Monday, 28 January 2019

Art tales and trails

It’s not often that I use my blog for advertising purposes but on this occasion - now I’m part of a committee - I’ll write a shorter-than-usual post, and use it to promote our local art trail.

Every year the village of Larkhall, Bath, has a festival. The good people of the neighbourhood mass around the square, enjoy events taking place in the community centre - New Oriel Hall - and participate in activities in St Mark’s School and Alice Park. This takes place at one of the loveliest times of the year - May Bank holiday weekend.

The art trail coincides with the festival.
Richard and I got involved with the art trail - aka ‘Larkhall Open Studios’  a few years back when he submitted three of his paintings for exhibition at the Oriel Hall and sold prints & cards. We also became part of the stewarding rota and made visitor counts, dealt with questions posed by the public, took money, wrote out receipts and generally enjoyed being surrounded by paintings, ceramics and glassware - all made by very clever locals. Quite splendid. 

Before that Richard had co-run the Bath Fringe Art Fair - which took a great deal of management. The Larkhall Art Trail seemed easier to run, by far.

Almost five years ago we opted to open up our house instead of exhibiting Richard’s paintings in the hall. It meant a lot of moving of furniture but no loading the car with paintings nor coping with parking and carrying framed works to a deposit point. We are lucky enough to have a large sitting room with good wall space. And, in January 2014, with a click of the ‘send’ button our entry for an open studio was submitted. 

Richard didn’t open his studio as such. It is up two flights of stairs and is so full of canvases, paints, photographs, brushes, pallettes, rolls of bubble wrap ... the public would never get in to see anything of worth. And it's a health hazard.

By spring 2014 we were almost prepared when a thunderbolt struck us on Easter Day. April 20th, at 11:10 a.m. 

My 89-year-old mother, who was with us for the chocolate-egg-eating weekend, had a sudden, deep stroke. It was about two weeks before we were due to open to the public. She had rarely been ill. We were in a state of shock and decided to limp towards opening for one day only and tried to get the message out that, sadly, we couldn’t do more. On our front gate we posted the words 
   ‘Owing to family illness we are unable to open Sunday or Monday. Apologies to all.Richard’s website is'
And that was it. 

But the following year, by which time mum was in a nursing home with 24-hour care, we were pleased by our first proper open studio event. We had lots of interesting and interested visitors, and, although it takes quite a lot of prep, it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to invite people into your home, discuss art, inspiration, style and technique-and even more so when they buy an original work.But, of course, we are happy when we sell cards or prints too. Or visitors make donations to one of 'our' charities.

So there we were - part of the ‘Larkhall Open Studios’ circuit. And for 2019 we decided to go a step further by filling two vacant places on the Larkhall Open Studios Committee - namely Secretary and PR. I’m sharing the secretarial role with our photographer friend Pam. I deal with comms and general co-ordination and she is looking after the database and doing mailshots to at laest 120 artists and makers. Richard is advising and making decisions ... and will take up the PR reins in about a fortnight’s time.

Thus far one of our venues - Oriel Hall - is full. We have another venue - Nexus Church Centre - offering to host artists and their paintings, ceramics, lino-cuts, prints, cards or jewellery. And we have as many studios open to the public as last year. However - and this is the advert bit - the closing date for submissions to the Larkhall Art Trail      (Larkhall Open Studios) is the end of THIS week. 

Drum roll - here comes the promotion: 
Larkhall Open Studios - May 4-6 - 2019
If you live close to Larkhall, say Batheaston, the London Road, Camden or may be as far as Park Street, Bath and can make a submission in the next few days we would love to hear from you. We are happy to include painters, sculptors, ceramicists, photographers, jewellery-makers, makers of automata or textile specialists. 

Please email either Richard or myself on or for further information.
Richard’s website is

We have exhibition spaces left in the Nexus Church Centre. It has a bright, light room, with plenty of space for hanging paintings and displaying 3D work on central tables. There’s a purpose-built kitchen, we'll have gentle live music from a psalter player (and there are sofas and... toilets. ) And it’s just £15 for three days’ showcasing of your artistic talents. 

Please do support this venture. It’s a chance for the public to see your work without their paying gallery prices. And you don't have to give a % to a gallery either. Plus, if it’s anything like last May, it’ll be a heat wave. Many studios sell cakes for charity. It’s great fun and certainly worthwhile.

                                                Enjoy ! 

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