Members' Room

UPDATES on the latest changes behind the scenes at HVAF, plus catch up with what the Art Groups have been up to over the past year.

NEW HVAF volunteer Jean Prince is now working as artists web support coordinator.

Jean's goal is to help members get the most out of the HVAF website, encouraging artists to use the gallery to showcase their work. If you’re not sure how to get your gallery started or are having problems, Jean would like to help.

Jean also hopes to work with art group leaders to let them know about upcoming functionality on the art group pages of the website.

Contact Jean at


TEXTILE artist Linda Gifford is now an Open Studios Area Coordinator. Linda will be covering East Herts and Broxbourne.


Northern Painters

Report by Rikki Harcourt

INDIGO has had one of its best years with active meetings each month except January and February, which had to be cancelled because of bad weather.

Two excellent exhibitions - a very rushed ’members organised’ opportunity to show at Cowbridge, near Courtyard Arts, a tribute to how quickly and efficiently regular exhibitors can react.

This was followed by an excellent show at Letchworth Arts Centre in June. Another exhibition at The Artshed including Indigo members opened from October 30. Christine Harrison, Beth Hardwicke and Lupe Cunha are to have a pat on the back along with their teams.

Most members are or have been active with their own exhibitions, workshops, teaching, Open Studios and producing work. We have had some very good meetings, with three project days and well attended evening meetings.

Two afternoon meetings will end the year although we feel this experiment may not be so easy for busy people who work. Evening meetings in the winter prove to be risky with a widespread membership, many of whom live in outlying villages so we are trying to find an alternative.

Membership has, in spite of our splendid year, fallen, and we are eager to attract new members in the North Herts Area. You are missing a good thing if you don’t rush to join right away.

Southern Painters

Report by Susan Llewelyn Elvidge

THE group continues to grow and flourish. We now have 25 members on the mailing list with an average attendance of 15 regulars. The group meets monthly and has had various activities.

December: Christmas Party. January, February and March meetings were hosted in members’ homes. In April we had the chance to join the Sculptors Group at the ballet rehearsals in Hertford. It was a valuable and much appreciated opportunity to improve our drawing skills, and the performance in the evening was excellent.

Also in April we made a trip to the Frogmore Paper Mill in Apsley near Hemel Hempstead. After a fascinating talk and guided tour to see the whole paper making process, we were given the opportunity to make a piece of paper for ourselves.

In May, Frances Tompson, one of the group’s members, gave us a lesson on the use of Encaustic Wax. All who attended thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working in a group, and discovering the possibilities of the medium together.

A few of the members took part in the St Albans Festival in June again this year. We were very lucky to be allowed access to the newly renovated Kingsbury Barn in St Michael’s Village and the public were invited to visit, to see the barn and meet the artists whilst they worked.

In July seventeen Southern Painters members put on an exhibition of work at Burston Garden Centre for 12 days. The exhibition (pictured) included watercolours, oils, acrylics, silk painting, calligraphy and even photography, covering a wide range of subjects. The work was well received and the group has been invited back again next June to repeat the exercise.

During the year individual members have exhibited independently at various places around the country and some of the group have taken part in Open Studios.

The group has plans for more trips and exhibitions in the coming months and extends a warm welcome to new members.

Ceramics Group

Report by Mike Hardy

I THINK the fact that members of the Ceramics Group have been so busy working as individuals has probably accounted for the fact that there have been fewer group meetings and that fewer members were involved in the Open Studios event this year.

Several of our members have taken part in group exhibitions in different parts of the country, as well as being involved in craft and ceramic fairs, one of the fairs being in Holland.

Most members of the group seem to have been commissioned to make individual ceramic or mosaic pieces, and one person was asked to write an article for a ceramic journal. Two of us were asked to run workshops in schools.

One of the outstanding achievements was the selection of the work of our member, Jeremy Nichols, for the Ceramics of Europe show in Germany, where 24 European countries are represented.

A programme of talks and visits is already being prepared for the coming year.

Sculptors Group

Report by John Spielman

LAST November 2008 We had a good turn out for our annual Christmas Walk around Waterford and a great pub lunch at the Papillion pub at Stapleford.

FEBRUARY We visited Letchworth Art Centre to organise our forthcoming exhibition.

MARCH Nine of us were free to exhibit at Letchworth Art Centre.

APRIL A workshop to sketch dancers in rehearsal was held at Castle Hall, Hertford. In the evening Ballet Central’s dancers put on a fantastic performance. Althea Wynne the talented sculptress talked to us about sculpture in America and her own beautiful work.

JUNE A day in the country was organised but only four sculptors participated.

OCTOBER We met at Stephen Lowe’s Walkern Gallery and were able to leave outdoor sculpture to be exhibited in his sculpture garden.

NOVEMBER We had a day trip to London to see the Anish Kapoor exhibition at the Royal Academy, view a new sculpture gallery near Kings Cross, and the sculptures in St. Pancras Station. Brian Parkes, one of our members, gave a 3D slide show inside artists studios at the AGM. At the end of the month we will be meeting again for our annual sculptors’ group Christmas Walk and get together.

Textile Group

Report by Barbara Weeks

THE Textile Group has welcomed new members this year and our bi-monthly evening meetings have focused on sharing our work and good practice.

Some of the group are also members of the Eastern Region Textile Forum and have attended meetings with this wider group, and some have exhibited at their recent Exhibition in Cambridge.

Our main achievement was our exhibition at MoDA (Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture) in May. Planning started in November with a research visit to the collections, with specific interest in the 50's Textile Retrospective.

Subsequent meetings focused on creating a unified theme for some shared panels with the theme 'Black & White and a touch of Lime', as well as the freedom to produce more individual pieces. Producing Artist's statements encouraged us to consider how the public view our work. The exhibition was a great success with a lively Private View and some work sold.

In January, Linda Gifford shared her experience with 'Business Support for the Designer-Maker', encouraging us to consider how we can work more professionally. Linda continues to pursue many exhibiting opportunities, including London venues; other members are taking a Textile Degree or teaching.

Currently we are pursuing future exhibiting opportunities, but nothing confirmed. Some of the group have visited the Luton Hoo Walled Garden, but the feeling is that this is a rather long-term project.

In preparation, we are updating our Portfolio of members work. We are also committed to having more regular informal meetings, visits and workshops. A group visited the Henry Moore Foundation in October and a 'Display Stand Construction' workshop is planned for January.

If you would like to lead another specialist group within the Forum, for glass, photography or jewellery, please feel free to step forward!