the studios 3-day November 2015 pop-up exhibition at Barton Grange Garden Centre
Its been a long-held dream of mine to work from my own studio and move off my kitchen table. I finally did it and moved into a studio-workshop. It’s rural, an old converted farm outbuilding and in some of my neighbouring studios there’s a lovely diverse mix of artists and crafters; a potter, a porcelain ceramicist, a textile artist who runs workshops and has a textile group ‘ Diversity’ and a part-time crafter who does sewing, knitting and card making and runs a weekly craft group. Next door to the studios we have a nice cafe, ‘Roots cafe’ and there’s also car parking.
Before deciding whether to move into the studio, I made a list of things that I could do there that I couldn’t do at home, alongside teaching were also doing ‘open studios’, as I wasn’t normally going to be open to the public and selling my work from the studio.
Last year we got together and organised 2 studio open weekends, learning and trying out new ideas along the way. It developed; we had meetings to choose our group name, sort our pictures and text for our website and leaflets/posters and then I designed them. But, the studios are very much off the beaten track, so we ended up with more nosy hens from the neighbouring farm coming to visit us than actual people (not counting friends and family that came to visit).
Doing these ‘open studios’ clearly wasn’t working, rather than trying to get people to come to us, we needed to ‘go to the people’.
That was how our ‘creative roots studios’ event idea began and I felt the nearby exhibitions room at Barton Grange Garden Centre would be ideal for us, as there would be ample room to fit the 5 of us, plus 2 or 3 guest artists. Over the years, I’ve hired the exhibitions room, otherwise, known as the ‘green room’ (its painted green) a number of times for teaching jewellery making classes. I’ve also taken part in the jewellery and craft fairs that Barton Grange ran, plus the Art and Craft Guild of Lancashire exhibitions there.
Although a lot of work went into organising the event, it’s been such a great learning experience for me (being the main driving force and organiser) and given us as studios the opportunity to get together, get to know each other more whilst taking our work out to a wider audience.
From the studio group:
- myself, jewelart – beaded sculptural wirework and glass jewellery
- Josh, Joshua Coupe Ceramics
- Brenda, Brenda Fee Porcelain
- Jan, Craftybunnies
- Pauline, Creative Stitch Studio, as she was ill her textile group ‘Diversity’ exhibited in her space
plus guest artists:
Diversity textile group, William Poole wood-turner and artist Siobhan on Friday and Lorraine rag rugs over the weekend.
Luckily the table plan, which gave us 2 tables each, pretty much worked out and we managed to fit all the tables and our displays in the room, with enough room for visitors to access each of our displays.
It was really wonderful that our studio group exhibition got some great comments and feedback from both the venue, visitors and customers and overall it was a successful event for us selling and promoting our work.
I loved that a number of our friends and customers came along to support us and visit our studio group exhibition.
Sam Rowena x