Crouch End artists throw open studio doors once again

Dr Ben Mullish

Portrait of St Mary's intensive care Dr Ben Mullish - Credit: Carol Tarn

A popular art trail around Crouch End returns after an 18 month enforced break, with local creatives showing work in homes shops, galleries and studios.

Established 17 years ago, the Crouch End Open Studios this year sees 51 artists exhibiting their work over the weekend of September 25/26 in a range of venues all walking distance from the Clock Tower.

With paintings, prints, ceramics, sculpture, film and photography on show by both emerging and established professionals, visitors can pick up a leaflet from Crouch End shops and plan their route or drop in as they choose.

A Group Show runs at Hornsey Library Gallery from September 24 to 27 with participants including Julia Clarke, who ran nature-inspired workshops at Ally Pally to contribute to a collaborative Mobile Sculpture.

Julia Clarke installing sculpture for Ally Pally Artist Walk 2021

Julia Clarke installing sculpture for Ally Pally Artist Walk 2021 - Credit: Courtesy of the artist

The freelance teacher saw most of her work disappear during lockdown, but has taken part in several local projects including creating site specific pieces for this year's Artist's Walk at Ally Pally, and running a sculpture camp as part of the venue's holiday scheme.

"Like many artists and creatives lockdown proved challenging and a double edged sword," she said. "It was good having more time in the studio but I lost nearly a year's earnings and have been very busy since March catching up with new commissions. Through the Open Studios I have got to know other local artists, shared skills and supported each other."  

Summer Step

Summer Step - Credit: Jo Angell

Also showing work is portrait artist Carol Tarn who had to temporarily close her studio during the first lockdown as well as cancelling exhibitions and courses. When fellow artist Tom Croft instigated an Instagram campaign asking people to paint free portraits of NHS workers as a thank you for their heroic efforts, Carol painted Dr Ben Mullish an intensive care medic at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington from portraits supplied by his fiancée. And she was delighted to learn it had been chosen for a book published by Bloomsbury titled ‘Portraits for NHS Heroes’ with royalties donated to ‘NHS Charities Together’.

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“I was delighted to be able to take part in this initiative as a way of saying thank you to the NHS workers during this difficult time," she said.

One of Lorna Doyan's bespoke commissions

One of Lorna Doyan's bespoke commissions - Credit: Courtesy of the artist

Lorna Doyan's art business took off during lockdown, especially for larger bespoke commissions for people’s homes, sending sent pieces as far afield as Sydney, Nebraska and Miami. And Lara Harwood created a giant mural in Greenside House, Wood Green bringing inspiration from local nature spots into the building.

Beach huts at Saunton Sands

Beach huts at Saunton Sands, Devon. - Credit: Teresa Hales

Clarke adds: "It's a year and a half since we could last hold the art trail and it's been touch and go to worrying about making sure people feel safe. Some artists are exhibiting in cafes or sharing houses in Crouch End, and some are in studios. We are lucky they had just finished refurbishing the library with a nice white gallery space, so people can go in and have a look before they start the trail to see what piques their interest.

Crouch End Open Studios 2021

One of Lara' Harwood's floating poem mobile workshops to create an artwork as part of Crouch End Open Studios 2021 - Credit: Supplied

"A few of us ran workshops this summer as a way to get people interested in us again. Everyone who came made pieces of work which we will put together as a collaborative sculpture for the group show."

Leaflets and posters around Crouch End give map details of all the points on the art trail. Further details at