In January I wrote about three Whanganui artists participating in the Artists Open Studios event on 21-22 and 28-29 March. On Saturday 21 March I spent the day in Whanganui visiting 13 studios. I was impressed by the quality of the art work and friendliness of everyone involved and should have allowed two days for the event. Below is a small selection of the studios I visited.
Studio 111, 111 Great North Road, St Johns Hill (No. 43 in the Trail Guide)
Seven artists had work on display at Studio 111 overlooking Virginia Lake. I particularly liked the vibrant and quirky paintings by Tina Drayton. I couldn’t decide which art work to purchase so came home with two of my favourite images on fridge magnets to help me decide, the cafe scene is currently edging ahead of the caravan.
Carmen Simmonds Glass Studio, 1427 Brunswick Road (No. 65 in the Trail Guide)
Carmen Simmonds does wonderful things with glass, I first saw her work in the form of beautiful glass dresses at Real Aotearoa in Auckland. The portfolio section on her website is full of stunning images, I was particularly tempted by the sweet little tea pots in her studio. Carmen also offers weekend workshops. (The photo below was taken at Whanganui i-SITE, it’s a joint work created by Carmen and Leonie Sharp).
Bricksticks, 18a Georgetti Road, Bastia Hill (No. 59 in the Trail Guide)
Bricksticks is in the once abandoned brickworks on Bastia Hill. The abandoned property was purchased by furniture maker Greg Betts who has converted it into his home, studio and showroom. It’s a building with character and has plenty of nooks and crannies ideal for the collection of artists exhibiting for Open Studios. Photographer Gail Imhoff had her work displayed in an old circular kiln – a sneak preview.
A ‘Celebration of Harakeke’ (harakeke = flax) by Heather Baskiville-Robinson and Mere Keating is also in an old kiln. The Meremade hats were a favourite, the hats are also sold at Whanganui River Traders Market on Saturday morning.
Glue Pots and Lemon Drops, 57 Taylor Road, Mosston (No. 40 in the Trail Guide)
I returned to Glue Pots and Lemon Drops especially to see Lizzette Britton’s display of life size caravans outside her studio. Caravans I had expected, but Lizzette also created an outdoor space with tables, chairs and umbrellas. Her lovely granddaughter was on hand at the little caravan tea shop to serve cups of tea, coffee and sweet treats. It was a delightful surprise, right down to the caravan tea towel on the clothesline.
Inside her studio Lizzette had a few hand-built clay caravans for sale. There were also rockets and spaceships with miniature interior fit outs. Pick up a little torch and take a tour inside a miniature world, just one of the wonders at Whanganui Artists Open Studios.
PS. Thanks to my Mum who navigated on Saturday, next year we’ll make a weekend of it.
Keep current with what’s happening on the Artists Open Studios Facebook page.