The Artists Open Studios
program has been running in our Shire for a number of years, and although we have lived here for 30 years, I have not got around to visiting any of the studios until last year, when I visited Linda MacAuley.
Unfortunately it was a shocker of a day with heavy non stop rain, and that put me off going to any other Studios, as most of them on on steep blocks of land with slippery mud paths.
This year, it was cloudy and raining lightly, but I was determined to have a look at some of the studios in our local area yesterday, and my artist friend Glenda accompanied me. We greatly enjoyed our day; it inspired us both to go home and get stuck into some art work! We only visited the studios closest to where we live in Eltham, as the rain deterred me from driving further out on to some of the unmade roads where other studios are to be found.
lives only a few blocks from us, and I pass her house every day when I'm out and about, but I just don't think about stopping and having a look in her gallery. So it was a good opportunity to do that yesterday.
Diana paints in several mediums, and is also a hair stylist.
is one of Eltham's most well known artists, and rightly so - her work is stunning. She paints mostly in oils, but does venture into other mediums now and then, and teaches any medium that her students wish to learn. Her partner Mervyn Hannan
is also very talented; much of his work is in pastel and I asked if he teaches, as I have long wanted to learn how draw properly with pastels. He said that he does an occasional workshop, and suggested I keep an eye on their website to see when the next class is on.
Mary Lou and Chris Pittard
are a husband and wife team - they have a big studio in their back yard where Chris makes all the pottery, and Mary Lou paints it. Their work is absolutely breath taking, and I couldn't resist buying a little souvenir. (photograph later)
Next door to Chris and Mary Lou lives Wendy Hicks
, who works in textiles. I found myself in textile heaven!
Wendy does most of her work on an industrial sewing machine using freehand (not sure if that is the right term?) embroidery, and she has produced such a unique array of fabric items from clothing (belts, vests, brooches) to cushions, covered journals, and many other things. We sympathised with each other over our shared problems with arthritis, which affects us both in our hands, knees and backs. Then she showed me her 'stash room' - floor to ceiling shelves with fabrics, cottons, and all kinds of embellishments - I was gobsmacked!
Today the weather was marginally better, but I had other things to do, so the rest of the studio visits can wait until next year. Instead, I made a start on a quilt top (which you can see here
), and cooked a pot of soup and a batch of corn muffins for tea. The soup was carrot, potato and ginger - perfect for a cool night. The corn muffins are made from a recipe that Pam Kellogg
posted on her blog some time ago - she calls it the best cornbread recipe you will ever find, and I agree! I've tried a few other corn bread recipes, but hers is definitely the nicest.