Spike Island

Spike Island Open Studios 2014


3 to 5 May 2014, 11am–5pm



Event type

Other events

Open Studios 2018 takes place from 4 to 7 May 2018 - find out more

The hugely popular annual Open Studios weekend invites visitors to explore behind the scenes of this former Brooke Bond tea packing factory. Now an international centre for art and design, Spike Island is a vibrant hub of creativity for Bristol and the South West and is home to over 70 artists’ studios, a print studio, UWE fine art and curatorial courses, as well as many other creative practitioners including designers, film-makers, animators, photographers. Visitors will be able to see our new exhibition, MI!MS by Andy Holden, and can also expect to find mini exhibitions , performances, film screenings, opportunities to make and buy their own art and also explore the artists’ studios, where they can see works-in-progress and meet and engage with artists on an informal and enjoyable level. Spike Print Studio, Spike Associates, Spike Design will all host events, activities and tours to introduce what they do.

Download our Open 2014 brochure here or see below for more details.

This year the Open is part of Bristol Art Weekender, a city-wide celebraton of art which will see exhibitions, events and surprises all over Bristol. Save the date, it's going to be a brilliant weekend!

Join us also on the evening of Friday 2 May for a preview from 6 to 9pm, followed by a party till late. 

Spaces at Spike Island

Artists’ Studios
Spike Island's studios are home to over 70 artists at all stages of their career, working with a broad range of styles, methods and materials. They benefit from a lively communal culture of peer support and collaboration, as well as quiet, accessible, affordable working spaces.

Spike Associates
Spike Associates is a membership network of artists, curators and other creative producers that supports the development of professional arts practices.

Spike Print Studio
Spike Print Studio is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation providing exceptional studio facilities for fine art printmaking. Visitors can see printing demonstrations, make their own prints, find out more about classes and buy prints, artists’ books, cards and other items.  

Situations, the producers behind some of the most challenging forms of public art in recent years, including Alex Hartley's Nowhereisland for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, are the producers and ‘hub’ of the Bristol Art Weekender.

UWE Fine Arts Studios
The UWE Fine Arts students showHorse Anatomy, an exhibition illuminating the belief systems and ambiguous power relations that contribute to an art body. Three project spaces: The Head, The Heart, and The Gut, allude to particular social, cultural or ideological viewpoints. Riders, a café-bar inspired by Jilly Cooper novels will serve cocktails, and tea and cake throughout the weekend. Closes at 3pm on Monday 5 May.

Spike Design
Spike Design is an affordable shared workspace which offers a dynamic environment for young creative businesses. Take a tour on Saturday at 12pm or 3.30pm led by Jane MacFarlane, Spike Design Administrator, or find out more by watching a video about our current tenants by the Spike Design entrance.

Exhibitions and Projects

Andy Holden, Maximium Irony! Maximum Sincerity 1999-2003: Towards a Unified theory of MI!MS
Holdens transforms the Spike Island gallery with his hugely ambitious large scale installation incorporating video, music, painting, drawing, sculpture and text to recreate and reimagine the output and legacy of an artistic movement founded by Holden friends before he trained as an artist.

Richard Woods, Bad Brickwork
Works|Projects is a commercial gallery established in 2008 by independent curator Simon Morrissey. During the Open weekend visitors can see Richard Woods’ Bad Brickwork, beautifully simple new sculptures that resemble cartoon bricks contorting across the gallery in joyous celebration of the most mundane of building materials.

Artists’ Studios
Throughout the building, over 70 practicing artists open up their work space.

Spike Print Studio, To the Edge
An exhibition exploring the challenges of hand printing through both scale and technique. Selected by Alice Motard, Spike Island Curator and Jack Gibbon, Director of Antlers Gallery.

Test Space Open 2014
Test Space presents a specially curated exhibition resulting from an international call out for work selected by Marie-Anne McQuay (curator), Edwina Ashton (artist) and Ruth Claxton (artist).

James Parkinson, Light, Medium, Dark, Privacy
Using a coloured window tint film on the Spike Café windows, Parkinson asks questions of where the notion of surface begins and ends, drawing attention to the issue of what constitutes work and image within a functional environment, and how that environment is complicit in the reading of the work.

Spike Island Timeline
Get an overview of what artists, designers, staff and other practitioners based at Spike Island have been up to over the past year. Highlights include local, national and international exhibitions, performances and residencies, plus awards, publications and more.

This anonymous off-line file-sharing network actively rejects the online and virtual world creating an interactive art distribution activity between artist and public mapping the creativity of the city. These Deathdrives (USB sticks) are installed in public locations and art organisations across Bristol for you to drop, share and collect files and artwork. www.bsdeathdrive.tumblr.com, @bsdeathdrive #bsdeathdrive

Aaron Mcpeake, Singing Bowls
2014 Shape Residency artist Aaron McPeake returns to Spike Island to present Singing Bowls (2010 – ongoing). Visitors are invited to look, touch and listen to the beautiful bell bronze bowls, creating a sound that resonates throughout the studios.

Kittens in a Basket, Associates Space
Edwina Ashton’s kittens are running a photo studio. Visitors are invited to enter the kitten studio where they will be petted and prepared to have their photo taken. But watch out, these kittens can get angry.

Louisa Fairclough, Can People See Me Swallowing
Louisa Fairclough’s sister never called herself an artist yet over a number of years she filled a series of sketchbooks. Through drawing she found a voice to convey her experience of living with the acute highs, lows and anxieties of manic depression. This new series of film-sculptures continues a notional collaboration between Fairclough and her deceased sister by interpreting her drawings as scores. Film loops thread through the stairwell at Spike Island, the lengths of filmstrip spinning a kinetic and audible drawing. The films are mainly black with the projectors only emitting light when a few sung words punctuate the mute film. At points the voices will fall together in harmonic clusters, at other moments there will only be the whirr of film projectors humming in the throat of the building.

A film for a stairwell. Devised with composer Richard Glover and performed by Karen Middleton, sound production by Richard Jeffrey-Gray. With many thanks to Spike Studio Holders and ICIA University of Bath for the production funding and to Meantime Project Space for the residency.

Waking up a Shape
The Woodside Press, 22A Islington Road, Bristol BS3 1QB
Bristol-based artists Edwina Ashton, Anna Clawson & Nicole Ward, Bryony Gillard, Sebastian Jefford, James Parkinson and Hannah Still are joined by Glasgow-based Lauren Gault & Lauren Printy Currie in an exhibition that plays with language to explore the nature of artistic associations.
Preview & Performances Friday 2 May 3-6pm
Performance Sunday 4 May, 6–8pm

Activities and special events

Children’s Films by Gareth Moore, Saturday 3 May, 11am–5pm 
Vintage Mobile Cinema, Brunel Square, ss Great Britain, Harbourside BS1
Screened in a 1960s cinema-bus, this film programme created by Gareth Moore and aimed exclusively at children offers a unique cinematic experience for 5–12 year olds. Children are invited to immerse themselves in the world of film with these playful 16mm shorts by seven international contemporary artists: Ulla von Brandenburg, Keren Cytter, Geoffrey Farmer, Julia Fereyr, Harrell Fletcher, Mike Marshall and Sylvain Sailly .
Duration 25 minutes. No adults allowed unless accompanied by a child.

Speakers’ Corner,
On the hour from 12-4pm, Saturday–Monday
Ideas, opinions and theories galore! These short (1 minute) talks by members of the Spike community and special guests will cover a wide range of subjects and are sure to provoke, amuse and entertain.

Short film screening: Residency Studio
A special programme of moving image work by Spike Island studio holders and Associates, selected by artist Cara Tolmie, Lux Head of Programme Gil Leung and Spike Film and Video Producer Ali Roche. 

Print Studio
Lucky Dip Fundraiser
Fri 2 May – Mon 5 May. £5 per ticket
Spike Print Studio artists have generously donated small, unframed prints to this lucky dip. All proceeds go towards improving equipment for the learning programme and the studio. Every ticket guarantees you an original, limited edition print which you can take away immediately.

Vandercook Press Demonstration and Printing
Saturday and Sunday, 2-4pm
See a demonstration of the unique Vandercook Press and pick up a limited edition poster. The poster is an edition of 250 and members of the public can see the final printing stage. 150 posters will have been printed before the event and be available for sale. The remaining posters can be bought hot off the press for £10.

Print for a £1
Monday 5 May 2-4pm. £1
Create and walk away with your very own print for just £1.

Plus lots more.

Food and drink vendors include Spike Café, Claude the ButlerLa Bonne CrêpeHickory PigLittle Moo, Riders Café (UWE).

Ferry Information
Bristol Ferry Company operates between Arnolfini and the ss Great Britain, just a short walk from Spike Island. Tickets cost £1.50, or £2.50 return. On Friday night the service will run from 7.30–9pm.

Supported by
  • Bristol Art Weekender