Purbeck Art Weeks means a lot for me, not only is it a fabulous fortnight of visual and performing arts but it's also what helped me launch the start of the Moo Selfie Series! After moving to Purbeck 4 years ago I decided to get involved in the art community, I had been painting cows for a number of years and although I loved it there was a part of me that missed painting landscapes, Purbeck has a wealth of inspiration and every day as I walk my Sprocker Spaniel Ned I never tire of the fantastic views on our doorstep, so the Moo Selfies were born!
I thought this year I would share with you my top ten picks for Purbeck Art Weeks, local artists open their studios for two weeks for visitors to see where they work and watch them in action. We are so lucky to have a huge community of artistic talent so this is just a small selection of what Purbeck has to offer but definitely some that are not to be missed...
|1. The Purbeck Artisan Yard - well... of course, I was going to pick this one! As some of you know this is Moo HQ with a whole bay of Moo's, but I also share the space with some wonderful artists, crafters and creators, including screen printer and textile designer Jenny Sibthorp, driftwood artist Michelle Clement-Davies and candle maker Sophie Weld-Davies from 'Made at Burngate' you can also find vintage treasures, local homemade jams, upholstery, art, glass and loads more. So a great way to see a variety of creations in one place! The Yard is owned by James and his wife Becky who also own the Salt Pig so after a browse I would highly recommend popping into the cafe for some delicious local food and a cuppa. Going to sneak an extra one in here as well... just over the road from the yard is Eddie Burrows, he's opening his home to visitors to come and view his stunning seascape paintings and there's also promise of a cup of tea when you pop in!
|2. Rollington Barn - just outside of Corfe on your way to Studland is Rollington Barn, a fantastic location full to the brim with PAW artists. A central location and an ideal way to start your 'PAW' experience! Some artists who don't open their studios have their main exhibition here but the Open Studio artists will also have one or two pieces to give everyone a taste of what they can find at the studios. So it's a great way to get a real feel for what's in store and to plan where you want to visit. The other huge bonus about a trip to Rollington is the cake.... the 'Love Cake' team set up a pop-up cafe during the fortnight of PAW so you can enjoy a delicious slice of heaven whilst browsing the exhibition... art & cake... what more could you want!
|3. Andy Farrer- so there are two reasons that Andy features in my top picks, not only is he one of the best photographers I know, capturing stunning local views, he is also an essential part of 'Lucy's Farm,' At the beginning of the year I spoke to Andy about my Moo Prints, being a photographer Andy is a bit of a perfectionist which is just what you need when it comes to producing high-quality Fine Art prints. His work is stunning and well worth a visit during Purbeck Art Weeks, you'll find an exhibition of his work at Amber Bay Jewellers in Swanage as well as at Rollington Barn.
|4. The Boilerhouse Gallery - this is a co-operative Gallery which is open all year round and is also home to local artist studios so you get to see the artists at work. . There's such a range of arts and crafts at the Boilerhouse, plus it's right next to the Railway so you'll hopefully get to see the iconic Steam Train trundle past!
|5. Cameron & Talbot and Esme James - you get two for one in this top pick! This open studio and gallery is open to the public throughout the year, you can see some stunning contemporary wood furniture by the extremely clever Jason Cameron as well as beautiful landscape paintings by the equally beautiful Esme James. You'll get to see the workshop that Jason uses to create his bespoke furniture as well as Esme's studio which not only features her own paintings but also a selection of local artists, makers and gift (you may even spot the odd Moo or two!!)
|6. Greenwood Workshop & Janine Drayson- ok so Janine may now appear in two of my top picks as she has a display of her work in the Purbeck Artisan Yard but I am a huge fan so it's allowed! As well as Janine's quirky paintings, inspired by her love of animals and the Isle of Purbeck (also two of my favourite things!) you can also see Janine's husband Toby at work, Toby creates beautiful furniture and woodwork sourced from local woodlands. Not only is the artwork wonderful but the setting is equally beautiful, oh and I hear tea and cake are available.... perfect!
|7. Java Coffee House- now this is a triple whammy..... not only do they have some of the best coffee in Swanage, they are also exhibiting some fantastic work by local, self-taught artist Josh Hollingshead. Hmmm, what was the third thing about this one? Oh, that's right, my shop!! Right opposite the cafe is my new shop, not officially a venue for PAW as I moved in after the deadline for PAW venues but I will be open every day throughout Purbeck Art Weeks, so pop in, have a coffee (and cake obviously) there's also a huge number of other PAW venues within walking distance so a great day out!
|8. Season's Green- this beautiful shop in the heart of Corfe is full of local artists work, including the wonderfully unique Suzy Wright with her embroidered fabrics, printmaker Laura Evans as well as Gina Marshall with her recognisable style of painting. Sophie who owns the shop has been a real support for me when the Moo Selfies first took off Sophie has been one of my best stockists but also given me a wealth of advice and support to get my own business going. I have a great relationship with the team at Season's Green and have recently finished an exclusive painting 'Sheep Selfie at Corfe Castle' which you'll get to see displayed inside.
|9. Not Just Sundaes - ok so it's a cafe and there's food, of course, it's in my top ten! But it's also a great venue for PAW with a collection of artists including Emma Browning, Maria Burns and The Dorset Copperfish, creating bespoke metal items using traditional and modern methods, some really cool stuff!!
|10. The Phoenix Art & Crafts Group. Since joining PAW I've met some fantastic artists but also made some great friends, it's been brilliant for me to get together with like-minded people, share ideas and have a network of creative support! Some of these wonderful artist friends have their work at the Shoot Rooms in East Lulworth as part of the Phoenix Group. Annie, an extremely talented painter and fellow wine drinker, Debbie with her stunning handmade jewellery and hilarious personality and Sophie the expert candle maker and gin connoiseur are three of my favourite Purbeck People! Not only are they talented in their creative fields they are also wonderful people and have been a huge support to me and to the Purbeck Artisan Yard.