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Case Study 3 – The Travelling Open Studio

The Travelling Open Studio was a commission from Somerset Art Works for Somerset Open Studios 2016. It was a literal open studio – a pop up artists’ studio that toured the county, where members of the public were invited to come and create work inspired by the landscape in a new location each day.

Somerset is a county rich in varied landscapes, towns, villages and artistic communities. Our studios may be a room, a barn, a shed, somewhere we work alone or share our space with others. But beyond the walls there is a larger studio space; a space open to the elements and these variations of place; a space of inspiration, stories and materials – the county itself. This project sought to explore this.

It was a studio that is open in many interpretations of the word: open to the elements and the landscape, open in that all were welcome to come and participate, and open in terms of enabling a freedom to experiment with the medium of creative work. Visitors were encouraged to gather materials on site and also to bring their own if they had a specific medium they wished to work with. Visitors could paint, make collages, land sculptures, film, creative writing – the key was to go with your inspiration in that location. Alice was present at all times, creating her own work, but also facilitating creative discussions and enabling and collaborating with visitors.

Each day the work was documented via photography, film and a poetic narrative. In this way Alice was able to trace the momentum of the project as it evolved and changed each day.

The studio itself was the location, but there was also a pop up structure – a transparent dome (a Sunbubble kindly donated by http://www.haxnicks.co.uk ) that itself became an evolving collaborative art work, as people were welcome to add work to it. They could write or draw directly onto it, or simply use it as a temporary gallery space to display work. By the end of the two weeks of the Open Studios period there was therefore both an online creative archive of work and a physical collaborative portrait of the creative community, people and places of Somerset.

The project stopped in some fabulous locations, including deep in the Great Wood of the Quantocks, Glastonbury Tor, Minehead town centre, Dulverton Farmers Market, Cleveland Pools in Bath, Brean Down and many more. Many wonderful organisations made this possible, including The National Trust, The Forestry Commission, Natural England and South West Heritage.

Alice was also really pleased that there were four days of exciting, cross-disciplinary, site-specific school workshops as part of the project.

For more details and the full blog of the project please visit http://saw15momentum.wordpress.com