‘Awenek’ – Cornish for ‘creative’…
Awenek Studio is a Community Interest Company with three directors:
Rosie French (Director and Studio Manager); Frances Brennan (Director); and Fiona Raymont (Director).
The CIC (Community Interest Company) was formed in May 2017 by Rosie French and Frances Brennan and is based on the Rame Peninsula, South East Cornwall.
Rosie is a talented artist, married, with three children based in Millbrook. Frances, also based at Millbrook has always worked within social inclusion and primarily helping people with disadvantaged backgrounds to fulfil their potential.
Rosie had the idea for the studio from speaking to other families, many of whom are on low incomes, some living in poverty and struggling to find affordable housing. Her involvement in running local toddler groups meant that she was acutely aware of families who were finding it hard to fund activities for their children, especially during the long school holidays.
Working with Real Ideas Organisation, Rosie formed Awenek Studio CIC and began to develop the idea. Frances became a fellow Director and provided start-up funding. More recently, Fiona Raymont has joined the team, who, working for the University of Plymouth, has considerable expertise in providing advice to individuals on developing career options.
The Studio’s mission is to provide welcoming, safe spaces for people of all ages to enjoy art, crafts, and creative activities through workshops, informal drop-in sessions and collaborative projects.
MEET THE TEAM
RESIDENT ARTIST, FOUNDER & STUDIO DIRECTOR.
I have always created art from a very young age and it is a necessary part of my life. I absorb colour and textures wherever I go. The quality of light in Cornwall accentuates the images I choose to paint. I wish to always paint and share my view of the world for others to enjoy.
I grew up on the Rame Peninsular and it is a very special place for me. I studied Graphic Design at Plymouth College of Art and Design in the late ’90s and then went on to The Surrey Institute for my degree.
I graduated in 2003 with a BA Hons in Graphic Design. This was not the right degree for me as the prospect of ‘creating’ on a computer stifled my creativity. I promptly returned to Cornwall to reignite my passion for painting and develop my style.
Not long after my return I met my soul mate and moved further into Cornwall to the beautiful harbour town of Falmouth. There, we were immersed in music, art and the stunning magical coastlines. I developed my techniques and happily created my own view of the world.
I moved back to my home village with our first child and have since had two more wonderful beings. I have continued to paint over the last 11 years and have had successful solo and collaborative shows both locally and on Plymouth’s historic Barbican.
I have been known for my mixed media works, using anything to hand but more recently I also work in oils. I still like to reclaim materials to work on, such as parts of boat moulds and recycled timber, as well as canvas. I pick up photographic memories of close up textures that I find and store the colours and light quality so I can recreate them later. I often see beauty in the hidden dilapidation of the working boatyards, the weather-beaten colour palettes draw me in. I like to enlarge the small details for people to experience in my work. Most people would just walk past these bits of ruin and rust that I find so captivating.
“Rosie French’s work takes small details from the natural and industrial landscapes surrounding where she lives and recreates them in her own unique and beautiful way.” – Cornish Times 2016.
I find being artistic and having a space for solely that purpose is healing, inspiring and a necessity in the modern world. I still paint and make for my own personal development but growing Awenek Studio to share creativity with people in the community, who also need it in their lives, is an absolute passion and joy for me.
Helen Kuumbi MA
Helen’s primary form of practice is painting, a semi-abstract landscape artist working in oils and acrylic exploring the themes of the natural and historic environment and the human relationship with it. At Awenek, Helen also leads workshops in a number of other crafts including those that use natural and found materials, felting and creative writing.
Helen is a folk musician, playing with the local band Black Friday and has an interest in traditions and celtic music, writing the book ‘The revival of tradition’ in 2019. She has many years experience in working in community and educational support roles specialising in autism and mental health.
Art, craft and community have been recurring themes interwoven throughout different stages of my life’ says Hazel, she always has different craft projects on the go; whether it’s creative writing, crochet, knitting, sewing, watercolour, felting or origami. Her experience in leading activity groups and working in a diverse range of community groups and contexts makes Hazel a key part of the team.
HOW TO FIND US
Our groups and services are all outreach-based, working in partnership with local venues and organisations. Please see our What’s on section or get in touch to find out where we are.
We are based just outside Millbrook, please make an appointment if you wish to visit.