Visitors to be given insight into artists' work during weekend event in Sudbury
Visitors are being given a rare opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of Sudbury ’s fabled art collection and witness the creative processes involved in crafting an extensive range of original and thought-provoking artwork.
Inspired by an annual county-wide initiative designed to promote and showcase one-off pieces of art and crafts, 12 accomplished artists are opening their studio doors to the public on Saturday and Sunday, from 10.30am to 5pm each day.
Visitors will have the chance to see the artists at work in their studios, find out what inspires them and buy their art.
A series of safety measures will be imposed at every studio to ensure they satisfy the Government’s current guidelines on preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Among the artists taking part is Rachel Pedersen, whose range of pottery has incorporated an underwater theme.
Her latest project is a handcrafted sculpture, which features ocean creatures, including starfish, octopuses and a shoal of fish.
“I have always loved working with large pieces and I love bright colours,” says Rachel. “I like showstoppers that people can stop and look at; it’s something that I’ve really wanted to do.”
The project has been a labour of love for almost two months, with delicate pieces of coral handcrafted on to the sculpture to replicate an ocean scene.
“It has been very time-consuming,” says Rachel, who is keen to raise awareness about the impact of plastic pollution on marine life.
“It’s a huge problem,” she says, adding that it was not a surprise to see the amount of discarded litter fall sharply during lockdown.
“There wasn’t any litter on the streets, but it just took one take-away venue to reopen and people were throwing rubbish on the ground again.”
Recognising the scale of the problem, the 33-year-old has made a conscious decision to wear a fabric face covering while the coronavirus continues to pose a threat, as they can be worn more than once.
Among her statement pieces, Rachel will be showcasing one-off items, which have been inspired by autumn.
While demonstrating a range of techniques with clay, Lucy Fowler, a porcelain specialist, and Claire Porter, a potter, will be on hand to offer advice about their crafts during Sunday’s event.
Having developed a passion for pottery as a teenager, Rachel continued to hone her skills, before deciding to establish her own business, with workshops hosted at her Sudbury studio each week.
Reflecting on the development of the age-old craft in recent years, Rachel added: “Pottery hasn’t always been bright because of the lead used in the glaze, but I love that a lot are very colourful now.”
* Find Rachel Pedersen at Unit 3 Studio 14/16, Stour Valley Business Centre, Brundon Lane, Sudbury.
An accomplished illustrator, Judith Glover has created an extensive range of artwork, with portraits, landscapes and illustrations featuring intricate designs.
Her horticultural-themed compositions are often inspired by scenic walks on Sudbury’s water meadows and time spent in her garden.
“If you look around, there is so much you can focus on and it is very uplifting,” she says.
After leaving art school, Judith went on to pursue a career as an illustrator.
Some of her bold designs have been featured on a variety of novelty items, including gift cards, hand-crafted paper and framed work, which will be on show during the event, alongside her artwork and a range of plants she has cultivated in her own garden.
Keen to encourage people to make conscious decisions about their lifestyle choices, Judith has adopted some themes in her work.
One of her watercolour paintings, entitled Tread Lightly on the Earth, is a stark reminder that a collective approach must be adopted if environmental issues, such as global warming, can be improved.
“It raises awareness that we have to look after nature and that it won’t stay as it is if high pollution levels continue,” she says, adding that the impact of the pandemic had reignited people’s appreciation for the great outdoors.
“They have found more time to look after their own spaces.”
An avid gardener, Judith made the most of her time outside.
“It’s been very comforting because nature carries on regardless of what’s going on,” she says. “It was a fantastic spring and there was so much blossom.”
While the unprecedented circumstances have impacted a large number of scheduled events this year, Judith says it has forced many artists to examine their own craft.
“A lot of creative people who had things planned, such as exhibitions, have had them cancelled, so they have had to take a step back and re-evaluate what they do.”
* Find Judith Glover at 40 Friars Street, Sudbury.
The Christopher Centre Art and Craft Group, which is hosted during weekly sessions at a community hub in Sudbury, will be showcasing its creations to the public.
The artistic sessions are aimed at boosting wellbeing, while encouraging people to explore their creativity through various projects.
“We are very inclusive and people need to do something that they enjoy, while feeling comfortable and having fun, because art is for everyone,” said centre facilitator Karoline Wells, adding that it is vital that members feel safe to express themselves freely.
“There’s a lot of laughter and banter and I think that helps people feel more relaxed, but we can be serious if we need to be and there’s an area where people can go if they’re feeling anxious or stressed.”
Encouraging the group to feel a sense a pride in their work is important for their self-confidence.
“We are all very positive. We are never negative about each other’s work because art is very subjective,” says Karoline. “Our group is about having fun and stopping loneliness.”
Noticing a marked improvement in the self-esteem of individuals has been a rewarding aspect of supporting the initiative.
“It’s wonderful,” says Karoline. “You just get such a good buzz, especially to see someone who has been helped by being part of the group.”
Find the group at The Christopher Centre, in Gainsborough Street, Sudbury.