I spent yesterday trekking the streets of Shrewsbury on the open studios 2011 trail and today I ache from head to toe, I think the two things may be related.
Despite being unfamiliar with Shrewsburys layout and taking a few wrong turnings before I got started I eventually managed to locate the studios of Richard and Helen Foot (www.footprintphotography.co.uk & www.helenfoot.co.uk ) tucked away off a little courtyard and up a set of very steep stairs. This gave me a chance to see Helen Foots loom which I have heard a lot about on Twitter and marvel at how they got it up those stairs!
After some moments admiring the talent and skill that was packed into that loft studio I went on my way with some helpful directions to catch the last day of Material at the Bare Steps gallery. This was well worth the exploration as the exhibition had managed to capture some of the diversity that textiles covered as an art form and it’s great to see textiles represented in this way. My favourite piece was Helen Foots Lyrics; quirky and original.
I then proceeded on my way around the studio trail and caught Parker & Arrol’s handpainted velvets, Linda EdwardsIllustrations (www.lindaedwards.co.uk) where I bought my first purchase of the day; a birthday card for Millie whose 5th birthday party is today; and Knives Out (www.knivesout.co.uk) one of the most original things I have seen in a long time. Knives Out produce pop art topiary from graffiti hedges to an installation of screaming faces carved out of individual plants. These really made me smile and i duly took their card with ideas for my garden re-design going around my head!
Unfortunately a combination of getting lost and not reading the map very well meant that I only had time to pop into one more gallery before my parking ran out but this also led to my second purchase of the day. Irene Pentelow’s small jewellery workshop on Claremont Hill was lovely and I was smitten with a small pendent that had been enamelled with a design from a small stamp that Irene had discovered in Nepal. After explaining how she got the design in into the silver ( a small matter of a 40tonne press in her bedroom) Irene offered to change the pendent onto a slightly longer chain, which gave me the opportunity to see her at work soldering and buffing the links. This also gave me a chance to munch on the tin of roses that Irene had provided for visitors to her studio and realise that my idealistic plans to lunch and refresh whilst in Shrewsbury had gone out the window and I was starving.
So thank you to all the artists who were so friendly throughout the day and probably have face ache this morning for having to spend all day with a smile on their face and good luck with the rest of the open studios days (today and weekend of the 9&10 July).