INSPIRING OTHERS: Craftsman Trevor Dixon was on hand to admire the creative talents of Ken Jackson from Langleydale
INSPIRING OTHERS: Craftsman Trevor Dixon was on hand to admire the creative talents of Ken Jackson from Langleydale

A DALE craftsman has been inspiring others to unearth their artistic talents as part of a project aimed at those aged 55 and older.

For almost 30 years, Trevor Dixon has been producing miniature models of drystone walls, farmhouses and outbuildings made from natural materials.

The retired farmer, from Kinninvie, is now leading Creative Age, a project being organised by The Witham Arts Centre, in Barnard Castle, which aims to give people the opportunity to socialise as well as learn or develop a new skill.

Mr Dixon said: “Doing the models is something I started in the early nineties. It was just a hobby then I started doing farmers’ markets.

“I did quite well on the stalls and then I started doing agricultural shows and it went on from there. I do a few commissions for farmhouses too.

“It is a challenge and I like a challenge now and then. This all seems to be going really well. There has been a good turn out.”

The project has attracted a group of 11 individuals who attend the weekly two-hour sessions every Thursday. The workshops are being hosted by Utass (Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services) at Middleton-in-Teesdale.

Centre manager at The Witham Susan Coffer said: “We applied for some money from the County Durham Community Foundation to work on various projects for people aged 55-plus.

“They are all aimed at older people but this project looks at older people in a rural setting. I wanted to do a creative project where there was something to show at the end of it.

“I put the feelers out and then I found out Trevor was a farmer and that he made these exquisite models.

“This is about giving people the opportunity to get together on a weekly basis or for those who maybe experience some rural isolation or loneliness. It is amazing to see what is being produced.”

All materials are provided during the project which will run until February 27.

Mr Dixon said: “I am working with natural products. It is all stone that I get out of a local quarry. It is environmentally friendly.”

Ms Coffer thanked Utass for their support.

She said: “Utass have been fantastic partners in this. It would not have worked otherwise. It needed to be held in a rural location rather than holding it at The Witham. We are very grateful.”

Husband and wife duo Chris and Angie Gillings, from Mickleton, are enjoying taking part in the project.

Mrs Gillings said: “It is something completely different to what we normally do. It gets us out of the house. We saw some of Trevor’s work and thought we would like to give it a go ourselves.

“It is nice to be out with different people and making new friends. The things we have already made and taken home have been admired.”

The project is also benefitting Karen Etchells, who recently moved to the area to live in Snaisgill.

She said: “I am new to the area so this gives me the opportunity to meet people.

“I am also driving around the area looking for inspiration. I am very crafty but this is something completely different. It is a real eye-opener. I did not realise how intricate it was going to be. It is really good fun.”

The project will culminate with a month-long exhibition at The Witham in March next year.