Art and Walking go Hand-in-Hand in Kington
As a centre for walking, and a community of local artists and makers, Kington regularly celebrates the relationship between art, walking and our local border country landscape. Kington Walks, the organisation that runs the Kington Walking Festivals, maintains local footpaths and leads our membership of Walkers are Welcome, is closely connected to the Marches Makers, the local collective of artists and makers. The annual Big Draw, and landscape art such as the image of a giant walker cut into the hillside bracken are examples of our longstanding collaboration.
In 2023, we welcomed a new addition to the Kington Arts and Walking Scene when the Marches Makers group, with support of Kington Walks, secured funding of £12,000 to commission and install a bronze sculpture by local artist Rachel Ricketts, of Fly, the Walking Dog of Kington. He now stands on a plinth of locally hewn stone donated by nearby Gore Quarry and was formally unveiled this year by the mayor of Kington.
The conception of Fly began with local stories about the ghost of Black Vaughan, which inspired Conan Doyle to write The Hound of the Baskervilles. Notable mythologies involving hounds in the region go back to the Mabinogi and are still raising the hairs on our necks to this day. Fly carries none of the darker historic connotations of the Hound stories but was inspired by the tale of Black Vaughan’s ghost, reduced to the size of a fly and interred in a snuffbox, invoking the power of positive transformation. Fly represents the spirit of an enthusiastic walking companion, ideally suited to his location in Kington, where he stands outside the Kington Museum. You can find out more about Fly, and Rachel’s work.
Just around the corner from Fly, walking and art in Kington are also visibly linked in the work of Kathryn Moore a Kington‐based artist who draws her inspiration from the local landscape, especially as she experiences it through walking and sketching. Kat and Fiddle Studio is her workspace and gallery in the centre of Kington. It is a great showcase for Kington’s wonderful walking country. Kathryn is closely involved with the Kington Walking Festivals, leading sketching walks and putting on her Six Pix Challenge, in homage to Kington’s 8 Peaks Challenge, and Kington’s Six Great Walks.
Kathryn has painted six views along Walk 1 of the Six Great Walks around Kington and asks participants to identify these locations with either What3words or an Ordnance Survey grid reference. The winner will be drawn from the correct answers and will receive a £50 prize.
The six images can be found on the Kington Walks website from 11th September and the originals displayed in Kathryn’s Kat and Fiddle Studio window, 37 Church Street, from 11th September to 1st October 2023.
Describing the interplay of art and the land in Kington, Kathryn says: ‘Many artists use landscape as their starting point for their chosen practice; Kington artists are no exception. The breadth of creativity among the artistic community in ceramics, printmaking, sculpture and painting, draws influences from the area’s rich abundance of material. Some may respond to the lie of the land in hills and valleys, others through the physical substance of materials in flora, pigments and minerals. The primary source is in our landscape, therefore walking, exploring, charting, documenting and discovery are an essential part of this creativity. Becoming familiar with the environs through walking, whether in a professional capacity or for relaxing pastime, increases one’s awareness and sensitivity to our surroundings.’