What I love about Open Studios is you never know who you might meet or what you might find out – it’s always an interesting experience. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both weekends.
The first weekend I spent in my studio at Artsite, we had a lot of visitors despite the rain – I met a psychogeographer Victor Buehring from Oxford who has been documenting towns along the m4 corridor including Swindon. He told me what he does is go into a town with a sign asking someone to approach him, when they do he asks the person to send him to another place in town to meet a particular person, when he meets that person he gets sent to another place – this happens 25 times and it gets recorded on a frame to create a picture of the town. The project is called ’25 pockets of’ You can see his blog here and hear about his experience in Swindon www.artrospektive.com
Opposite in Number Nine was an exhibition of pictures from Kate Dawsons life drawing class and an exhibition of archaeological illustration by Jennie Anderson who told me all about the Chisledon Cauldrons and Moll Walbee – a 12th century Anglo – Norman noblewoman living in the welsh marches. She was demonised in Welsh folklore after playing a part in the slaughter of hundreds of Welsh soldiers during the siege of Painscastle and immortalised as a giant and a witch
The second weekend Bea & I visited Vanetta Joffe’s open studios at Liddington Manor – what a lovely place – I enjoyed seeing Vanettas art studio & paintings but most of all I liked her art journals about her trip to India. I was a bit worried at one point when the door in the toilet got stuck and I almost pulled off the handle but luckily got out without breaking anything!
Next we went to see work by Every Cloud at Stanton House – they had a great selection of arts & crafts on display in including wood work, needle felting, mono prints and jewellery , all beautifully presented.
My last stop of the day was to see Alex Coppock Bunce & Teresa Davey – a lovely mix of abstract art, textiles and paintings inspired by Alex’s time in Cornwall & surrounding landscape.
Sunday started at Eco Fest at Savernake Social hall where we were doing a recycled art workshop, there was also a recycled art exhibition where local artists had made art out of items found at the free shop. There was lots going on – talks, music and stalls including incredible edibles, secret garden, Swindon Climate Action Network, Swindon Travel Choices and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
When we left Eco Fest we had a few hours left to visit some more studios so Sue and I went to see Tracey Baker Stewart at 49a in Gorse hill , some definite studio envy going on there! Tracey just has to walk down her garden path to her studio opposite, perfect! Tracey showed us some of her portraits and art she’d been making in her workshops, I even signed up for one which I’m really looking forward to.
Last but by no means least we went to see Eddie and Bee Operanto. They have created an amazing space at their home, full of magical creatures brought to life from Bees children’s book illustrations. They told us they had invited in some Jehovas Witnesses on their first day thinking they had turned up for Open Studios! Bee told us her studio is a creative mess and she loves it that way. We came away feeling really inspired and looking forward to seeing more next year.