Artists at Home
Painting by Joanna Brendon
A long established tradition of Open Studios in west London
If you’re at all interested in art and you live in west London, one of the nicest things to do in the summer is to spend a happy weekend wandering around visiting artists in their homes and looking at their work.
Every year the ‘Artists At Home’ open their doors on the third weekend in June, during the Bedford Park Festival, to show off their work over one weekend, starting on Friday evening and continuing until Sunday afternoon. Artists At Home 2020 will be from Friday 19 – Sunday 21 June.
Within three square miles, between Brook Green and Strand On The Green, Uxbridge Road and the Thames, there is a surprising diversity of artists – painters, sculptors, ceramicists, photographers, print-makers, textile and fashion designers and glassworkers. Many of them come together under the umbrella of Artists At Home to open their doors to the public in this annual open studio scheme. Some show alone, some with one or two others.
Glass by Francesca-Boyd; necklace by Felicity Gail
To help you find your way round, each year Artists At Home publish their studio guide in the form of a colourful little booklet which you can pick up in many of the shops in Chiswick. They also show the map of all the participating artists’ studios – as many as 60 locations – on their website. The studio guide will help you narrow the field of interest and personalise your very own art trail.
What makes this special is that you get to meet the artists in their natural habitat as it were and talk to them about what they do, learning about their process, how and when they first began and what inspires them. The idea of course is that you buy something but there’s never any pressure and if you do make a purchase you can be sure you’ll be paying less than you would in a gallery.
Artists at Home always takes place over a weekend in June, from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, during the Bedford Park Festival. To see which artists are taking part this year, to go the Artists At Home website.
Photographs: Mary Fedden and Julian Trevelyan
The first local artists to open their studios to the public
The Open Studio scheme was started by Mary Fedden and Julian Trevelyan (arguably the first in the country) in 1973, at Durham Wharf on the river. On the 30th anniversary of Artists At Home Mary Fedden (then 88) wrote:
“We never realised we would be starting a local tradition. We had been asked to open by Hammersmith and Fulham Council, who enticed us with a £5 grant for tea and biscuits. Much to our surprise the day was a great success … and gradually more and more artists joined in the scheme”.
Mary Fedden OBE studied at the Slade School of Fine Arts, London from 1932 to 1936 and developed her own style of flower paintings and still lifes, reminiscent of artists such as Matisse and Braque. A chairperson of the Women’s International Art Club and teacher at the Royal College of Art in the 1950s and ‘60s, her pupils included David Hockney and Allen Jones. Fedden exhibited in one-person shows throughout the UK every year from 1950 until her death in 2012. She also received commissions for murals, notably the Festival of Britain in 1951 and Charing Cross Hospital in 1980 (along with her husband, Julian Trevelyan).
Julian Trevelyan RA read English Literature at Cambridge and studied art in Paris, where he found himself working alongside artists such as Max Ernst, Oskar Kokoschka, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso. He spent much of the Second World War painting camouflage to confuse the Germans in the North African desert (successfully). He bought Durham Wharf In 1935 and married Mary Feddon in 1951. Trevelyan taught history of art and etching at the Chelsea School of Art in the 1950s. He had many exhibitions in galleries such as the Lefevre Gallery, Bloomsbury Gallery and Messum’s and 105 of his artworks are now held in the collection of the Tate Gallery. He became a Royal Academician in 1987, a year before he died.
Mixed media by Suz Hartman and Jane Price
Where else to find art in Chiswick
Many of the artists are happy to sell their work direct to the public not just during Artists At Home weekend but throughout the year. Search their details on the Artists at Home website. artistsathome.co.uk
Or have a look at The Chiswick Calendar’s Directory of Artists which is an online showcase for artists who live locally, some of whom open their homes during Artists At Home week, some don’t.
The Chiswick Calendar also puts on an exhibition every autumn at the Clayton Hotel Chiswick, where you can buy paintings at reasonable prices. As the name suggests, Chiswick In Pictures is a collection of work which reflects the artists’ interpretations of where we live. We also have an exhibition of photography: Chiswick Through the Camera Lens in the spring.
There is also the Summer Exhibition, which takes place every year as part of the Bedford Park Festival.
Meet some of the local artists who take part in Artists At Home
Jill Meager is an artist who specialises in drawing animals and birds and portraits of children. She’s an award winning artist whose work is much sought after by galleries. She opens her house every year to show her work over the Artists At Home weekend.
Bobbie Kociejowski is a weaver whose exquisite scarves and shawls are inspired by the richly colourful landscapes of her native Canada.
Ben Johnson’s work depicts his response to the built environment. A retrospective at Southampton City Art Gallery in 2015 – 16 showed how over 50 years he has evolved as a painter but has always had an interest in architectural forms. His recent work includes meticulously detailed studies of buildings like the Dome of the Rock and cityscapes.
Eileen Coyne is a jeweller who describes her style of jewellery as ‘contemporary ethnic’. She often uses antique elements in her work, combining them with a strong sense of colour which makes unusual objects into statement pieces.
Jenny trained in textiles and print making at Camberwell. She paints abstract landscapes inspired by the River Thames, using acrylic and loose open weaves.
Inspired by found objects, natural forms and colour, Laura uses many different mediums – oils, inks, experimental natural pigments and photography.
Sally is a painter and printmaker. Personal, cultural or historical subjects are usually the inspiration for her work.
Tania paints and prints and makes ‘stuff’. She also collects ‘stuff’ which she uses in collage. Having lived an expatriate life for 30+ years she draws on a fabulous database of memories and ideas for her work.
Antonia is an artist specialising in sculpture and pottery. She has a particular interest in portrait heads cast in bronze, as well as heads and figures in terracotta. She also make ceramics in stoneware, porcelain and raku, as well as garden figures and fountains.
Caroline mainly makes light oil sketches of still life, domestic interiors and furniture. As a trained architect, she also likes to make ink and watercolour details and drawings of buildings.
Henrietta is a garden designer by profession and only started painting in her fifties. She learned about working on paper and canvas when she joined the late Anthea Craigmyle’s painting group in Chiswick Mall. She now experiments with different styles, painting in various media on canvas, board, paper and wood.
Caroline Winn’s highly individual ceramic sculptures are inspired by the landscapes of west Cornwall and the Thames in London, between which she splits her time.
Tristan v Christann
Tristan is a designer of men’s fashionwear: ‘coats and capes made to measure & ready to fly’.
Rennie’s work crosses the boundaries between digital and traditional. Selected for the Royal Academy Summer Show 2013 and shortlisted several times.
Isobel makes paintings in oil and tempera on wood – mainly figures and abstract impressions of places visited.
Louise is a jeweller who works with enamel and precious metals. She uses transparent enamels and incorporates different combinations of wires, foils and engraving to create movement and depth.
Alice is a landscape painter who creates images which are a balance between abstract and representation. Inspired by contrasting shapes and colours, her compositions evolve with a series of re-drawing that leads to layers of overlapping.
Rachel’s background is as an illustrator. Now a print maker, she uses her drawing skills to make hand-made lino cuts, cardboard cuts and mono prints.
Linda is a potter who has sold her range of porcelain tableware through Liberty and Harrods. She likes soft, simple forms and uses porcelain for its smoothness, whiteness and translucency.
Clare makes drawings and paintings of still-lifes.
Louise was a restorer of painted and gilded wood, before focusing on her own work as a painter. She works in oils, ‘taking delight in the texture of brushstrokes on canvas’.
Romaine draws animals and birds directly from life, working in pen and ink or sometimes directly in watercolour on site. Some she paints again in her studio in acrylic on canvas and often on a much larger scale.
Jill paints still-lifes and and views inspired by travels around the Mediterranean and the English seaside. She uses her large collection of jugs, pots and fabrics to create oil paintings which are full of pattern and colour.
Madeleine is an artist, writer and broadcaster who creates unique sculpture and jewellery, handmade often from bits and bobs found on the Thames shoreline. All items are one-off, or made in strictly limited numbers.
Steph Curtis Raleigh
Steph paints abstract compositions, having fun with colour and shape in acrylic and oil. She collects old and interesting frames to set these abstract paintings off. When she was interviewed in 2016 her focus was more on representational landscapes of the River Thames.
Alicia is a maker of paintings, sculptures and ceramics, drawing on dreams, humour, places and found objects which surface as recurring motifs in her work. She creates art ‘spontaneously and emotionally, using a wide variety of mediums playfully mixing fiction with make belief’.
Artists At Home area
This is the area over which you will find open studios during Artists At Home weekend. Studios marked are those which were open in 2019.
Prints: Chiswick Park tube station by Rachel Busch; Rowing Coach on Holiday by Rennie Pilgrem; Hammersmith Bridge by Keith Davidson.