Galleries - August 2016

studios. This has now grown into an altogether larger affair, with 100 or so artists taking part, not just locally but from all over Britain too. As its name suggests this is rather more a Festival than a simple Open Studios, with three distinguished invited artists and an artist’s bursary, together with a wide ranging programme of events, artistic and musical, being crammed into the nine days. At the other end ofthe country is Drawn to the Valley (27 August to 4 September) , a kind ofartists’ co-operative, 150 strong, founded 13 years ago and open to people working in and around the Tamar Valley, which marks the boundary between Devon and Cornwall. I say co-operative because there is a very strong community ethic behind this particular initiative with a lot ofwork being done over the course ofthe whole year to support the region’s cultural life as well as the actual Open Studios event itself. That said, it is a great event with some 86 artists participating this year, all to a very high standard and set in an idyllic landscape. Nicholas Usherwood The countrywide Open Studios and Art Trail phenomenon has been very much a thing of the 21st century; when I first started writing regularly for this magazine in the mid 1990s, it still remained, for the most part, close to its roots in London, in Hammersmith in particular, where the artists Julian Trevelyan and Mary Fedden had first opened, with huge success, their delightful Thames-side studios in the late 60s. That gradually morphed into something much wider, as their many artist friends in the area began to join in, becoming the Chiswick/Hammersmith ‘Artists at Home’ scheme, still flourishing today and, more significantly, then copied by one London district after another. It took a while though to spread out more widely into the country as a whole but, once it did, in the late 90s, the idea spread like wildfire and now Open Studio schemes can be found from the North of Scotland to the South of England – and many in between. This is an excellent example of how a simple original idea has steadily changed and developed. Now in its fifth year (12 to 15 August) and with some 36 artists/makers on the island coming together, Arran Open Studios is taking on the character of a small arts festival, counting Joan Eardley, Craigie Aitchison and Jack Knox among its former distinguished artistic visitors. This year’s exciting initiative is to link this intensely beautiful island’s thriving art scene with its equally dynamic poetic equivalent, the Arran Poets group. Some seven poets are each ‘twinned’ with one Arran Open Studios artist/maker, living alongside an artist/artwork and responding poetically to it, with the results being shown alongside each other in a ‘taster’ at the Brodick Tourist Centre (8 to 15). Simple but very imaginative . Founded in 1999 Bridport & West Dorset Open Studios (20 to 29 August) has grown into a massive affair with 100 plus artists exhibiting both in their own studios and in six galleries and studio complexes, Slader’s Yard among them. With professional administrators and a huge number of related events across the region, this is a carefully selected and superbly run event. Like Arran, the picturesque small fishing village of Pittenweem, right across the other side of Scotland on the Fife coast, has always attracted artists. The Festival (this year’s 6 to14 August) began in fact in 1982 when several resident artists started opening up their O PENstudios B ridport Open Studios Drawn to the Valley AUGUST 2016 GALLERIES 7 Arran Open Studios from left S imon Lawrence ‘Blue bowl and flowers’ Arran Open Studios Tessa Sulston ‘Quartz Veins’ Drawn to the Valley Nigel Hughes ‘Andean Condor’ Bridport & West Dorset Open Studios P ittenweem Festival