For the latest in my series of creative spaces features, artist Fiona Brown very kindly invited me along to see her space at Wimbledon Art Studios
and suggested I time my visit to coincide with Open Studios weekend (12th – 15th May 2011) so I could also get a look those of her fellow artists.

Wimbledon Art Studios

Blue Studios, Wimbledon Art Studios

In 1993 six artists started renting spaces in a paper warehouse, working alongside the paper business. Today, the original warehouse is known as the Red Studios and houses over 100 studio spaces including Fiona’s. The Blue Studios, pictured above, are purpose-built and house another 60 spaces. As some spaces are shared, that adds up to over 200 artists.

Fiona Brown's studio

Fiona Brown's studio

Fiona’s studio is one of the smallest; her desk is made from a canvas. She pays £200 a month for it, but with two Open Studios a year, the profits from the work she sells cover that. The studios are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, which is helpful for artists like Fiona who aren’t yet able to make a living from their art, so primarily use the studios outside of normal working hours.

Some of Fiona's work

Some of Fiona's work

Sadly for me, many of the artists had had a good tidy up for the Open Studios event(!), but I did manage to find some really inspiring work spaces.

Bill Bate's studio

Bill Bate's studio

Bill told me about how valuable it is to be surrounded by other creative people; even when he has a studio at home he still intends to use his studio at the Wimbledon Art Studios to keep up the energy, inspiration and social life he gains from working here. And the diversity of artists working here really contributes to that.

Kevin Herlihy's studio

Kevin Herlihy's studio

Kevin Herlihy makes sculptures from what arts schools refer to as ‘found objects.’ He, refreshingly, calls his materials flotsam and jetsam and helpfully explained the difference between the two. (Flotsam is floating, whereas jetsam has sunk or been washed ashore.)

Close up of a Kevin Herlihy sculpture

Close up of a Kevin Herlihy sculpture

Gemma Fripp's studio

Gemma Fripp's studio

I was really inspired by Gemma’s studio – it’s full of unusual items and the gorgeous drawings and paintings that have resulted from them, all coming together into a gentle, vintage colour scheme that would be just as at home on the pages of an interior design magazine.

Gemma Fripp's desk

Gemma Fripp's desk

Some of Gemma Fripp's work

Some of Gemma Fripp's work

Curios, paintings and water and cookies for guests

Curios, paintings and water and cookies for guests

Inspirational images stuck up above Gemma Fripp's desk

Inspirational images stuck up above Gemma Fripp's desk

I love this selection of inspirational images Gemma’s put up above her desk – and also this fabulous array of fabrics and pictures above textile artist, Danielle Wood’s desk.

Danielle Wood's desk space

Danielle Wood's desk space

Cotton reels

Cotton reels

It probably seems silly to those surrounded by them every day, but I do get very excited about the tools of various creative trades.

Paints and paint brushes in Martin Kerrison's studio

Paints and paint brushes in Martin Kerrison's studio

I had a lovely time exploring the rabbit warren of studios at Wimbledon Art Studios, discovering lots of different creative spaces and getting some ideas about how to make a small creative space work.

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Further reading for the especially geeky: