Birmingham Open Studios run by ArtsBrum begins this weekend for a second year. Held over the two weekends of the 8th-9th and 15th-16th, the event enables artists of all abilities to display their work and engage with the public. I spent an afternoon with one of the artists, Melanie Berman who is based in The Old Print Works, discussing both her own work and the Open Studios.
Melanie, who works under the name Metallix, draws and embosses designs onto sheets of pewter and more recently copper to create unique and original art work, including wall pieces and mirror frames. She has been based at The Old Print Works for three years, initially creating figures such as fairies using plastic bottles. She first began experimenting with pewter in her home country of South Africa last year, learning her craft from a local teacher in Cape Town, who gives classes twice a week. Melanie enjoyed working with pewter because of the ability to shape a form from the raw metal as well as the smoothness of the metal itself. She returned to the UK and discovered she was one of only two artists who works with pewter in the UK, so initially had to travel periodically back to South Africa just to collect the material! Melanie also sells at crafts fairs across the region and runs workshops from her studio in The Old Print Works. During workshops, people can learn the basic skills of working with the metal with different tools in the making a notebook and pen, with guidance from Melanie.
Melanie will be exhibiting her work at The Old Print Works during the Open Studios weekend. Birmingham Open Studios began only last year, with 25 artists spread over 12 locations. However, it has gone from strength to strength over the past year, more than doubling the number of artists taking part! This year, 57 artists from across Birmingham will be taking part, with 10 artists based in the Upper Gallery and surrounding workshops of The Old Print Works. Open Studios allows the artists the space in which to exhibit and promote their craft to the public and within the local community. This year, Open Studios also coincides with Birmingham Heritage Week which runs from the 7th to the 17th of September which highlights local history and includes Moseley Baths across the road. A program listing the artists and their studios can be found on the ArtsBrum website. We hope that all you local art lovers will feel enthused to come along and visit artists exhibiting across South Birmingham including The Old Print Works!