Artists celebrate as Northants Open Studios is relaunched

Exhibitions and open studios take place all month

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 6:26 am

Northamptonshire-based artists have gathered to re-launch Northants Open Studios for the first time since the last event held in 2016 at an Earls Barton venue.

Celebrations took place at Jeyes of Earls Barton where more than 180 visitors came to visit the central exhibition and enjoy a relaxed afternoon in the Moongate Garden.

Artists have been preparing work for several months to fill venues across the county as well as their own studios to host a series of open studio events for members of the public to have a look behind the scenes at their work and reveal where the artistic magic happens as they create their masterpieces.

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Annette Sykes from Raunds

Katie Boyce, director of Northants Open Studios, said: "This really has been a long-awaited but a very welcomed relaunch of our open studios after what has been an uncertain and difficult time for the arts and culture everywhere. But we have come through it and here we are, once again, all together and in the same place, being able to offer the opportunity to expose and promote the amazing talent of many artists throughout Northamptonshire."

Katie added: "With varied styles and disciplines from all of the artists involved there is something on offer for everyone to enjoy, making the event very accessible to all visitors. It is hoped that we can create a growing art community in Northamptonshire and that the festival becomes an annual event in people's calendars.”

A full colour brochure and an online platform accompanies the event, which shows the huge range of art activities featured this year.

Raunds artist Annette Sykes has been exhibiting her paintings at the gallery.

She said: "Artists as a tribe are solitary creatures used to their own company and creative space. However, after so many months of enforced solitude, it is such a pleasure to meet with your peers, to make new acquaintances who share that spark. Northants Open Studios is once again giving life to our community, and facilitating a platform for local creatives to see and be seen, to buy, sell and share.

"I hadn’t realised how side-lined I personally felt and am excited to be reunited with our community."

Printmaker and painter Carry Akroyd opened her studio, between Oundle and Thrapston, at the weekend.

She said: "Open Studios is such a great opportunity for old pals, early patrons, recent purchasers, or just neighbours to know it's OK to pop in a specific weekend for a look and a chat. For young artists it’s a good exercise in arranging a mini-exhibition and organising publicity for it."

Irthlingborough printmaker Sorrell Kinley will be opening his Finedon Road studios every Thursday and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm throughout September.

He said: “Having the much-missed Northants Open Studios back for this September has given scores of artists the impetus they needed to promote their practice more widely and have an opportunity to discuss, share and also to sell their work.

"The well-attended launch party at Jeyes Gallery proved how popular Open Studios is with Northamptonshire folk and the hope is that it will translate into studio visits across the county.

"The revitalised Northants Open Studios 2021, with Katie at the helm, has certainly kick-started me into producing new work and to consider how I explain my working processes when people ask questions. Offering workshops in lino printing also allows me to spread the word that printmaking is brilliant.”

To conclude this year’s festival, several artist prizes will be awarded, to be announced at a ceremony taking place at the JGallery in Moulton, a second central exhibition venue for the festival, on Saturday, September 25, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

The ceremony will celebrate the achievements of all the artists and acknowledge the Open Studio's supporters.

For anyone wanting to join Northants Open Studios and be part of the event in 2022 can email Katie Boyce at [email protected] or visit www.northantsopenstudios.co.uk for further information.