Open Studios 2017 launch event

Dates: 29th April to 21st May
Venues: various

About a hundred artists from West Berkshire and North Hampshire, including many new members, gathered eagerly at New Greenham Arts last Friday for the launch of Open Studios 2017. 

Highlights from the Pat Eastop Education Project encouraging primary pupils to take a fresh look at local heritage sites through art were projected onto the wall, while a showreel gave a glimpse into the fascinating world of artists’ studios. Ceramicists, jewellers, painters, confectioners, glassmakers, textile artists, printmakers, photographers and furniture makers were just some of the artists represented at this meeting of creative minds.  Most of them will be opening their studios free of charge to visitors in May 2017 and have already started work on brand new collections to show. 

Open Studios 2017 will follow up the successes of 2016 with the main Insight exhibition and many satellite exhibitions in and around Newbury, together with some new venues in Reading and Basingstoke, and with hands-on workshops where you can try out some artistic techniques for yourself.

2017 will see the return of the Cover to Cover sketchbook exchange project in an exciting new form.  This scheme is an invaluable means for artists to meet and swap ideas and ways to overcome that dread of the blank canvas.  At the end, the results of their creative exchanges will be shared with everyone who wants to come and look, in an exhibition that promises to be a festival of visual inspiration.

The president of Open Studios is Johannes von Stumm, a past president of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.  Based in South Fawley, his work is internationally renowned and can be admired not only very close to home, but as far afield as Changsha in China and Kyoto, Japan.  Johannes opened the proceedings with words of encouragement to the artists.  It was through Open Studios that he himself was spotted by a scout from a London art gallery at an exhibition at Newbury’s Watermill Theatre. He described accreditation to Open Studios as a “tremendous possibility for artists”.

Katy Newman, manager of the Bohun gallery, Henley-on-Thames, which has represented many famous artists including Elisabeth Frink, John Piper as well as Johannes himself, then shared many vital tips on how commercial galleries and artists can work together.

Thus inspired, the artists dispersed hot foot to their studios, eager to fire up their kilns, hone their pencils and carving tools and focus, ambitious to produce a feast of artistic delights more mouthwatering than ever before.  Make a note in your diaries to set some days aside in May next year for artistic adventure: follow an art trail, visit some studios, learn a new skill, and make art discoveries of your own.

Open Studios 2017 dates: Saturday 29th April to Sunday 21st May

Contact: Open Studios: John Brazendale, or 01635 551981


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