Today was the day of the Waveney & Blyth Arts Launch at The Cut in Halesworth. It’s probably not the right thing to say, but the highlight for me was hearing Richard Mabey speak on the area – he lives in Waveney. Richard Mabey is (IMHO) our best writer on natural history and the environment, and had been a favourite for as long as I can remember. It began many years ago with Food for Free, and took me all the way to Beechcombings and Nature Cure…and as of today, Weeds (which he kindly signed for me). But I’m ahead of myself as usual…
The day began with Simon Raven from The Cut outlining the day, the aims and aspirations of WBA, and introducing the speakers.
Richard Mabey was the key speaker, and also new (first) President of the WBA. His talk was inspiring and educational, and for a devotee of his work, rather exciting. He spoke of the areas the Waveney and Blyth rivers cover with great knowledge and understanding, and with far more insight than any of us could have had. It was odd to have somebody open your eyes to an area you know well and love more. How blind am I, was a feeling I was left with.
I had a small presentation to make to Richard, a piece I’d turned specifically for him, and one which will (hopefully) have some resonance for him as it combines elements which are inspired by his writings…but then he could just as well hate it. But it gave me great pleasure to give something back for the many, many hours of pleasure his writings have given me.
The individual talks/presentations were followed by group discussion sessions, and then a summary and the first AGM of the group.
Overall I had a good day…bumped into any number of artists and makers I know, and got to catch up, met some new and interesting people, made a few contacts, and had a lovely lunch with friends. I still have concerns about whether or not the umbrella group is anything I can contribute to, or whether it is right for individual makers as opposed to pre-existing (and new) groups, but I would guess that time will tell. The steering group responsible for the WBA and the organisation that resulted in the launch did a fantastic job, and the results were largely very positive and enthusiastic. Here’s hoping for a bright future for the WBA.