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Warwickshire Open Studios 2023

Thursday, 06 July

Warwickshire Open Studios

Artist Spotlight

This year, Warwickshire Open Studios’ Summer Art Weeks ran from 17th June to 2nd July. There were over 400 artists exhibiting at 143 venues across Coventry and Warwickshire, one of them being hosted by Live & Local’s Executive Director John.

As part of our commitment to support artists we gave each member of the team a small budget to purchase an original artwork that we could display in our office and add to our growing collection. So let's find out what incredible artworks our team chose and the reason behind their selection...

'Our Company Manager Kirsty was on holiday during the Open Studios so I was given the task of choosing a piece of work on her behalf. I chose this wonderful painting inspired by The Cuillin Mountains in Isle of Skye from local artist Textile Anarchist (aka Rachel David).

I chose it because it is a dynamic work, lots of drama and very evocative of the mountains it was inspired by and I used to like working with oil pastels myself. - Zara, Company Administrator

Kirsty replied 'It's a great choice! My papa used to sing me the Skye Boat song when I was a little girl (he was from one of the islands) and now I sing it to my boys.'

Textile Anarchist | Leamington Spa | Facebook

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'I chose the piece ‘The Hideaway Tree’ by Guy Chapman as I felt truly inspired by it. We all know the children’s story by Enid Blyton of The Faraway Tree and this painting really stirred up a connection to literature for me. The level of detail to the piece means that every time you look at it you notice something different. I was thrilled to stop by Guy’s studio in Leamington Spa and chat with him about his artwork. He told me that he uses a very fine pen and coloured pencils and each piece can take up to three months to complete. Having worked for EMI records drawing musicians and album art, Guy now channels all his creativity and imagination into his drawings.' - Emily, Marketing & Publicity Assistant

Guy Chapman Art - Artist and Illustrator based in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

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'I particularly liked the items on display by Emma Grace Glass Art and enjoyed chatting to Jackie about how she made some of the pieces, the techniques she used and where she draws her inspiration from. She loves the ocean, so many of her pieces depict lovely seascapes in greens and blues, with different textural effects being achieved by different firing times in the kiln at her workshop at home. I chose to buy a piece that shows an ocean scene with grass and flowers in the foreground, that has the added effect of actually being shaped into a curve like a wave. It’s smooth and shiny and tactile and looks beautiful with the light coming through behind it.' - Laura, Programme Administrator

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'I had the pleasure of representing Chris, our Engagement Manager and chose this ceramic piece from Lesley-Ann French. I thought it was really visually striking and loved the artist's story about how she began working with ceramics' - Nip, Community Engagement Officer

Lesley-Ann French (

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'The photo I chose is by Frank Bagshaw. I really liked its setting which is Manchester and the figure is a picture of Frank Sidebottom from Timperley, which is where my wife used to live. It made me smile and reminded me of a time when we first met and used to go to Manchester a lot. It’s a busy photo but Frank is looking at the camera and not taking not taking anything too seriously.

Frank Bagshaw: Mixed Media (

The second piece is by a new artist, Hayley Burgess. It's delicately made and intricate. I really like printmaking and the skill involved. I spent time with Hayley who talked about her processes. It is peaceful and a direct opposite to Frank’s work.' - Steve, Artist Engagement Officer

Hayley Burgess

WOS 2023 Images

'I had a fabulous time choosing a piece of art to represent our wonderful Community Engagement Officer Michele. I chose this mosaic bird applique panel as I felt it represented Michele's love of travelling and flying around the world. It was made by Karen Mc at The Quilter's Den in Warwick and they offer workshops so you can make your own!' - Emily, Marketing & Publicity Assistant

The Quilters Den Warwick. Patchwork, Quilting and Textiles

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'With Lesley in mind, I visited a ceramics stall where I could see two friendly looking sculptures of hares in differing poses. Their maker was Chris Dawes and I enjoyed chatting to his wife, Jan, who told me they were fresh out of the kiln at their home studio the night before! Chris had hand sculpted them and then used different tools to create the textured effects of the animals’ fur and faces before firing them in the kiln. I was particularly drawn to the taller of the two because of his cute face and very big ears!' - Laura, Programme Administrator

Find Studio Pottery on Facebook

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'The piece I chose from myself is a fine art giclée digital print by Ben Cowan - Art That makes You Think,  from his Literary Miseducations collection – a collection of Pangolin Classic spoof covers with parody book titles and author names.

The one I chose is a parody of Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy – it’s called Far From the Maddening Crowd by Kiss Me Hardy; it shows a crowd of all looking down at their phones while a female presenting figure breaks free head, held high all dressed up in heels, lipstick and a swishy ponytail. I loved that idea of the individual doing their own thing, going in the opposite direction! The play on the author’s name (complete with lipstick kiss print) refers to the supposed last words of Admiral Horatio Nelson to longstanding close friend Captain Thomas Hardy –a symbolic nod to the queer community who have strive to follow their own path.' - Zara, Company Administrator

Ben Cowan – Art That Makes You Think

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'I really like this pastel artwork by Christine Hooly. I was drawn to it because it looks organic and I like the shading.

For my second piece, my son chose this beautiful watercolour from artist Kate Harvey. He had a great time getting involved and exploring the exhibition at West Rock with me' - Nip, Community Engagement Officer

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