Open Studios Weekend 2015
Review

We luckily had the perfect weather for our Open Studios which resulted in a steady flow of visitors all weekend, many staying for longer than they had originally planned as there was so much to see and to enjoy the delicious refreshments from Parsonage Farm. Many had come to see Vivien Mallock’s memorial to the British soldiers who took part in the battle of Waterloo being made in the Talos Art Foundry. The memorial immortalises the moment when British soldiers closed the gates of Hougomont Farm – an action which was pivotal in the final victory. One of the two life size bronze soldiers from Vivien’s memorial was on display in the foundry, and attracted much interest from military historians. The two monolithic slabs of stone representing the gates are to be inscribed by Project Workshops letter carver Robyn Golden-Hann, who will also be accompanying Vivien to oversee the sculpture’s installation at the battlefield in Belgium ready for its unveiling on the 200th anniversary of Waterloo on 18th June 2015. Sculpture lovers were treated to an exhibition of new work by Richard Atkinson-Willes, whose elegant plywood constructions were joined by a colourful display of new stoneware ceramics by Project Workshops co-director Mandy Atkinson-Willes. The fractured remains of Amy Goodman’s ‘Warhorse’ memorial, which was the centrepiece of our sculpture exhibition last year, were so striking that they were left in the grainstore for visitors to enjoy, providing as strong a message in their enigmatic state of decay as the piece in its prime. Damian Richford’s monumental head was similarly expressive and provided a striking centrepiece to the display of his beautifully finished sculptures in Unit 8. Elsewhere, visitors enjoyed the diverse range of work now being produced by Project Workshop’s painters: Soraya French’s studio was full to capacity all weekend with buyers and admirers of her brightly coloured acrylics, and attracted many aspiring artists to sign up for her ever popular painting courses, which run throughout the year. Painting tuition was also being offered by watercolourist Linda Powell, and by painter Sally Milligan who is now well established in her new studio.

Marek Woznica’s beautifully crafted Pewter and Wood Chess Set, which featured on all the promotional leaflets for this year’s Open Studios weekend, was even more astonishing in real life than in the photos and amazed visitors with the intricacy of its design and fineness of its craftsmanship. Glassmakers Mark Taylor and David Hill astonished everyone with the accomplishment of their glass blowing demonstrations and with their knowledge and enthusiasm for all things glass, and many admirers left with another piece of Georgian or Roman glass to add to their collections. Thanks to the artists for donating their work for the raffle £131.11 was raised for MIND and the winners who were delighted with their prizes.

The next date for your diary is for our Christmas Open Studios - 21st and 22nd November 2015.