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What is an Open Studio? - THE LOW DOWN

Here is a quirky article that tries to explain what an Open Studio scheme is for those who want a little bit of art in their life...

Everywhere in the UK there are artists, designers and crafts people working from home or their studios and being ridiculously creative. These arty types toil away with, what some may describe as a futile and self-indulgent desire to tinker around making stuff, but those of us who are enlightened know otherwise. Those creatives are making intriguing, beautiful if not exquisite works that can transport the enlightened away from the drudgery of reality and give the jaded a desire and enthusiasm for more.
A particularly colourful fact from top government is that the creative industry generates over £8.8million for the UK economy EVERY DAY. May I also remind you that most arty types are pretty awesome. Mostly.
We have now established that artists pay their way but we all know that truly an artist's worth is determined by the work they actually make and whether it is good or bad, however that is determined. So our clever Open Studio scheme has made a shortlist of selected artists who will entertain and tantalize you. Each year those selected artists will open, for free, and show everyone and anyone what they do actually toil away on. 
There are printers and painters, potters and photographers. In fact there are many more art disciplines beyond the letter 'P' that our scheme will be presenting this year. There will be something to turn you on. We will give every artist a studio number. Then place them all on a map that will be available in April. The map will help you to see who your nearest artist is, or you might like to visit a part of the county you haven't been to before, where there are artists waiting to ply you with cake and cordial.
So here is the tricky bit. The scheme runs for the first 4 weekends in July, but the artists might not necessarily be open for every one of those days. We would love to say they are too busy meeting Saatchi but actually it's because of family commitment, so many artists will be open on various days. Therefore always check that the artist is open before you set off. You can do this on the website or via the brochure that will be available from end of April.
You chose an artist. You have travelled in the car through glorious countryside to visit them. What next? 
The artists will have signage directing you. It might be through the garden or in the house, so look out for those signs. The artists will have made effort to put on a sort of exhibition or show for you. It will be a friendly and inviting environment where you can refresh on a bit of cake and drink. The artists will be chatty and will be happy to talk to you about their work, they may even give a little speech. Feel free to ask them questions about their work, or tools, or inspiration. It is as simple as that. View the artwork at your leisure.
Some of the artists have amazing gardens that are part of the NGS. There are some artists who don't have gardens but workshops that are like stepping back in time. Some artists have neither but a cracking sense of humour and wine. You never quite know what you are going to get, so you need to be a bit intrepid and open-minded. 
Many of the artists will be selling art. We cannot emphasize enough that you are not obliged to buy anything and you won't get any kind of hard sell. The artists are mostly passionate about showing their work and sharing. But for information we will tell you that artists discount their work for the OS scheme. Across the board there is a myriad of prices that range from humble cards (£2) or small works (£30) all the way up to large paintings and sculptures (£5000). You may very well fall head over heals in love with a piece of work, be aware the artists do not take credit cards. Cash, cheque or bank transfer can be arranged.
The map of the open studio artists is also called the art trail. Visit as many artists as you like. New for 2016 the OS scheme will be creating several maps that not only show you the artists but also local places of interest, walks, eateries, monuments and vistas.
Making your day out, a full experience. 
Lisi Ashbridge Studio. Deborah Husk Photographer.
Susan Kirkman and Aran Miles, shared home location.
Oliver Freeman studio
Michael Angove studio.
Jeannette Therrien home and studio.
Paul Swan home and workshop.
Sioban Coppinger Studio.
Normandy Barcelo-Soto home and studio with Diana Barraclough.
Ian and June Pillinger home and studio.
Normandy Barcelo-Soto home and studio with Diana Barraclough.
Secrets from the Museum - SPECIAL OPENING 2015
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