On Sunday afternoon, we strolled down to Catherine Hill – in the hope of picking up a couple of handmade Christmas presents for family and friends at the Christmas Artisan market. We walked past the Little Red Cafe and then stood still, waiting for people to pass us so that we could squeeze our way onto the cobbles. Only – no one passed us. Because the chock-a-block human traffic was at a standstill. The stalls were simply too appealing for them to move on and so we (sadly) turned around and used a back alley to get to the Flea Market.
Here there was more breathing space – and just as many treats. And so I made my way from stall-to-stall, making a verbal wishlist, and hoping that Rich would remember every delightful antique mirror, or polka-dot cushioned chair, that I pointed out to him.
Fingers freezing and noses getting pink – we decided to pop into Divas for a hot drink. As it’s Christmas – it’s totally acceptable to drink alcohol whenever you want (as long as it’s hot: hot toddy, mulled wine etc) – and so I unashamedly ordered a mulled wine (at midday) and took it upstairs to keep my hands warm whilst I perused the latest exhibition in the Black Swan Arts gallery.
The exhibition – ’25 Years of Christmas’ – is the last in a series of exhibitions; celebrating the Black Swan’s 25th year anniversary. This festive exhibition is a collection of works by artists who have exhibited at the Black Swan over the past quarter-decade. All of the exhibits have been generously donated and proceeds will go towards the centre’s 25th anniversary appeal.
I was drawn to a beautifully feminine-looking silver lamp, as well as the wacky invention in the corner:
Having recently visited an exhibition in London with a room dedicated to Ralph Steadman’s paintings – I instantly recognised this piece as one of his. I love his bold colours and splashy ink effect – both adding to the vibrancy of his work.
The steward came over and told us that we could ‘turn it on’. I had assumed it was a sculpture – but no – it’s a moving, cranking, comical machine. I squeezed down behind it to switch it on and then carefully slid back out and revelled in the wonderful ridiculousness of the (phallic) teddy bear, spinning slowly around and moving his head in slow motion, as if mocking the viewer.
There are some lovely charcoal pieces from Nicky Knowles and a range of jewellery, painting, textiles and photography. It’s on until the 28th January but I’d recommend visiting before Christmas…
After all the excitement of Steadman’s invention, we needed yet another break so nipped over to the Cornerhouse for a quick drink before heading back into the (slightly less busy) Artisan Market, where we picked up lots of lovely Christmas decorations, notepads, broaches and soaps.
The Frome Street Bandits were performing at the top of the hill and the crowd gathered in front of them had big, beaming smiles. They are ACE! Perfect end to a lovely Frome Sunday.