Tag: BridportOpenStudios

Les Ateliers Ouverts de Bridport, Dorset Occidental

English version

Bridport et sa région du Dorset Occidental est un petit coin qui inspire les artistes, un peu comme la Normandie et ses ciels changeants avait inspiré les Impressionistes. Depuis 1999 les ateliers de Bridport s’ouvrent au public pour le ‘Bridport Open Studios’ et chaque année le nombre grandit. En 2011, c’est 100 artistes dans 58 lieux d’exposition qui ont offert à un public grandissant leurs oeuvres d’art au mois de Mai.

Les artistes sont variés, certains sont déjà cotés, d’autres débutent. Les prix sont en conséquence très différents suivant les artistes et les supports. Il y a bien sur des peintres, mais également de la sculpture, céramique, mobilier, photographie, textiles, illustrations, chapeaux, bijouterie ou gravure sur bois.

Même si tous les artistes ne représentent pas directement la Côte Jurassique dans leur art, les collines rondes ou les vallées cachées qui nous entourent, ils sont tous inspirés par l’atmosphère particulière et variée du Dorset Occidental. Au milieu d’une campagne agricole où bio est plutôt la norme, de monts d’où les vues sont un patchwork aux couleurs qui changent avec les saisons, d’une côte unique recélant des fossiles préhistoriques, on trouve une ville pleine de contrastes: Bridport.

Les temps ont changé pour ce port qui fournissait des cordes dans le monde entier, y compris aux bourreaux de Londres. La longue usine où les cordes étaient tressées à été adoptée par des artistes qui ont fait revivre cet espace industriel. Dans des petits villages proches mais presque perdus, d’autres artistes et artisans ont redonné vie à des écuries ou autres bâtiments agricoles, d’autres travaillent simplement de leur maison ou cottage.

C’est peut être cet éclectisme artistique et géographique qui fait que Bridport Open Studios attire maintenant des collectionneurs d’oeuvre d’art non seulement de la région mais également du Sud-Est de l’Angleterre.

La communauté d’artistes de Bridport m’ont demandé d’être leur ‘directeur d’évènement’ pour Les Ateliers Ouverts de Bridport de 2012.

Pour plus de détails sur les artistes qui ont exposé en 2011:


Artiste Andrew Leppard, copyright Nathalie Roberts

Bridport Open Studios 2011


Entangled by the meaning of art

The first time I went to Bridport Open Studios a couple of years ago, I met Sally Davies.  We had a long chat about art, photography, photoshop and going for it. When I saw her again at the 2011 launch last week, I was impressed she remembered me. I certainly hadn’t forgotten our conversation.

Sally works from her own original photographs and transforms them; some would say into works of art, some would disagree. Nothing new there.

How long did it take for photography to be recognised as art? Is technology any less of a tool than a paint brush, a scalpel or a hammer simply because it is more widely available? 

Here is an image I created a couple of years ago entitled ‘Entangled’. I still get compliments from its print on my wall.
I know some people don’t like it.
I know it has flaws.
I still love it.


And here is a link to Sally’s website:


Artists at work in Bridport, West Dorset

poste en français

Spending a couple of hours chatting to artists at St Michael’s Studios today in Bridport was fun. Artists studios in Bridport and the surrounding West Dorset villages are open to the public for the week, a great opportunity to discover new talent or have a look at more established artists’ new work.

It’s always inspiring to look at art but I find the people behind the paintings, the photography or the montages equally interesting. That’s what I love about the idea of Open Studios. Seeing the artists working is quite a mixed feeling. On the one hand it’s fascinating to see the image slowly -or quickly- appear on paper, canvas or screen but on the other there is a certain feeling of intrusion.

Some are happy to keep on working, clearly in their own world, their mind inside the canvas, others would rather chat and feel a bit awkward at having somebody looking over their shoulder, and I can’t blame them. The art on show is very varied and I only saw a tiny part at St Michaels’. There are 58 venues in all and 100 artists. Pottery, textiles, furniture, woodcraft, jewellery, millinery, sculpture, digital art, screen printing… Something for everyone?

Philomena Harmsworth working during Bridport Open Studios 2011

Artist at St Michael's Studio, Bridport
Copyright Nathalie Roberts

Bridport Open Studios’ 2011 launch

Bridport and West Dorset Open Studios is becoming quite a busy affair if the launch at the Bull Hotel yesterday was anything to go by. It was a really pleasant evening filled with artists and art lovers. All the local artists who take part in the Bridport Open Studios submitted three 6×9″ artwork which was displayed along the long walls of the Ball Room with prices almost as eclectic as the art on show.

Affordable art
Having said that there was nothing above £90 so it was all affordable, even from more established artists like Kit Glaisyer or John Boyd. Many artists were there which was great for buyers who could have a chat with them and for artists who could tempt the art lover to come and see larger work in their studio in the coming week.

How did Bridport Open Studios start?
I had a chat with Caroline Ireland who started Bridport Open Studios in 1999. Back then, she knew there were a fair few artists working locally but there was a lack of outlets for showing their work and coordination was needed to reach out to the public. A few posters around the town, some meetings, a lot of hard work and the annual event was born. It gets bigger every year attracting more and more artists and art lovers.

This year, the team who organise the Bridport and West Dorset Open Studios was headed by fellow artist Philomena Harmsworth who directed the 10 day long event. With 58 venues, some with several artists, the usual August Bank Holiday weekend was getting too short if you wanted to see all the local artists studios (or even half!).

 7 year old art lover invests in an original watercolour
My favourite part of the evening, apart from chatting with several artists and friends, was to see seven year old Sarah proudly hand her £2 pocket money to buy an original work of art from Sheila Edmunds. Sheila is part of ‘Spectrum’ a collective of talented amateur artists who will show their work in the Friends Meeting House in South Street on Saturday 21st. As for little Sarah, she was very happy with her watercolour of a dog that she tells me she will hang in her room.

Bridport and West Dorset Open Studios, 21-30 May 2011.
Brochure with participating artists’ addresses available from Bridport Arts and Crafts, tourist information centre and many shops around Bridport or online:

Sarah buys a watercolour at the Bridport Open Studios