The Open Studios event was run by Second Floor Studios and Arts (SFSA) who started and ran the studio site before Thames-Side Studios took over. It was great to be a part of the last main event with SFSA here at my new creative home.
I took the studio on the Tuesday – that same week on Thursday was the start of the Open Studios event. It was manic. It being a newly built unit meant it needed a good clean but luckily there was no stuff to move out and it was nice to set up in a totally blank space.
The plan was to bring over as many paintings as I could to show the studio as a gallery space before I did the big move. There was no time to set the studio up as my working space, so I made the best of the situation.
As a gallery would have, I laid out cards, a guest book, various publications, lots of paintings, chairs, and of course sweets!
The artists were asked to leave their studio doors open to indicate visitors were welcome to come in and explore their work and meet the artist. Not all were able to make it so some buildings were busier than others.
I am in Unit 5, and unfortunately the entrance did not look like the way in, so a few other artists and I painted signs and placed them wherever we could to guide people into our Unit. I did go out to the walkways and chat to people, most of whom came back to our unit so it was worth the effort.
Since the site is so huge, I was curious to see how people would make it to all the studios A lot of people came in and were exhausted as they had been walking around all day – my chairs came in handy at that point!
When people came to my studio, I explained from the outset that I had just moved in, as all other studios were working environments with equipment and the usual clutter.
It was nice to get lots of good feedback as many visitors appreciated being able to explore the works freely without worrying about disturbing works in progress.
Each day we had a raft of new visitors. I really enjoyed the experience and didn’t think about how close we came to not being ready in time.
Unexpectedly, I sold a piece! I had a great conversation with Stephanie and her lovely friends, not even thinking about what the outcome could be. I was simply happy we all had a nice chat and I got to share my approach with them. It really made me very happy that one of my favourite pieces went to such a nice young lady to put in her new home.
I was so pleased that the start to my time at this new phase in my art career was such an exhilarating and positive one.