Chaff: Meaning light hearted well-meaning banter; (Merriam-Webster dictionary).
"I’d had the concept of CHAFF ‘Cheddar Arts Fringe Festivals’ bubbling around in my mind for years. In 2014 I invited all the Cheddar village artists I knew to come for a meeting; Sara Parsons, Ella Phillips, Robin Gray and Martyn Wrench; I explained my vision for a ‘Cheddar Open Studios’ to make an event that would showcase local talent, where visitors could see the artists, chat about the artwork, watch work being made and buy some art.
My only real stipulation was the festival had to be kept within Cheddar, any other local artists who wished to join CHAFF had to exhibit within the village. I felt it was important for the local community to keep it accessible to all; ‘A walking trail of open art studios’ around our lovely village.
My long term ambition was to have community interactive events, art workshops, lectures by prestigious visiting artists and sculptures around the village situated in public gardens and spaces, such as Hannah Moore Cottage and the park.
The first year opening was October 2014. Sara and I were the only two artists who had no prior commitments and opened our doors to the public. This was the beginning. Sara hosted the next meeting at her house. I was so overwhelmed with the number of artists who turned up, a sea of faces looked at me, I have to admit I was extremely nervous.
We had our grand opening of CHAFF May 2015.
Since then many more local artists, applied artists and craftspeople have jumped on board and lots of those initial ideas are being realised. In 2018, we had Willow Sculptor Sophie Courtier make willow sheep situated in the Gorge on permanent display for all to see. CHAFF is growing from strength to strength. This year we have over 40 artists who are involved so it will be an event to remember."
Written by CHAFF founder Katrina Atkinson