Inside artists’ creations

Pierra WillixBusselton Dunsborough Times

Glimpsing the inner workings of artists in their own studio is the driving concept behind the annual Margaret River Region Open Studios, which starts again this month.

This year’s event will again see artists open their spaces across two weeks, with 131 artists from Busselton to Augusta taking part.

MRROS deputy chairman Julien Sanderson said the event started in 2014 modelled on similar events across England, but was the first of its kind in Australia.

Ahead of the launch, the Times met with the 35 artists who have participated in all five of the MRROS events and spoke to them about the significance of the event.

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Yallingup designer and craftsman John Streater established his furniture business in 1987 and said despite having his own gallery, being involved in MRROS was a way to further engage with art enthusiasts and potential customers.

Streater designs pieces from local hardwood timbers such as feature-grade jarrah, marri, blackbutt and tuart, and designs and handcrafts each piece using traditional joinery.

Margaret River painter Fi Wilkie has lived and worked in the region for more than 25 years. As well as creating her own artworks, she started running workshops to help budding artists after participating in the first Open Studios.

Wilkie said opening her studio to guests for the event five years ago was an invaluable way for her to sell her work, as well as engage with customers who she might otherwise not meet. “You don’t usually get to meet the people who are buying your pieces,” she said.

“The event is about educating people who are not involved in the industry.”

Both artists agreed the event helped boost the profile of the region as an art-tourism destination.

The Margaret River Region Open Studios will be held from April 28 to May 13. Visit www.mrropenstudios.com.au.

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