Warwickshire Open Studios and Art in the Park, have been and gone, and now it's time to take stock, both literally and metaphorically. So I've been counting cards, stowing away the cushions and wrapping up the artwork, but I've also been reflecting on another summer of exhibiting.
Back in 2014, when I first decided to take the plunge and enrol for Open Studios, I had nowhere suitable to exhibit and pure chance took me to St Gregory's in Offchurch. Julie Law unexpectedly had some spare room. I met her on the deadline day for applications (I have a history of cutting things fine!) and when I walked into the church for the first time I fell in love with the place, and I love it still. I grew up in a village and it felt like coming home - the light filtering through the stained glass, the heavy, creaking doors, even the smell from centuries of wood being lovingly polished.
In four years of sharing this space, we've become a team, Julie, Judith Perry, Eleanor Allitt, Colin Purdy and myself. We've worked out the lighting and refined our displays, we've shared recipes and flapjacks, celebrated births and birthdays, and become good friends. The church welcome us and we love being there.
Then there is the phenomenon that is Art in the Park. How fantastic to have an event like this on our doorstep, it's just brilliant! Away the first year, I've made up for it since - two years in the main marquee and then this year, sharing a gazebo in the Artists Village with the frighteningly talented Sarah Horne. Not content with being an award winning florist she's now found time to produce the most exquisitely detailed pen and ink drawings. Between the two of us, we filled our space with florals, and I think we found a formula that worked. Needless to say, it helped that we were conveniently placed for the food and drink stalls - gin and ice cream readily to hand is always a winner!
Next on my schedule is Love Handmade Fairs. This is a special one for me,as it's where it all began. I first met this group of talented artists and crafters four years ago at a pop-up shop in Warwick. I was making jewellery at the time, but with support and encouragement from this amazing group of friends I plucked up the courage to put some of my paintings on display. They began to sell, and I haven't looked back - there's no longer time for the jewellery, but there's always time for Love Handmade.
I'll be back at Love Handmade Fairs in September, Saturday 2nd at St Nicholas from 10 - 4. See you there!