If you are interested in art and craft, in meeting local artists and seeing where they work, 11-26 September are dates for your diary. Devon Open Studios is an event that helps artists, and those who love art, potential customers and the curious to meet with each other all over Devon. This year there are 183 venues showing the work of 323 artists. Our picture editor, Nancy Murgatroyd, introduces some of the artists who will be exhibiting in and around Crediton.
You may feel like making a trip of it and venturing to an area you don’t know and visiting artists you have never heard of but there is a lot to see much closer to home. I’m going to concentrate on our local artists and craftspeople, but wherever you go it is a good idea to study the brochure carefully or look on the website as open days vary. In the past I have wasted so much time and effort arriving at a closed studio or missing something I really wanted to see.
There is something very special about knowing the artist or craftsperson and remembering where you fell in love with a piece. Maybe you are interested in commissioning a piece of work, a garden sculpture, some pottery or a painting. Open Studios is a really good time to see what is out there.
Here are three artists who take the environment very seriously.
At Bickleigh you will find Jessica Cutler (Venue 14) showing her hand woven textiles; beautiful throws, scarves and cushions. She says:
We need to stop our Throw Away Culture. Fashion shouldn’t cost the earth! We live in an era of single use objects, things that aren’t made to last, and where people discard things easily. The time for well crafted products has come, things made to last. Items made with care, love, time and made from natural materials, with all the amazing properties that they have, will make an item last a lifetime.
Rosie Brewer (Venue 16) creates hand made wooden and ceramic kitchenware from her wood workshop and pottery studio in Bow. Her varied range includes functional hand carved wooden spoons, chopping boards and other utensils to colourful ceramic mugs and bowls. She says:
From classically gnarled British oak to silky smooth sycamore; all wood is a natural story and no two stories are alike. The twists, knots and patterns are what make wood a joy to work with. Each quirk of the timber helps me find the piece it will become.
Rosie crafts everything from sustainably sourced wood, locally grown where possible, ensuring you receive something of beauty and usefulness without spoiling our global environment.
Ruth Oakely (Venue 22) is in Crediton. The recurring theme of concern for the environment is expressed by Ruth, in her paintings, using an intricate colour palette.
Charlotte Turner (Venue 17) near Coleford, is a member of the Newlyn Society of Artists. A full time practicing artist for over 20 years, her work is found in private collections nationally and internationally.
My paintings arise from solitary coastal exploration. Childhood memories of this sanctuary rediscovered through adult eyes. Working up layers of paint and then rubbing them back is a smoothing process, revealing perfect imperfections.
Thyme and Space Ceramics (Venue 18) in Cheriton Bishop is on the edge of Dartmoor. Rose-Marie says:
Having a love of different forms and textures that nature presents has given me inspiration to form my work, allowing the viewer to make their own interpretation. The surface on the oval sculpture pictured was inspired by lichen found on granite near my home. I spend some of my free time gathering images and examples on my walks across the moor with my dogs. Working with clay takes me on a journey; the tactility, emotional responses and what emerged from it always leaves me with a thirst for more.
Sculptor Antoinette Jackson (Venue 19) is using bronze to help remind people of precious moments in their lives and to relive joyful memories we all share. Antoinette creates figurative sculpture, large and small, from her studio in the tranquil rural setting of Creedy, between Crediton and Sandford. She works mostly in bronze and bronze resin and says:
The inspiration for my work comes from those special childhood moments filled with joy and wonder we can all relate to. I try to capture those feelings in the pose or a ‘look’. Sculpture which evokes these feelings means we can relive the moment all over again, putting joy and the sense of wonder back into the present for ourselves and the world around us.
There is a painting and pottery fest to be enjoyed in Crediton.
Phil and Anne Smith are exhibiting their work at their home on Searle Street, Crediton (Venue 20). Anne is a ceramicist and painter. In the Open Studios, she will be showing watercolour and acrylic paintings of seascapes, landscapes and trees. She will also welcome visitors to her pottery studio to see her hand built and thrown ceramics, including seahorses, decorated bowls and platters, textured jars, and brightly glazed mugs.
Phil mainly paints abstracts but also does street scenes and abstracted landscapes. He is self-taught in abstract art and works in acrylic paint on stretched canvas or ply. He has been selling his paintings internationally as well as locally and has paintings hanging in homes and offices in the USA, Canada, Germany and Italy. A detail from one of Phil’s abstracts is featured at the top of this article.
Monika & Tom (Venue 21) are both painters and are looking forward to showing their art. The sea also features in her work. Monika mostly paints in acrylics and oils, and her current subject is an imaginary underwater world. Tom is showing drawings of animals as well as some colourful abstract paintings.
Potter Laurel Keeley (Venue 24) has moved from her Exeter city centre studio to Newton St. Cyres and is open to visitors for two weekends only during Devon Open Studios, showing stoneware ceramics. Visitors will be able to see a working studio, and browse through a collection of ExhibitIon work, pieces from her archive, colour experiments and various test pieces. Experimentation is endlessly ongoing; and you are invited to explore and handle the variable success.
More local artists will be exhibiting at the new White Room Creative Space on Lords Meadow Industrial Estate.
We are indeed fortunate to be able to see the work of so many creative people in and around Crediton.