If you think that St Ives is past it as the epicentre of art in Southwest
England and you're looking for the next vibrant artistic area in Britain,
you might well find it around Bridport, in West Dorset.
In the words of one young Bridport artist, Kit Glaisyer: "Bridport is not
just the new St Ives - it's better and bolder and funkier."
Bridport and its surrounding villages have been attracting artists and
craftspeople for many years. They come for the air, the light, the warm
climate and the artistic buzz which surrounds the area - not quite
"South", not quite "Southwest" - but, because of that, easily accessible
from London and the Southeast.
Bridport Open Studios 2005 is the 7th open studio event and the first
to be open to the many artists and craftspeople from the beautiful
artists' enclave of Abbotsbury.
It was one of these artists - innovative and internationally-renowned
textile artist Mary-Clare Buckle, who won the coveted competition for the
cover of the 2005 Guide. Her extraordinary piece - "Reflection" - can't
fail to attract the visitor's eye and enthrall with its bold use of her
trademark bright colours.
Explaining her textile art work, Mary-Clare said: "I draw much inspiration
for my work from the West Dorset landscape - but the colours I use also
reflect my enthusiasm for India and South-East Asia, which I've visited
many times. Hot climates seem to produce bold colours in art and perhaps
I'm trying to bring some of that intensity of climate and life to England!"
This year, over 60 artists, craftspeople and designers are involved. As
organiser, Jaki Rabbetts said: "What seems to be a theme running through
my many discusions with artists here is a sense of being part of something
bigger - a feeling that something important is happening".
Bridport Open Studios runs from Saturday August 27th to Monday August 29th.
Mary-Clare Buckle studied art and three-dimensional design at the
Surrey Institute of Art & Design and the University of Central England.
Her work can be viewed, all the year round, at her studio-gallery in the
village of Abbotsbury or on her much-acclaimed website, www.1-art-1.com
She has developed the technique of 'Floating' felts, mounting the -
ethereal and almost transparent - pieces between sheets of clear acrylic,
so that light can interact with them. Unlike conventional framing, the
viewer's eye is not constrained to a rectangle and, hung slightly away
from the wall, the pieces appear to be floating in space.
Mary-Clare Buckle has been a premier Portfolio member at
absolutearts.com since July 2004. View more of her work at: http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/m/maryclarebuckle/