Janice Issitt                    Life and Style

travel, interiors, photography, home, crafts, personal style

13 May 2016

Open Studios

This week I have had the great pleasure to visit, not one but two amazing artists at their studios, both of whom I could easily just take all their work home it is so special. Both are participating in their local Open Studios, Anne Marie Butlin as part of Crouch End Open Studios and Wendy Johnson for the upcoming Bucks Open Studios.  

Wendy is still preparing for the opening night so much of her work was not available to photograph, Im going to pop along to the private view as I really want to own some of her Japanese Raku pieces.  

Raku is the name for the type of firing, a process which involves many stages of work.  Firstly the bisque item is fired in a normal electric kiln at precisely the right temperature for it to withstand the next few stages of work.  It is then covered in liquid clay - slip, over which a Raku glaze is applied.  This is then ready for the next specialised firing of an outdoor kiln and then being plunged into sawdust.  The carbon of the burning sawdust creates the black marbled effect on the work.  When removed from the sawdust the item starts to cool and the outer layer of slip peels off to reveal the pattern underneath. 

What I particularly like about this technique is the very matt surface, it becomes something other than traditional ceramic. It also lends itself to sit perfectly with a minimal black and white interior scheme. 

Painter Anne Marie Butlin works from her cute studio at the bottom of the garden and her work divides into two main categories, floral (still life) and portrait. 

I bought a painting from Anne Marie last year which has featured in may of my photos, it hangs in my bedroom currently.  As I like to photograph little still life pictures at home her paintings really speak to me, I love the style of her brush strokes and the colour palette she uses.  It is very easy to live with Anne Maries work in your home. 

If you would like to see more of these two artists please have a look at http://www.anne-mariebutlin.com/index.html where you can also see her current exhibitions.

Wendy Johnson can be found at her studio in Great Missenden Buckinghamshire, and the Bucks Open Studios runs from 11th to 26th June, more information on their website including a map of how to find Orchard Studios. Wendy also teaches from here if you are interested to learn from this master craftswoman.

Buying original art is something I'm passionate about, I would rather spend money on a painting that a sofa, the original versus the mass produced, there really is no competition in my opinion.  
Open Studios happen all over the country and to meet the artists is so great for them also as they often work in isolation and want feedback.  It's a great way to spend a weekend too, something a bit different, so dont be nervous to try it, you aren't obliged to make a purchase but I bet you fall in love with something just like I did.
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