Studio E

 'My old studio ....newly occupied'

'My old studio ....newly occupied'

It has been just over four months since I moved out of Studio E and into the bigger space in Studio J.  As I’ve said previously, it has actually taken me quite a while to get used to it.  I’ve had to move everything around to find the best use of the space ….and then learn where everything is!  I’m getting there though and starting to really enjoy having enough room to work on both acrylic and oil paintings at the same time and I’m not constantly tripping over things either.   That said, I do miss my old studio.  Being in the old part of the building it had a lot more character than the new space.  Its high ceiling and the old window overlooking the River Irvine and the salting beyond, made it a special place to work.

After I moved out of Studio E in late September, it remained empty despite the fact that the rent was low and on our returning from Germany in the first week of November my partner Anita said that she was going to apply for the lease if no one else was going to take it on.

Anita and I met almost 25 years ago at a time when she had just completed her Foundation Art Course and was about to head down to Carmarthen College to do a two year ceramic design course.  When she completed this in 1989, I quit the job I was doing and moved down to west Wales to join her.  We managed to find a great little cottage to rent in the beautiful little village of Laugharne but then both really struggled to find work.  A series of short lived jobs, cooking bar food at a time share place for me, being a waitress in a local restaurant for Nita ….and cleaning caravans on a Saturday morning for both of us ….well, it wasn’t too inspiring.  I was painting and drawing in the cottage and Nita was making small pieces in clay and then smoke firing them in a dustbin full of saw dust out in the back garden.

 'My old studio ....newly occupied'

'My old studio ....newly occupied'

After about a year of this we took the plunge, found a studio (a converted pig sty two miles off the bus route on the side of a hill) and managed to get a grant to purchase a kiln and other equipment and materials …..and we became self employed.  We thought we could put Nita’s ceramic skills together with my more arty ones …and hopefully produce something good.  We were making ceramic jewellery that was just a little bit different …after firing them in a traditional kiln we then smoked them in the saw dust bin, leaving each individual item coloured and marked in a slightly different way.  Even though I say it myself, it was quite nice stuff but we didn’t have the money to promote or market it …and after a few years had to close and return to the more normal jobs …this time, garden centre for me, burger bar for Nita.

I was already struggling with my sight but continued to work at home on my drawing and painting.  Nita decided that she needed to retrain in a different profession and over the next few years qualified as a nurse.

Our move in 1998 from Wales to Scotland and to a slightly bigger house made a big difference.  At long last I had a decent space in which to paint and I was starting to regain confidence in what I was doing.  When I was offered a WASPS studio in 2003 though, this suddenly gave Nita the space to start doing some artwork again….and as time progressed she started to talk about getting another kiln and getting back to her ceramics again.  Just over a year ago, she decided to cut her hours at the hospital from full to part time (2 long twelve and a half hour shifts a week) and this allowed her to spend much more time doing her art work.  So then, the final piece fell into place when I moved studios back in October …now she not only had the time to get back to the ceramics but there was a perfect little studio just waiting to have a kiln fitted!

 'My old studio ....newly occupied'

'My old studio ....newly occupied'

This has I have to admit been a long and rambling way of telling you that today after all this time, Nita has not only got her studio but the kiln too …the electrician arrived this morning to wire it all in ….she’s up and running!  It’s nice for me to see the little studio again and it’s already looking busy …I’m looking forward to see what she makes now that she not only has the time but the resources too.

Finally, last week I said that I’d been asked to hang a few pieces of work in one of Ayrshire’s top restaurants ….Braidwoods Restaurant, near Dalry.  This award winning restaurant now has four of my paintings on its walls and Nicola and Keith Braidwood kindly sent me some photos of a couple of the paintings in situ.   You can find out more about Braidwoods Restaurant by visiting their website: www.braidwoods.co.uk .

Braidwoods

Braidwoods

Braidwoods

Braidwoods

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