The chill cold of autumn has penetrated Spode studios this weekend, the high ceilings prevent the warm air produced by heaters in each makers studio from keeping the chill air out. As soon as you open your door it escapes like a hot air balloon. If we had our studios in the roof space we might be warmer. The studios are little wooden boxes like hermits cells sprung along both sides of corridors that meander off around corners Some of the studios are open, without false ceilings and these get even colder unless you put industrial sized hot air blowers on. The studios with windows are single glazed with either wood or metal frames. Some have louvers to allow air in. Even when they are closed they let cold air in.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, just explaining. There are a few warmish spots, like the kitchen if you shut the door.
Each studio that does have a false ceiling also has a layer of insulation above it. So you can actually be warm there…. But walk along the corridor when it’s cold and your breath steams. If you make yourself a coffee in the kitchen it could get cold just walking back to the studio.
One architectural novelty are the curved, almost barrel vaulted ceilings along parts of the corridor. I have never seen anything like it before. Great waves of concrete curve like giant corrugated tin above you. But the wavelength is far longer. Its a very interesting building to work in… But did I mention… Its cold ❄
Which is why I have used a warm picture of autumn flowers to illustrate it.
If you want to see somewhere full of paintings you could look round my studio. There are paintings of people, abstracts, animals, landscapes, buildings, cars, plants, or anything else you can think of.
I tend to use acrylic on canvas but also paint in watercolours and gouache. I have worked with pastel and with pencils and ink pens. I like anything that makes marks. Once at college I even drew with boot polish.
I paint on canvas and paper but I have painted on wooden doors when I was a student..
So yes I’m an artist, I can’t stop!
It’s Spode Open day on 6th and 7th October 2018. It’s at the studios at the old Spode factory site on Elanora Street, Stoke-on-Trent.
As well as the studios being open you will also be able to see an exhibition of the artists work in the gallery space. These are the pictures I will be showing.
Spode studios are run by a charity called Acava and part of the remit of the charity is to allow the public to come in and see what we are doing. Allowing the community to see the creativity in its midst.
The open day is on from 11am to 4pm on both days. You could also visit the Spode visitor Centre, the works canteen cafe on the same days.
Stoke on Trent is such a creative place. There are Pottery classes and ceramics courses for people to join. Artistic hubs and creative groups. Music, art and history all in one small city in Staffordshire. I am proud to live here.
Fluffy clouds, mares tails and con trails at Spode today. I loved the way the sky was crossed and patterned with clouds. The sun was quite low and now we have moved into autumn it took on that crisp shimmer when the heat of summer has all but been extinguished from the sky. The warmth seems to wash out of the blue and it becomes a deeper hue.
Round about the skeletal remains of parts of the spode site sit like dinosaur ribs, shed of flesh and skin, one gaunt necklike chimney sits upright looking out over the landscape of rust and broken bricks.
All this hides the beating pulse of creativity, artists, ceramacists and other makers populate the various untidy buildings. Glass and clay, paint and photography, laser cutting and architecture. All of them dwell under the fluffy white clouds, mares tails and con trails.
Next weekend we are having an OPEN studio. On the 6th and 7th of October.
Admission is free from 11am to 4pm. You are welcome to come into the studios which are open to the public. There will be much to see including a new exhibition of people’s work on the theme of transition. We are at the Spode site, Elanora Street, Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent. The way in will be signposted.
One of the advantages of having a studio at spode is the fact you meet so many creative people.
One of them is a lady called Angela who makes glass art and runs workshops.
We had a very pleasant few hours today making some new pieces of glass. We used new techniques to make larger bowls (they will be when they are fired) and handkerchief vases which will be placed over a glass shaped form which the glass slumps over.
I hope we can go back for more.
We have an art challenge at Spode studios to come up with an art work which follows the theme “transition” or “transitions”.
I would normally come up with a realistic painting but I’m also toying with something more abstract. These are initial digital drawings, working on the transition from grainy to smooth, straight to curvy, and changes of colour.
I might try and turn one of these into a large painting. In a way it’s also making me think about changing my work practice from quite a straightforward way of working into something more involved.
Watch thus space for possible updates….
I might even enter something into the exhibition….
I’m just starting a painting about 2ft by 2ft 6 inches.
It’s a view of the Spode site looking from the building that houses Hulton Pottery which is a small studio pottery on the Spode site, looking down the run of buildings then on to the iconic Spode Chimney that stands high above the site.
Spode is changing, parts have been demolished, other parts will be gone soon. However new people at moving into the studio’s on the site. Together with the visitor centre and the hotel it is becoming more vibrant and interesting.
Hopefully the weather won’t get too cold this winter, that’s what really puts me off going. I have a studio but my mind isn’t on things really. I have found it really hard to get motivated but perhaps I have turned a corner…..
So I will leave you with the beginnings of a painting..with luck I can get it finished soon.