Devon Open Studios to take place in September

Amelia Webster
(Last Updated On: August 24, 2021)

Artists all over Devon will be throwing open their doors and inviting people to look behind the scenes of an artist’s studio.

Over 300 artists are taking part in this year’s Devon Open Studios which takes place from 11 to 26 September, with a range of free exhibitions, workshops and opportunities to see artists at work. Visitors to the county will be able to discover Devon’s creativity, and locals will have the chance to celebrate the range of talent in the area.

The art and craft on display will include drawing, painting, sculpture, tapestry, ceramics, jewellery and glasswork. Artists range from new talent to experienced professionals, all keen to share their inspiration and creativity with visitors.

Five emerging artists have received bursary awards to support their participation in the event:

Dinah Gibbons will be showing her work at The Angel Gallery in Totnes. She embroiders items of lost clothing such as a dropped glove or found sock. She photographs each lost piece in its location, fascinated by how it found its way there. She then embroiders words and phrases inspired by her find and the feelings it creates – perhaps a question or statement.

Ruth Helen Smith has been inspired by local produce during the pandemic. With neighbours dropping round eggs and sharing plants for allotments, she began to think about how local produce brings community together, and how disconnected we are from the people and processes behind many items sold in supermarkets. Ruth began painting still lifes in illusionistic alcoves, reflecting on how everything we bring into our homes marks a connection to the world. More recently in her paintings, these alcoves have become ‘Wardian Cases’, which were once used for transporting plants across the globe. Beyond their glass walls can be seen the paintings show views of the original homes of the produce depicted.

Amelia Webster paints portraits of everyday people. She enjoys spending time with someone, listening to what they have to say so that she can tell their story in paint. She has been creating portraits of business owners to celebrate her local high street. Amelia will be exhibiting her work at her studio in Old Pottery Court, Chudleigh.

Nicola Barton uses recycled silver to make handcrafted jewellery inspired by nature. Her imagination was captured by the mycelium of the honey fungus which she now uses to create textures in her rings, bracelets, brooches and other jewellery. Nicola will be exhibiting her work at Fursdon Barn Studio, Moretonhampstead.

Alison Hannah works with stoneware and porcelain, inspired by the moorland & coastline of Devon. She paints local scenes and has developed her own technique to add the paintings to her ceramics. Her own original poetic verse also features on some of her larger pieces, capturing the moments in both words and pictures. She will be exhibiting her work in North Huish near South Brent.

Three artists will be showing their work at Powderham Castle, Kenton:

Painter Anna Fitzgerald is artist-in-residence at the Castle. She uses a full spectrum of colour along with metal foils to create an added dimension to her paintings which she coats with a smooth layer of resin. Her joyful, large-scale work is inspired angels and by folklore animals, especially foxes, badgers, stags and hares.

Janec van Veen and Jane Perkins are creating a collaborative exhibition entitled ‘Fabulous Beasts’, taking inspiration from heraldry and fantastical mediaeval creatures and other items in the castle.

Jane Perkins is a ‘re-maker’, taking inspiration from found objects and working them into something new. She makes portraits, images of animals and reinterprets classic paintings using hundreds of tiny objects including shells, buttons, toys, plastic cutlery, beads and broken jewellery. For the exhibition, she has taken inspiration from Powderham’s 160 year old Timothy Tortoise to create a portrait of the famous pet dressed up as one of the Courtenay family’s ancestors.

Janec van Veen draws on his interests in biology, art history, literature and philosophy to create chimaeras using taxidermy. His mythological creatures are created using ethically sourced animals– mostly roadkill or pets that have died of natural causes. He aims to encourage the viewer to think about our responsibility for the environment and where the animals have come from.

Penny Carter and Jane Watts will be showing sculpture, glass, jewellery, mixed Media, forged Metal and leather in Noss Mayo. Jane uses shipwreck metal that she finds around the South Devon coast to create functional products crafted with traditional tools in her forge. Penny Carter makes jewellery using a special glass bead making technique which she calls ‘chilliglass’. She works glass rods to build up transparent and opaque layers to create jewellery to wear and tree necklaces for the garden.

Luna North is moving from her attic and will be showing work in her brand new studio in Molland near South Molton. Inspired by the flora and fauna of her local area, she creates paintings and prints of wildflowers, bees and butterflies. She explores the Devon hedgerows on Exmoor to walk and draw. Each picture aims to tell something about the story behind the plant, such as the primrose whose flowers stay open during the day and night, or the bee which lands on a delicate flower and bends the stem with its weight.

Devon Open Studios Chair, Zoe Singleton said: “Holidays to the South West are more popular than ever this year, and lots of people are taking day trips in the area, so we’re looking forward to showing local people and visitors the huge range of creative talent Devon has to offer.

“More artists than ever are taking part in this year’s event which offers a fantastic opportunity to meet artists working in their studios in some of Devon’s beautiful locations. During Open Studios, visitors will be able to see artists’ work, watch demonstrations and take part in activities. Of course, there’s also the opportunity to buy, and it’s much more satisfying to purchase a piece of art when you’ve met the artist, seen them working and heard about their inspiration.”

Devon Open Studios runs from Saturday 11 to Sunday 26 September 2021. Guides are available from community venues, libraries, tourist information offices and online https://devonopenstudios.co.uk

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