I started this blog before – but I chickened out because nothing was happening and I was beginning to doubt whether we were ever going to get the studios off the ground. With 4 solicitors involved it was bound to take time. However, we have acquired a 99yr lease which means we have a long-term future.http://www.harringtonmillstudios.co.uk
I was at a low point when I closed the studios in late 2018 (the main reason for drawing a line under the blog). However, 5 years on and I can look back with pride.
And true to my word HMS continues in another guise. Even without a physical space I have initiated other projects. This includes curating a booth at the artist-led art fair, Platforms Projects in Athens.
Last October I invited 4 artists/curators to curate a PLOT on the theme of ’Plot’. Rosalind Davis, Cynthia Harrison Orr, Fronteer/Sean Williams, Wendy Williams and myself each curated a space within the HMS booth. It involved 70 artists and gave those new to international art fairs a taste of what was possible for artists at every level of experience. We had a ball. It was wonderful to catch up with old friends, many I have known since I first took part in 2014.
Next October London artist, Bella Easton and myself will be having solo shows at Enia Gallery in Athens. Platforms Project will promote the shows so we should have a brilliant PV.
The winding down of HMS begins. I gave the artists three month’s notice. Obviously this came as a shock to everyone but it is quite fair as I had only asked for a month’s notice when artists wanted to leave HMS. Financially giving a month would have suited me as the holding costs remain the same. But I also wanted to leave on the best of terms! Some have chosen to vacate straight away whilst others will leave their space at the end of the year.
Many of the artists have been at HMS from the start – moving into the spaces as they were created. We’ve become good friends and socially it will be quite a wrench.
The process of taking down partitions will begin in a couple of weeks. The new tenants will be making frames for the upholsters downstairs. We have agreed a transition period where they can move machines to spaces as they are vacated. It will mean a bit of juggling and some goodwill on everyone’s part.
A group of artists are looking into starting a new collective and are in the process of researching spaces. I hope they pull it off as it will be great if they can stick together.
One of the reasons for giving up HMS is a 50 mile round trip from my home. I’ve had two accidents on the M1 which potentially could have had more serious outcomes. My carbon footprint will be substantially reduced too and gaining more time will be so much appreciated . It’s impossible to ‘pop in’.
I have also been running the mill for eleven years which has been both challenging and rewarding. I’ve always had a lots of lovely people on the ground doing practical stuff. The fairies have managed to keep a respectably clean kitchen and loo. But the admin has always been relentless and I know other studios have teams to do the marketing, management and education. I was approached by an institution with the help of an “apprentice” to fill in application forms for funding. However, my contribution would be £750 and a fortnightly meeting. When you are running something on a shoestring this is a significant sum and regular meetings didn’t appeal. This might have been achievable if HMS was nearer.
Whilst I am closing the studios I am intending to continue with certain projects. I have a domain name of H-M-S.co.uk (or Harrington Mill Studios lite) and I’m looking to curate a space at the forthcoming Platforms event in Athens!
In the meantime I am looking forward to a residency in Baroda, India in January 2019, organised and funded by Artcore.
After 11 wonderful years Harrington Mill Studios will close on 31 December 2018. It’s been an adventure and a privilege to work with so many extraordinary and amazing artists.
We have travelled to Sweden, Korea, Greece, and the USA. Our recent artist exchange to Honfleur, France was a pleasure and we look forward to hosting the second leg during our open studio event.
I wish to thank everyone for their support and thank the many artists who have exhibited at HMS.
And A BIG THANK YOU to HMS artists, current and alumni!
This week is the first week without something or other scheduled in my diary for months. Except on Thursday the local press are coming to take photographs for a piece about Southwell Open Studios. We are joining forces with the first Southwell Music Festival (brainchild of Marcus Farnsworth).
My 6ft paintings from ‘Perfume and Savages’ are currently stored in the garage but I’ve managed to install a couple in the house. One is a bit low – therein lies the problem of squeezing big paintings into domestic settings. I’m toying with the idea of taking the light fixings down. Mmmm
The other three paintings will hang at the newly refurbished ‘Reach’ centre, home to a charitable organisation which supports adults with learning disabilities. Kerri Pratt from HMS will also be installing work in the offices too.
Yesterday I took a small portrait (35 x 25cm), oil on board, to the framers. This is the second one. The first one completed last year was longlisted for the BP portrait prize. These are legacy paintings of my two little grand daughters Emily and Rose. When Jem was ill last year I started to think about mortality. I couldn’t go to the studio but I was able to work at a desk in my small space at home. Whilst my family support and enjoy my contemporary work they actually LOVE the portraits.