Taking part in the SHAF Arts Trail
Half way through the open studios fortnight and the sun is streaming in through the open doors at Hillcrest Studio, there’s a wasp buzzing around and there’s a brief lull between visitors. To my right there are sheep in the field and to my left Maggie’s rescue hens at the end of the garden.
Sharing the space with Maggie Smith and Sue Farrow-Jones, we’re all taking turns at what we tend to refer to as ‘stewarding’ but is really more just a case of greeting the cheerful visitors who’ve made the short drive (or walk, in some cases) down the pretty lanes from Kingsbridge, following Jeremy’s excellent signs and arrows, and then chatting to them for as long as they feel like staying. Topics of conversation range from the wonderful extension Maggie’s recently made to her studio and the wonderful views across an inspiring landscape, to the intricacies and mysteries of printmaking: the how and the why. One of the best things about open studios events is that anyone can come along to look at the work, look at the working space and just have a chat without feeling any pressure to buy anything. It’s so much more than an exhibition. In the years when I was dreaming of having time to make some art it was good for me to be reminded that these artists were just people with ordinary lives and while some had well-equipped studios others were managing perfectly well working at the kitchen table.
SHAF’s annual Arts Trail is firmly established, but pressure of work has prevented me from taking part for a few years. This year I decided to make exhibiting more of a priority and was delighted when Maggie invited Sue and me to share her studio. I knew I’d enjoy it and I’m delighted to say I’m enjoying it even more than I thought I would!
You can see more of Sue’s work at runningdogprints.wordpress.com and for Maggie it’s www.maggiesmithartist.co.uk
Sue’s lampshades are on display at The Gallery Project at Avon Mill, near Loddiswell, and Maggie is working towards a solo exhibition at Harbour House in Kingsbridge In August 2019.