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Art and about

The Open Up event was on last weekend, and for two days next weekend. Artists all across Sheffield open up their studios so you can see (and perhaps buy) their work. There are nearly 60 artists taking part this year: painters, scuptors, potters, glass workers, textile artists, wood workers, jewellersm printers and stone masons. A lot of them work from home. It's quite amazing to enter a perfectly ordinary-looking terrace in Walkely and find displays of fine pottery, with a kiln in the cellar, or lovely paintings displayed everywhere. It's a good excuse to nose around people's homes, as well as seeing art, with the bonus that you usually get offered something to drink and cake.

I went, as usual, with Steve and Helen, who are enthusiastic art collectors. We started at a lovely house in Banner Cross, where three artists were exhibiting. The potter,Trudy Weir  http://www.trudyweir.co.uk was there with interesting glazed stoneware pots. Helen fell for one with brown zebra stripes. There were two painters, uncle and niece I believe, Phil and Ruth Lockwood. Ruth http://www.ruthlockwood.co.uk paints beautiful landscapes and Phil http://www.phil-lockwood.com does fantasy townscapes and dramatic industrial scenes. He's also started producing quirky, cartoony bird sculptures in papier mache. I was particularly taken by Cecilia, a blue heron with lovely eyelashes. Phil has also made wonderful wooden automota. There was one in his studio for repair, a family of three birds who moved their heads, beaks, tails and wings as the handle is turned. It was built with eccentric gearing (even the cogs and mechanics are wooden) so they don't move in a predictable sequence.

From there, we went to visit Mia Frampton, and admired her pots. I was rather fancied a small white, bone china bowl with a deep red interior, but resisted. Our next port of call was Mark H Wilson, up in Walkely. He paints landscapes and townscapes, specialising in images with strong emphasis on dramatic skies. I particularly loved the dawn and sunset images, with Sheffield as a collection of twinkling lights and silhouttes on the skyline, with vivid colours in the sky above. We were there a little while, as I decided to buy one, but spent some time in choosing which one. I eventually chose one like (or it may be that actual painting), the letterbox-shaped orange City Sunrise pic on his homepage http://www.markhwilson.co.uk

Our last stop of the day was at Walkely Bank, to admire view fabulous view from the back window, and the artwork of Juliet Forrest. She paints and does stained glass windows and artworks. http://www.jjjartwork.comWe ate cake and enjoyed the art and her company. Steve and Helen had visited her the year before, and they chatted about the rebuilding work on the house. Juliet had some lovely glasswork hanging in her window including a serious of astronomy inspired pieces. I particularly liked one called Corona, but after buying my painting, I really couldn't afftord it. Helen also liked it, and bought it, while Steve bought a painting of birch trees.

After that, Steve and Helen drove me home and came in for a cup of tea and a chat. The pieces we bought have all been left with the artists, so they could be admired by subsequent visitors without leaving gaps in the exhibitions. This leaves me time to raid my savings to get the full amount for my picture, after paying a deposit. What with the sunshine and all, it was a lovely, if somewhat expensive, day.

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