IMG_0600I had all my creative hats on during a variety of ESA Open Studios events over the past four days: artist, illustrator, writer, workshop leader and even ‘advisor’. It all kicked off on Thursday night with the launch party for ‘Cache’, a small exhibition with four other artists curated by Mexico at Union 105, a studio building not far from my own building. I was really pleased to have had a painting selected and it has helped me feel more like a ‘local’ Yorkshire-based artist. I also met quite a few of my studio colleagues, who are a lively crew.

On Friday morning an enthusiastic group of Year 4 pupils and their teachers visited Patrick Studios and we took them on a tour/treasure hunt of the building. Afterwards the children made fabulous treasure maps and we talked about all the artworks in the studios that had inspired them. It was wonderful to have a primary school group visit us for the first time.

The main event took place on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Children and their families explored the studios using my treasure hunt clue sheet and there were lots of grown-ups who popped into my studio to have a look. I had a number of interesting conversations with students attending art programmes at several Leeds colleges and universities, with graduates working on their career plans and with folks interested in publishing. It made me realise how many people are either interested in having their story published or know someone who is. Everyone was friendly and polite, asked good questions and seemed genuinely excited by what they had seen in all the studios.

This morning I put my display away and got back down to business. Next week I’ll be heading to the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton but before I can even think about that, I have quite a lot of a new book to write!