Thursday, June 25, 2009

Studio Touring

A customer of mine, Lea, had mentioned awhile back that she was going to buy a little cottage in England. I learned that she had indeed bought the place and was even going to maybe be there while I was in the Dales. I wasn't sure if we would overlap or not but I thought since I'm so close I'm going to try to find it. She had given me the name of the village and luckily it was small. So small that Seal and I stopped a woman walking her dog and asked if she knew of a cottage that had just sold. She mentioned this little side street so we drove over there and knocked on a door that had a for sale sign on it. A lovely woman came out, not Lea, although she is lovely too, and told us that it was probably the white one down the lane. We walked to Hartley Cottage (as the sign on the wall says). We knocked on the doort, but sadly no one was there. I gandered a peek in the window and saw a colorful felt piece of art above the sofa and knew if must be Lea's place. I wrote a note (I heart Hartley Cottage), telling Lea when we were there and to give a call if she wanted.

She did call the next day and was so sorry she missed us. Darn! By just a couple hours too. It would have been great to see her and hear about her new village. It is really just so darling. Lucky girl! We did get a pic of me pretending to go in the door.

We reluctantly left and went about our business of visiting artists on the studio tour through the Dales.

The nearby bigger village has this amazing carved stone bench in front of one of the shops.

I could not believe our luck in the pure coincidence of having the North Yorkshire Open Studio falling on the same weekend as our visit to the Dales. I had also had the good fortune to happen on this tour 2 years ago, but I was with my 2 sons and husband who didn't think it was so lucky. Two years ago it was much earlier, in May. So I really didn't think we'd hit it.
Our first artist was Andrea Hunter of Focus of Felt. I had been to her studio 2 years ago and really wanted to visit it again. she does amazing landscapes with wool, both dyed and natural colors.

Leslie and Ken Jones are a husband and wife team, working and living out of a converted 'longhouse' (like the one mentioned in an earlier post). Their home is in Stalling Busk, the wee tiny village that was near our B&B. They are the nicest couple and are both so talented. Seal and I were smitten with her paintings, were very tempted to buy one, but resisted. We did get a number of small cards though.

Their studios meandered throughout their entire house. One of the reasons this studio tour is so fun is that you get a peek at the way they live and work. There are 5 rooms upstairs and only one was a bedroom, the others are their gallery space and each had their own studios.

This is the painting of poppies that Seal nearly bought.

Leslie's pallette was as nearly as pretty as her paintings.

She told us that she gets ideas from her whimsical pottery that she's collected from around the world.

Painting is not their only talent. They also play stringed instruments during the long, dark days of winter.

I could not get me flash to work for this pic, but her kitchen is bright turquoise and so cheerful.

An all white bouquet sat quietly in the corner, shying away from all the color in the rooms.

They remodeled the barn/house but kept the original doors.

Carol Tyler's studio was in Hawes, a central village in the Dales. Hawes was bustling the day we were there. In fact, all the villages were really busy. The markets are open on Saturdays and I guess that brings the villagers out for their errands. Anyway, Carol's studio was in her small house at the end of a row of stone cottages. Two cats (one hers, Tuppence, and one a neighbor's, Marmaduke) were out front rolling on the cobblestones, waiting for a tummy rub. Carol said she recognized me (!) and I remembered that she had been in an old church in another village during the tour 2 years ago. She had bought this house in those 2 years and it was nearly done with the renovation, so she opened it up for the tour. Her studio space was upstairs, full of light. Her artwork is abstract and has very subtle coloring, very soft and appealing. Just like her, except for the abstract part.We went to a few more studios, 12 in all. One was Winifred Hodge. She does swooping paintings of the Dales, but I wanted to visit just for her name. She sounds like Miss Marple's best friend.

Another marvelous thing about the tour is that you can see artist's gardens. They are always perfect, no weeds and so full of perennials, they are bursting in color. The grass is cut so short, it's just a pure green stubble. Angela Keeble's studio was a perfect example of this. Her house was in the small village of Bainbridge, near where we stayed. It faced the village green, but walking around the house one came to this beautiful tiered garden, 'green rooms' that led down to a stone wall that stopped just above the River Bain. (Yes, there's a one lane bridge that goes over it!) We spent a bit of time out there before going in, so long, that she offered us coffee and biscuits. We finally made it into her studio and kept gasping at the color in her paintings. Both Seal and I paint (I just dabble mostly) so we are in awe when someone can achieve the right juxtapostion of color, shape and design.

And this is the painting that Seal bought. It's about 36" x 36"! Crazy girl.

And here she is happy and content by the river.

Imagine our surprise when we came into Bainbridge on Sunday after driving through this sleepy hamlet at least 6 times and seeing no one and then to have hundreds of people on the village green for the annual Beamish Auto Rally. These old autos zip across the Dales to meet up in Bainbridge, have a big picnic and looksee, then drive on. We got there just as they were setting up, the proud owners showing off their motor cars and the crowd of passersby oogling the cars. It was the most magnificent day, the sun high, the sky clear and warm temps in the 70's after being cool and breezy for days. All the convertibles had their tops down.

Vintage motorcycles were also part of the display.

Having grown up around cars (my dad was a car dealer, an honest one!), I'm always still intrigued by antique cars. I love their chrome, the 'bubbliness' of them with their rounded shapes, the leather interiors and the big steering wheels.

This one doesn't appear to be too comfortable for driving.

I especially like old trucks. This locksmith truck caught my fancy.

I meant to get a pic of the man who was driving this rig. He looked all 'locksmithy' with his long coat and driving hat.

And at the end of a long day of seeing some awesome art (and some truly BAD #*it!) we made it to a pub for wine and dinner. This Shandy is really for Sara. She'll get it.

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