When we decided to open our Cartmel show and design consultancy rooms, we spent a lot of time considering how best to create a space that was welcoming, beautiful and the perfect backdrop for this season’s display furniture.
Visitors to our showrooms come with a view to commissioning their own designs and seldom try to buy the work we have on display. Why would they, when they can work with a designer to create something unique for their own home, instead? However, our little furniture showroom, just through the medieval archway, once the gateway to Cartmel’s famous and ancient Priory, felt it was lacking something.
So, we approached local artist, Tina Balmer, and invited her to exhibit her work on our (very!) blank walls, adding a riot of colour and another dimension. Since doing so, Cartmel has seen a steady stream of our patrons heading back to their cars, carefully wrapped artwork in their arms, having been seduced by her brilliance.
Tina is originally from Sussex but has lived in Cumbria for almost 10 years. A graduate of St Martins School of Art, her subject matter is often the domestic and the ordinary; all things that are often closed at hand. However, her work grapples with matters other than capturing an absolute likeness, with perspective often ignored, objects are seen leaning towards each other and table tops flattened.
The paint itself, the colour and composition jostle with each other in the struggle for the painting to take on a life of its own, capturing some of the joy the artist is fortunate to see in such everyday objects, which is so often overlooked.
Tina now has a real following, in Cartmel, with collectors of art returning to add to their collection of her work, and one of the greatest challenges we face is keeping up with the demand, which is a delightful position to find yourself in! Should you ever be close by, do call in to see the latest pieces on display and, perhaps, meet the artist herself.