24 Aug Creating Landscape Magic

River valleys are landscapes of reflection and journeying. But they have a whole new dimension when artists take inspiration from their shape and flow.

Waveney & Blyth Arts annual sculpture trail, curated by Dulcie Humphrey, makes you look and look again at the landscape.

Last week, I spent a day along the banks of the Waveney exploring the 2016 sculpture trail with works by forty artists scattered across the site, once owned by the Otter Trust, now the River Waveney Trust. Fleabane, mint and purple loosestrife were painted across the river’s edges and dragonflies were hawking the paths. The river was a sluggish but shining ribbon through meadows studded with cattle. The setting was already inspiring.

I joined a photography workshop, led by Lucy Kayne. We turned looking into seeing, the magic of the camera lens exploring the detail of grain and stone. The Trail makes two loops around the lakes and riverside and sculptures appear on each meander making you stop and wonder – a mirrored cube reflecting leaves and water, a wooden framed bell sounding out across the meadows, or fused glass reminiscent of waterweed, meadow flowers and shifting river water.

Some sculptures were hidden, waiting to be discovered in a grove of trees, like Pan’s quiet glade where an otter cub (see the header photo on this page) sleeps by the base of a tree and strange creatures catch sunlight as it pierces the shade. All made of natural materials, it is a story woven into nature by nature – well done Meg Amsden.

I returned a week later to a poetry workshop led by Suffolk Poetry Society’s Beth Soule. Four poets, Beth, Elizabeth Bracken, Chris Reeve and Kaaren Whitney, read from a selection of their work responding to the sculptures. After following the trail, sharing these inspirational words, we created our own short poems – haiku – which were written onto waterproof paper leaves and hung in a beech grove to create our own poetic installation.


Lying on wood, bronzed,

Comfortable in my skin,

Looking at water.


They Were Here Before

We play like otters

Shaking raindrops from the pool

As we disappear.


And of course I had to write a poem for the poets:

Poet-Tree on the Sculpture Trail

Poets gather here

Hanging words in the beech tree;

Leaving thoughts behind.


The Sculpture Trail is along the Waveney, near Earsham, Bungay and is open for the Bank Holiday weekend: – Friday 26 August – Bank Holiday Monday 29 August, and then Friday 2 – Sunday 4 September.