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New Advent art trail in Eye launches

An art trail celebrating an old Christmas tradition, first seen in medieval times, has opened in Eye.

The Jesse Tree Art Trail takes inspiration from a decorative tree used during Advent to retell the stories of the Bible that lead to Jesus Christ’s birth.

The idea came from the Maker’s Place art group, which meets in Vine Church in the town.

Liz Waugh McManus, Brian Watts and Claire Watts. Picture by Mark Bullimore.
Liz Waugh McManus, Brian Watts and Claire Watts. Picture by Mark Bullimore.

Organiser of the trail and group member Liz Waugh said: “It is very exciting and such a relief to finally get the trail up and running.

“There are 19 artworks in windows across the town from 12 different artists – it is so nice to see the project come to fruition.”

The artists have used traditional ornaments and stories associated with the Jesse Tree as inspiration to create their own artistic and creative responses in paint, print, needlework and glass.

A number of shopkeepers, businesses and residents have agreed to display the artwork and accompanying statements in their windows in the three weeks leading up to Christmas.

Liz said: “I had an idea to do something for Advent and someone in the group said about the Jesse Tree, which I had never heard of.

“The more we heard about it, the more people wanted to take part and it has gone from there.

“I went around in October to see if anybody would be interested to have the artwork in their windows and was really pleased that so many people and businesses were really into it and the idea we had, which was great.”

A leaflet detailing the locations of the artwork will be available in the town library and town hall, as well as on the Eye Town website and Facebook page.

The trail follows in the footsteps of the Eye Sheep Art Trail, which saw 24 life-size sheep statues, decorated by local artists and businesses, placed around the town.

The sheep were later auctioned off in aid of The Blossom Charity.

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