Warwickshire Open Studios
Or the alternative title: 'If it frightens you then it might just be worth a go' as my cereal packet announces to me every morning.
The idea of taking part in the Open Studios did frighten me a bit. It was one of my 'almost secret' New Year's resolutions to myself. I did share it with the hubby. I've been to Open Studios on and off in the past, and it had sat there as an idea that I could do it when I started with my printing and the drawing seemed to be going OK too, and lots of people had said lovely things which made me think it wasn't maybe such a bonkers idea. So when the time came for folks to sign up for it, I registered with Open Studios and then had the small issue of finding somewhere to be an 'open studio'. We have two dogs, so that made here not an option as even though they are lovely and friendly it's not ideal..... and then I spotted the 'Lonely Arts' column on facebook. There were artists offering places in their homes/studios, and the lovely Hilary Poole was not far away and offering space, so I jumped at the chance! (If you click on Hilary's name above it will take you to her website).
Now I had a place to exhibit, entered for it and then 'just' needed to get stock/work together! Dad recommended a great printer who he uses in Earlsdon - Rennison Publications, and Kevin was fabulous printing cards and copies of some of my drawings too. I was really pleased with how they came out. Then it was choosing drawings to frame and getting things ready to sell - setting up business cards and thinking about how to display things. Mum came up trumps with a variety of baskets!!
The booklets were delivered about a month before the event started, and seeing my name and Black Kite print in the booklet was great - and it made it all feel very real too! Mum and Dad did a fabulous job helping to distribute the booklets far and wide!
The Open Studios was a fabulous experience. I had two wonderful weekends with Hilary and Anne Bravey - Hilary's specialism is glass and ceramics, and Anne is a mixed media artist, and it was great to have them to chat to about art work, as well as putting the world to rights in general. Mum and Dad, and the ladies, manned the stall for the final weekend as I was away in the Lakes on a final training run/race in prep for our big summer running event. We had some lovely visitors - friends, family and strangers - and some very interesting conversations with all of the visitors. I was really very touched by friends who had traveled a fair distance to come and see me too - thank you. It was good to chat about how and the prints were made and for people to show an interest in my work - I'd taken along examples of how the reduction lino prints build up, as well as some of my actual lino cut 'plates' - as in the vinyl/lino I'd carved into. I had lots of lovely comments from people, and sold some of my prints and cards. More than anything though is the fact I took from it that I had made the right decision to do it, and the confidence to get out there and do more.
Next steps from here are to start looking for other places to go and try selling my work - I've already started searching. I'm planning on taking photos of what I have for sale and popping them onto this website too - before that please get in touch if there is something you would like.
It is exciting; let's see where this journey goes. :-)
Here we go...
The ramblings of a linocut printmaker.... and other artistic adventures!