Sunday 6th December, 10am-4pm
Old Farm Barn, Stovolds Hill, Cranleigh, Surrey, GU6 8LE
Helen and Peter McNiven’s barn sales have raised huge amounts for good causes over the past three decades. Eighty-five charities have directly benefited with last year’s sale alone raising £14,000 for those in need! This Sunday marks their 30th Christmas Sale and due to current events, support is needed more than ever.
Helen’s best known for her wonderful driftwood angels (see pictured) that are such a beautiful symbol of her generosity, and there will also be other work, including ceramics on display. All proceeds go directly to charity.
If you are unable to visit the exhibition on Sunday 6th then appointments can be made on the 11th, 12th and 13th December 10am – 4pm, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to compliance with health guidelines, Sunday’s sale will take place mainly outside with controlled access to indoor spaces. Masks must be worn, and social-distancing observed.
As the McNivens prepare for Sunday’s sale, we took a few minutes of Helen’s time to pop her some questions and learn a little more about the stories behind her driftwood angels.
Helen, tell us a little bit about your artistic background?
I have a degree in fashion design, and taught art for 20 years, firstly in Esher and then at Cranleigh Prep School. I mostly make driftwood Angels, but I also make ceramics, and when I can, I paint in oils.
Proceeds from your barn sale go to the Have a Heart charity – what does it do?
It all began with the first Blue Peter Bring and Buy Sale, and we raised £75.
Thirty years on, last year, we raised over £14 000 and currently have a list of about 85 charities we support.
Your Angels are lovely, what’s the backstory to them?
We had been in Tuscany on the proceeds from the publishing of 4 art books for children. In the tiny village churches, I absolutely loved the crucifixions and nativity figures, clearly made by the local carpenters who also made the pews, doors etc. On our return we were at the beach on the South coast when I found a driftwood ‘Angel’s head’ amongst the shingle, further along the beach a wing – suddenly it all came together! I made the first Angel 26 years ago and have made hundreds since.
Where do you source your driftwood?
I love beaches, either on the South coast or in Brittany, where much of the wood comes from, but I love to gather driftwood anywhere.
Where can people see your work, purchase it, or donate directly to your charity?
At our Christmas Sale, on my Instagram @haveahearthelen, or by appointment.