Gorgeous gallery in Wargrave
Ah, Wargrave – you are really spoiling us! What with the fantastic Old Post Office for a sublime sarnie or slab of cake, and just down the road the brilliant Robin’s Nest Gallery celebrating it’s first anniversary of fabulousness – tag onto those two a walk around the beautiful Crazies Hill and you can easily spend a blissful morning snuggling into Wargrave’s warm and welcoming bosom!
The Robin’s Nest Gallery is the brainchild of Jo Sinclair, a jewellery maker, needlefelter and illustrator who has lived in the village for 37 years. I popped in to the gallery on Friday night for the gallery’s First Birthday Exhibition to have a gander at all the gorgeousness, and meet some of the artists.
Now, I always get slight palpitations when I see a stunning shop window like this, wondering if the price point is going to send my blood pressure mountain high and my bank balance valley low. Fear not my shopping sisters, this place really does have something for everyone from £2 to £2,000 (and they have had originals at £2,000 and sold them!) but if you want to come in and just buy a birthday card, you can.
What I loved about the gallery is the sheer variety of things available – necklaces from £18 to £220; artwork from £45 to over £1,000; ceramics from £2 to £140; beautiful glass from £10 to £90 and lots of quirky things like these textile animal heads (£110) by local artist Victoria Coleman, aren’t they fab? My littlest mudlet was very taken with them.
The gallery has a great range of artwork in various mediums including lino cut – beautiful ones by Sally Castle (who is fast-becoming a seriously grand fromage having just completed a commission for Reading’s Year of Culture – nine bronze panels that tell the story of Reading’s past). Also, screen prints and watercolours – and with a good range of affordable prices. There’s a good selection of original paintings, framed limited edition prints, loose prints and cards. There are things from artists across the UK but a good selection of local stuff. The illustrated maps (below) of Wargrave and Twyford by local talent Rebecca Howard were a sellout over Christmas.
If you’re of a nervous disposition and about as decisive as a sponge, then the gallery’s ‘Try Before You Buy’ service is your saviour. Unsure about a piece of artwork and want to see it in situ before you lay down your wonga? The gallery will deliver it to your home and you can keep it for a couple of days to hang out with it for a while and see if you’re a good match (*sigh* how different life would be if TBYB was available on so many of life’s other decisions…)
If you like the personal touch, the gallery can commission almost anything – from lino cuts of your house to pet portraits. These felt bookmarks in the gallery are made by Jo herself under her Felting for England brand (check out Digby’s dopplegänger!) Did I mention she is also a full time jeweller by the way? Clearly one of those uber-talented people who got way too many creative genes from the pool – leaving us lesser mortals with barely enough creative juice to cobble together a World Book Day outfit for our children.
Lots of beautiful, quirky bits and pieces, n’est-ce pas? So get yourself down there and have a gander. And of course, goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) let me know at Muddy Berks HQ if you pay The Robin’s Nest a visit – would love to know what you think.
The Robin’s Nest Gallery, 72 High Street, Wargrave, Berks RG10 8BY. Tel: 01189 404635. www.robinsnestgallery.com