Studio Open!

I had a lovely evening with friends and family visiting my opening on Friday. We had cocktails and nibbles, and although the weather didn’t behave, we sat by candlelight under the gazebo, which made it all the more atmospheric. On Saturday I had two good friends visit me, as well as numerous visits from locals who were walking past, and a couple of visitors who had spotted me in the Open Studios brochure.

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My daughter sold £16 worth of goods, which will be donated to the War Child Charity via my brother Daniel, who spends most of his weekends running marathons and races to raise awareness and money for them.

Over the remainder of the weekend I had a few more visitors, who were again mainly locals. Having had a busy day at work, with lots more preparation to do before tomorrow’s classes, I hadn’t intended to open the studio, but when I heard the dog barking, I saw that I had more visitors, another artist in the brochure and her husband and also more local residents.

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Chico, the studio guard dog!

It was nice to receive positive feedback about my work from visitors to the studio, and even better when they made a purchase!

This has been a really worthwhile experience for me, in terms of raising my profile as an artist within the local area and arts scene, and also in curating my own exhibition, which has been a mixture of both contemporary art and also lino prints, which I love to make. I have discovered the possibilities of printing onto bags, espadrilles and lampshades too, which has opened up a lot of new ideas for me in terms of possible business ventures.

I have really enjoyed the social side of hosting an exhibition, meeting people who I had never met before, having interesting conversations about my work and discovering a few potential opportunities with regards to exhibiting.

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I think that I will open my studio more in future, especially around celebrations such as Halloween and Christmas, and possibly host some art related events. It’s something that I really enjoy doing, and although there has not been a great amount of profit involved so far, I think there is potential as an extra business opportunity at weekends and over the holiday periods.

 

Preparing to open the studio

Over the past few weeks I have been busy making as much as I can for the Perthshire Open Studios event which begins this Saturday. I have decided to have a small opening on Friday night, and have invited friends via Facebook.

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Parrot print espadrilles anyone??  

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My daughter was very keen to get involved, so she has made some greeting cards which she hopes to sell to raise money for the War Child charity.

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I just finished painting a new sign last night, which I am really pleased with, and hope that it will attract people to come in and have a look.

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On Friday night we will be serving some nibbles and cocktails, which will most likely be Pimms, Pina Coladas and some bubbly with mixers. Emilia has been helping me to make some pretty edible flower ice cubes to serve with them, using lavender, mint and rose petals which we picked from the garden.

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We also added a touch of lavender flavouring and rose water to give the cubes a slightly stronger taste!

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Don’t they just look wonderful?!

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I think I’m going to have a chocolate fountain again, as that went down a treat last time I had a party, so I’m heading to Bookers soon to buy some of the delicious swiss chocolate buttons I used. I’m getting really excited…just hope it is a nice evening so that we can have drinks outside as the studio is a bit on the small side for everyone to fit in!

Painting in Progress

I spent the day working on a painting that I had shelved a few months ago. It’s one of those pieces that keeps evolving over time. It has a watery feel to it and was initially inspired by the sea. I added a few more colours then whited parts of them out. 

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The island on the right crept onto the canvas today, and echoes some of my past paintings of imaginary landscapes or maps. I really enjoy painting these type of abstract pieces, they allow me to relax completely and escape to a little world of my own!

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Studio Re-vamp

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I decided to give the studio a new lick of paint this summer to brighten it up for the Perthshire Open Studios. I started by painting a new sign (above) which I fixed to the street side of the studio. I will make another for the studio side too I think, or perhaps I’ll just write directly onto the door.

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I bought this striped bunting last year from Deckchair Stripes, and it gives the place a real summery holiday feel (despite the fact that most of the time it is raining here!).

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I have amassed a small collection of cast iron cauldrons over the years so I have re-painted them and positioned them around the area outside my studio.

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Over Easter I created a herb and dye garden below the studio, although I have to say it is more herb than dye. I did plant woad and weld, but have since learned that a large amount of the woad leaves are required to give the indigo blue which it is renowned for….oh well, maybe in a few years time.

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Many of the plants were purchased from the local village nursery Plants with Purpose, which does what it says on the tin….sells unusual plants which you don’t often come across, but all of which have purpose, such as culinary, healing or dyeing etc.

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The daisy like flowers above are German Chamomile, the variety which is used to make tea, although I haven’t yet tried to. Other herbs in the plot include Lemon Catmint (which is edible and can also be used to make tea), a variety of mints, lavenders (some of which are edible too), fennel, lovage, sage, thyme, tarragon and parsley. I can’t believe how well these plants have grown since they were planted. Glad I kept some of the more vigorous ones in pots so that I can walk between them to pick them.

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I bought the “Green Goddess” a few years ago, and much as I love vintage bikes, she isn’t the most comfortable to ride. I decided that she should take early retirement, and instead of being thrashed around through the woodland she is perfect to display a basket of strawberry plants on.

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To add a finishing touch to the exterior of the studio, I added a string of bulb lights…et voila…c’est magnifique!

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Now I need to start considering how best to utilise the interior as both a working space and also for displaying my work.