ONE of the most exciting visual arts events in the region, Bridport Open Studios this year has moved to new dates from 9th – 17th September.
Now in its 19th year, the event was started by artist Caroline Ireland (this year’s Guide Cover Artist) to celebrate Bridport’s remarkable art scene, and has developed as a significant showcase for the diversity and quality of local artists and makers.
This year, 78 artists, designers and craftspeople will be showing work in a total of 53 venues, giving visitors a rare glimpse into the fascinating world of the artist’s’ studio, with an opportunity to talk with the artists and see first-hand their working progress.
Full details are in the free 48-page guide, with information about participating artists, six maps and directions to venues. There will also be distinctive arrows and banners across Bridport and West Dorset signing the way to the venues.
Among the artists are several; abstract painters, including Martyn Brewster who is exhibiting at Sladers Yard, Gerry Dudgeon, Jon Adam, and Amanda Wallwork, whose current practice includes painting with oil on plaster and is concerned with archaeology, geology and the formation of the landscape.
Figurative painters include Kit Glaisyer with his cinematic West Dorset landscapes, David Brooke with his distinctive idiosyncratic and sometimes mythic paintings by David Brooke; Nicola Leader with her pastoral watercolours by Nicola Leader; and Marion Taylor with her Dorset landscapes, many of them showing the familiar outline of Colmers Hill, just west of Bridport.
Liz Somerville, Paul Blow, Squirrell Bindery, Sally Davies and Neil Barnes are among the artists showing prints, drawings and illustrations and photographs.
West Dorset has some outstanding sculptors, and among those taking part in Bridport Open Studios are Greta Berlin in Fishponds; Oliver Strong in Waytown; Colleen du Pon in Nettlecombe; John Wolfe in Melplash and Philomena Harmsworth with her unique ceramics series The Many Vesseled Women.
Potters and ceramicists will be exhibiting in their own studios and at several galleries, including Portmanteau Gallery on North Street showing ceramic vessels with texture and pattern by Bjork Haraldsdottir inspired by her architectural background; and at Slader’s Yard where the exhibitions include personally-sourced jewellery in gold, silver and bronze by Jocelyn Rodber Pardoe and ceramics by Peter Hayes, Richard Batterham, Akiko Hirai and Svend Bayer, alongside Petter Southall’s exceptional steam-bent furniture. At Mosterton there will be daily raku firing demonstrations by the Eeles Pottery family.
In Beaminster there are hand-thrown earthenware pieces by Louise Hamlin and organic stained and fused glass pieces by Caroline Lewis alongside stitched textiles by Wendy Hermelin.
The many makers and artists at St Michael’s Studios include Steve Rose with his colourful textured stained glass, Jennie Hanrahan who uses coils, slaband milliner Fiona Neylan who designs, makes and sources hats, headwear and accessories.
Pictured: Potter Adam Beales at Nettlecombe; abstract painter Gerry Dudgeon; a vivid abstract by Veronica Hudson; one of David Brooke’s instantly recognisable paintings.