During two weeks in June artists and makers open up their studios for Bucks Open Studios. Members of the public are able to visit, explore and talk to artists in their working environment. This year there were over 300 artists covering a whole range of artistic disciplines across Buckinghamshire to visit. For my Five on Friday this week I thought I would share two of the venues I have visited this week and three items I acquired for the gift drawer.
On Wednesday I went to the Courtyard at Claydon House which was hosting a number of artists including a printmaker, ceramicist, painters, textiles, sculpture, photographer and silversmiths.
Claydon House is the ancestral home of the Verney family and was built between 1757 and 1771. Sir Ralph Verney gave the house to the National Trust in 1956. Sir Edmund Verney, Ralph's son and a former High Sheriff of Buckingham still lives there. Claydon House has close connections with Florence Nightingale as her sister was married to Sir Harry Verney in the mid 1800's. Florence had her own rooms and spent much time there when not working and travelling.
This is the rear of the house but I love the brickwork and the shape of the windows. It reminds me of a very posh doll's house where the facade could be opened out to reveal beautiful stately rooms. There are beautiful rooms inside with many artefacts from Florence's era, which are well worth a visit.
This side of the house overlooks the Courtyard making up the fourth side of a quadrangle.
This area would have been the stables and has now been converted into artist's studios, gallery, tea shop and gift shop. Although it was a grey, wet day it was lovely to have the opportunity to meet a number of artists and talk about how their work was inspired and created.
2. Westbury Arts Centre
Yesterday I went to Westbury Arts Centre in Shenley Wood. The Centre is based in an old farm house, parts of which date back to the 17th Century.
Much of the character of the old building remains although the house has been converted into a community of artist's studios. An old barn next to the farm house is used as an exhibition space and performing arts venue. It is all set in a lovely wild garden with fruit trees, bee hives and chickens scratching around.
The Centre is very involved in the local community and holds workshops, masterclasses and lectures regularly as well as art performances. I have attended a number of workshops there, including book binding, metalwork with Kate Edwards and I am looking forward to a felt flowers workshop with Hilly Edwards next month.
I find it impossible to visit artist studios without coming home with a few items! There were many beautiful things that I would love to have brought home but finances dictate that they were to be admired not acquired. I was tempted by the following three items on the basis they would make good gifts and would go in the gift drawer ready for friends and family birthdays.
3. Felted scarf
This beautiful hand crafted scarf was created by Sharon Howard at Ichyfingers. It is made from merino wool with gorgeous splodgy, purple flowers.
Although the photo does not really do it justice it is quite fine and wonderfully soft.
Sharon also creates amazing little sculpted animals in needlefelt.
4. Porcelain Pot
Kirsteen Holuj created this beautiful porcelain pot. She explained to me how she creates the ripple effect in the glaze using shellac.
There were a number of these small pots and everyone was different so it was very difficult to decide which one to choose. A group of three would have been very effective displayed together but I restrained myself. You can see more of Kirsteen's wonderful work here.
5. Set of Felt Cards.
I was particularly taken by Rosalind Castling's work. Atmospheric landscapes created with felted fibres. There was a large picture, which captured moorland meeting the sea. It reminded me very much of the North York Moors and East Coast of Yorkshire where I spent many holidays as a child. When speaking to Rosalind it transpired that she was from the North East of England and much of her work is inspired by that coastline right up to Northumberland.
The large picture did not come home with me but I did buy this set of cards. This second card reminds me of the moorland close to where I grew up. It is funny how we are drawn back to our roots despite not living there for many years.
I shall frame the cards and they will possibly (more than likely!) be a gift to myself.
Well, you have to have treats in life - don't you?????
I plan to visit more Open Studios this weekend so there may be more finds for the gift drawer. There will certainly be more wonderful artists to discover and work to admire.
It is great to join up with Amy at Love Made My Home for Five on Friday.