June 26th, 2012
On Saturday Milo and I set off in the car towards Cellerdyke. I’ve been wanting to go to the East Neuk Open Studios for years, but never managed to make it. As I’m going to be doing my first ever open studios event this year in August, I was determined to go and visit a few studios at the weekend to see how things are done, get a few tips and tricks and also see a few folk that I know and meet some new too.
First on our list was the studio of Jill Calderwww.jillcalder.com
I had the pleasure of working with Jill a few years ago on a couple of animations and she then asked me to design and build her a new website. It was great to work with someone so creative and we had a great time passing ideas back and forth and playing around with layouts and colours – the website won a Creative Fife award in the end, so we were really chuffed about that and got to go to the fancy award ceremony and get very drunk – well I know I got very drunk and was offered a lift home all the way from Glenrothes by a lovely jeweller who had also won an award.
I hadn’t seen Jill for ages so it was great to catch up and for her to meet little Milo. He loved looking around her studio, full of amazing colourful prints. I bought a small print entitled ‘Pub Man’ as it made me think of Milo and his bald head – it’s now stuck on the wall above his cot and makes me laugh everytime I look at it. Jill offered lots of helpful advice about opening my studio to the public – all noted.
After a lovely cup of tea and quick visit to the loo and to meet her lovely doggies – who sat on command and were rewarded with dog treats – I headed on down John Street. Every studio was marked with red balloons so it was easy to find them and I didn’t have to refer to the Google map on my phone which kept on taking ages to load.
Next on the list was the studio of Kate Loundon
On display were loads of her woodcut prints and she kindly explained how they were made. I fell in love with one entitled Ship In Bottle…
…and I suddenly realised I had come to an Open Studios event without my cheque book or any cash (I’d spent everything I had at Jill’s) – how stupid of me! I’ve since, however, discovered I can buy it from her Etsy shop online and I might just do that!
My next stop was a complete surprise at number 61 – the studio of Kate Hajducka
Through the open doors I saw the most amazing walled garden – it totally drew me in – and then I saw Kate’s work which was also amazing. I’m not really a ‘painting’ person, but Kate’s work is really quite unique as she doesn’t use oils or acrylic and instead paints with beeswax and pigments. I wish I’d taken a photo of her working as she uses a muffin type baking tray with tea lights underneath each compartment into which she melts the beeswax and mixes the pigments. The colours are so vibrant and some of the small paintings of flowers were just amazing – textures, colours etc.
We had a great chat about her process and also about gardening. I wish I could afford her work, but as I’m on maternity leave at the moment with no real income I’ll just have to save up and wait until next year and pop back.
Next was the studio of Lisa Rooney
Her studio was up in the attic – a really lovely space with the most amazing views out to the Isle of May. There were a few other people there and when one lady asked how old Milo was and found out he was 10 weeks, she exclaimed really loudly that I looked amazing – this made me feel amazing, as I’ve been having problems with my body image since giving birth and losing my lovely firm round baby bump. So to get such a compliment from a complete stranger really made me feel great!
Lisa’s work is interesting – lovely ceramic pieces with fantastic little illustrations of dogs, people, boats, birds and cakes on them – all incredibly reasonably priced. I manage to scrape £4 together from my very empty wallet and the dregs of mt handbag and bought one of her little ship badges.
I also visited the studio of Ann Smith
Ann had drawings and paintings on display and has such a lovely space to work in and also another amazing garden and view. Her house, like so many in this part of Fife was full of oddly shaped rooms/walls with nooks and crannies and angles everywhere – makes our house in Kinghorn seem very dull in comparison. It was so nice to see work in situ in and amongst all the everyday objects and furniture – it was very inspiring and gave me lots of ideas for my up and coming open studios event. Wish I’d taken some photo’s but we were too busy chatting! Ann doesn’t appear to have a website, so no images to pinch and display here – just the one from the brochure.
I realised by this time that it was getting late, Milo needed feeding and I had two more studios I wanted to go and see so I walked very briskly round the corner…
Next on the list was Kirsty Thomas of ‘Lovely Pigeon’
I love Kirsty’s work and at last could ask her what her new range of jewellery was made from and she proceeded to explain the shrink plastic process and was surprised to find that I’d never heard of the stuff – I missed out on this fantastic medium in my childhood!
It was great to visit Kirsty’s studio and see her set up as she make jewellery as well as stationery and other things and I’ve seen her ‘setup’ at craft fairs and events – so I got lots of ideas about displaying my work, as I guess I can just treat my open studios event like a craft fair, but it will be like having a mini shop rather than just a stall. There’s no reason why I can’t use the same display stuff and ideas that I always try and cram into a 6′ x 2′ space in my studio.
On my way back to the car I had one more stop to make…
The Wash House Studio belonging to Elinor Kirk
I’d read that Elinor was a knitter is the ENOS brochure and when I visited I was really pleased to see that she was knitting using circular needles as I’ve been wanting to see how this is done for ages. I’ve collected a lot of baby knitting patterns and so many of the items I want o make are knitted on circular needles. I’ve tried so many times, but always given up in frustration and never really understood any of the tutorials I’ve seen online. So Elinor sat me down and showed me quickly how she does it using the ‘magic loop’ method. I can’t say I totally understood it, but so much of what I’d tried and failed at in the past now made more sense after seeing someone else knitting in the round as she did. I promised her I would dig out some of my patterns and try and knit something while it was still fresh in my mind. She said she might come to my open studios and check – so I feel a little under pressure, but I’m sure I could manage to at least knit a simple hat maybe.
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All in all it was a fantastic day. Very inspirational. Rather tiring too.
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