Artfest Artist Ambassadors

These artists, selected for their skill and expertise in their chosen field, have kindly offered their support to Artfest Holmfirth. Many of them will also be joining the other selected artists over the weekend with their work, or giving an art demonstration.

Please see individual artist details for those that will be standing over the weekend.

James Green

I started printmaking because of my cat, Otto. Never having done any printmaking before, I felt compelled one day to create a print of him. After this I was hooked, and I’ve been printmaking ever since. I love the limitations of the mediums, and the way they make you think creatively to produce an image.

My work falls into three camps, ‘landscapes’, ‘wildlife’ and ‘donkeys’. Now you might wonder why donkeys have their own category, being wildlife, so I’ll explain. My donkeys exist in a different (and somewhat abstract) place, where they are free to have adventures, and get up to no good, without us pesky humans getting in the way.

I really enjoy creating prints of all these subjects, and the puzzles each subject throws at you, whether that be chimneys, beaks or donkeys on top of mountains.

James will be exhibiting at Artfest Holmfirth

Von Allen Heartfelt Dogs

I’ve always been creative; my mum had me down as a Blue Peter presenter due to my ability to produce something out of nothing even when I was a kid. Those of you of my generation might remember the Blue Peter Book of Teddy Clothes with an extensive range of costumes you could make, including a pirate, a cowboy and a pilot’s outfit; I made them all. Growing up, I was a little obsessed with puppets and stop frame animation; Hector’s House, Pogles Wood, Noggin The Nog and Topo Gigio were all very real for me.

I’ve worked in the arts since graduating from Huddersfield University in 1984, in both the performing and visual arts fields. Paper became my thing for a while and I even went back to college to qualify as a Bookbinder but not until I found the splendid art of needle felting did I feel truly at home. Now I needle felt my own characters inspired by my dog Barney and his ability to change personality according to what he thinks it might get him.

All dogs are individual and unique one-offs. They are needle felted from 100% wool with glass eyes. Their minute clothes are painstakingly made by hand, (even the tiny little knitted jumpers) and supplemented with carefully selected additions from the likes of Paul, Ken and Sindy dolls.

Paul Smith

I am a full time artist, making ceramic figurative sculptures in my studio on the edge of the Peak District National Park. The images I make are dream-like and contemplative, designed to create a feeling of another reality where peaceful co-existence is possible between us and nature. The style is bold and semi-abstract with graceful sweeping curves and simplified details.

In my work I play with the conventions of fairytales and fables, often turning the stories on their heads and twisting them. Goldilocks has made peace with the bears and Red Riding Hood has grown up to be a confident femme fatale who entrances the Wolf. There are many ‘first-nation’ stories of a time when beasts could talk and the world was one, not divided into the human/animal worlds.

I am interested in our perception of the animal kingdom, told through fairytale and fable, art, books and film, rather than realistic depiction. A big influence on my work has been Angela Carter who wrote several short stories and novels on the theme of fairytales, “The Company of Wolves” and “The Bloody Chamber” being among the most famous. She tells tales of transformation, wonder and strangeness but, however dark the stories are, there is, more often than not, a redemptive ending.

My work is solidly rooted in the figurative tradition. Of all the artists of the past I particularly admire the work of Elie Nadelman. A Polish-born sculptor working in the earlier part of the last century, he was innovative in his wonderful sense of fluid line and form, influenced by American folk art.

I will be doing a live art demonstration for Artfest Holmfirth on Saturday 14th of November.

Dionne Swift


I’m a Textile Artist exploring drawing and mark making through my observations of the world around me. I’m inspired by rural/urban landscapes during my travels, these always excite and add new flavour to my work. Energetic free machine embroidery helps me to realise many of my creative intentions – I’m painting and drawing with threads and stitch: I offer a series of workshops, masterclasses and summer schools cover many of these elements.

I’m based between Holmfirth, West Yorkshire and Abruzzo, Italy, so I’m particularly pleased to be supporting my local event, I visited last year and I was encouraged my the great diversity and high quality of work.

Dionne will be exhibiting at Holmfirth Artfest

Shirley Vauvelle

Shirley’s work is varied but linked by the love of weathered surfaces. She creates wall hung or freestanding sculptures, using white earthenware to hand build flower components, small creatures , birds and fish. Texture is embossed into the surface. Under glazes slips and oxides are applied to give layers of colour. These are then assembled together with wire, reclaimed maps and wave worn finds from the local beaches. Her inspiration comes from her continually evolving garden, her love of the coast, country walks with her dog and the fun of creating objects that are a little bit different and quirky. Influences emerge from Scandinavian art and design and naïve art. She loves impressing pattern, layering texture and colour to create pieces that are totally individual, each have a little tale to tell. Her work is in private collections in Uk, America, Australia and Europe

Shirley will be exhibiting at Artfest Holmfirth

Vivienne Sillar

Vivienne was born in Glasgow in 1958 and spent every summer in the village of Kildonan, Isle of Arran. She now divides her time between living in Chesterfield, Derbyshire and also regularly visiting Kildonan several times a year. These two places are a constant source of inspiration; moorlands and the coast.

Trained at Grays School of Art, Aberdeen (1976 -1981) she specialised in sculpture and ceramics. Soon after graduating she started a 30 year period of working in Arts Administration, Gallery Education and Lecturer in Art and Design, working in Sunderland, Cumbria, Sheffield and Chesterfield. Having worked at helping others to show, appreciate and create artwork she has now returned to focussing on her own creativity.

Influences in her work are the natural world; both: sea-life and birds as well as patterns in nature.

Streamlined, fluid shapes of birds and sea creatures are a source of inspiration for me as a sculptor in clay. Clay forms are hand built and then burnished. I employ diverse materials such as seaweed, banana skins, and avocados in the smoke firings to create the random markings on the surface of each piece. Each work is unique and cannot be repeated. These are smooth tactile sculptures that beg to be held and touched.

Viv will be exhibiting at Artfest Holmfirth

Charlotte Whitmore

Born in Derbyshire and brought up in Bingley, West Yorkshire. After leaving school she spent two years at Bradford Art college studying jewellery design gaining an OND then acquiring a BA (hons) degree in 3D Design from Sheffield Hallam University in the early 1990’s.

Much of her work is unique due to the combination of materials: the use of vintage plastics such as bakelite, silver and vintage glass to add colour which she sources from all over the world. Victorian boot buttons found in a small shop on the Isles of Scilly have been used in pendants and bangles,
Plastic sourced from old Bakelite tiddly winks and vintage buttons made from Cellulose, Lucite and Casein. These are often acquired in small batches which means the pieces they are incorporated into can not be repeated.

The pieces she creates are either one offs or batch produced in small numbers. Pattern and texture feature in her work, most of which is created by hand stamping onto silver. The stamps used are either handmade by Charlotte or antique / salvaged; which means that the prints and marks are unique to her work.

Charlotte will be exhibiting at Artfest Holmfirth

Artfest Holmfirth 2019 was kindly sponsored by the following organisations

enjoy art

calder art supplies

9 globe arts