Sunday, 4 July 2010

Open Studios Reprise

Yesterday we did Cambridge Open Studios, which I have mentioned before. And do you know what?

It was great, we had a really nice time. All the artists we met were really friendly and nice, and it was really inspiring seeing things that other people make. I did discover that my mother has one speed, and it is not marching-around-Cambridge speed, it is ambling-round-Meadowhall-looking-for-a-bargain speed: but, after she pulled herself together with an effort of will and managed not to collapse on the corner of Stretten Avenue, which would have been awkward, we managed fine.

Houses that are taking part in Open Studios have signs like this outside. This is so you don't inadvertently wander in on someone who isn't an artist and surprise them while they are sitting munching their croissant and reading the Saturday Guardian. And then when you get inside you see things like these:

This man made lovely glass hangings and engraved plates and things. I love glass and sometimes I contemplate lampworking, but I don't think I can entirely be trusted with a heat source.

I can't pretend to you that I came away from Open Studios without acquiring anything at all, a couple of things did come home with me:

Aren't they pretty? The glass pendant is by the man above, and the ring is by this woman, who was making some lovely, very wearable things. I don't know if you can see properly from the photograph but the outside is textured, a little bit like tree bark. I once (very briefly) did a jewellery class, which involved making a ring from scratch. After that experience I have quite a lot of respect for anyone who makes rings, which is a feat of skill rather like putting a jelly in a test tube. I like my ring very much, and I am wearing it now.

And there were lots of artists (in the sense of people who made pictures). Here are some of the postcards I collected, from left to right:

These paintings were on handmade paper, and there was also one that was gold leaf on I think linen. I thought that was particularly nice.
These paintings were amazing. I love bold, I love portraits, and I love slightly surreal. If I still had a job (cue very small violin) I would have bought one, even though they were enormous, and worried about where to put it later.
Colour wash drawings of Cambridge and France. I liked these, even though one of the shops in one of the street scenes was the one that sacked me just after my postgrad. Never mind though, I don't bear grudges.
These were landscapes made of a kind of delicate felt, they were very clever, and it was an interesting use of the medium. I once tried making a felt bead, but it came out looking like buttocks and I was discouraged. Who wants a necklace made of beads like that? Possibly I should have tried something flat, although who knows what inappropriate body part that would have ended up resembling.
I really loved the colour combinations in these paintings.
These were lovely too, delicate watercolours, although I am afraid what impressed me most from this studio was a very inscrutable-looking cat which had wrapped itself around a woman's handbag and wouldn't let her have it back. In fact practically every house we went in had a cat prowling about, thinking, hmm, we have a lot of visitors today, I hope they are not after my Gourmet Pearl or in competition for the litter tray.

Well today, as you can imagine, I have been quite tired, so all I have done is try to make a fairy dress out of old tshirts. Why would a woman of 35 who has very mixed feelings about post-feminism be wanting to dress as a fairy, you may be thinking? I shall reveal all tomorrow, if I have a moment after I have tracked down some lace and fuschia dye (funnily enough they didn't sell either in Tesco. No fuschia dye, no Borax. Who on earth are they catering to?)