Popular Petworth art show fondly remembers its founder

Bronnie
Bronnie

This year’s Treve Cottage Art Show near Petworth (July 21-Aug 5, 11-6pm daily) goes ahead in memory of founder Bronnie Cunningham who died in March. The show will celebrate her life and work.

Her son Euan Cunningham said: “Bronnie (Feb 26 1932-Mar 7 2018) was the original founder of the Treve Art Show, nearly 25 years ago. We will be showing her work, including scarves, cushions and silk pictures, along with her other creative and literary achievements.

“Mum was always keen to give people a platform to help promote and sell their work. She was always incredibly supportive to me and taught me many lessons in persistence, determination and gentle persuasion when trying to push oneself as a self-employed artist. Mum was very creative and was endlessly producing different designs and colour combinations for her silk work. Her energy right up to the end, aged 86, was limitless and she would always be thinking about new ways of producing, presenting or selling her work.

“Since moving down from London to Sussex in 1961, her creative output was impressive, ranging from many published books throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s to producing hand-stitched patchwork quilts, silk scarves,jackets, cushions etc from the 90s onwards. She always felt the importance of trying to create an artistic hub in Sussex, which led to the start of the Treve show back in the early 90s. Initially it started as part of an art trail with Petworth, but this fizzled out and she was very keen that we should carry on, on our own.

“She was also was much travelled, which she drew on as inspiration for her work. In the early 80s she travelled right across on the Trans Siberian railway, bringing back some very interesting taped recordings of the sights and sounds of her trip.

“My mum was the sort of person who would encourage you to go for it. I will remember her as a very calm, supportive, wise, open-minded, non-judgemental person, someone you could go to for advice or help. A very good listener, who gave very good advice.

“Much missed, she fought a very brave and stoical battle with cancer. We have decided to carry on with the show and to celebrate her work and some of her other achievements.

“To help celebrate this there will be 17 artists coming together for the fortnight to exhibit, demonstrate their art forms and run art workshops. There will be free weekend art workshops, 12-4pm in pottery, wood carving, weaving, spinning and printmaking. Spaces are limited. Suitable for all ages. No booking. Drop in. First come, first served.

“This year’s selection of artists include printmakers Sally Cutler, Kate Boxer and Liz Spiro; ceramics from Mignon Woodfield and Wendy Farlely; stunning glass work from Tillington glass artist Karen Grimstead.

“There will be Bronnie’s grandson Felix who is carrying on the family creative spirit with his colourful artworks.”

Euan will also be showing his paintings, drawings, collages and sculpture. There will be spinning and weaving from Ros Hitchens and Raga Brown; paintings from artists Dominique Kenway, Andrew Thompson and Ben and Gideon Goldsmith; and beautiful knitted wool slippers by Sheila Pearson.

“There will be beautiful handmade jewellery by Hanna Palfrey whose work is inspired by the natural world.

“ This celebration of Sussex’s artistic talent has been created by Bronnie’s passion to create an inspiring creative hub for local artist friends and family to join and share what we all do and love with the wider community.

“We are keen to carry on the spirit.”

Free parking and entry. Treve Cottage, River Common near Petworth, GU28 9BH; www.trevefestival.weebly.com; 07929 046338.

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