ARTISTS across Swindon brought out their best works as they threw open the doors to their studios.

Organisers have hailed the first weekend of Swindon Open Studios a success, with scores of art fans visiting 50 sites across town.

At Artsite, a collection of artists’ studios near Regent Circus, half-a-dozen were exhibiting their work -with everything from paintings and illustrations made from tape, to an installation that came alive when drenched in UV light.

Deidre Leavey, 69, of Old Town, was making a wreath out of wool, rope and wire. The piece was a memorial to her grandparents, who lived in what is now the Richard Jeffries Museum – where Deidre spent her first six years.

“The rope reminds me of my grandfather,” said Deidre.

“All of them – my grandfather, uncles – were Navy men. He used to take me to the boys’ training ships, where he had to go to take exams. I have these lovely memories as a kid of running around boats and submarines.”

On the wall of her Artsite studio, which was created from one of the former Post Office cubby holes, was an installation created from scorched fabric – and intended as a memorial to victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

“I was very deeply affected by it,” said Deidre, who listened to the news unfold through the night on the BBC World Service.

“I wanted to create something as a homage so I personally would never forget.”

Working nearby, artist Sue Bardwell was showing her bright nature-inspired pieces – created using plastic tape as part of a residency at the Richard Jeffries Museum.

“It was something I’d never really drawn before – trees and flowers,” said Sue, 44, of Old Town.

Her unusual technique, that sees her slicing very thin strips of tape and sticking them on card to make her stunning creations, was developed at an early age.

“I remember doing A-levels and drawing a skeleton using masking tape. It gives the work a texture,” she said.

Bill Cox was busy creating an installation out of bright tubes, wire, clear plastic and UV paint. The large installation, which took up much of the Shoebox Theatre, burst into life when the lights were switched off and UV lights turned up.

He came across the technique – called Black Light Theatre – as an art student in Maidstone in the 1970s and has been hooked ever since.

“Art is about having a vision and inviting people to have that vision with you,” said Bill, 67, of Gorse Hill.

"Every artist is an illusionist.”

Punter Laura McDonnell, 29, of Rodbourne, was admiring paintings by Val Gibbons.

“There aren’t very many opportunities to go and look at art in Swindon,” she said. “But there are so many things in here that are really cool.”

In Swindon’s Central Library, graphic designer Dona Bradley was selling work inspired by the town’s landmarks – including stickers showing the Magic Roundabout.

Dona, who moved to the town four years ago from Bristol, said: “We’re discovering all these places in Swindon fresh. I love it – I think it’s really exciting to be here.

“It’s been really busy so far today. Everything’s going well.”

Linda Kasmaty, Swindon Open Studios co-organiser and who was helping to open the studio of artist husband Tim Carroll, said: “It’s been absolutely fabulous. We’ve had loads of people out despite the slightly variable weather. I’ve had a lovely day.”

Swindon Open Studios runs until Sunday, September 17.

Over 60 artists are exhibiting as part of the scheme, with many open on Wednesday, September 13, and next weekend.

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