Derbyshire Open Arts (DARTS) is a free arts trail event which happens at the end of May over the Spring Bank Holiday.
The event gives local artists and craftspeople the opportunity to open their studios to the public or to exhibit their work with others in a combined venue such as a village hall or art gallery. Visitors are given an opportunity to see the variety of work available in Derbyshire, to meet the creators and to purchase or commission works direct from the makers.
This year DARTS comes to Fritchley Congregational Church Hall under the ‘Medley’ banner. Organised by Chantal Kelly, a stained glass artist, Medley is a loose collaboration of local artists and makers who decided to join forces after meeting at various shows and exhibitions, coming together on an occasional basis. There are seven artists and makers who will be showing their work; all are specialists in different disciplines, but all produce innovative and striking pieces which reflect a high degree of skill and an understanding of their chosen medium.
The first is Anne Alldread, a textile artist who works with felt and silk to produce wall hangings, cushions, footstools, clothes and accessories in rich colours and textures. Anne’s work is found in galleries throughout Derbyshire, as is the work of Janice Allen, a jeweller who designs and creates original pieces in silver and mixed metal, including earrings, necklaces and bracelets, producing eye catching, innovative designs.
Karina Goodman is well-known in the area as the owner of the respected Studio 61. Karina is an artist, illustrator and children’s author whose atmospheric landscapes are often mystical, sometimes textured and always colourful!
Another painter in the group is Ruth Gray who is a mixed media artist. Ruth has had a number of solo exhibitions and has recently completed a very well-received series of paintings focussing on the heritage of the Derwent Valley; atmospheric and evocative, her paintings are exhibited in many local galleries.
Chantal Kelly is a stained glass artist who produces freestanding stained glass panels and decorative accessories using traditional leading techniques. Colourful and vibrant, her work is recognisable in galleries throughout the area.
Wood has not been omitted from the Medley’s line up – a local wood turner, Fiona Laing, has supplied wooden, turned pens and pencils to Prince Charles’ Highgrove and has exhibited as far afield as Blenheim, as well as in more local galleries.
The final member of Medley is Richard Pearson, a ceramicist who uses a traditional potter’s wheel to create pieces which are both decorative and functional. Richard’s pieces are finished in warm rich coloured glazes and he experiments with soda, salt and wood-fired techniques so that his work is constantly evolving and no two pieces are the same.
Chantal has family links in the area and the Congregational Hall was her first choice as a venue:
“Fritchley is a perfect venue for our group as we all live within ten miles of the village in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside and appreciate the history and tradition of the village; it feels right for this group of visual and practical craftspeople to exhibit in such a friendly, historic and beautiful setting.”
Entry is free and the group will welcome visitors from Friday 26th May for a preview evening held between 5.00pm–8.00pm, and the exhibition will then be open from 10.00am–5.00pm on the Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th and finally Bank Holiday Monday 29th May.