A new studio space for artists in residency.
A few years ago I was a busy full time artist at Jamaica Street Studios in Bristol. I had lots of work on the go through various galleries, commissions, and projects. I shared many cups of tea and coffee over discussions with studio mates about art, ideas, life, and who had the most interesting lunch.
Although my career was going well I was getting a little disillusioned with the fine art world and living in the city. My husband, Chris, was also feeling like it was time for a change. An opportunity arose and we decided to pack up and head for the hills. Lucky enough to both have jobs which allowed us to relocate and travel, we spent a year living on a boat in Sausalito (San Francisco) doing various projects, then loaded our stuff into a van and travelled around the US and Canada for a few months. Back in California, we sold the van and sailed down to Mexico - that’s when I discovered I was pregnant!
We decided to come back to the UK for the baby and cut our travel plans short, so while Chris completed his adventure across the Pacific I still had time to squeeze in a couple of art residencies in Colorado and British Columbia, Canada. Those were brilliant experiences for an artist wanting fresh input - which set the seed of inspiration for me to host something similar in the future.
Our little girl was born in Bristol, where we found ourselves too rapidly getting back into the old ways, plus we missed the ocean and the fresh air. Time to head to the hills again. This time, West Wales. It’s true what they say; going West always seems to be best.
Packed full of motivation for a new start, we found an old farmhouse just outside Cardigan, with outbuildings that were ideal for conversion into something exciting. We set ourselves a challenge and after plenty of windy autumnal storms, long winter nights and frosty spring days on a building site, Createspace Wales was finished and launched in Summer 2018.
We managed to turn an old agricultural barn into a modern, warm and bright shared studio space with built in accommodation, allowing visiting artists to come and stay for extended periods of time. We had fun reusing materials - sliding doors and rafters from the old barn, plenty of old pallet wood, and some lovely pieces of driftwood from Mwnt and Llangrannog beaches; a real creative project.
In the past year we’ve had a really interesting range of resident artists; a writer from Tenby who wanted to complete her script for a play; a painter from Maine, USA who was blown away by the the wonderful ‘right to roam’ countryside and coastline we have here in Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire; a painter from the Maldives who chose to stay for three months in winter, never having worn a pair of wellies before; a media producer from Milwaukee finishing a sabbatical around Europe, and more, all looking for a place to immerse themselves in their chosen projects. 2019 is now fully booked and we already have a bunch of applications to go through for 2020 which is really exciting.
Our first full time local artist (Sylvie Nankivell) has progressed on to her own studio in St Dogmaels, so we are currently looking for more local creatives to join us and the diverse range of residents we have planned over the next few months, including painters, illustrators, a jewellery maker, sculptor, photographer, textile and installation artist.
We have more unconverted buildings in the yard, and in time we’d love to extend Createspace to include a pottery and other maker spaces. Future plans also include lectures, talks and creative meetups/ social events. Running workshops and holding contemporary exhibitions by local and visiting artists is in the pipeline too. The idea is to create a hub for contemporary artists, craftisans, makers and all those interested in the above. So watch this space!
If you’d like to get involved or seek more information please contact Rose via email: firstname.lastname@example.org