Binnel Studios Debut Summer Show

Picture the scene; It’s a blissfully sunny pause of Sunday goodness in an otherwise dismal August on the Isle of Wight. You’re in Ventnor with four of your favourite people. You have no plans. What do you do?

Visit an old Glass works full of awesome contemporary art of course!

Today, Holly and Rachael bundled themselves and 3/4 of the Ventnor Exchange Team into the UAC-mobile and headed for the Debut Summer Exhibition at Binnel Studios in St. Lawrence. It’s rare that we ever get over to this beautiful corner of the Island so the opportunity was not to be missed and we’re so glad we went.

The studios themselves are based in the old glass works, a stunning and versatile space that was mercifully cool in the 30+ degree heat. The first room rung with the bold shapes of mixed media paintings by Artist Lisa Traxler and the devine leathery scent of Sue Lowday’s exquisite bags and vessels, two very different practitioners and a great start to the art trail! We had both seen Lisa’s distinctive work previously, and once again we were very impressed with her originality and use of colour. We loved being able to see the process behind her work in the form of several A6 sketch pads filled with drawings, paintings, collage and textiles – a very nice touch that you only really get at events like these.

Sue’s work is stunning. Each vessel is exquisitely hand crafted from beautiful natural materials and entirely unique. There was also a stunning selection of belts in a spectrum of sumptuous tones. A must see highlight for anyone with a penchant for beautiful handbags. You can keep your Hermes. I want a Lowday!

In the next room Molly Attrill’s beautiful rustic ceramics line the walls of her studio, full to the brim with delicately rendered depictions of insects and other wildlife, priced from a criminally reasonable ten pounds each. These are are bound to buzz and hop their way off the shelves! Don’t miss out! There are many other little treats to be found in Molly’s studio so be sure to go and check it out.

The trail led us through to a cosy trove of Kathryn Ball’s beautiful tiny textile brouches. Kat’s work is delightfully evocative of warm summer afternoons spent dosing in long grass. Soft, inviting and perfectly formed, as well as being beautifully presented. Holly was extremely tempted to start her own collection of Kat Ball treasures! If Holly’s husband is reading this, Kat’s email address is 😉

As if our eyeballs weren’t already full to bursting with awesomes, just around the corner and ready to pounce were the perpetually show-stopping paintings of Celia Wilkinson. As with all artwork, particularly on the scale of Celia’s, these are an ENTIRELY different thing when viewed in person as opposed to a computer screen. The difference is astounding and should never be overlooked. Celia’s work inhabits a fine, almost impossible world in which her strong, abstract aesthetic is utterly descriptive of reality, which astounds us every time. Not to be missed!

The next studio submerged us into a colourful world of stunning ceramics by Jane Cox. Indeed, Rachael found herself incapable to resist adding to her collection. Swirls of deep, glossy glazes shine from every corner, the intense August afternoon pouring through the windows and filling each vessel with even further depths and intensity of colour. Jane’s ceramics are expertly executed at every stage with huge amounts of care, love and expertise. A real joy to behold!

A completely different and unexpected discovery comes next in the form of Guido Oakley. Each piece evokes a train of thought completely of it’s own. Unique and striking, the craft, detail and vision in every instance is something to be marvelled at. Crystal unicorn head anyone? Trust us, this work has to be seen in the flesh to be properly appreciated.

Stepping into David Firmstone’s studio is akin to walking into the part of your brain where all the happy memories of feeling safe and dry on stormy days are kept. Teasels and dried plants hang from the ceiling above myriad canvas and paper windows into other worlds worlds. Again, large in size works, David’s works can only be fully appreciated in person so this is a rare occasion not to be missed as gems of detail can be discovered in nearly every one of his paintings. The strong, northerly light pours into the cavernous room over tables stacked with paint, David’s enormous collection of tools and articles about David on open copies of magazines and the man himself: A true delight to talk to and clearly a man of enormous skill and passion. Thanks for the imaginary chicken Dave 🙂

Last and by no means least, we reached the studio of Matthew Chambers. His truly unique sculptural ceramics blow our minds every time. You couldn’t hope to meet a more humble, beautiful man. SUCH talent and perfection resides in this man’s hands. A joy every time (and a very smart investment in our opinion!!).

We cannot recommend this event highly enough. If you do ONE thing this bank holiday Monday, treat yourself to a trip to Binnel Studios!

You can thank us later 😉

Words; Holly Cade and Rachael Berry
Photos: Holly Cade