Local creatives, Peon Boyle and Shona MacDonald, joined forces at the start of the year to set up a new venture to run a printmaking and ceramics studio at converted stables near Findon. The idea of their new business came after they shared a studio at Colonnade House, Worthing’s creative hub , and this provided the catalyst for their next steps.
We sat down with Peon and Shona to find out a bit more about their new venture, Old Cartshed Studio and how they have survived and thrived during Covid-19.
Who are you?
We are Shona Macdonald and Peon Boyle. We are both Sussex-based artists and have connected through our love of printmaking and pottery. Shona is a mixed media artist with a background in sculpture and drawing and Peon is a printmaker with a background in photography. We both juggle our art careers with the demands of being the mothers of teenagers and are both proactive in bringing art and artists together in our local community.
How did you meet?
We met at Colonnade House studios a couple of years ago. Peon was already running Sussex Printmakers from the top floor when Shona took a lease on Studio 5. We connected through our mutual love of collagraph printmaking. We both loved working with texture and ink, and wanted to explore translating these methods to working in clay. We started taking pottery classes with Peon’s friend Michael Lainchbury and from then on started working together more closely, exhibiting our work in print fairs and attending printmaking workshops together to enhance our skills.
What made you decide to form Old Cartshed Studio?
As we were sharing a studio at Colonnade House we realised there was a good deal of overlap in our interests and the sort of classes we were offering. Rather than compete with each other it seemed logical that we should join forces and try to create an open access studio where we could both continue with our own art practice while teaching small classes in printmaking, drawing and pottery techniques. We want to offer a friendly space to create that provides an open atmosphere and diverse approach to creativity.
Is it just you two?
We are the co-founders, but we also would have to include Michael Lainchbury as a member of the team. Mike is our resident ceramic artist and very much involved in what we do. We are also bringing in guest tutors from further afield to teach one-off workshops. Although we are small, we hope to grow our community of artists and welcome people from all levels of experience.
Can I print with you at the Old Cartshed Studio?
Yes! We have two etching presses and a Cropper letterpress machine that we are renovating. There is also scope for relief printing using hand held barens. We will be holding classes in various printmaking methods and also will have some provision for open-access printmaking once you have completed one of our courses. It’s a little more complicated than we would ideally like at the moment with limited numbers and social distancing measures, but we are working on ways to make it all work. We have two studios at Old Cartshed, one for printmaking and one for ceramics. Both will be used for workshops and classes. It’s a lovely space in a converted 200 year old barn that overlooks the stable yard at Kingswood. We have ample parking spaces at the premises, and always lots of interesting teas to try while you work, so we’re hoping people will enjoy coming to the studios to print or try their hand at ceramics.
How did you keep creative over lockdown?
It was hard initially. We had been expecting to hold our launch weekend on March 26th and 27th, but the nationwide lockdown prevented that. Consequently we lost a lot of momentum and were quite deflated without the use of our beloved new studio, all freshly painted and ready to go, but pretty soon Shona decided to move the Drink & Draw sessions she was running with local artist Nicky Bell into an online daily drawing challenge. The idea was to select a theme and an accompanying poem for inspiration, and invite the Drink & Draw Instagram followers to draw along for a couple of hours and then upload their creations when they were finished. It was quite a popular thing locally, and definitely kept our drawing hands in practice. We’re now selling giclée prints of some of Shona’s drawings to raise money for Old Cartshed.
Of course, we also had the Elemental show at Colonnade House to look forward to for the end of August, so as soon as we were allowed back in the studio we got busy making new prints, sculptures and ceramic pieces, and hit the ground running.
We’re holding our rescheduled open weekend on 26th and 27th September, so people can come and take a look at the studios and sign up for membership, and have a little taste of what’s going to be on offer. We hope to get the ball rolling with classes in October, with all safety measures in place, and we are really looking forward to getting people into Old Cartshed for some creative space to forget about the outside world for a few hours and indulge their creativity.
We’re also setting up an online gallery and shop for our work. everything will be on our website, http://oldcartshed.studio
Peon will also be teaching evening classes at Northbrook MET in printmaking and Chinese brush techniques.