes Reservoir. The event was also supported for a second year by Holme Valley Parish Council and Kirklees Community Fund through the One Community Foundation.

“Well done to all the artists who made Art in the Woods such a wonderful experience for our community and visitors,”  said Cllr Rachel Hogley. “It’s a great celebration of the Holme Valley’s creativity and enjoying art in our beautiful landscape is a real joy. All ages loved it and the Parish Council is proud to support such a successful and uplifting event.”

Holmfirth Arts Festival is funded by Arts Council England and Kirklees Council, and received support from Yorkshire Festival, Longley Farm and other local businesses and individuals.