C-Art (Cumbrian Artists Open Studios 2013)
‘Little Bird Gallery’, Askham- Open Studios
Now that the Open studios is coming to a close, I thought I would write a little post as a means of feeding back to the organisers and the Broadhursts. I know it stands for Cumbria Artists Open Studios and originally with the -more than- sign > it referred to ‘seeing more art’. But as far as I am concerned over the last three weeks it has been a wonderful opportunity to connect with new clients and artists and reconnect with old ones.
I have made a wonderful new friend in Mara Broadhurst who runs the ‘Little Bird Gallery’ in Askham near Lowther Castle, Penrith, where I exhibited my hats over the C-Art period.
Mara’s background at VV Rouleaux and Laura Ashley decorators has given her a particular personal style that lends itself to a homely interior. She is brilliant at sourcing vintage and craft treasures, she is even offering customers a gift finding service for Xmas – irresistible. All the customers just seemed to want to stay and chat it is so friendly. I only managed to make a little bit of crochet and a corsage over the six days as they had such a stream of fascinating visitors, from all corners of the UK and beyond.
Stuart continually throws his teapots, tangines, cups and plates in a steadfast and technically perfect manner. He has perfected black and red glazes, which escapes many potters, he is just amazing as he persists continuously hour after hour. Mara and Stuart have adapted Holly House and barn and it is both a wonderful studio and a great example of a cozy Lake District property in a divine little busy village of Askham next to a lovely country pub. So if you need hand-made unusual Christmas presents and want to go far from the madding crowd – just head off there and have a wonderful day out. I am sure you if you have travelled far, Mara may even put the kettle on and tell you a lovely story about the work of a guest ceramicist or jeweller. Mara makes some of her own jewellery and is constantly, creating interesting little corners to investigate as the items disappear. The visitors left us some very positive feedback although many just want to have cultural tours and will probably return to shop later – for Christmas for instance. When you are trained to expect Contemporary Applied Art Galleries showing cutting edge work in white cube spaces – this rustic whitewashed space, with gorgeous yellow barn doors and flowers feels a little bohemian and quirky. But then what is Craft in Cumbria, hats and teapots especially if not a bit quirky, and it certainly gives people the feeling of being at home because it is obvious they really don’t want to leave. Personally, I am looking forward to going back to finish packing up next week, as Mara and her dog Juno have grown on me and I think although we did know each other before this fortnight has nutured a long and creative partnership to form, it is so good to find a kindred spirit.
I have also organised the ‘Contemporary Vision : 20 x 20 events’ which have helped me form very interesting new connections, e.g: Julia Wilmot and her Herdwick cheese and I have lots of new admiration for lots of Cumbrian artists I have never met before. I am looking forward to the last event on 4th Oct @ Rheged in the Gallery, for a final C-Art get together.
‘Celadon ware’ and my ‘Inner Strength’ corset (plus winged candle ;-)) Unique Red glazed teapots with luggage tags, balanced on old books and vintage units.