Northants Open Studios back as artists reveal secrets of painting, pottery, print and pictures

September sees the popular art event return

By Alison Bagley
Monday, 30th August 2021, 6:23 am

A popular Northamptonshire-wide visual arts festival will return to the creative calendar as more than 60 artists exhibit their work with 26 of them opening their workspaces to visitors.

During September artists all over the county will open studios to allow guests inside a pottery studio, discuss diamonds with a jewellery designer or watch demonstrations of painting, printmaking and traditional crafts in a relaxed environment.

Guests will get a behind-the-scenes look at the creative spaces of work of potters, painters, sculptors, jewellers, print makers, furniture makers and fabric designers.

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Kettering potter Louise Crookenden-Johnson will open her studio to the public this month

Jeyes of Earls Barton will start the festival off with a launch party on September 4 from 3pm and will conclude with an awards ceremony taking place at the JGallery in Moulton to celebrate the achievements of artists and supporters.

Katie Boyce, director of Northants Open Studios, said: "Life is slowly getting back to normal and we have, once again, a good number of artists of all disciplines desperate to present their work to the local community across the county.

"I hope that everyone will see the benefit in supporting the event, reaching an audience of exhibiting creatives and visitors of all ages from the emerging artist to the retired collector. We have such a varied and talented group of artists spread all over Northamptonshire, what better way to celebrate them all than to have a month long event to support and promote their work”.

"This year we are very lucky to have the support from two venues, who will play host to our artists taking part in Northants Open Studios. Each artist will have the opportunity to select two pieces of work that best represents their practice and showcase one in each of our central exhibitions."

Lisa Timmerman in Foxton near Market Harborough

An array of displays of painting, photographs, prints, pottery and crafts will be on show to enjoy, with many artists also presenting their work as individuals or groups in galleries across the county.

Taking part in the open studios and exhibiting her work is Kettering potter Louise Crookenden-Johnson.

As well as opening by appointment, she will slide back the doors of her pottery space on Sunday, September 26.

She said: "It’s incredibly exciting to be inviting people back into the pottery, I love welcoming people into my ‘happy space’ finding out about how I make ceramics.

Sorrell Kinley in his studio - running a lino print workshop

"Open Studios is that perfect chance for folk to connect with local artists and artisans. I’ve noticed a real interest since Covid in supporting independent makers and creators and this gives people the chance to shop locally too.

"People are welcome to make contact and pop into the pottery during September but I will be open to the public on Sunday, September 26, where I’ll be offering people the chance to play with clay."

The first weekend of the Open Studios (September 4 and 5) will see a house on the former WW2 secret airbase - adjacent to the 1950s Thor nuclear missile site - open to guests.

Four Northamptonshire artists will explore the 'meanings of time and space' at Foxhall House near Harrington, a one-time setting of war and conflict, today a sleepy farm for agriculture.

Wellingborough artist Charles Bezzina painting in his studio

Gina Glover, who lives at Foxhall, will present her sculpture assembled from the past life of the air base and current life as a working farm.

Alongside her camera-less photography she explores the overlays of past and present and through her experimentation interrogates the found material providing a new landscape of emotional connectivity.

Kettering-based artist Graham Keddie shows film with sculpture echoing the historical significance of this secret place. Through new work made for this exhibition, ‘again and again and again and again’, he examines location, narrative, tethering and time.

Brigstock based Rosalind Stoddart uses fleece from her alpacas. ‘From field to studio’ she explores colour saturation, texture, surface and fusion of materials to create sumptuous results.

Kettering based Susan Williams will explore the lawns of Foxhall. Her minimal interventions key into their surroundings, energising the material and space. Illusions of floating and evanescence conjure the magical and metaphysical: the many layered works transform into a meditation of time and place.

Foxhall House is located on Lamport Road (B576), between Harrington and Lamport, 500m from the Carpetbaggers airbase war memorial. Put the postcode NN6 9JL into your Satnav and it will bring you straight to the entrance. Parking and disabled access is available but it is not suitable for children under 10. Please bring face masks to wear inside the buildings.

Rothwell woodworker Fiona Kingdon in her studio, demonstrating her intricate cutting techniques

Jeyes of Earls Barton will start the festival off with a launch party on September 4 from 3pm when visitors will see a wide range of works from the participating artists.

It is hoped that the exhibition will inspire them to get out and about around the county to visit studio spaces and exhibitions.

To conclude the festival, prizes will be awarded at a ceremony taking place at the JGallery in Moulton, a second central exhibition venue.

The ceremony will celebrate the achievements of all the artists and acknowledge supporters.

Central Exhibitions will take place at Jeyes of Earls Barton and the J Gallery supported by Kettering & District Art Society, from September 4 to 25.

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