FEATURE: Ouseburn Open Studios | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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If you’ve already started your Christmas shopping, you’re a) far more organised than me and b) quite possibly a festive fiend. If you’re bored of buying relatives and friends the same old stuff from Amazon (or you’re simply in the mood for something nice for yourself!) you might want to check out Ouseburn Open Studios, where a large number of creative venues open their doors over the weekend of Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th November. The work of over 200 artists and designer-makers will be available – think ceramics, jewellery and furniture as well as paintings and prints and everything in between.

Rachel Brown, general manager of the Biscuit Factory (one of the six venues involved) sells it further: “It’s a fantastic alternative shopping experience created with the visitor in mind – demonstrations, a free bus linking the six venues, delicious food and drink, live music and not forgetting the chance to get creative!” Basically you can have fun while you shop, with something different on offer at each venue.

The Biscuit Factory 

With a venue that’s perfect for hosting events (the newly opened Biscuit Room has added to their already excellent space), head to the Biscuit Factory on Stoddart Street for a huge range of art-related gifts. You’ll be able to meet many of the studio artists in their own workspace and ask about the inspiration behind that extra special gift. Also take advantage of free gift wrapping, live seasonal music and a delicious range of food on offer from both the cafe and the highly acclaimed Artisan restaurant.

Biscuit Tin Studios

Pop down to the Biscuit Tin Studios on Warwick Street where you can reawaken your creativity by trying out a life drawing class or doing a bit of glass decorating. With a diverse mix of artists and designer-makers both selling and talking about their work, you can try out hands-on interactive activities as well as sorting out your Christmas to-do list.

Toffee Factory 

As well as being able to purchase the eclectic range of wares on offer, you can also brush up on your knowledge of the Ouseburn Valley’s history over complementary tea and biscuits at the Toffee Factory – there’ll be heritage film footage, vintage photographs and historical objects courtesy of Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, Byker Lives and the Ouseburn Trust. Creative types will also enjoy a drop-in print workshop hosted by local artist Lindsey Duncan.

Mushroom Works 

The Mushroom Works is the place to visit if you’re interested in learning what goes on behind the studio doors and finding out more about the pieces that might be hanging on your walls. Chat to artists, furniture makers, graphic designers and printmakers who make their work in studios at the venue, and buy original pieces at the unique 20×20 show (preview on Friday 28th from 6pm-8pm) for only £20! There’s also tea and cake on offer and creative fun packs available to keep the kids occupied.

36 Lime Street 

With an interactive photography exhibition, a charity art raffle (even the tickets are collectable, hand-printed by Hole Editions) and a pop-up cafe there’s plenty to do at 36 Lime Street other than spend your hard-earned cash. Original work on offer includes glasswork, ceramics, prints and jewellery. It’s also open from 10am until 6pm on both days, giving you more time to get your gift choices exactly right. Check the website for further events.

Northern Print 

Anyone interested in printmaking will enjoy a pre-Christmas trip to Northern Print. Take a look at the processes involved in creating print work, see the presses in action and take the opportunity to talk to the artists. You can also have a look round the latest exhibition If All The World Were Paper… and have a go at producing your own hand-printed work of art.

Ouseburn Open Studios weekend takes place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th November across various locations in the Ouseburn Valley.

See our gallery of what’s on offer below:

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