For the last part of Saturday I went to Ocean Studios at Royal William Yard. We started upstairs at Emerge which is “a communal workspace for artists and creative businesses.” I looked at Esin Forster’s ocean inspired clay pieces and paintings, and I really liked her character design and marker work. I looked through one of her sketchbooks and found comic style drawings of adventurous characters and they were full of energy. I met Gabriella Van Der Stelt who was working on vivid and warm feeling acrylic paintings of fruit in bowls and buildings. Gabriella was very friendly and I looked her up online afterwards, she also does manga and videogame influenced painting and drawing. I really liked the open space of Emerge studios and can imagine how peaceful it must be to have an area like that to work in.
We went into Lisa Stokes‘ studio and talked to her daughter. Lisa paints large oil paintings which are dark and ominous. Along the corridor, Mary Hick does linocut printing of animals and insects. Her work is intricate and she patiently carves out every blade of grass and hair. Sarah Smalldon (instagram)and Shayne House share a studio where she works on her illustration work and he works on his photography. Sarah showed us her brightly coloured and cheery pictures of houses and buildings, and her hand-decorated plates and furniture. She primes the surface and then draws on them with Uni Posca pens. I am going to try this on some of my own things and for cosplay. Shayne has been working with pin prick photography and talked us through the process. He takes photos and vintage postcards and pricks them with an awl to highlight certain parts, then places the photo on a lightbox and photographs them again. He said he has been inspired by Amy Friend. Pin prick photography gives a really beautiful effect and I recommend you visit his site and see his work, you can also read the backs of the vintage postcards he has collected to work on. I also met Stella in their studio who is a young artist with similar tastes to me, and who I would like to meet again and maybe collaborate with.
There are so many other artists at Ocean Studios and many of them were happy to talk to us. Matt Tomas works on contemporary sculpture, mixing concrete and glass. He showed us the moulds he uses to create glass spikes. Rachel Darbourne makes jewellery from colourful plastic sheets, similar to that used in plastic bags. She folds and bends lots of tiny pieces to make shapes that look like carnations or coral, or Chinese dragon costumes. She also makes art from dismantling teddy bears! Teresa Pemberton is a mixed media artist whose work is inspired by Devon and Cornwall. We looked at her canvases which included oil paints, wire, bits of metal and other found objects. We didn’t meet her unfortunately but the two ladies in her studio were very welcoming, and her artwork has a sense of being welcoming and natural.
The last studio on the top floor we went to belonged to Martyn Cross. Martyn works with unusual materials in experimental ways, and he has ironed plastic bags and shaped them into the shape of a hat and a shoe. He collects old knitting patterns, cuts parts of them away and rearranges them to create strange images. I really liked his simple character drawings that were framed at the side of the studio. Downstairs Annette Daly and Melanie Cassidy share a glasswork studio where they make jewellery and decorations. We quickly looked into a couple of other studios and glimpsed some acrylic paintings we liked by Mike Hanny, but the Studios were closing and so it was time to leave. Looking online afterwards I found out that the paintings I liked are part of a series called ‘The Architects Glittering Plan’, and involve lots of patterned coloured ‘worms’ on a black background. I would love a poster of one of these on my wall.
Outside me and my brother took part in a ‘sketch-a-thon’ and spoke to Nikki Taylor about her wire mesh sculptures. Nikki uses sketches, photos and exact measurements to create life-size sculptures of human bodies in motion. There was so much more I didn’t have time to see in the few hours I was there, as Ocean Studios is filled with all sorts of artists and craftspeople. The Royal William Yard is a very peaceful place to be and I’d like to spend more time there.
In my next post I will write about the Union Street Party, the exhibitions at Devonport Guildhall, and the fine art exhibition also at Royal William Yard.
Links to previous posts on this years Weekender: