Herd & Harvest, with Kate Lynch

Paintings, drawings and precious oral recordings of disappearing rural Somerset life...

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Kate Lynch has spent 20 years painting and drawing Somerset farmers and working people, and collecting their stories. She has documented Somerset willow growers, basketmakers, shepherds and beekeepers, each project resulting in an exhibition and book. Her fourth book has recently been published: ‘ FARM – Paintings, Drawings and Somerset Voices’, this time focussing on the history of farms on the Somerset Levels.

She will show her work with the rural community, mixing drawings and paintings with oral recordings. There are cider farms and orchards, dairy farms, cheesemakers, willow growers, thatchers, poultry, pig and sheep farmers, mostly on the Somerset Levels, and nearly all with their roots in the traditional Somerset mixed family smallholding.

The farmers describe the dramatic changes they have witnessed over recent years, recalling hand-milking and working horses. Kate’s illustrated talk will include extracts from their recorded interviews.

Her drawings and paintings are made using willow charcoal and oil paint on paper and this new collection of work is on show at the recently re-opened Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury.

“… we were fairly self-sufficient in my day, you had your fruit, your pork and bacon you cured, and your own milk… and Uncle Perce made cider up here, that was part of the wages in those days.” David Walrond, Glebe Farm, Pitney

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Kate Lynch

Kate taught Art in secondary schools before going freelance in the 1980s. Many of her community paintings have a topographical or historical theme, and are on public display: Frome Library, Frome Hospital, Warminster Library, Somerset Rural Life Museum and schools and community halls. She has also run expressive charcoal drawing workshops for adults and children.

She has mainly exhibited her paintings in the West Country, but some of her exhibitions have toured to other counties. She won awards from the Arts Council and other bodies.

She recently led a community research project in High Ham, collecting photographs and interviewing residents, which resulted in an illustrated history of the Parish.

Press includes Farming Today, Radio 4, Somerset Life and local press.

Previous press: Resurgence , Country Life and Country Living

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2017Martin Keeley