Sunday, 16 May 2010

Open Studios at the Second Floor Studios 15th & 16th May

Today we took tot along to the Open House at the Second Floor Studios. The studios are in an industrial estate which also houses Woolwich's own wall climbing centre called Reach. There is a view of the river along the car park though the view itself is not impressive as you are looking at the Tate and Lyle factory and a recycling centre dump. The studios are also spread across a number of buildings and there is no wheelchair access so we got plenty of exercise climbing up and down (often carrying tot who got bored near the end of our visit). There seemed to be more spaces being built and hopefully this area will become a hub of creative talent. One thing that struck me is the mix of more established creatives with those who are just starting out. It's a bit odd seeing art in the making. This is not a museum and the artists and craftspeople are clearly working to earn a living so sometimes it felt intrusive to be there when we had no intention of buying anything. However, many of them were very welcoming and willing to talk about their work.The first room we went into was a showcase for a number of the artists who use the Open Studio spaces. Images that capture my attention included the giant teddy bear, the Rod Hunt illustration "B Movie City" and the image of the "Elephant who wants to be a Cheetah" Rod Hunt's studio was full of more illustrations including some funny ones of Stig from Top Gear. This room alone was well worth the visit.Upstairs we saw the huge mosaic work-in-progress by Gary Drostle which is going to be shipped to Iowa. This is art on a large scale with much intricate work. I can't imagine how long it takes to create one of these pieces.
Further along we came to Abigail Dace, a recent graduate who had only just moved into the studios. She has just come back from a internship in a Dehli
furniture maker.
Her work
included some knitted pieces which included teapot covers shaped like hats, and owl and bird animals. She also had some clothes on show including a gorgeous salmon coloured dress.
Beka Smith. From a distance, many of her portraits like a photographs. A lot of her work is bright and humourous. If I had dosh, I'd want her to paint a picture for me. Not least because her studio included a display of bathtime ducks including my own Bath Vader.

Other artists who I found interesting:
Angela Summerfield who's landscapes were serene visions in vivid blues and white. She told us that a lot are painting commemorating recent deaths and also 20th century deaths. In truth, if she hadn't told me that I would not have guessed. And I suppose that's one of the benefits of meeting the artists that they can tell you what they are trying to achieve.

Klaus Degener - a German carpenter who had worked on the Cutty Sark. His art used salvaged materials to create pieces that were usable. The piece shown above is made of wood and marble salvaged from a fireplace. email:
Spot on Art: Gary Clark was very happy to talk about the work of his partner Bitchell Masrani who creates micro photographs encased in acrylic. This can include images supplied by clients and he showed us some baby ones that were created. His work includes pieces that were inspired by science fiction which he worked on over the course of a year.
Miles Campbell Clock Maker - I wish we had gone here first as tot is a bit of clock fan. Miles was very welcoming and even got the tot to help work the first clock he made. This is where I learnt that the clock is the mechanism as he explained that he now had made contacts with clock fascia and surround makers. A good tip we got from him was to visit the clocks in the Wallace Collection. Also he's just moved into the studio and he advised us to come back in November to see more work on display. That's a date!

We walked past studios where photo shoots were taking place, jewellry being made, clothes designed and displayed. Some had fascinating instruments and machines in them. In a world where so much is mass manufactured, it's a privelage to be able to see beautiful work being hand made. And to think it's on our doorstep, not quite Plumstead but certainly not just Greenwich town centre either. I am looking forward to the other art inspired activities taking place in the borough this year including Arty Picnic in the Pleasance (6th June) and the Art Deco Fair (11/12 Sept, Eltham Palace).


PlumBun said...

This looks amazing and I never new it existed. Could you buy stuff from the artists whilst you were there or how do you find out how to buy things? I love a bit of art and also supporting local businesses/artists. Photos are great too, looks like a great place.

Emma said...

I think it's very interesting that you have pretty much picked out the only things I saw there that were interesting, though I wasn't much of a fan of the big teddy (P liked it though). The crochet lady's stuff I probably liked the best.

Having said that I was quite disappointed by the general standard of work there, and thought a lot of it was...awful. I guess I'm a snob but some of the drawing was truly terrible.

Still the place is pretty new so with luck the people making dross will soon move out and make way for better quality.

Plummy Mummy said...

PlumBun - got the details from that greenwich mag you also wrote about on your blog. Yes the stuff was on sale. Some of the artists had put on prices, other hadn't so I guess you had to ask.
There will be an art fair later this year where you will be able to see more art on display and for sale no doubt.

Emma - you crack me up. You are a snob although I admit, I'm an art illiterate so wouldn't know good from bad. Tracey Emin bed thing really crap right? hahahaha Did P like the Rod Hunt stuff?

Emma said...

The point is I think you DO know good from bad as you picked out all the half-decent stuff! People say they don't know good from bad but in the case of non-conceptual stuff I think quality always shows. Conceptual work like Tracey Emin's bed doesn't do much for me to be honest. I think it's a different thing entirely to choosing something you'd like to have in your house.

Abigail Dace said...

Thankyou for looking and liking my work. Please see my website and blog with new projects and products

I would also like to let you know that Second Floor Studios is still in development with a lot of the artists and makers freshly moved in. I hope that you will come to look again on the 20th and 21st of November at our next open studios when we will have even more studios up and running with fresh practitioners. I hope you will be more impressed next time.

Plummy Mummy said...

Hiya Abigail,
thanks for the info.
Just to be clear....I was impressed by what impressed me - i.e. I liked a lot of what I saw.
Good to hear it's still growing.