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Magnetic Attractions

Local gesellschaft craftsperson and landscape artist Bonnie Vistas was declared persona non grata this week by an angry Dorset Chamber of Commerce after she refused to withdraw from sale her hand crafted fridge magnets - held by many to be disrespectful, disloyal and possibly even inaccurate. As a result "Fridge Magnetgate" is threatening to dampen seriously the otherwise largely positive vibes emanating from the Annual Alton St Pancras County Arts and Crafts Fayre [AASPCAaCF]. understands that an application for a restraint of trade order against Ms Vistas has been lodged by the DCC and will be heard by local magistrates later today.

The offending magnets are still on sale in Ms Vistas' Charmouth beachside stall.

The furore is all the more remarkable given that Ms Vistas - a talented but largely self-taught artist from Canford Cliffs - has been regarded hitherto as an uncontroversial purveyor of inoffensive trinkets and miscellaneous small goods to the itinerant tourist trade. After a short career as a barista at Threadbucks, she became a full time craftsperson in 2021 on the advice of Mr Royston Binstocke who spotted one of her early pieces [an impressionist portrait of Brenda Oats ingesting a medium sized fig roll] on a Lytchett Maltravers market stall. Since then she has been widely recognised as possessing a sound[ish] technique, a keen[ish] eye and a subtle[ish] sense of humour.

In 2021 she was featured, alongside a one-armed blacksmith, a singing refuse collector and a bag lady with a capacious if unsightly bag in a special edition of The Sydling St Nicholas Sun’s “Post-Contrik Emerging Talent” Sunday Supplement. A limited edition print run of her prize-winning dyptic “Boy with a Sudden Idea” and “Girl with a Startled Expression” quickly sold out. She has been "hung" in both The Thrupiece Arena Tearooms, Muccleshell and the Royal Dorset Academy's Other Place, Ensbury Park. She may now, says local official, Weir King-Frommome, be "drawn and quartered as well".

Ms Vistas' Charmouth stall. Still on display the notorious fridge magnets alongside several less controversial items.

She certainly seems to have blotted her copybook with this year's offering - 8 fridge magnets featuring poster-like drawings with less than complementary captions. Accused by at least one council official of "betrayal of her roots" and of "letting the area, the council, her family and most importantly herself down", Ms Vistas has been supported by many of her customers who say those that "don't get it" simply lack a proper sense of humour. "Anyone can see that they are a good natured joke and a gentle rebuke to those slavishly sentimental and uncitically complementary fridge magnets which tourists are normally expected to take away with them and display as proud souvenirs", says fridge magnet collector Ilycka Dörrful. "She's a breath of fresh air if you ask me, and those Council officials can just go f**k themselves".

With advocacy like that don't be surprised to find the magnets still on sale [and with plenty of unsold stock] next time you find yourself in Charmouth!

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