Saturday, 29 September 2012

Swindon Open Studios- Part 5 Sunday morning starting at Lechlade Methodist Hall

We embarked on our second day of visits on Sunday the 16th of September. The day started shakily when we discovered Tim had forgotten the camera.
The artists we had gone to look at in Lechlade were Vedanti Ramlall-Moodley, Sharon Ellis and Brian Britton; they made us very welcome and showed us their work; Vedanti kindly agreed to take photographs, so the ones below are hers:
 Sharon and I coincidentally favoured the same colour jackets that day.
Tim talking to Sharon.

Finding out about how to make lino cuts and how to get the delightful effects Brian achieves.
Vedanti asked me to pose beside her glorious paintings, she makes all the frames herself.
Tim finding out about lino cuts
Looking through Vedanti's prints.
Brian runs courses, to find out more, email him on
He had some gorgeous prints from his lino cuts, he uses paper from the Two Rivers papermill in Watchet
Above Sharon is explaining how Brian gets his effects.
From Lechlade we visited Beverley Greig's light filled studio back in Swindon,

I love orchids, these two paintings shown above were a definite appreciation of the Phalaenopsis orchids. To find out more about Beverley's work :
This photo above shows a series of paintings completed around the same time.
And below is her latest work:
It was lovely to talk to Beverley,  and eat a few of her flapjacks before moving on to Vanetta Joffe's studio.

 Visiting Vanetta's to appreciate her work is only part of the experience, but let's start there.  The photograph above shows Jackie and Robert in Vanetta's studio, with windows on two sides, the light is glorious. There are diaries and sketch books to look at and this partially completed portrait:

Another painting I really liked was this one of an apple:
It was difficult to photograph, and is hard to appreciate fully from my efforts.
More paintings in the hall.
A very full visitors book to sign and then into the kitchen for a drink and a chat :
before appreciating the delights of the garden:
For more information on Vanetta's work, please visit her website:

From Vanetta's, our last call, on artists open on the second weekend, was at Toni and Gordon Dickinson's studios. As always, we had a warm welcome and had art in the garden on the fence, new twig sculpture in the garden and masses of work in the house.

What a great introduction to their space.
 Here's a photo of work indoors.
And here's Gordon beside a twig sculpture. I have taken one of a yellow and balc spotted one which I must include....

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Swindon Open Studios Part 4 - out to Longcot

If anyone reading this has not yet been to Longcot studios and workspaces, do make the effort to go next year, and if you have been, I'm sure you'll go again.
The first venue coming from Shrivenham direction is Nutford Lodge where Pat Elmore has several workshops, an indoor display area, a one and a half acre garden with many of Pat's sculptures dotted around, a prolific vegetable garden and wonderful flower borders. The place is buzzing with life and energy, it's a wonderful place to visit. How does Pat accomplish so much?
Kimmy Thomson showed some of her framed prints in Pat's 'showroom', the two complemented each other well as you can see in the photo below:

Tim also took 3  views of the workshops:

 Above the stone is a piece of top quality alabaster, and below a photo of pat doing something.
To find out more, and
From Pat's workshops, we went to The Gables on King's Lane to see Kelty Peat's quirky 3D mannequins. We were made very welcome but were unable to meet Klety because he had a very bad cold. Here are some of his mannequins which are very sexy 'in person'.

 The gorgeous silk paintings just visible in the background, were produced by Jenny Peat, and have titles such as 'I used to be normal but it drove me mad' and 'Bad Hare Day'. I bought 3 cards which I'll include in the 'What I bought' blog article.
From there, we went down the road to Priory Gate where Emma Ablitt does her stone carving, and Helen Pakeman shared the space.
Above there's an overall view of the garden with the carving in the background. While we were in the garden, we saw a red kite wheeling above.
And below photos of Emma's carvings:
 'Longed for family': in limestone above.
 'Head' in blue alabaster
This is a lovely piece in the shadows of the garden, but may not be Emma's.
Helen showed us her paintings and linocuts. The above photo does not do justice to the gorgeous 4 linocuts of Daisies, Poppies, Wisteria and Fuchsia above. Helen also showed us a sampler she works on using a magnifying glass.
To find out
From there we went onto the 'main' road and turned left to visit Henleaze Farm where Sharon not only had a garden full of sculptures, but 5 different breeds of hens in large runs. And the most amazing view of the Uffington White Horse, not seen at it's best in the photo below. I'll try again when I go to buy some more eggs.
 Sharon has gardened around her sculptures showing how well they complement a garden.
 There was also a plant sale.
 Below a lovely piece among a newly planted flower bed.
 Sharon also had some lovely stained glass pieces hanging in a tree, I'll ask her who produced them.
Sharon's was our last visit on an action packed fabulous day.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Swindon Open Studios 2012 Part 3 - Artsite Galleries, TWIGS, Maggie Harris and Lisa Shearing

From the Brunel Centre we came back to the Artsite complex, this was our last town centre visit. There was a feeling that we needed to see as much as possible in the time available so we concentrated on Galleries 9 and 10, the former Merlin Gallery and Oxfam shop next door where Carole Humphreys and Paul Bull representing the Booth House Art Group had their work. Carole's pictures are very beautifully worked and evoke another mystical fantasy world.
The Booth House Art Group has been run by Carole Humphreys for several years; it was good to see Paul's paintings on the walls.
Here are Carole and Paul:

The 2 former shops have been transformed into excellent studio spaces, by Artsite members, studio users were on hand to show visitors around the buildings.
There were workshops held in the main Artsite building, notable Vicky Silver's drawing class on Saturday the 8th of September, photos can be found here: Sue Wigmore's 'Come Melt with Me' which despite the fact she held it on 4 occasions, I wasn't able to attend, has also been well photographed:
A lot of familiar faces there!
Here is a photo with Sue's coloured glass on the walls and her melting table in the background.
From there we went to Cheney Manor Garden Centre and into the Olive Cafe where the work of Christine Dunn and Katrina Bicknell based at TWIGS were on display in the relaxed area of the cafe.

The food in the cafe looked delicious and was very reasonably priced, but we had to eat on the run and so bought sandwiches from the nearby petrol station and headed out to Vikki Loeber-Hughes' studio in Toothill, there was no mistaking Vikki's house with a minibus type van in the driveway with a portrait on the side. Inside, Vikki was working on a local view, she has keyrings, bookmarks and prints of her portraits.Below is a photo of Vikki with Tim discussing the special seat. More on Vikki's work at:
More on Vikki's work at: we headed to Maggie Harris' studio in St. Andrew's Ridge. Maggie's studio is ablaze with colour and different textures, she has made dyes, fabric and created amazing artefacts.She has encouraged her daughter to help in production which is great. Maggie has recently exhibited in a big exhibition at STEAM, and said 'I draw with a sewing machine rather than a pencil'. Maggie exhibits across the whole of south west of England, including Bridport Inktense, and she runs many classes each week. I think she started in a computer textile design group 21 years ago.
Maggie's blog is great but a bit of a mouthful, so I was keen to meet the Schnauzer in the name, he's a standard, but seemed like a large, a ferocious animal. See what Maggie is doing at:
 Some photos of the studio above and Maggie below:

 Jane looking at techniques and a better shot below.
We then went to Arkells Brewery at Kingsdown to see a newcomer to SOS, Lisa Shearing. Lisa has produced commissions for Arkells Tawny Owl pub which weren't in the banqueting area where she had her work, because they were needed for the wedding party being held at the Tawny Owl.
It's great to have Lisa on board this year, hopefully this is the first of many years of involvement, and maybe we can get some of the other artists in the area to take part again in 2003.
 Here's the way in above, and below some of the wonderful exhibition space.
And above a little known clever piece of brick work seen from the car park.