Last weekend an open studio event was held in our street. Some of the artists we had already met on our brownie expedition in the winter. We were moving in (this was a very long process) during a hard lockdown so I thought it would be a good ice-breaker to deal out homemade brownies from door to door. One neighbour we met at the weekend who hadn’t been in when we delivered the treats said, ‘Ah, you’re the new neighbours, the ones with the brownies.’ Word had spread. A nice monniker I think you’ll agree.
The house where we live was originally built for artists to work and live at the same location. The village of Lent had a reputation of being rather staid so artists were encouraged to move in. Artists and other entrepreneurs are allowed to operate from the ground floor area which has a display window on the street side, a high ceiling and French windows out to the garden which allows plenty of natural light. Four talented artists took part in the open studio: Andro de Jong, Els Crum, Karin Bucholtz, and Dies Janssen. We could only see the artists’ exhibiting on Saturday as we had our second Covid jabs scheduled in Amsterdam on Sunday, so we missed Dies Janssen’s work but a selection of her diverse work can be seen online here.
Frank and I always enjoy hearing personal stories of what inspired a painting or collage, or what triggered the elevation of a found object into an objet trouve. The art work then takes on an extra meaning to the viewer. Open studios offer a unique opportunity to get to know creators and their work better. If there are open studios in your neighbourhood, I encourage you to go along and engage with the artists!
With the artists’ permission I took a few photos of them and their work. It was also an opportunity for us to see how our neighbours had utilised their indoor and outdoor spaces! I bought four ‘stoute doosjes’ roughly translated as saucy boxes from Els Crum. Cigar boxes decorated inside with drawings from a life model who is proud of her generous curves. I’ve long been a fan of Joseph Cornell and love the anticipation of opening a box to see what is within. Brings out the child in me. The ‘saucy boxes’ now have pride of place in our book cupboard.
Oh, and I couldn’t resist adding a herd of Konik ponies which graze just a few minutes walk away from our house. They are not the least bit interested in art but have lots of foals and were having a Saturday morning lie-in by the river Waal…
Andro de Jong
What a great idea to break the ice with brownies. If they were anything like the ones we ate together I’m sure it was a lasting success. And nice to be in touch like that with artists. Good stuff!
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Thanks, Sally! Yes, the very same brownies. Nigella’s recipe usually turns out a winner.
Looks like your move was an inspired idea. Wonderful collections of art at your doorstep, and the artists are your personal guides!
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Thanks, Debbie. We are happy with our move! I do sometimes miss Amsterdam though but I guess that’s all part of the process 🙂