20 May 2016
Marlborough Open Studios is coming up in July so we spoke to Jacqui Melhuish at Wagon Yard Artists about what they’ve got in store.
So tell us a bit more about Marlborough Open Studios
‘Marlborough Open Studios is every weekend in July and gives people the opportunity to visit artists in their studios across the Wessex Downs. There are 59 artists taking part and the diversity of work on offer is incredible. We’re open every weekend except for the last Sunday & there are four artists exhibiting at Wagon Yard - myself, Jane Renwick, Kate Wade and Mary Thorne.
There was a preview show in Mount House in May and it looked amazing and had a record breaking number of sales. I put in two Raku pieces, white crackle and bronze glaze, that both sold. I do have more though so visitors to the studio won’t miss out.’
What do you love about Marlborough Open Studios?
‘It’s incredibly sociable and I love the fact we get lots of opportunity to catch-up with all the artists at Wagon Yard, as most have other jobs alongside their art. But the best thing is engaging with the public and being able to tell them the story behind our art. It’s great to have the studio buzzing with visitors.
We also love the fact that we get people coming back again year after year, but we also get new visitors. People aren’t necessarily from just the Marlborough area as many bring friends and relatives along from other parts of the country.’
So what should visitors expect from a visit to Wagon Yard?
‘Well if you come the first Saturday there’ll be Bucks Fizz on offer so if you like a tipple then that’s the day to be here! Otherwise we welcome people with scones & jam & cream. We like our guests to feel at home.
We love chatting to everyone who comes in and there are always 2 artists here during the event. It’s a fantastic opportunity for visitors to find out how things are made and the inspiration behind the work. Prices are also good as you’re not paying gallery rates which are often double. You also get to see a larger collection of work from each artist – in a gallery you only get a snapshot – this gives you the opportunity to see the full aspect of what people do.
Last year we held a raffle which was incredibly successful, so we’ve decided to repeat that again. We do the draw the last weekend and the winner gets to choose £50 worth of gifts from the gallery. A lovely man called Tim won last year and he was absolutely thrilled.’
Anything you’ve created this year that you’re particularly proud of?
‘I’ve started doing some new illustrations on my ceramics. I’ve always been interested in patterns created by nature and have been looking at the waterline and the traces it leaves.
Jane has been making her ammonite plates of resin metals and you’ll be able to see Kate Wade’s stunning new landscapes and Mary Thorne’s tableware inspired by Wiltshire scenery.’
It’s a busy time isn’t it as it’s on at the same time as Marlborough College Summer School?
‘Yes this is the busiest time for us and Jane and I are both teaching at Summer School. I normally just teach children but this year I’m also teaching adult ceramics – Surface Decoration for beginners. It’s only on for one week and the rest of the time I’m doing Children let’s get creative – illustration and a clay course.
Jane is teaching liquid metal where you get to create several pieces, experimenting with different metals, casting and sculpture.
We’ll all be looking forward to putting our feet up when it’s all over.
Please come and visit us as we’d love to see you. We’re open the first four weekends in July except the last Sunday so pop in and say hi.’