Sunday, 18 June 2017


9 days, 3 artist/makers, 2 cats and around 600 visitors and now Cheltenham Open Studios is finished until 2019.
COS 2017 was the best yet, the whole of the artistic community in Cheltenham flung open the doors of their studios to welcome the public in. Looking, talking and art was bought.
My lounge turned into a gallery space, one of my visitors (who stayed so long we gave them a cup of tea) said it was magical. But what was magical was the beautiful work of my friends. 
Caroline McCatty who makes painted automaton and Sharon McSwiney who is a metal work artist and jeweller have been my friends for years. They put up with me being bossy, but I have a week of fab lunches, catching up and living with their fabulous work.
I had new collagraphs to show together with the printed textiles I have been experimenting with.
Iris has been determined to steal the show and become part of our exhibition.
But not only could you have a good look around my house, there was the garden too. Festooned with the bunting that Caroline and I made for Art in Action last year and tidied to receive visitors. 
Head out to my shed and see where I work...
In fact I had several visitors who wanted to move in and a couple of people brought husbands back this one please!
I thought I would be spending the week drawing in my sketch books, 
but the steady stream of interested people stopped that and so did Frank.
Iris took up marketing the yard:ARTspace for me, thank you Iris.
And thank you team Commercial Street, Caroline, Sharon and 
the lovely Mr Brown who worked so hard on the garden and supported me through the dark days of planning the Open Studio. The sign refers to the new deck chair I bought in case visitors sat in it.
So Frank says good bye for another year. Thank you to everyone who ventured out in the heat, who admire our work and bought from us. See you in 2009 I hope.


While I was trapped in my house running venue 34 as part of Cheltenham Open Studios, just up the road at the yard:ARTspace was our sister show in venue 35
Our guide entries sat beautifully along side each other.
We had matching bunting, thank you Carole for doing that.
And for once the sun shone on the event.
the yard:ARTspace is usually full of excited people on creative workshops and courses.
But last week it turned into a gallery space with wonderful  Claire Baker ceramics, Susan Wilkinson jewellery and Carole Bury stitched works on paper.
On the Wednesday my printmakers came to class as usual, but under the expert eye of a celebrity printmaker Frans Wesselman who came to visit us. Thank you for coming and I look forward to returning the visit for Worcester Open Studios in August. 
While printmaking continued, Susan was working on her jewellery and visitors came to watch. The atmosphere was so creative.
Iris tried hard to market the yard:ARTspace while stealing the show in venue 34.
It was a a thrill to have all this lovely work at the yard.
Can you guess why I like this piece from Claire? 
It was fascinating to see Susan creating her pieces with exquisite tools and
making gorgeous work.
Carole set up her workshop in the press room
I am sure giving away the secrets of her beautiful stitched paper techniques, but the skill and imagination can only be hers.
I have to say what a dream team they made, everyone who came on to our venue said what a warm welcome they had received at the yard. Thank you so much Susan, Claire and Carole, I have not laughed so much and I will miss our regular and rather surreal whatsap communications.
Venue 34 & 35 would not have had so many visitors without the support of Dodwells our local stationers and art suppliers. They created the most amazing window for Cheltenham Open Studios. Handed out hundreds of guides. Gave up retail space to promote the artists in their area and were still giving out walking maps with leaflet holders on their shop window while closed on Sunday. So it's a really big thank you from the 6 artists at venue 34 &35.

Look out for COS in 2019 when hopefully the dream team will be back.

Monday, 5 June 2017


It is 2 days before the preview evening and 3 days before Cheltenham Open Studios starts in earnest. Commercial Street, venue 34 and the yard:ARTspace, venue 35, are beginning to take shape...but why is it taking us so long to set up?
The 6 of us all have other things going on in our lives and it is a real luxury to be able to take time to set up an exhibition and gently place and tweek.
There has been several weeks of planning for the Dodwells window. My local stationers and art material suppliers have offered their support to their 'arty' customers and have put a promotional window in to advertise the Naunton Park and Suffolks artists, they have guides and venue walking maps to make life easier for the determined Open Studio tourist.
My shed at venue 34 is now done, come and watch me drawing and experimenting over the 9 open days.
You will also find a bargain or two as I have cleared out my print and enamel drawers to make space for new work.
The main room in Commercial Street is really turning into a gallery and will be showing my latest work (before the galleries get it),
both collagraphs and my new textile /prints. But I have left significant gaps for Caroline's automata and Sharon's jewellery and metal work.
Meanwhile back at the yard:ARTspace I have tidied up the notice board and the website. Create for Christmas and the 2018 program is being launched during Open Studio's so pop over to venue
35 and check out the details and see where you could take a create workshop.
So far Carole and Claire have begun to place work
around the Workroom and the 
Space Inbetween. The cabinets are waiting for Susan to display her jewellery.

So we are all on the home straight, pricing and the final move around yet to come, oh and signage, mixing Pimms for Thursday night and of course constant dead heading what is left of the garden after all this rain!!

Thursday, 1 June 2017


One week today is the preview evening for my Cheltenham Open Studio exhibition!
My home, studio and garden will be open to the public for 9 days. It is a really positive experience and I get lovely visitors. This will be my 5th Open studio event and I started this blog with the 2009 exhibition at Hampen. So much of my artistic life has been documented during the last 9 years here.
But I am not looking back, I have 7 days to get things ship shape. So this is all about how I prepare for Cheltenham Open Studios.
The lovely Mr Brown and I started with the garden over a month ago, unlike dusting the house or painting a wall, gardens take a little more time to recover from tweeking.
Unlike the Chelsea flower show I seem to have no control over when things flower, so you will have missed my peonies, oriental poppy and may get a last glimpse of the bearded iris. I watch helplessly as prize blooms flower a week too early or get munched by snails.
With the garden tidied and bedding filling in gaps my tidy mode turns to the shed...
You don't want to see it too tidy, you want to believe that I am inspired by my surroundings and can find what I need at any moment, on the whole I am and I do. Now the shed is ready for you to find a print or enamel bargain. I am ready for technical discussions and point you to the right yard:ARTspace workshop to get your creative juices flowing.
So two down, only the lounge to go.
The lounge is more of a responsibility as I have invited two other artists to join me, Sharon McSwiney is back and Caroline McCatty exhibited with us both at Hampen 9 years ago. Talk about coming full circle!
I have cleared my eclectic collection to all corners of the house, filled and painted a wall and cleaned, yes you heard me, cleaned!!
Just trying a few things out before properly hanging work this weekend. In fact I will be collecting framing today.
Then there is the signage, pricing and labeling.
Caroline will help me put the show together on Sunday and
Sharon will race up from Cornwall and place her gorgeous work on Wednesday. 
Then the fun will begin.
This year I have made a couple of prints especially for Open Studios. Both etchings as part of my print a month...I know there are 2.
So that is me putting together the Cheltenham Open Studio event, I am sure you will believe me when I say I may not have mentioned everything, the sourcing artists for the yard event happened last year, meetings and marketing talks and of course the drip feeding of information to social media for weeks. And I am not alone, Cheltenham will be awash with artists opening their homes and studios from 10-18 June, we have so much talent here and it comes out ever two years to delight you. There is a parallel exhibition at the yard:ARTspace with Claire Baker, Carole Bury and Susan Wilkinson showing their work and giving people a chance to look around the yard.
I will keep you up dated with the Open Studio progress if you can't get to sunny Cheltenham but hopefully...
look forward to seeing you next week, I will be calmer by then!?