Marlborough Open Studios – ideas aplenty

This last week, I spent five mornings doing a class in Qigong, (pronounced Chi-gong)which is a Chinese system of movements and breathing that promote good health and mindfulness. This is relevant to my studies as on Saturday, I set off on the first of what will be four days visiting artists’ studios to see the work they are exhibiting for the Marlborough Open Studios event. I have been feeling very disheartened about my photographic progress of late but suddenly my eyes seem to have opened again following the Qigong, and everywhere I go I see potential photographs. It is wonderfully inspiring, especially when coupled with seeing what artists from other disciplines are producing and how I might work with some of their ideas.

The majority of artists I have visited so far are not photographers, though I did meet and see the work of Richard Draper and Deborah Husk. Richard displayed some images from his series All Along the Watershed, a black and white landscape project, and I enjoyed talking to him about his influences, particularly Fay Godwin and our different impressions of the recent Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition. Deborah is a commercial photographer, but her art photography is about still life, mainly food and flowers. We had an excellent discussion about my project for the Thames Valley Forum on Time, and she showed me some wonderful 3D work using photographs and thread that she has done with Jane Corbett, an artists I met and blogged about recently. She also showed me a series in which she is aiming to produce something unique, as a means of removing the replicability of most photographs. In this case, she has photographed a set of objects, one of which has fallen from the picture and sits in reality at the bottom of the frame(link to examples here). I am not going to post a load of photos here, as I may decide to use them for an assignment, but there were some techniques and ideas I saw which I would like to incorporate into some of my work, and which I need to keep a note of.

  • Deborah’s images, which mix images and reality in the same frame – an idea I would like to explore, possibly with my Time project.
  • Her work with Jane Corbett, using photographs as 3D objects by cutting and threading, using millinary techniques.
  • Arran Miles’ collographs, which mixed screen printing with collage – so lovely I ended up buying one.
  • Rowan Whimster’s gorgeous pots, which look so fragile, but are in fact solid enough to hit with a padded hammer; each one produces a different sound, like a bell. Somehow, they manage to look both very modern and timeless.
  • Susie Whimster’s work which uses mark making as meaning. I must look into the concept of mark making, which is very much a part of the drawing/painting genre, but not so much used in photography.
  • Belinda Salmon Harding’s wonderful glasswork. Belinda did an MA with UCA, and we spent some time chatting about mutual interests. I took the photograph below of a piece of her work, which gives me much to think about in the idea of photography en abyme, something I also researched recently.


  • Julie Smith’s lovely handmade books – I must have another go at these.
  • Mary Wilkinson’s minimalist paintings of Wiltshire and Devon, which resonated with some ideas I was trying out last week in Photoshop, using gradients and movement tools.


I really want to try out some abstract work using this idea, but also tissue paper collage on top, and my recent purchase of a sample pack of Awagami washi photographic paper includes just the right sort of very thin paper. Am looking forward to some experimentation.

Next week, I plan to see several more artists in their studios as well. I am thoroughly enjoying seeing the work in media other than photography and the crossover points are legion.


3 thoughts on “Marlborough Open Studios – ideas aplenty

  1. Kate

    I loved reading this Holly, well done for finding a way to your creativity again. My weekends have been busy but perhaps I can make it out on Saturday or Sunday morning to visit some of these people, it sounds like you’re getting a lot out of it.



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