At the end of this month a new festival gets underway for a weekend of inspiring, community-led workshops and creative demonstrations. Eileen Leahy previews the unique events visitors can enjoy over the Bank Holiday and a few beforehand too…
Rusthall is clearly a thriving hub of artistic talent. As well as writers and painters, there are sculptors, seamstresses and musicians all residing in this small enclave just two miles outside Tunbridge Wells.
To celebrate their impressive collective skills the creative community in Rusthall is putting on its first Arts Festival.
Their aim is not only to showcase their talents but to encourage people to come along, be inspired and get stuck in, too.
Although the inaugural festival takes place on the final Bank Holiday weekend in May, there are a variety of workshops already up and running in order to help publicise the event and organisers are hoping residents in the area will get involved.
Keen crafters have been feverishly sewing all manner of materials together at C&H Fabrics in Tunbridge Wells with the local Knit & Natter group. They will use the result as a fun ‘yarn bomb’ which will be revealed at a special location – still to be confirmed – during the festival.
They have also begun work on creating their official mascot. The final session for putting the finishing touches to the soon to be unveiled ‘Iron Maiden’ takes place this Saturday, May 14, from 12-3pm at C&H Fabrics, so if you’re interested in putting your haberdashery skills into practice pop along.
Other interesting workshops taking place in the lead up to the Rusthall Arts Festival include an exciting literary event happening this Saturday, May 7, and the following one, from 10am-12noon.
Led by local writer Charlie Bell and starting from the Daily Bread bakery in Rusthall, participants of all ages are encouraged to walk around the village and be inspired to write about what they see using the ancient Japanese poetry form known as Haiku. Just turn up at 10am on the day to find out more.
workshops led by Jessica Pointon at Rusthall Library each Saturday from May 14 to May 28 from 10am-12noon. Participants can then put their newly acquired – or deftly honed – tale-telling skills to the test at a unique event happening at Toad Rock on the first day of the festival at 2pm.
As well as fun, family orientated activities over the weekend such as land art making sessions using natural finds from Rusthall Common, there will be interesting installations by sculptors, ceramic demonstrations and plenty of photographic exhibitions, live music, good food and lashings of community spirit.
But whether you participate in a poetry reading, sketching workshop, music concert – or simply go along to observe and absorb – it’s clear that the first Rusthall Arts Festival promises to be a dynamic occasion that will not only culturally enrich but also prove just how talented our town is.
For more information on the Rusthall Arts Festival visit www.raft16.org