Ahead of the Skipton Open Studios this year, we went out to meet a couple of Jersey’s artists who have, in one case a new studio exhibition on the horizon and, on another, a new St Helier gallery studio space. Sara Felton caught up with Jason Butler and Ian Rolls.
Words : Sara Felton | Photography: Rod Bryans
Seeking further | Jason Butler
It’s hard to believe that two years have gone by since the first time I met professional Jersey based artist Jason Butler. He was just then considering putting on a solo exhibition, the first in his new studio/gallery of a new body of work, ‘Seekers’. Well, lots has happened since that first meeting.
When we first met Jason, he had just taken on his vast inspiring old warehouse and set up his studio space, based in Commercial Buildings. You’ll find him in his studio five or six days a week and, like most of us working within the confines of an office, he works a full day, treating it as a discipline allows him to remain focussed. ‘Being an artist, like lots of jobs is hard work, you have to love the hard work and that’s what keeps me going.’
Now he’s set the date for his latest exhibition, he’s working towards that October date with gusto and alongside his own work he’s also welcoming portrait commissions. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to commission a portrait. Seeing how beautifully Jason captures his subjects has me seriously considering immortalising myself on canvas, they really are something to behold. His award winning portrait commissions can capture a moment in time and can feature one or a group of people.
His exhibition will once again see him turning his studio into a gallery for a number of weeks. During this time, Jason will hold a series of events collaborating with various groups and institutions in the island to encourage as many people as possible to interact with the work.
The exhibition will run throughout the month of October with dates to be confirmed soon.
On Stream | Ian Rolls & Ruth Baier-Rolls
Jersey based artist Ian Rolls and ceramicist Ruth are on the cusp of opening the doors to the beautiful Pitt Stream Gallery. The small but perfectly formed space, part of the Foot Buildings renovation project, will allow Ian to showcase his ‘uniquely wayward and quirky creations’ and Ruth will both produce and show her work.
Having never previously had a permanent town based space, the pair were inspired by the plans shared by the National Trust for Jersey back in September 2017 at the Foot Buildings open day. ‘Ruth and I were so impressed by the restoration of the old cottages at that very early stage that we enquired whether a tenant had been found for the small retail unit next to the old Foot record shop. On hearing that the unit was unclaimed we put our proposal forward for a small gallery and ceramics workshop to the Trust and were delighted to have it accepted.’
Since then, the pair have turned the idea of how best to use the former hoover repair shop over incessantly in their minds without being able to physically get into the building, other than to see how the renovation work was progressing. Nine months later, and they are finally able to get inside the unit and start to make their plans a reality. They’re are hoping to have things finalised just in time for the Skipton Open Studio event, which will see The Pitt Stream Gallery open their doors to the public.
The gallery will show mostly a frequently changing display of Ian’s own work in all its forms. Ruth will be using the space as a studio and will also show her ceramics pieces, both hand-built and wheel-thrown. But, not wanting to keep the space just to themselves, they’re also hoping, as the space becomes more established, to have small group exhibitions and the gallery will be available to hire by other artists for a mini showcase exhibition.