Never one to pass up a shopping expedition, particularly one that involves work produced by local artists and craftspeople, I was excited to hear about an evening of retail therapy entitled ‘Make It Christmas’ at several local outlets, planned for 1 December 2016. As a member of the Blott Artist Collective, one of the participating organisations, I was even more thrilled to realise that I would be involved not only in the buying but also in the selling.

I spoke to Corrine Streetly, artist director and curator of Blott, about how Blott was first established. She told me the studio was set up with the help of two colleagues, in 1999. The motivation was to bring challenging and innovative art to Blackpool; to share studio rent; and to be amongst like minded artists, in particular ‘feminist identified’ artists who also explored issues such as the representation of women in galleries, the art world and wider society.

Over 17 years, there were numerous splits in the original group, and the concept of Blott evolved and changed, particularly with the move to King Street. Shared studios eventually became financially unviable and in 2004, it became solely Corrine’s business. Apart from the Grundy, Blackpool’s main municipal gallery, Blott Studio’s gallery and collective has been the town’s longest-running artist led project space, and has supported many other local and regional emerging artists and their practice. A substructure of the visual arts scene in Blackpool has recently begun to evolve and develop, and in 2015 Blackpool Council invested money into developing Abington Street Studios, affordable studio space for artists.

In conjunction with the other participating businesses, Blott Studio will be opening for the evening of December 1 2016 between 5pm and 8pm. There is an extensive variety of work for sale, including original paintings, prints, vintage image mugs, tote bags and photographic prints, produced by artists, Corrine Streetly, Tina Warren, Zoe Cox, David Butterworth, Lauren Green and Jill Reidy, all at special pre-Christmas reduced prices, up to 70% off.

Blott Studio will also be open every Monday and Thursday from 10.30am – 3.30pm until Christmas, with work at sale prices.

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