The space has real potential.
With builders just starting work on phase 3 of 4 at home, it became obvious that my studio would be required for storing furniture and stuff as various floors in various rooms were taken up to be insulated and re-layed. I came over all dynamic, made some enquiries about vacant spaces available and within two days had taken a space at Stonegrave. I think it will do me good to be around other artists who are on site once in a while too. It will be great once I have made it a bit more habitable; at present it has 2 very crumbly stone walls and a leaky partition. No wonder it gets so very cold during winter. I am used to working in cold conditions - my old studio in Bramley near Basingstoke was perishing. I have begun work to make this new space less draughty and dusty.
Stage one was to brush down all the rafters and ceiling boards as well as all the walls. I then painted all the rafters and ceiling with brilliant white emulsion; I recommend Jewson's contract as it has really good coverage and was quite cheap. I then realised that I would have to stabilise the stone walls, which were shedding quite astonishing quantities of dust so off I went to Jewson again and purchased their own brand of PVA. I have used up the first large container and need to purchase another for the second wall. Once I have applied this, which is done with a mixture of painting, scrubbing it into the loose mortar and generally slapping it on in large quantities whilst swearing gently under my breath, I shall then sweep up all the dust and detritis from the floor followed by a good vacuuming before I apply the floor paint. I am using Ecos floor paint, which whilst expensive, is odour free and rollers can be cleaned with water.
It looks better already with the rafters and ceiling painted white.
These proceedures will make the space much less dusty, but I have realised that none of the walls are suitable for working on in their current condition. The partition wall has lots of gaps, which will make it incredibly cold in winter and allow yet more dust to penetrate the space and the stone walls are far too unstable. So the next plan of action is to take the insulation that we have salvaged from demolishing the lean to on the back of our house, to use the plastic membrane that I saved from another project to seal the wall, add the insulation and then board over this with boards saved from my old studio. Once painted, this will make a suitable draft and dust free wall upon which to work. I then plan to use the uprights from my old studio that I insisted we dismantle and move up to Yorkshire with us to create new uprights attached to the rafters, in front of the stone walls, and fix them to the floors with the saved metal brackets. I will attach new boards to these, creating a false wall in front of the stone ones and this will help to create a barrier against the damp, dust and cold. All this is taking much longer than I anticipated but I have a willing helper in Andy Dalton, who has promised to come over one weekend and help me get the false walls built, he is a friend indeed!
My first visitor. . .
Meanwhile, this Wednesday and Thursday has seen Andy, Gordon Bell and I hard at work to hang an incredibly huge number of works for the new show, F. Nicholson, Painter, Printmaker and Drawing Master. I am happy to say that all the work that will fit is now up on the walls; this has entailed a great deal of soul searching on Gordon's part as he reluctantly withdrew some of his treasured collection because there simply was not enough room for everything. We have hung the work in groups, some of them in blocks of as many as four high, and it works, thanks to Andy's experience of curating and hanging similar shows in the past. I learned a lot about multiple hangs and how to approach working with a large number of disparate frames. It has been an incredibly hard couple of days, I don't think there has ever been this number of works on the gallery walls before. Tomorrow will be spent touching out all the mirror plates and labelling, ready for the preview in the evening. I am glad that we cleaned up before we left tonight. Just as we were hanging the final piece Yvette arrived with her colleague for a sneak preview and she was impressed and delighted with how it all looked.
Andrew Dalton and Gordon Bell discussing the hang in the early stages.
Yvette's sneak preview, deep in conversation with Gordon.
F. Nicholson, Painter, Printmaker and Drawing Master opens on 31st March and ends 20th May 2012 and is at The Gallery, Ryedale Folk Museum. www.thegalleryatryedalefolkmuseum.blogspot.com