COMMUNITY ART: Work on one of the four panels depicting the seasons at Hamsterley Village Hall
COMMUNITY ART: Work on one of the four panels depicting the seasons at Hamsterley Village Hall

Hamsterley Community Art Project
DURING the last year, more than 20 residents of Hamsterley took part in a project to create art for the village hall.
The original idea came from Jaquie Holloway, a long-time resident of Hamsterley and the arts co-ordinator at St John’s School and Sixth Form College, in Bishop Auckland, and Jaquie’s enthusiasm saw the project through to its conclusion.
The funding for the project came from the Teesdale Action Partnership neighbourhood budgets of Heather Smith and Stephen Hugill, and artist Jane Crawford, of Daisy Arts, in Bishop Auckland, guided us through the creative sessions.
Work started in November 2018 when ideas of how to create works that would portray something of life in Hamsterley were shared and designs explored.
We eventually settled on each of four panels depicting the seasons with a flower and bird appropriate to each season.
The spring panel is shaped like a bulb, summer is flower-shaped, autumn is an apple, and for winter we chose a holly leaf shape.
A fifth panel in the shape of a gothic window was designed and painted by the children of Hamsterley Primary School.
The frames were constructed of twisted strands of coloured wire, and the central panel was made of calico material, carefully hemmed into the appropriate shape.
This was quite a challenge but fortunately there were people in the group with needlework skills.
Large eyelets were inserted all round and the calico attached to the wire frames. I had particular fun bashing in the eyelets with a big hammer!
Then the designs were drawn on the calico and painted. Each session was a group effort, and people who thought they had no artistic talent found themselves painting flowers or background. The birds were left to those with artistic skills.
It was hugely enjoyable and we are very proud of the finished panels.
It was an immense sadness to everyone that Jaquie Holloway became ill towards the end of the project and sadly passed away the week before they were unveiled in the village hall.
These artworks will be a lasting memorial to Jaquie’s enthusiasm, creativity and love of her community.
Heather Smith