|Lime Street Studios|
I love the annual Ouseburn Open Studios event in the bustling creative quarter of Newcastle, here at home. Every year on this weekend in late November, the painters and potters, carpenters, glass makers and jewellers who reside there, open up their work spaces to the public. People wander in to their inner sanctums to view the creative process, mingle and marvel, and maybe pick up up a piece of art to take home. The artists make their studios their own and there are always lots of quirky points of interest which I often find as fascinating as the art itself.
The Cluny is a huge old Whisky warehouse which has gradually been improved over more than twenty years, and 36 Lime Street studios, part of the building, is now home to over forty artists creating beautiful and original work in a thriving local community.
|Watering can wonder|
You can buy directly from the artists, watch demonstrations and have a coffee and a cake. This weekend the artists usually also have refreshments on offer to their visitors – it’s a bit like a big house party with lots of rooms. Chocolates, mince pies, nuts and crisps and even the occasional glass of wine. It’s all very civilised. When we arrived though at about 2pm the early bird party goers had already scoffed all the best bits of the free buffet – typical.
|Stand up for your rights!|
Bridget Jones – the real one – makes architectural glass commissions but also very attractive prints and is also incidentally very fond of blue furniture.
|The real Bridget Jones|
Anya Kovalieva specialises in fashion and interior accessories and makes cute funky and colourful rather abstract looking ear rings and necklaces. Anya is from Belarus originally and was brought up with the make do and mend culture. She embraces the functional and the minimalist ethos to make wearable fashion pieces.
|All the things|
|Top of the tea pots|
The Ouseburn pottery is in a larger space at the side of the building. The potters there make lovely functional and ornamental pieces at an amazingly reasonable price. These items really are very collectable too, lovely blue glazed bowls and cups and saucers, delicate marbled blue vases and ceramic copies of those glass pharmaceutical bottles with writing on them, which are so satisfying to accumulate.
|Not glass, but clay|
You can even purchase a realistic ceramic brain, if that floats your boat. The artists here also run regular workshops for budding potters. There are quite a lot of different options available if you want to attend these workshops including evenings and weekends. Making pots is an awfully fun thing to do and very satisfying too, if you manage to get the hang of it.
Meanwhile things in the Hap studio are more of an up cycling affair, sourcing lots of cool retro items and giving them a second life as a lifestyle statement. A large fluffy sheepskin hat caught my eye and my friend Julie purchased it for me forthwith as an early Christmas present. Result! I love a fluffy hat.
|Retro cool – Have some Hap|
There’s always something new to see here, and the talented artists are bounded only by their extraordinary imaginations. Get down to the Lime Street Studios, support our local artists and maybe pick up an original piece while you are there.
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