There must be something about Faversham's location that attracts and inspires the creative spirit, if the vibrant artistic community nestling in the town is anything to go by. Whether it's the rurality of its surroundings, offering a respite from the headlong dash from London to Dover as it clings to the side of the A2, the tranquillity of its several nature reserves, its coastal views - something about the place offers inspiration to many artists. The market town breathes in rhythm with the tide that laps against its shores at Harty Ferry, and is lulled by the ebb and flow of the tide coursing down its creek. At times, it's easy to see why Faversham is such a haven for artists: the sunlight slanting through the tall roadside trees on an autumn afternoon; the rows of neat-and-tidy ploughed fields across the Kentish landscape; a mixture of natural landscape mixed with mankind's imparted order, a coming together of the vital, the raw with the controlled, acting as a catalyst for creative response.
The work of Hope Fitzgerald is inspired by and responds to the locality; her Twitter channel is replete with photos reflecting her daily walks around the town under the hashtag #walkfaversham, which is also the subject of her current exhibition at The Yard. Nigel Wallace, whose art prints are inspired by 1960s British Rail advertising, finds inspiration both in Faversham itself as well as places elsewhere across the county. Creek Creative, housed in a former Victorian brewery, is home to community of local arts and artisans, galleries and a café, whilst art events are a regular feature at the Assembly Rooms; there’s even Faversham’s own Art Society.
Several of the town’s businesses have started to see the potential in teaming up with creative artists – Jittermugs is currently hosting an exhibition by local artist Mark Thatcher; Hope Fitzgerald’s ‘Walk Faversham’ exhibition adorns the walls of The Yard coffee shop; and Macknade’s Fine Foods is presently hosting ‘Unseen,’ a photographic exhibition by Alison Dilnutt responding to the changing nature of Kent’s landscape. This is an exciting development, where retail meets the arts and opens up all manner of exciting (and, crucially, mutually beneficial) possibilities.
Whatever the reason, Faversham continues to inspire artists; come and see some of their work next time you visit the Market Town of Kings.
Photography by Hope Fitzgerald
Picture-postcard of the town centre by Nigel Wallace.
Many thanks to this week's Guest Blogger: Tom O'Bedlam
Tom moved to Kent in 2008, and lives halfway betwixt Faversham and Canterbury. Committed to extolling the virtues of Faversham, he believes enthusiastically in the idea of celebrating Faversham’s rich history, its vibrant artistic community, and its plentiful opportunities for both leisure and retail pursuits. Working in the arts and education, forging pride in communities and developing their possibilities lies at the heart of both Tom’s professional and leisure activities. He considers the quality of second-hand books in Faversham second-to-none, and purchases far too many of them than is good for his groaning bookshelves. Follow Tom on Twitter @hernhillforum