County set to burst with bank holiday creativity

Worcestershire Open Studios media release 16/08/17:

Worcestershire is set to burst with creativity this bank holiday weekend as artists across the county open their studios, homes and shared spaces to visitors for Worcestershire Open Studios.

Now in its third year, the popular three-day event will showcase a diverse collection of original arts and crafts made by over 200 Worcestershire artists. From drawing, painting, printmaking and photography, to ceramics, jewellery, textiles and handloom weaving, there’s a huge choice of original artwork to see and buy.

Worcestershire Open Studios offers visitors a unique opportunity to peek inside normally unseen spaces and chat to artists about their inspiration and creative processes. Some artists are offering demostrations and have a go sessions too.

Worcestershire artists

Artist and Worcestershire Open Studios co-organiser, Cherrie Mansfield, says,

“Our county is bursting with often unseen artistic talent. This bank holiday weekend provides the perfect opportunity to discover some of the fantastic artwork that’s being created right here on our doorsteps. It’s also a great way to get out and explore parts of our wonderful county. Whether you’re on foot, travelling by bike or car, you can use the venue search facility on our website to help plan your route. With so many talented artists taking part and so many varied styles of work, there’s something to suit every taste.”

Participants are located at 70 different locations across the county stretching from Alvechurch to Badsey and Colwall to Droitwich Spa.

Galleries and collectives taking part include iapetus gallery, Kestrel Gallery and Studio and Worcestershire Guild (all in Worcester) and Malvern’s Lyttelton Framing Gallery, Malvern School of Art Tutors and Great Witley Church’s annual arts and crafts exhibition.

Worcestershire artists

Worcester artists

Internationally recognised artists, Sara Hayward and Paul Powis, are amongst those opening their Worcester studios. Sara’s paintings are packed with colour and lively mark making and Paul’s popular vibrant representational paintings lean towards abstraction.

Visitors to Frans Wesslman and Chris Russell will see etching, woodcuts and stained glass with a narrative content and ceramic sculptures developed out of a love of medieval art and a fascination in the range of emotions and variations found in the human form.

Mixed media artist, Elaine Williams, has been hard at work creating exciting new pieces inspired by natural forms, involving hand stitching onto the surface of paintings.

Upstairs at Waylands Yard in Foregate Street, Portfolio 17 promises an exciting visual display with work in variety of medium by a group of ten artists who have all attended courses at Stone Fine Art School.

Co-founder of the school, Karen Stone, explains

“Their pathways through life are as varied as their works with careers spanning everything from music to finance. However, they share a love for creating the visual. Some of the artists are at the beginning of their creative road whilst others have been travelling it for some time, resulting in this captivating collection of cross-media work covering subjects for every taste. Portfolio 17 demonstrates that art and creativity can add pleasure and meaning to all our lives.”

Vale of Evesham artists

In Badsey there’s the wonderfully quirky work of Ian Gibson and Gloria Norman. Ian’s stunning surreal paintings and prints of unexpected scenes complement Gloria’s exciting ceramics beautifully. Whilst Ian uses landscape and architecture to create compositions of mystery and imagination, Gloria crafts colourful bowls and jugs in high-fired stoneware and amazing birds such as the extinct Dodo.

Nearby, Honeybourne Pottery is running demonstrations and even offering people the chance to get hands-on and have their own little pottery throw down. While a myriad of colour and texture awaits in beautiful glass work at The Art Pad in Offenham. Art Pad artist, Wendy Stafford, says,

“One of my main enjoyments is meeting people and introducing them to my world of glass. Whether they are returning or new visitors or friends I have something new to show. My garden has become part of my studio and this is where I display the large fused glass garden flowers and stained glass panels, giving an air of wonderland.”

Jackie Cunliffe, a watercolour artist from Hinton on the Green, who is constantly expanding her knowledge and technique, says,

“I create watercolours inspired by my travels in South East Asia, focusing on the cultures, colours and textures of the areas. I have moved from traditional watercolours to more experimental paintings using a textured background and additional powder pigments.”

Worcestershire artists

Malvern Hills /West Worcestershire artists

With more than 20 venues in the Malvern Hills district, there’s no shortage of choice.

In Lower Broadheath, abstract painter Sue Firmin is looking forward to welcoming visitors to her studio, and garden, showing her new work, and chatting over a drink and cake.

Visitors to Leigh Sinton can drop in on Steve Letchford who will be showing watercolour paintings and pen and ink drawings of buildings and landscapes. Nearby Wend Britton’s studio will be full of exquisite pastel and pencil portraits capturing the energy of horses, birds and other wildlife.

Several of the artists taking part in Malvern signed up after visiting open studios in previous years. Deb Stanley, who creates highly detailed, realistic work with coloured pencils and pastels, said

“I visited several of the open studios last year and enjoyed meeting other artists and hearing about their processes. I am taking part to share my work so that others can see what can be done with coloured pencils. I will have a range of different subjects on display, and will have a work in progress so I can demonstrate some of the techniques I use.”

Sue Haslam, who is exhibiting with St Peter’s Printmakers at St Peter’s Church, Cowleigh Bank, said

“When redundancy from my job as a graphic designer loomed, I began looking for other artistic avenues to follow, particularly printmaking. I’d enjoyed it at art college years earlier, but had little time to pursue it. I happened upon St. Peter’s Printmakers, in North Malvern, when visiting Worcestershire Open Studios, admired the work on display and had a chat with some of the artists. I was encouraged me to go along and try a session of printmaking that September. I’ve been happily cutting linos and printing ever since.”

Other artists in the Malvern Hills area include Andrew Judd with his popular letterpress pieces and linocut prints, Mark Brayley who creates sculptural, mythical inspired jewellery and oil painter Eugene Conway who favours the ‘alla prima’ technique.

North and East Worcestershire artists

Amongst those taking part in Droitwich Spa, there are three artists under one roof as Don and Steph Emmerich and Judith Taylor prepare to share their drawing, painting, pottery and needlecraft. Steph said,

“Visitors can expect a warm, friendly welcome, lots of chat and great coffee and cake. They’ll see a wide selection of interesting, individual pieces and even get the opportunity to have a go themselves and, of course purchase our work.”

In Hanbury a group of designers makers working side by side at The Jinney Ring Craft Centre are opening their doors. Their work includes silver and gold jewellery, upcycled furniture, jigsaw trees and hand-turned pens, ceramics, hand-blown glass and a violin maker. Popular landscape and portrait painter, Michael Salt, can be found at the same venue. Water plays a significant role in his paintings, whether they are seascapes or depictions of inland waterways.

In Flyford Flavell, All Fired Up’s studio will glow with bright, colourful and quirky fused glasswork. While in Crowle, bird-lovers will flock to see some feathered friends featured in John Horton’s landscapes and panoramas.

Further north in Alvechurch, visitors to Joanne Winson’s studio will need to take a closer look at her playful digital drawings and prints to discover more serious content.

In Astwood Bank, Lighthouse Glass is taking part to bring the art of lampworking to a wider audience.
Vic Kirk at Lighthouse Glass says,

“Lampworking is the art of taking glass rods, melting them in the flame and reforming the molten glass. We make beads, pendants, flowers, animal creatures and paperweights. Visitors can watch demonstrations and can experience lampworking by taking part in a taster session.”

Worcestershire artists

Worcestershire Open Studios takes place from Saturday 26 to Monday 28 August. Visitors to five or more studios will have the opportunity to enter a prize draw for £100 to spend on artwork created by one or more of the artists.

A guide containing details of all the venues and opening times is available at libraries and Tourist Information Centres across the county and online at www.worcestershireopenstudios.org.uk

Worcestershire artists