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Custom House Studios — providing an artistic space in Westport

After the Storm quilt made by Mary Madden of the Octagon Quilters

After the Storm quilt made by Mary Madden of the Octagon Quilters

John McHugh, manager of the Custom House Studios gives an insight into the creative artistic space provided at the Quay in Westport.

Custom House Studios was established through a partnership involving the artists group in Westport, Westport Town Council, Mayo County Council, the Department of Arts, and the Westport community as a whole.

The idea for the studios originated back in the eighties among locally based artists who recognised the need for a base or centre for the arts — for studio space and an exhibition space.

The artists’ group established aims for the project was that of providing studio space for artists; providing an exhibition space for artists; providing access to the local community and visitors to high quality arts events. They also envisaged that the studio will assist in the development of careers within the visual arts; to facilitate contact between artists in the Mayo area; to link the work of artists with the local community and to provide young artists with facilities to work in the county.

The Custom House Studios are open from 10am to 5pm on weekdays and 1pm to 4.30pm on weekends and bank holidays. Admission is free.

Current exhibition

The Octagon Quilters of Westport are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their group by holding an exhibition of members’ work at the Custom House Studios.

The Octagon Quilters formed in 1991 and meets weekly in Westport to stitch and socialise.

The craft of patchwork and quilting dates back to ancient times. Today it is practised internationally and it is as varied and decorative as the individual desires. Members work independently to make bed quilts, wall hangings, or other items.

The exhibition, entitled Quilts Unlocked, by members of Octagon Quilters will be formally opened by Dr Barbara Burns, GMIT, Castlebar, at the Custom House Studios Gallery on Thursday July 7 at 7.30pm. The exhibition will run until August 1.

Upcoming exhibitions

Rachael Agnew (August 4 to 28 )

Her work is influenced by maps and scientific life patterns. She works in drawing – with paint, pen, collage, nature or technology. Her work is versatile in different scales and mediums.

Betty Gannon (August 4 to 28 )

Exposed to the elements and human activity our surroundings bear the marks of decay and use, this is the starting point for this ongoing series of drawings. The artist uses Indian ink and a fine mapping pen to build up the drawing with intense detail in repetitive, rhythmic, marks which makes the drawing interesting to view from afar as well as from up close.

Kathlyn O’Brien (September 1 to 25 )

Subverted lives is a predominant theme weaving through the work, fuelled by the universal strains of violence against human integrity. This disintegration of moral fabrics, politically charged.

Studio space available

The Custom House Studios is now inviting submissions for exhibitions and use of studio space for 2012 and 2013.

The studio’s complex houses seven artists studios, an exhibition gallery and a print studio. Applications are invited for studio occupancy and exhibitions.

Send letters of interest, CVs, and documentation of work and images on a CD or in slide form to: The Manager, Custom House Studios, The Quay, Westport.

Custom House Studios are funded by The Arts Council of Ireland, Pobal, Mayo County Council and Westport Town Council.

Contact: 098 28735; [email protected];


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