The best studios to visit during Open Studios Cornwall this month
- Credit: Heath Hearn studio
The end of May marks the launch of Cornwall’s open studios event, when artists, designers and makers from across the county, open their studios and workshops to the public.
A total of 329 artists are taking part this year, and much of their work shares common themes, inspired by the recent years’ global events. Ideas around human frailty, resilience, mental well-being, friendship and family, and the healing power of the natural world permeates much of the work on show, as does the need to recycle and recover, to live sustainably and nurture the planet.
Seeking out the various studios involves visits to unusual locations including fish cellars, blacksmith’s forges, shipping containers, even a 1930s tea room and a Victorian gin house.
‘The pandemic has taught us much about ourselves, the way we live and what we value and it is fascinating to see how this plays out in the expansive range of work that will be on view this year,’ says project co-ordinator, Karen Raymond. ‘Whether you are situated in rural seclusion or a pressurised urban environment, art can heal, comfort and unite. Cornwall’s creatives warmly welcome you to discover, discuss and purchase their work, celebrate a renewed sense of freedom and relish the joy of life.’
Open Studios Cornwall runs from Saturday 28th May and Sunday 5th June, you can find details and information about the artists at openstudioscornwall.co.uk
Six studios to visit:
1. Jane Wilson – Mixed media/painting
Jane Wilson lives and works as a full-time artist in Looe, a stone’s throw from Hannafore Beach.
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Inspired by Cornwall and its coast, landscape, flora and fauna, she creates mixed media paintings and collages.
A self-confessed hoarder of old paper, books and maps, she combines these with a variety of mediums, including paint, pastel and pencil, to create multi-layered artworks. She finds that mixed media is the perfect way to convey the emotion, sounds, textures and other sensations of landscapes and seascapes, and of trying to connect the viewer to the essence of the scenes that she captures.
Her work can be representational or abstract and whilst the subject matter varies, there is always a connection to nature.
Jane has also created a collection of original paintings and collages using pages and covers from the Observer’s book series, but only cuts up the battered ones! As a former textile designer, she is drawn to pattern, colour and texture and her floral paintings and still life artworks celebrate all three.
The first work, Oystercatchers, was recently selected for The Royal Watercolour Society’s Open Exhibition in The Bankside Gallery, London, where it won the Dry Red Press Award.
As a member of The East Cornwall Society of Artists, Jane exhibits her work in The Ebenezer Gallery in Polperro between March and October.
2. Jake Boex - Ceramics
Jake Boex creates contemporary coastal ceramics from a converted fisherman’s net loft close to the harbour in Porthleven.
Drawing on the natural aspects of ceramic materials, he incorporates rock and sediment from the local landscape within his handmade, wheel-thrown porcelain, which is both functional and decorative.
From a Cornish beginning, to a life of environmental research, surfing and global travel, he eventually found his way back to the coast of Cornwall. Walking the South West Coast Path has inspired his new collection, Finding Stillness.
With a window display opening onto The Gue, visitors can view his work before entering the studio. Inside, where the final pieces are on display, it is possible to witness the making process with kilns, the wheel and work-in-progress all available to see.
3. DSKVR - Outdoor living range
DSKVR at Krowji, Redruth, was co-founded by Helen Trevaskis, an illustrator with a background in international development and Rob Moss, a product designer with a deep and lasting love of the outdoors.
Diskevra is the Cornish word for uncover and with DSKVR, their outdoor living range, the two are on a mission to help people discover what Cornwall is really made of, through their prints, products and brand.
Their deckchairs, picnic blankets, bean bags and sit-mats for use in gardens or on decks are produced with the realities of outdoor life in mind and feature prints inspired by Cornwall. In creating the prints they wanted to start conversations, challenge stereotypes and show that there is more to the region than pirates, pasties and Poldark.
The 300 Collection print was created with a nod to military camouflage and comes in three colour-ways – Not Just Blue, Double Yellow and Mizzle. It is not only named in honour of the total mileage of the stunning Cornish coastline, it’s designed to tell a story about the realities of seaside life – its pleasures and pains.
4. Heath Hearn - Painting
Heath Hearn is an established painter of 30 years who will be showing a selection of abstract and semi-abstract works that have been created for upcoming exhibitions at The Russell Gallery in London and The Byre Gallery in South East Cornwall. Paintings for private sale and a small body of work at reduced prices, to raise money for the homeless, will also be on show at his studio in Millbrook.
Heath has exhibited widely in London, Bath, Winchester, Norwich, Jersey and Cornwall, as well as internationally in New York, Hong Kong, Toronto, Paris and Singapore. He has also created large-scale public murals and trompe l’oeil for record stores and Royal squares.
Heath’s studio is in the beautiful grounds of the Edgcumbe Country Estate. Converted from a 1930s tea house, it is also home to the Cremyll School of Painting.
5. Sharon Reeves - Painting
St Ives artist, Sharon Reeves is motivated by the dynamic land and seascapes of West Cornwall, and by capturing a fleeting moment in time.
Having initially trained in graphic design, Sharon’s career followed a different route in the medical profession, but she is now fully immersed in her artistic practice.
Colour drives her paintings and she uses acrylics for their flexibility, tolerance and vibrancy. Many of her works are painted entirely with a palette knife. She says the magic of mixing colours to create a sense of place and atmosphere never fails to surprise her.
She’s inspired by the county’s dramatic seascapes, ancient landscapes, ever-changing weather and extraordinary light and she enjoys walking in the natural environment, aiming to capture the mood and express it through her work. A primary focus is the rapidly-changing sand dunes and what she describes as their silent energy. She uses photographs, imagination and digital sketches in preparation for a final piece.
6. Reworked - Upcycled lighting
Sam Isaacs established Reworked with the aim of producing unique, original and eclectic lighting and other curiosities made from salvaged materials. By reinterpreting and repurposing these found objects, he creates a new identity and lease of life for lost items.
Sam converted a decommissioned shipping container into a studio at St Endellion during the first Covid lockdown. This is where he creates his reworked, upcycled lighting and keeps all his treasures for future works. These include classic car parts, vintage bicycle bits, old kitchen gadgets and flotsam fishing nets that he finds on beach cleans.
His designs are available from the Cornwall Crafts Association, the Devon Guild of Craftsmen and galleries across Cornwall and Devon. During Open Studios Cornwall, you can view a selection of this work, commission your own lamp and chat to him about his creative process.