The adversity of lockdown has sparked even more creativity for Exeter-based artist Veronica Gosling.
At Studio 36, Veronica has created a quirky, inspiring space within which, in normal times, she has held exhibitions of her own and other artists’ work, and used it as a gathering space for activity groups, and a place for informal performances with a talented group of local musicians, poets, and dancers.
Wishing to contribute, during this strange time, to her own community of Newtown & St Leonards, she has begun a project called Get On Board. Using a large and beautifully designed noticeboard, she has encouraged local artists, and writers, young and old, to unlock their thoughts, feelings and observations by sharing artwork, photos, poems and stories. The response has been enthusiastic, with art coming from people of all ages – enough to fill the board for the first month and beyond.
Another project involves personal online input from the Studio’s mailing list. It is entitled
House Lights On and features weekly input from studio visitors including their ideas, thoughts and often what they do, boatbuild, fish, weather details, woodwork, plus paintings of shoes, cartoons, jewellery, ‘Hedge Chairs’ many poems and a description of some vivid COVID-19 dreams.
Veronica’s own art is all around Studio 36, the place where she lives and works. Creativity spills out into the sculpture garden, where her latest creation depicts two passers by peering over the fence. Her quirky paintings often feature animals, which she uses to express her feelings. The texture, shape and story behind a found object often inspires a magical creation.
As well as showcasing her own work, Studio 36 has been a hub for a group from Age UK. Exeter called Budding Friends. Thought of as ‘Conversations in Colour’ the sessions which need neither language nor memory bring people with dementia and their carers together to chat and paint.
“Lockdown has made me more driven; I’ve become obsessed with my work. It helps me to stop thinking about the situation we’re all in, and stops me feeling lonely. I like meeting new people and sharing this place with them. It’s a shame we can’t do that at the moment. Every time we have an exhibition, the place is full. I think people enjoy the informality of the gallery and garden.”
Veronica is planning to open the sculpture garden for private bookings for small groups in the near future.