Tucked away in the hills of Tala, near the Agios Neophytos Monastery, lies The Makers Space - a new concept membership-based studio and art gallery that provides shared facilities for artists and ceramicists who are resident or visiting Cyprus.
The official opening reception took place on Friday, 13th September and was presided by the Bishop of Chytron Leontios, Abbot of Saint Neophytos Monastery)
The Makers Space began its journey in 2018. Lee-Anne Raw, the owner of the business, grew up in South Africa. After spending several years in the UK with her husband Sean, and two sons, Daniel and Joshua, Family Raw moved to Cyprus in the summer of 2011. Lee-Anne’s corporate career has been as an international executive search consultant, running her own business since 2003. In parallel she has developed a love for the creative arts. Influenced by her search for balance, to escape from the stresses that a corporate role brings, Lee-Anne embarked on a much-needed journey of creative discovery, encouraged by family and wonderful friends.
During the end of 2018 Lee-Anne was in search of a small studio space in which to further develop her ceramic skills. This search led her and her husband Sean, to the beautiful but sadly neglected building near Agios Neophytos Monastery. The original vaulted gallery building was built in 1938 and has been home to a water bottling plant and a wonderful carpenter of religious pieces. The building is now home to The Makers Space.
The building size far exceeded Lee-Anne’s needs as a maker, very quickly a vision developed. A shared space for makers. A space in which makers could create, design, teach, learn, collaborate, share ideas and gather. The life of an artist can be solitary at times, this is of course needed and valued, however, a creative and artistic journey can also be a lonely journey, The Makers Space provides a creative hub for those artists who wish to gather with other like-minded makers.
Renovating 300m2 of space was a real adventure and test of patience. Surrounded by a fantastic and hardworking team of tradespeople, Lee-Anne project managed the renovation. A personal journey of challenge and also great healing. The gallery was sensitively renovated, the beautiful stone walls were left untouched. There is great beauty in age, and they have their own story to tell. Lighting options have been installed on the high beams and create moods for different occasions. The working studio has been sympathetically renovated; it also has its story to tell. High windows in both the gallery and studio offer beautiful light and a feeling of calm and serenity exists within the building. The early morning and evening light are particularly beautiful.
The studio is a functional and modern space, equipped as a ceramic studio with new equipment and large worktables. Plenty of storage and personal space for the makers. The studio offers a range of communal equipment and technical support. Lee-Anne would like to encourage growth within an active maker community whilst also providing a space for learning and development. The space already has several active Makers and there is much interest from hobbyists and enthusiastic beginners who spend time in the studio practising, learning and engaging with more experienced artists and makers. Resident Makers offer a range of courses across mediums, suitable for the curious beginner to those wishing to focus on more intermediate and advanced techniques. The Makers also offer courses in painting and ceramics for ‘young artists’ in the 12+ age group.
Lee-Anne & Sean believe that the future will see experiences and participation as a growing narrative, moving away from traditional consumerism. They believe this experiential direction will increase wellbeing and offer greater environmental sustainability. Creating by hand, more and more of the everyday items we use. Whilst the core offer is a creative space, The Makers Space is also a space of calm and positivity. In this mad world in which we live, we often neglect our creative selves. Finding balance through pursuit of a creative practice could make a real and positive impact to our general wellbeing.
On 16th and 17th November 2019, The Makers Space will be holding their first ‘Meet The Makers’ Christmas Market in the Gallery & Studio. The Makers will be selling pieces they have designed and made and a select group of Makers from across the island will be joining the market. Everything presented is handmade, nothing has been mass produced. There are no ‘resellers’, this is an opportunity to meet and chat to the artists. By buying from the Makers you are not only purchasing unique one-of-a-kind pieces, you are also supporting people who are passionate about what they do.