• Karen Thomas

Karen at Kigbeare

Updated: Nov 22, 2019

October was a busy month, but in a good way! I literally floated through two successful exhibitions - Art Under Glass at Avon Mill, Kingsbridge and the Contemporary Craft and Design Fair in Crowthorne, Berkshire - as I was so looking forward to 1st November when ...

... I moved into my new studio at Kigbeare Studios and Gallery!!!

Earlier in the month, I stumbled upon this magical place. On the outskirts of Okehampton, gateway to Dartmoor, nestles Kigbeare Manor Farm. Its courtyard houses a beautiful set of studio units, and I've been fortunate enough to nab Studio 5. I discovered the place on a sunny day and by the time I'd parked, I was aware of the desire to move in welling up inside me! Let me explain ... you follow a little brown tourist sign up a single-track lane, through a mile or so of beautiful farmland, giving way to woodland. "Nearly there!" proclaims a further encouraging sign, just as you think you may be lost.

I grew up scampering around Burnham Beeches every spare moment. Building and destroying dams in streams, creeping up on squirrels with my camera and running around trying to catch falling leaves. Simple pleasures by today's standards I know! I'm deeply inspired by - and connected to - woodland. Even though I moved near the coast, if I need clarity, peace or inspiration, I go to the nearest woods.

So you can imagine the sort of longing that was upon me when I pulled up at this beautiful courtyard. To cut a long story short (which I've already failed to do!), I've ended up with a light, warm studio, amongst a friendly and awesomely talented bunch of artists, artisans and makers, with a frankly stunning communal gallery, set in acres of the most personally inspiring landscape possible.

I can only hope to repay this outstanding bit of serendipity by producing my best work there. I'll be participating in my first Open Studios there over the weekend of 2-3 December and I hope to show many of you around! I'll be continuing my exhibiting schedule (next up, Knebworth!) and so won't be in my studio every day outside of open studios times but will likely be there three days a week, so just get in touch if you'd like to come along and view my work. Alternatively, the gallery is open 11-5 Tuesday-Saturday.