We had the pleasure of interviewing Clare Dryden, who alongside Kate Measham, is co-owner of Hampshire Art Studio. We wanted to know more about how they joined forces to create these gorgeous art classes.
Us: Hello Clare, it's so lovely to chat to you. Can you start by introducing Hampshire Art Studio and tell us a bit about what you do?
Clare: We are a unique art school based in a beautiful purpose built building alongside the River Dever. The studio offers art workshops and courses to everyone interested in starting or expanding their creative art journey. We work with tutors who are all practising artists and eminent in their own field - from portrait painting to print making to botanical or illustration. We cover a number of styles and media, paying particular attention to Drawing. Making a mark, observation, composition and tone are at the heart of everything we do.
Us: It sounds like a very open space for learning, do you have to have any experience to join your classes?
Clare: Our approach has been to find tutors who are both experts in their field, and, importantly, excellent communicators. The Hampshire Art studio courses, classes and workshops are designed to enhance the ability of students to develop their own artistic identities, as well as confidence in their materials and core abilities, whatever that ability level may be.
Us: How did you both get into art?
Clare: Well I always had a passion for art from winning a school competition and proudly holding up my picture in assembly through to having to persuade my parents to let me go to Goldsmiths to do a Foundation Art year. Kate recently told me how she was reminded of a picture she drew on the back of an envelope for the boy sitting behind her at school – he got in touch to say he still had it! Kate graduated from the Winchester School of Art and she has wanted to inspire others to appreciate, explore and play with different techniques of drawing, without inhibitions. I love her motto: ‘just draw what you see… and the more you look the better you will see’.
Us: How long have you been running Hampshire Art Studio for?
Clare: We've been going for about 4 years but of course our tutors have been artists in their own right for many years.
Us: What made you start Hampshire Art Studios?
Clare: We're both so passionate about creating art and the gift it can be to others. After moving to Hampshire, I was either going to go back to art school or was going to somehow bring art to me. As an enthusiastic entrepreneur, my choice is always to start another business and so Hampshire Art Studio was born.
Once meeting Kate, who has been teaching throughout Hampshire for the past 15 years, our shared passion and values saw us build Hampshire Art Studio to what it is now.
Us: It sounds like a perfect match. Who would you say your Experiences were for?
Clare: Anyone can have a go - it doesn’t matter whether you are a practising artist wanting inspiration, or someone returning to art after a break, or even a total beginner who hasn’t picked up a pencil creatively since they were at school. It's all about immersing yourself in the moment.
Us: We could definitely do with some immersive moments! What can people expect from your Experience?
We have a few different Experiences at the moment and they range in skill level.
Drawing for Beginners - you must start somewhere and one thing we are extremely good at is building confidence and giving you the opportunity and confidence to take a risk. This beginners drawing course is for those who are starting afresh or for those taking up art after a long break or simply those wanting to have some fun.
Felting Textile Course - we can't recommend this enough. Taught by Sarah Waters who is an international felter and highly acclaimed artist. Sarah's love of feltmaking originates from her love of sheep.Living in the New Forest her work reflects her desire to connect with nature and the importance of sustainability,
Exploring Colour & Composition - Run by Sarah Spackman, you will learn how to paint stunning still life pictures. Sarah is a contemporary figurative artist and recently elected Associate Member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters . Her strength of drawing and the delicate and subtle use of colour are two of the main qualities recognised in her work. Her practise focuses on the principle that a good drawing is the basis of a good painting and that colour should be used to enhance the organisation and definition of observed space and form.
Us: What do you love most about Hampshire?
Clare: We both love the countryside - our studio sits on the banks of the River Dever, a beautiful chalk stream. Much of our inspiration comes from the scenery on our door step.
Hampshire is also the home of so many remarkable small businesses especially food and drink producers which have always been a fascination to me (I am a distributor myself of Bonilla Crisps!)
Us: We're glad you mentioned all the small businesses here, who are your favourite Hampshire businesses?
Clare: Can I say all of them?! I am always interested to hear, read up on, test out, new small businesses - I find real joy in someone's passion for their products and businesses and I admire their energy. It is no small feat to get a business off the ground and into the public eye. Hats off to all of them.
Us: Ok Clare, a quick fire round - what do you prefer?
Beach or City? City
Tea or Coffee? Coffee
Spring or Autumn? Spring
Cosy pub or bustling restaurant? Pub
Something active or something creative? Creative
Us: Clare, thank you so much for joining us in this little chat to get to know you. One final question: what are you most looking forward to over the next 12 months?
Clare: We are really looking forward to all our new classes and workshops. We are so excited to have tutors whose classes thrill US - it makes going to work a total pleasure.
You can find out more about Hampshire Art Studios here.
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