Working By Coventry’s Canals
As the weather improves, and sunny days lengthen into the summer, my studio on Coventry’s Canal Basin becomes an idyllic space to finish commissions and work on my art, alongside the company of my trusty dog Bertie.
I’ve been based here for nearly 15 years, enjoying it as not only a workspace but an escape. The quaintness makes for a lovely setting, as barges and canalboats gently meander up and down the water outside my window. Shops adorn the other side of the bank, providing a tender hustle and bustle to my studio-based activities.
Rescued from dereliction by the Coventry Canal Society in 1957, over the last 60 years, in partnership with the City Council, British Waterways, and Canal & River Trust, the Basin has become a hub for artists and craftspeople. Its original creation, by James Brindley in the 18th Century, is wonderfully reflected in the architecture that holds the building together. Oak beams and old stone are the basis for the Basin and my studio, which makes me feel a part of something fairly special. I suppose I feel the same way about Coventry as a whole, a place offering rich history, but also accommodating those looking to add to it.
One thing I’m currently working on at my studio is a commission – a retirement gift for somebody at a major charity in Coventry (I can’t divulge all the details!). The basis for the present was a Coventry artist creating a piece to remind her of the city, and of her time working within it. I love collaborating with people to create art which speaks to them, and resonates with their past and present, so this has been very enjoyable. In a similar way I’m also working with a husband to create a gift for his wife – a large piece which draws on various aspects of their family and what is meaningful to them. Again, it’s these personal elements which really shine through in the art that I create with people on a commission basis, whether it looks at memories, loves, places, or lost ones.
I’ve also recently discovered the importance of company in the work that I do. Sometimes we need somebody next to us, not necessarily to talk or chat to, but just to have there. Of course, it would be difficult to talk to my company either way! Bertie, my French Bulldog, often comes with me in the summer, where he pokes around and naps where possible. As a rescue, Bertie didn’t come from a happy place prior to meeting us, so I like to think that the Canal Basin is as much as a paradise for him as it is for me.
Have you got somewhere similar that you love and becomes your corner of ‘paradise’ in the summer? Where is that place? Let me know! Until then, I’ll be enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of a summer at the Canal Basin. And if you ever fancy paying me a visit and seeing things for yourself, just drop me a message and we’ll arrange something 😊