Last week we were down in London supporting Worcester Cathedral choir as they sang in St Paul’s Cathedral at evensong. Well, I say evensong, but actually it was The 357th Festival of the Sons of the Clergy with great pomp and circumstance, more than a handful of bishops and even the Household Cavalry to boot. I say supporting Worcester Cathedral but in truth we were just cadging a lift knowing how close it was to Tate Modern. At the service (which actually was completely awesome) amidst such heady company as the Bishop of London the man sitting next to me looked decidedly underdressed, wearing shorts and looking more likely dressed for a summer picnic; I nearly said something but then realised it was my husband.
First thing as the coach came into London I had looked out of the window mesmorised by the gardens of the capital’s residents – hugely grateful to all those, and certainly not all, who tended them. Many were neglected and grotty but some were nicely planted with roses and nurtured front gardens making them uplifting and welcoming to the visitor. Before evensong we had spent all afternoon in Tate Modern seeing the Miro exhibition and spending time viewing the permanent collection at our leisure. We both preferred Miro’s early work (of tended gardens, naturally) and his later work, but the best bit by far was the film made from interviews with Miro, his grand daughter, gallery owners and dealers who all knew him personally. Shots of where he lived and worked were fascinating. We had once visited Miro’s studio just outside Palma in Mallorca and it is always incredibly poignant to see where an artist works. It puts them in context.
Similarly we’ve visited Barbara Hepworth’s studio in St Ives, Ken Howard’s studio in Venice, Mary Fedden’s in London to name but a few. I can also remember like it was only yesterday visiting Victor Hugo’s writing room in Guernsey, and both William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter’s homes in the Lake District when I was a child. They bring you very close to the artist and to the core of their creativity.
This Friday for four days we will be throwing open our studio doors to visitors as part of the inaugural Worcestershire Arts Trail. Though not in the same league I’m sure it will be memorable for someone; well, at least I hope so! We’ve just come back from talking about it on the Andy Easton show at BBC Hereford & Worcester; I’m not saying I was nervous but I actually thought nothing would come out, not even a peep, when I opened my mouth; the cat had really got my tongue. Truly terrifying it was, but Andy was brilliant, and unbelievably relaxed even completely eating an enormous wrap during a break. Paul Powis, Bridget Drakeford and Sharon McSwiney were fabulous too. Me, just a bag of nerves, me.