County’s major arts event exceeds expectations in first few days

Visitors from near and far have been exploring behind the scenes with artists and makers, as Devon Open Studios gets under way.

With a record number of artists participating this year, there are more opportunities for local people and visitors to explore the county’s creative talent.

Just a few days in, artists are reporting high visitor numbers and sales of their work.

Award-winning, international artists Juliette Mills and Dominic Welch are based in Chagford, where they are showing work in their garden and studio.

Dominic has a reputation as one of the leading sculptors of his generation, and his work is in collections all over the world. He creates moon-discs, planetary spheres, flames, shoots and primeval sea creatures, which are displayed in the garden of the house, which was built by a sculptor in 1890 and has a history of sculptors in residence.

Juliette’s photographs explore the relationship between people, animals and the natural world. She is drawn to quiet moments of understanding and trust between people and animals.

Juliette said:
“We’ve been really busy since our private view on Friday evening, when we had 85 visitors. It’s wonderful that Devon Open Studios is attracting visitors from all over the country. We’ve had people from London, from Dorset and from all over Devon. We’ve sold several pieces; it’s working so well for us, and people are really enjoying it.”

In Black Torrington, North Devon, Kate Eldridge is a sculptural fibre artist inspired by the natural world – life, movement, strength and energy. Like many artists, she welcomes the opportunity to discuss her work with visitors to her studio.

Kate said:
“I’ve been delighted by how many visitors we received over the opening weekend and it’s been great fun chatting to them and sharing my work.”

Lots of artists in Torbay are participating in the event, including painter Michael Hamilton who is participating for the first time. His art is inspired by the landscapes viewed throughout his life from different parts of the country. Sometimes the paintings are dark and industrial, sometimes open and free.

Artizan is showing the work of over 20 artists at two venues in Torquay – Artizan Gallery’s basement studio space  and Artizan Collective Gallery

Mark Bell who paints musicians and dancers has had a particularly successful few days. He said:
“I like to paint people, particularly musicians and dancers, I want to get the energy, the movement and the force behind the subject to make it come to life. I want people to feel they can hear the music or they’re in the room with the dancer.

“I’ve had a steady flow of people to my Open Studios event – a mixture of our own customers and new visitors. We’ve been living in our own bubbles, so it’s amazing now to be meeting people and hearing their feedback. I’ve sold seven originals and countless prints. It’s been fantastic – it’s exceeded my expectations already!”

323 artists are showing their work at 183 venues all over Devon until 26 September.
Printed Guides are available in tourist information points and cultural venues. A digital version is available online, along with more information, including a map of venues on Devon Open Studios website.


For further info

Gillian Taylor 07761 546075