It used to be a wholly rural affair but one of the urban stops on the Art Tour is the home of textile artist Donna Cheshire who lives in Newcastle.
“This is my first time on the Art Tour here in the North East but I set up a little one when we lived in Wigan and that was very successful,” she says.
“The Art Tour here used to be limited to artists in Northumberland but when I found out they were extending their reach I signed up immediately.”
Dozens of artists across the region have thrown open their homes or studios during the previous three weekends of June and this coming weekend is the last chance for them – and the art tourists – to benefit.
Donna turned the living room of her Heaton home into an art gallery for the duration and says things have been going really well.
“I’ve had people visiting, not in their hundreds but in their tens. Lots of them I didn’t know at all so it’s been nice to meet people and tell them about what I do.
“I hope next year more artists from Heaton will also sign up. The nearest to me was Jim Edwards in the Ouseburn but he only did the first two weekends.
“Some of the people who have come to see me have done quite a bit of travelling. One woman who came the first weekend said she had done a 160-mile round trip and I was her last stop before going home to Sunderland.
“Other people have said they came to me because I’m in Newcastle and some have just said they’re interested in textile art.”
Donna, who was brought up in South Yorkshire and studied textile design in Huddersfield, says she has sold a few pieces but adds: “I won’t be holidaying in Brazil this year.”
This weekend could see a dramatic upturn in her fortunes. Some of her textile pieces have a fairground theme which she hopes will appeal to people who have been letting their hair down at the Hoppings funfair on the Town Moor.
“I think it’s fair to say holiday-type pastimes are a big inspiration for me,” says Donna.
“I love fairgrounds, the colour and the noise and excitement. I do go along most years to take photographs but I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to the rides. I don’t go much beyond the dodgems and the helter skelter.”
Donna moved to Newcastle in 1998 with her partner who’s from the city. They have daughters, aged 10 and seven, who have enjoyed having people visiting their home over the past few Sunday.
“It has been good for me,” says Donna. “I usually work in my attic by myself so it’s quite nice to meet people and explain how I work.”
Donna exhibits and sells her work around the country, in cities including Edinburgh, Manchester and Leeds. She attends trade fairs in Harrogate and London but also promotes her work via her Lovetextiles Facebook page and donnacheshiretextiles.wordpress.com which proclaims the joys of “textiles, art and a good cup of tea”.
Visit her home this Sunday (11am to 5pm) and she will tell you all about her “huge stash of different fabric” which is her equivalent of a painter’s palette.
For details of all the other Art Tour participants visit www.networkartists.org.uk
* The Journal is looking to compile an online Art Tour gallery. If you are taking part in the Art Tour this weekend or just visiting, Tweet your photographs to @CultureMag
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