This year I decided to be a visitor of Open Studios Waitakere 2019 rather than an exhibiting artist.
I was not disappointed with my decision.
I think every artist should participate in an arts trail when they can.
I was inspired, delighted and surprised. I climbed more steps than I could possibly imagine to gain access to (what felt like) a tree house studio, I drove along forest like roads with no GPS to guide me and enjoyed chatting to artists and finding out about their processes.
If you haven't participated in the Open Studios Waitakere arts trail before, then I'd seriously sign up so you don't miss out on Open Studios Waitakere 2020!
What is it exactly?
Artists who live and work in the Waitakere area are invited to open their studios for the weekend (they can choose one day or both) and allow visitors to wander in. Some people love to just look, find out about the artist and their work. Others are buyers who enjoy meeting the artist and purchasing directly from them.
Renee Tanner does an amazing job of bringing it all together and she's constantly striving to improve the experience for both artists and visitors. This year, new additions were easy to spot on the brochure with the words: NEW ARTIST next to their names. A small addition but hugely helpful to veteran visitors to ensure their arts trail remained fresh and exciting.
This annual event, funded and supported by the Waitākere Ranges Local Board, is appreciated by the artists and visitors alike. It's free to participate (if you decide to visit by yourself) or there's a small charge if you decide to take the bus tour that's offered both days.
I visited studios I would never have known existed, networked with other artists, and got to see how welcomed visitors were may to feel (I need to up my game on the refreshment front when I take part again!!!).
Here are just a few of the artists and their studios I managed to visit:
I'm always delighted to catch up with Guatyen Koh-Moore from Metaville and see her beautiful books.
I got to learn about Glass Casting with the lovely Sofia Athineou
I climbed a hundred stairs to visit the studio of jeweller and designer Julia Marin. It was so worth it!
I've known Margaret from the Elephant Foot Studio for ages! But I'd never been to her studio - so it was such a treat to get to visit and see her gorgeous work.
The Titirangi Potters were out in force and it was fantastic to see people having a go in the carpark!
On the Sunday I drove out to Karekare House and chatted to jeweller Michele Johnson. If you want to know more about the artists residencies at the homestead for 2020 have a read here.
What a colourful, playful, charming, lovely artist Judi Clements of Crone Jewellery is! I absolutely enjoyed my visit to her Titirangi Studio.
I wasn't intending to stay so long at Mandy Patmore's studio, but as I was offered a glass of wine on my arrival, well, what can I say! Her studio was the last one for the weekend and it was a fantastic way to sign off.
If you want to see the full programme of all the artists who participated this year, you can go here.