While the high street groans with mass-produced seasonal gifts, this time of year also offers the perfect opportunity to support the work of artists and makers. So, in the lead up to Christmas, we’ll be picking out the pop-up shops, selling exhibitions, open studios and Christmas art fairs that have caught our eye.
We start with events happening this week in London, Brighton, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Gateshead and Salford.
Objects of Desire, London
DegreeArt.com sells, rents and commissions artwork by students and recent graduates via an online shop and from its gallery space. Its current exhibition, Objects of Desire, showcases a range of gift items. From 1-25 December, the Advent of Art event will see a different piece of artwork and a special offer featured via website and social media platforms each day. “The exhibition has the feel of a magpie’s nest,” says artist and illustrator Carrie May, who is showing a series of illuminated works, printed and hand finished with 23.5 carat shell gold.
Objects of Desire, 12a Vyner Street, London E2, until 20 January (closed 24 December – 2 January), Wed-Sun 12-6pm. degreeart.com
Espacio Gallery, London
Espacio Gallery in Bethnal Green was set up this year by a group of artists who wanted a space of their own specially designed to meet their needs. The group is holding its first Arts & Crafts Fair, showcasing paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture and more from artists including Charles Curran, Rebecca Elliot, Richard Tilbury, Jeremy White and organiser Tania Beaumont. “The timing is definitely a strategic move,” says Beaumont, “to catch people looking for affordable gifts as well as small, collectable items.”
Splendid stuff at Espacio Gallery, 159 Bethnal Green Road, London E2, Sat 1 & Sun 2 December, 10am-6pm. www.espaciogallery.com
Artists Open Houses, Brighton
Now in its tenth year, Artists Open Houses runs over three weekends from 1-16 December and offers an opportunity to buy original work direct from artists’ homes. From professional artists to school and college students, the work for sale includes furniture, jewellery, ceramics, textiles and fine art. There are over 350 artists featured in venues across Brighton and Hove.
Artists Open Houses, venues across Brighton and Hove, weekends from 1-16 December, 11am-6pm (but times may vary). www.aoh.org.uk/xmas-2012-festival
Wasps Open Studios, Glasgow and Edinburgh
Wasps artists’ studios in Glasgow and Edinburgh open their doors for one weekend only. Albion Road Studios, Edinburgh, has 22 studios over two floors and currently provides workspace for 33 artists, including painters, printmakers, jewellers, silversmiths and sculptors. South Block in Glasgow’s Merchant City area has 64 studio spaces for artists and makers. Both events are organised by the studio holders.
Wasps Open Studios, Sat 1 & Sun 2 December, Albion Road Studios, Leith, Edinburgh, 11am–5pm; South Block Studios, Merchant City, Glasgow, 11am–6pm. www.waspsstudios.org.uk
Christmas at the Mill, Salford
This annual contemporary crafts fair will feature work by Islington Mill residents, from fashion designers to fine artists to welders. Stalls will include prints and drawings by Gemma Lacey, ceramics by Clare Hartley and the art of Alison Erika Forde. There’ll also be mulled wine, homemade soup and mince pies, plus a string quartet from the BBC Philharmonic will provide a seasonal soundtrack.
Christmas at the Mill, Islington Mill, Salford, Thur 29 November, 4-9pm. www.islingtonmill.com
Eleventh Avenue Open Studio, Gateshead
Eleventh Avenue is a new studio based at the Team Valley industrial estate in Gateshead, home to artists Sam Chorley, Keith Murdoch, Corinne Lewis and Terri Miles. The group are holding their first Open Studio event, an opportunity to see their work, share a glass of wine and a mince pie and buy some original Christmas gifts. An exhibition of works by nine local artists, designers and makers will also be on show.
Eleventh Avenue: The Event, Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead, Fri 30 November, 3.30-8pm. www.eleventhavenue.co.uk
More on a-n.co.uk:
Turner Prize winners donate work to pop-up art shop – Studio Voltaire opens an ambitious fundraising venue in the heart of London’s Mayfair
Markets for designer-makers – Abigail Branagan highlights the key routes for makers to reach the market
Establishing a studio group – this guide by Jonathan Waring covers the process of establishing a studio group: from having the initial idea, bringing together a likeminded group of artists and getting hold of a space, to running the studios effectively on a day-to-day basis.