Sculpture Trail History – The Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail arrived at Raveningham in 2017 after 3 successful years at a site along the river Waveney in Earsham, about 8 miles west of Raveningham. The Sculpture Trail was originally started through conversations between Geoff Doggett (founding trustee of the River Waveney Trust), Nicky Stainton (chairman of Waveney & Blyth Arts) and Sarah Cannell (freelance Curator and Artist), the River Waveney Trust were keen to have an Arts event on the site and Waveney & Blyth Arts engaged Sarah Cannell to curate and develop the creative vision for the trail. The first Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail in 2014 featured 16 artists installing work over the 7 acre site and in the cafe space, with around 1500 visitors. The Trail was curated by Sarah again in 2015 and by Dulcie Humphrey (Curator Fairhurst Gallery, Norwich) in 2016 with support from Sarah. When the site at Earsham was needed for a new project we needed to find a new home for the trail within the Waveney Valley area and after a lot of consideration the trail was moved to Raveningham, home to Sarah’s parents Liz and Mal Cannell and their established businesses. At this time Liz Cannell became more involved as site manger having supported the trail at Earsham with practical help in previous years.
The move to Raveningham, meant a huge amount of work to get the 3 acre site ready and the team along with friends, volunteers, artists, rediscovered woodland paths, planted a new meadow and shaped the natural space to create vistas and cosy nooks for sculptures to be exhibited. The Sculpture Trail began to take on a life of it’s own and really settled into the landscape. In 2019 there were 40 artists exhibiting on the trail with a further 20 in the pop up gallery and 5000 visitors over the 5 week exhibition! The increased demands of running such a large event have meant that a new dedicated team of volunteers and artists has developed alongside the trail with Waveney & Blyth Arts pursuing other arts projects like their ‘Two Rivers Book Festival’, Creative Walks and Arts & Eats. The 2020 Sculpture Trail at Raveningham will embrace the magic of the space at twilight with artworks which incorporate light or sculptures which are lit with the opportunity for evening viewings for visitors.
Permanent Artwork at Raveningham Announced – November 2019
We are delighted to have purchased our first permanent artwork for the Sculpture Odyssey. The mini series of 6 traditional signposts positioned around the three acre site by London based artist Grace Adam fit the space beautifully. The finger posts encourage people to consider Raveningham from different perspectives. Its not about finding your way in a conventional sense, its about getting lost in your thoughts and stumbling on new vistas. The history, folklore, flora and fauna and literature associated with this place feature on the signs (see below image).
Grace has an MA Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts where she now is a Senior Lecturer in Art History & Theory as well as a BA Fine Art from Nottingham Trent. She is the creator and presenter of The Art Channel which regularly reviews contemporary art exhibitions at major galleries such as Tate, V&A, Royal Academy of Arts, Gagosian etc.
We hope that with the inclusion of text based site specific artwork at Raveningham we will be able to encourage other writers to use the space and are planning writing workshops for the summer.
The text inspired by the site featured on each signpost:
The dawn has brightened the
shallows and shadows and
the Bure sidles and idles
through weed isles and fallen
willows, and under
Morning in Norfolk. George Barker
Greenulfs, Harners, Hedge Bettys, Herring-spinks, Hornpies, Jill Hooters, King Harrys and Spinks.
Winchats, Greenfinches, Herons, Hedge Sparrows, Goldcrests, Lapwings, Owls, Goldfinches, Song Thrushes, Chaffinches.
‘What we wish upon the future is very often the image of some lost, imagined past.’
-Graham Swift, Waterland.
‘I just said to myself, one day I’ll go to Norfolk and I’ll find it there for her. The lost corner of England,’ I said.
Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
Gorleston was Gorleston ere Yarmouth begun
And will be Gorleston when Yarmouth is gone.
61AD – 30AD
Hundreds and Leets.
36 Hundreds in Norfolk.
Clavering Hundred, 29844 acres
These parallel streets
scoured by sand and salt
were gaunt and endless to a child.
Abrasively bleak-tongued this town
-Old Landscapes. Mollie Skipper
Theoretical Physicist Albert Einstein meets Sculptor Jacob Epstein.
Roughton Heath. 1933
See the mice in their million hordes.
From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads.
The breath of flowers is far sweeter in the air, where it comes and goes, like the warbling of music
Francis Bacon’s Of Gardens; an Essay 1625
Lopham Ford, at which place the Ouse and Waveney, those disagreeing brethren have their rise, and though there is no greater division of nine feet of ground, yet the former goes west by Thetford to Lynn, and the latter in a direct contrary course, by Diss, and so to Yarmouth.
A general history of the county of Norfolk, J. Stacey. 1829