Web admin for Studio 36. Also known as songwriter Peter Farrie.

House Lights On … Christine Daly

My thoughts are travelling down Memory Lane.
This time last year my daughter and I travelled to America to visit friends in California.

Our departure would have been 14 April. 

We arrived in Las Vegas and drove to Twentynine Palms, the Mojave Desert.

It’s the time of year when spring flowers bloom all over the world, but I never imagined in the desert where the sand is white, the air warm, and the ground dry.

Their elegance, beauty and bright colours stretch over the white California desert sand and draws you near to stand and stare.

The sun beats down relentlessly from sunrise to sunset
And in all their glory they look up and smile

I only had a small notebook and biro and couldn’t resist a little sketch.

Next > Denis Macdermot

House Lights On … Mike Bartlett

Our second engagement contribution, a painting and a piece of flash fiction below, is from Mike Bartlett. 

Discover more of Mike’s work at his website

“I am an artist and stained glass designer; a graduate of the Royal College of Art who has had a long career as a university lecturer in Fine Art and Media Arts. In my visual artwork, whatever the medium or form it takes, there is an element of storytelling.  I like to think things through as stories because in stories we can juxtapose fact with conjecture, interpretion with exaggeration, and subjectively remember the traces left by people, events and ideas.  My aim has always been to make images that are visually stimulating, and to intrigue and amuse the viewer by encouraging the possibilities of multiple and alternative interpretations.”

Mike Bartlett
Book on Fire
acrylic and wax crayon on paper
 © Mike Bartlett

Too Blue

The Poet didn’t feel himself that morning. That is not to say that he didn’t know who he was, but he had never experienced exactly or for that matter, even vaguely, such an acute sense of wrongness. “Is it ideological?”, he questioned himself.  

He shuffled his fingers through his translation of Les Pensees Intimes of Torben Myercough and still felt attached to every word, bar some that only Will Self would recognise. “And that reminds me”, he thought.  “Where is The Book of Dave,?  I was reading the paperback only last night?

One by one he examined the titles:of his boxsets. True he hadn’t managed to finish Engrenages Series 1-6.  However,  he remembered the addictive pleasure of ordering every one. 

Nothing in the room seemed out of place, although on the pine veneer Ikea shelves that covered the entirety of one wall there were gaps that he hadn’t noticed before. 

Breakfast was a dull affair.  Had his Waitrose ordering routine misfired? Where was the freshly squeezed never from concentrate juice and, worse still,  he had run out of marmalade. The jar was entirely empty, and clean as new. although inexplicably the tangy smell of its late contents hung in the air..

Getting dressed he sorted through his T-shirts. Something to cheer me up he thought , but none of the colours matched this ambition. Surely I have something really bright,  more positive to wear, something that symbolises energy and vitality.”

“I cannot find anything wrong with you.” said the Doctor. “Certainly nothing physical. Of course we could organise a series of tests. Are you eating as normal?” The poet didn’t mention the lack of marmalade for his breakfast toast. 

“You really are blue”, he whispered to himself as he turned the key in the latch, “Maybe it’s politics, maybe? Maybe not?” 

But as a poet he felt obliged to articulate his feelings. But nothing seemed to rhyme. 

“What is this poem about?”, he asked himself. 

Upon what malady does my position hinge
How can I encompass such sour challenge
For now or future accept time so strange
Deduce not fear of where my feelings range
And in my way collect all these to expunge
To resolve that my future must be more orange.

 © 2018 Mike Bartlett

Next > Christine Daly

House Lights On … Dominic Garnett

Our first contribution below, is from Dominic Garnett, who in good times comes on Wednesdays to play the piano sometimes bringing his wife Paulina and little daughter Julia.

His lovely website is and there are some great videos on fishing techniques plus a list of his books.

Dominic Garnett

I am primarily a writer by trade, on angling. I have written several books and many words on the topic and I also love photography, especially in our beautiful home county of Devon. However, it is music and art that drew me, and keep drawing me, to Studio 36. My first visit was completely random. I was simply walking into Exeter with my wife and brother. From the notice board to all the quirky  sculptures, we instantly knew that we had to investigate!

Even in the midst of social distancing, none of us can exist in total isolation. In these scary times, it seems more vital than ever to reflect on this. It is so important for all of us to have a community of like (and unlike!) minds and creative friends. This is what Studio 36 means to me. It’s a place where I can be myself and meet people who are also creative and interested in art, music, words and ideas.

To my delight, I also found the studio’s lovely old Steinway piano. It’s always a good sign when you ask the owner of such a piano if you can play and their answer is “yes, please do!” as opposed to “no, gerroff!” Living in a flat, I’d missed having a real piano to play and so it became a weekly thing. In fact, I fell in love with playing again, going from a casual player to practising religiously – and always looking forward to seeing Veronica and friends and playing that fabulous old piano each midweek! I loved playing for Gordon, too, who enjoyed coming to listen and encouraged me to get out and play live again in Exeter, which I did.

You never quite know what new surprises are in store or who you will meet at the gallery. In particular, I like chatting to Veronica and all the artists. I find that in spite of me being in a completely different creative field, there is always such stimulating common ground. In fact, I quickly realised at the Studio just how much I missed being around creative characters and all those who want to make, express and realise new things.

Stephen is another artist I like to chat to – and the parallels are interesting. We’ve had stimulating discussions, for example, on the working process and when, if ever a work is finished. Similarly, with Veronica, we’ve talked about the idea of process as opposed to simply looking at finished work. Is anything truly ever perfect? Is anything ever truly finished, given that even when the paint is dry or the music stops, our reflections on a work evolve? 

At the current time, more than ever, it seems important to reflect that life is never perfect or finished. It is never even that orderly, although we are keen to try and believe we are in control. When a big event comes along, however, you realise that none of us are really in control. Everything is finite and in some sense, chaotic. We can shrink into our shells, or we can be brave enough to embrace this chaos and continue to create and enjoy seeing our visions unfold, as imperfect as these may be.

Dominic Garnett

Next > Mike Bartlett

A Marmite Lamp appears at Studio 36!

In these gloomy days maybe a bit of fun? A large marmite jigsaw puzzle finished in the late hours, too good to be dismantled, is achieving a new identity here.

A combined operation by Studio 36 friends consisted of a packet of sliced bread toasted and photographed, a hunk of wood with holes drilled for an electric wire to be inserted, put on legs by a visiting woodworker, and electrics engineered by a resident artist, and a fringe on the shade by his embroiderer wife, and it is just about ready to light up a somewhat confused melancholy?

Click the image for a better view.

What was happening at Studio 36

Budding Friends at Studio 36

Studio 36 was looking lively at the start of 2020.

Budding Friends from Age UK, fresh from their recent show at the Boatyard Bakery and Café on Exeter Quay were back for their creative mondays at the studio, busily and enthusiastically creating artwork. In June they celebrate their fifth anniversary.

And following on from our successful Mind Flight (2019), Patterns (2017) and Why Not, What If? (2015) productions at St Sidwell’s Centre, plans for our next performance Out Of Context forged ahead.

An eclectic team of poets, musicians, songwriters, artists and a sailor/boatbuider had its first meeting.