A record 140 artists will participate in this year’s Margaret River Region Open Studios. Now in its 8th consecutive year, this annual event showcases the increasingly diverse and vibrant works of artists throughout the Margaret River Region.
The event offers visitors to the region the opportunity to witness artists in their private studios, which are opened to the public over a 16-day period. The intimate setting creates the perfect occasion for artists to share their stories and appreciation for their art form. Visitors can also watch each artist in action as they create their works.
This year’s Open Studios will feature a range of popular art forms such as painting, ceramics, sculpting, illustration, photography, jewellery and glass as well as more unique crafts such as hand-woven rug making, millinery, a handcrafted bookmaker and even two tattoo artists.
“The scope of artists is hugely diverse so art lovers will be able to plan a stimulating and creative time in the Margaret River region to visit the fascinating homes and studios of their favourite artists and discover some new talent too,” says event Chairman Jim Davies.
We have profiled 5 exciting, new artists joining the 2021 line-up, each presenting a unique artistic style and personal story.
Deidre Bruhn – Painting, Drawing, Mixed Media
Working out of her new purpose-built studio in Quedjinup, portrait artist Deidre Bruhn works with local models for life drawing sessions, which she then transforms into semi-abstract work. Collage also plays an important role in Deidre’s art, utilising scraps of paper which she reassembles into larger creations.
Constantly experimenting with her work, Deidre is always searching for a sense of play or serendipity within her creative processes, encouraging works to develop of their own accord. Instead of basing her work around a preconceived idea, Deidre is immediate and energetic using anything from ink and pencils to old kitchen items to create her masterpieces.
Sonja Hedstrom – Textiles, Upcycling
A qualified textile artisan, Sonja produces hand-woven up-cycled Scandinavian Rugs from her River Rugs home studio in Cowaramup. Using a traditional Finnish floor loom, each rug is created from recycled textiles sourced from household materials that have either been donated or sourced from 2nd-hand shops.
Rug weaving is a Scandinavian tradition that dates back to the 1800s. Sustainability has always been key to the craft with people using their old clothes to make rugs for floor insulation during the region’s long cold winters. It is this traditional practice from which Sonja pulls her inspiration for her craft.
Christopher Williamson – Mixed Media, Drawing, Painting, Sculpture
Christopher Williamson uses illustration as a craft to deliver compelling narratives which he feels ignites imagination and satisfies the need for stories. The body of work he has selected to present at this year’s Open Studios explore stories of childhood, family, love, travel and times past and present.
A graduate of the Sheffield and Leeds Colleges of Art, Christopher went on to work in advertising and educational design in the UK. After 35 years of freelance work across the UK and WA, he transitioned to focus solely on his personal art practice in 2009. Christopher’s works are currently displayed in permanent collections in Bunbury and Busselton as well as private collections throughout Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
Chrissy Weldon – Painting
After visiting botanical artist Elaine Musgrave’s studios in the Blue Mountains, Chrissy Weldon discovered a love for painting botanicals. She spent 12 months in a botanics course in the Sydney Botanical Gardens learning about and painting the flora. She then went on to travel around Australia participating in as many workshops as possible with some of the finest masters of botanical art with the aim of one day being accepted into the prestigious ‘Botanica’ exhibition held by the Sydney Botanical Gardens.
After 5 years Chrissy was finally accepted into ‘Botanica’ in 2015 where her work was exhibited until 2018. Based in Yalyalup near Busselton, Chrissy’s work celebrates her “love affair with nature” and adoration for the colours and details of each garden she encounters and depicts in her paintings.
Chloe (Abla) Baigent – Ceramics
Potter Chloe Baigent met her aunt, also a ceramic artist, for the first time during a trip to America in 2017. The two shared their love for clay with each other, forming an instant bond and permanent connection.
For Chloe, clay is such a diverse medium that constantly keeps her mind buzzing with ideas. She enjoys taking the concept of an everyday domestic object and redesigning it in a way that screams uniqueness. When Chloe’s pieces are held, worn or used they give a sense of realness and pride in one’s individuality that she feels is unlike the mass-produced creations flooding our society today.
Chloe draws much of her inspiration from Busselton’s Geographe Bay which plays a huge role in the design of her work often featuring hand-drawn whales, shells and sea creatures as well as ocean lagoon glaze colours and crisp white sandy textures. Her second influence is drawn from her West African, Ghanaian background as she loves creating home hardware and other functional art which showcases patterns and colours found in African textiles and artifacts.
The Margaret River Region Open Studios is being held from September 11 – 26. For more information on the artists and works being showcased click here.