The art and design centre managed by one of the main characters of my debut novel "I Am a Muse", is called... The Hive!
"The landing felt slightly chilly – the heating system would slow down between 8pm and 6am as the
offices, shops and studios that occupied the Hive building were empty between those times, and the industrial strip tube lights made the whitewashed brick walls of the corridor look a bit grim, cold and unfriendly, the complete opposite of the office Constance had just left. She made her way downstairs, passing the doors she knew opened on empty magazine offices, photographer and design studios, multi-media consultancies, fashion workshops … During the day, the place was a beehive of activity – hence its name, and the corridors had been made wide enough to sustain the constant comings and goings of the people who made The Hive building one of the most exciting, privately run new centre of creative activity in the area. But towards the end of the day, it turned into an inhospitable monster whose beating heart and source of human warmth would occasionally be Constance’s red office."
Extract from "I Am a Muse"
For a year now (exactly one year next week), I have been attending art, vintage and design fairs with my boyfriend, Matt ArtPix.
We now have met quite a few creative, dynamic and interesting people, all doing their own thing, and it is always a pleasure to start setting up our stall and be able to say hello and stop off for a chat with other stall holders.
Two of those stall holders are Sue Beardsworth and her daughter. They sell vintage clothes and accessories at vintage fairs but they also take part in more artistic events, selling Sue's wonderful range of handmade wonders - she is a textile artist and costume jewellery maker.
Sue talked to us about The Hive artist studios in Chelmsford, a space she shares with seven other artists and invited us to visit the studios as part of their open studio weekend for the Chelmsford Arts Trail.
Imagine our surprise when she mentioned that one of the artists she was sharing the Hive with was the artist and illustrator Karen Jones!
We had had the opportunity to admire Karen's work at the Beecroft gallery in Westcliff-on-Sea earlier this year. I have talked about Karen Jones on my Facebook page before and linked her wonderful website, but I am going to link it on this website too, because her work touches me so much: hers is a wonderful world inspired by storytelling, literature and artistic movements such as the Pre-raphaelites. (KAREN JONE'S WEBSITE)
We turned up at the studios this afternoon and got a wonderfully warm welcome by all the artists present:
Karen Jones, Kitty Guthrie Oakley - artist and illustrator, Jill Tushingham - sculptor and Elizabeth Carpenter, illustrator (also PEPPERMINT PAPER DESIGN).
We even got a nice cup of tea!
All these artists have a very individual style, and this makes for a very lively, colourful, infectious atmosphere.
We had a lovely time chatting to the artists and seeing their working environment. We probably could have stayed there the whole day, but we wanted to go and have a quick look at the rest of the arts trail...
Have a browse around the Hive artist studio website, learn about each artist and future events here: THE HIVE ARTIST STUDIOS
Unfortunately, due to the detestable downpour, we decided to put enough money in the car park for only an hour and to go to one or two venues. We managed to get to The Old Barclays Bank and to the Shiny Shed... Some great stuff in there!
Browse the Chelmsford arts trail website and learn about the artists and spaces involved here: THE CHELMSFORD ARTS TRAIL