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Newbury MP drops in on artists' open studio




THE three artists exhibiting at the old Chapel in Newtown Road were pleased to see MP Laura Farris at the Open Studio on the first weekend of their opening. “She stayed quite a long time and took a real interest in our work.”

Pangbourne jeweller Nicola Bannister and ceramicist Helen Long were both exhibiting with the scheme for the first time. Nicola’s first collection is a highly personal one, using human blood cells as her inspiration, she created a range of jewellery with organic, flowing shapes which form the basis of her delicate earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, available in gold or silver. As her father is undergoing treatment for cancer, Nicola was raising money from her sales to support Blood Cancer UK and Myeloma UK; both charities which fund research into blood cancer diseases.

Helen Long completed a degree in ceramics at the University for the Creative Arts Farnham last year. Her work references traditional Chinese blue and white porcelain, but with a contemporary feel. Mrs Farris was interested in learning about the process of throwing on a wheel and firing clay.

MP Laura Farris visits Open Studios at the Chapel Newtown Road, picture by Phil Cannings Ref: 21-1021C
MP Laura Farris visits Open Studios at the Chapel Newtown Road, picture by Phil Cannings Ref: 21-1021C

The two makers had joined up with painter and urban sketcher Isabel Carmona, who has exhibited at the chapel for several years and showed a large collection of Newbury-based artwork, which caught the MP’s eye. Mrs Farris said: “It was a pleasure to visit Newtown Cemetery to view the three brilliant local artists that were exhibiting as part of Open Studios West Berkshire which was postponed from last year, and was a very special opportunity to view their artwork in a magical setting, amid the cow parsley and spring flowers of the cemetery. I even picked up a beautiful ink drawing of the Market Place in Newbury.”

Isabel was delighted that one of her Newbury Market Place in the Round prints took Mrs Farris’ fancy and talked to her about her sketchbooks through lockdown and the development from those into lino prints and other printed forms.

Artists at the Chapel are open at the Newtown Road Cemetery Chapel on all three days of the Bank Holiday weekend: 10am to 5pm each day, supported by Newbury Town Council.

Helen Long and Isabel Carmona, picture by Phil Cannings Ref: 21-1021B
Helen Long and Isabel Carmona, picture by Phil Cannings Ref: 21-1021B


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