Caroline Millington: Meet the artists at the ArtWest Open Studios Weekend

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESA guest post from Caroline Millington, Shepherd’s Bush resident and Chair of ArtWest open studios

October 4th and 5th 13.00 – 18.00

Hythe Road, Harrow Road and Scrubs Lane

Free entry

For the fourth successive year, the barren streets off Scrubs Lane, usually dominated by Car Giant, are coming alive with the banners and red and white balloons that signal the ArtWest Open Studios weekend. In between the second hand cars more than 50 artists in six buildings will be opening their doors to the public, offering a rare opportunity to visit and talk to artists and makers in their own domain.

Evite 2014I’m one of those artists and one of the organisers. (All the organisation is done by the artists, on a voluntary basis. We have been helped financially this year by two London Boroughs – Hammersmith and Fulham and Brent – as well as the art supply chain, Cass Art). Artists are usually quiet people, often working in isolation, and rarely discussing their work with members of the public. But for this annual event, the artists taking part are usually delighted to chat with visitors.

Their work includes painting and sculpture, glass making and ceramics, print making and photography – even artefacts made of cork. It’s a wide range of work, and a wide range of people. There are at least three Latin American artists (from Bolivia, Argentina and Venezuela), four makers of beautiful glass, a Trinidadian whose objects evoke the sunshine of the Caribbean – and the art itself ranges from representational portraits and landscapes to vibrantly coloured abstracts and weird objects! (I make a lot of weird objects myself – often putting together pieces of wood and other material found on the beach or in the street).

There will be items for sale in most of the studios, and for the second year running, we’ve made it possible for prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs to contribute their own postcard-size pieces of art to the Postcards from ArtWest sale (in the Acme building). This little exhibition offers miniature gems produced especially for the weekend and on sale at £20 a piece – but you won’t know who the artist is until you are sent the work when the weekend is over. A chance not only to own your own work of art, but also to invest in the future!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI’ve taken part in all four open studio weekends, and I love them. Visitors range from the art savvy to those who have never been in a gallery or museum or met an artists – and few of them hold back in offering their views or asking questions. For the artist, being in his or her own studio offers a safe environment to deal with feedback, which is not always flattering! Children seem to enjoy these weekends, and often come up with the most perceptive comments.

The buildings involved are:

Glassfusion – Unit 1 Gateway Industrial Estate Hythe Road

Acava Studios – 17-19 Hythe Road

NW10 Studios – Regent House, 18 Hythe Road

NW10 Studios – Apex House, 23-25 Hythe Road

The Light Factory – 6 Scrubs Lane

Acme Studios – 733 Harrow Road

Further information and a map can be found on www.artwestopenstudios.co.uk and you can follow ArtWest on twitter @ArtWestWeekend.

You’ll see from the map that it’s possible to combine the studio visiting with a walk along a stretch of the Grand Union Canal. But put your walking shoes on, it’s about two miles from one end of Hythe Road to the Acme Studios in Harrow Road.

Worth it, though!

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