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Celebrating creatives and makers at Hylands’ Artist Studios

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The Artists Studios in The Stables at Hylands Estate.

The Stables at Hylands Estate is home to a close-knit community of creatives and makers based in the estate’s converted 19th century stable block. With 13 resident artists in the block, they cover a wide range of disciplines, from millinery to 3D printing. 

An inspired community 

The resident artists currently occupying the studios range from those who have been part of the community for over a decade, to some who have just joined within the last year. Their studios provide a peaceful, inspirational space in which to design, create and sell their artwork, with plenty of their products available in the Artists Shop. Many of them take commissions and some also run regular workshops. 

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The Artists Shop at Hylands Estate.

Long-term artist Mona Marnell, who runs a glass art studio, says the community has provided her with invaluable support during her 17 years in residence: 

"I love my studio. It's my thinking, making and teaching space. It's set in the most glorious park which is beautiful at any time of year. And it is based within a creative community which has provided me with guidance and support throughout my time at Hylands."

Mona Marnell, contemporary glass designer and artist
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Mona Marnell has been a resident artist at Hylands since 2007.

During Open Estate Days the Artist Studios are also open to the public to browse for inspiration and to chat with the artists, getting a first-hand insight into their creative processes. 

Award-winning creations 

The works created by the artists are a labour of love, with each piece uniquely designed and handcrafted.  

In recent years, several resident artists have been recognised for their high-quality designs through award wins, including Vanessa Brett Millinery. Vanessa has won multiple Essex Wedding Awards for her bespoke handmade hats and headpieces. In 2023 she was awarded ‘Best New Business’, while for 2024 she received the ‘Mother of the Bride & Groom of the Year’ award. Vanessa’s outstanding work also appeared in Prima Magazine in 2023 and on This Morning’s fashion feature in 2021. 

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Vanessa Brett has won multiple awards for her stunning handmade hats and headpieces.

Sue Charity of Cosima’s has also been recognised for her practical and pretty waterproof and wipe clean bags and accessories. In 2021, her business was recognised by renowned businessman Theo Paphitis when he selected Cosima’s to receive his coveted Small Business Sunday award. 

Sue Charity of Cosima's was selected Theo Paphitis' Small Business Sunday award.

Method Studio Architects, who have been at Hylands Estate since 2019, have won multiple awards for their innovative architectural work and their fantastic customer service. The team have won the Houzz Awards ‘Best of Houzz for Design’ five years running and the ‘Best of Houzz for Service' four years in a row. 

Helping wedding dreams come true 

Those planning a wedding at Hylands Estate will find the Artist Studios to be a fruitful place to peruse, with many artists providing wedding services, including Chez Bec and 3D Printing Gal.  

In 2021, resident artists Knight Design even designed Hylands’ stylish bridal suites where wedding parties prepare for the big day, while Method Architects designed the venue’s outdoor ceremony garden in 2022. Since then, many couples have chosen to say their vows under the graceful oak structure surrounded by the estate’s natural woodland.

Tanya Krackowizer’s Chez Bec specialises in handmade pearl and crystal bridal jewellery and accessories. From earrings to hair pins, her sophisticated designs provide the perfect finishing touches to a bride’s dream day. 

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Chez Bec's bridal accessories.

Recently joined artist 3D Printing Gal, Clare, offers bespoke personalised wedding products such as 3D printed keyrings and magnets for save the dates and wedding favours, as well as fun printed toys for younger wedding guests. 

Vanessa Brett Millinery has a very well-established wedding offer, with great experience in designing and creating unique Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom looks. Vanessa also creates other wedding guest headwear, and you’ll see her at many of Hylands’ Wedding Showcase events.  

Creative workshops for all abilities 

Looking to share their passion for art and design, many Hylands artists offer regular workshops. These include Mona Marnell, who runs two stained glass workshops and two warm glass workshops every month. Her classes are aimed at beginners and are extremely popular, regularly selling out months in advance.  

There’s also Cosima’s dressmaking workshops, where beginner or amateur sewers can learn how to make their own skirt, blouse, or dress by following a commercial pattern. 

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Cosima's dressmaking workshops are great for beginners or those with some knowledge of sewing.

Tanya Krackowizer Jewellery’s workshops show participants how to design and create handmade hammered rings or bangles. And for couples looking for a romantic activity to do together, there’s even make your own wedding ring sessions! 

For those looking to kickstart a new construction project, Method Studio Architects also offer free consultation workshops on a weekly basis, to guide clients through the complicated process of design and planning. 

Meanwhile, 3D Printing Gal has plans to introduce 3D printing workshops for children to the studios in 2024. The sessions will guide little ones through designing an item on the computer and then printing it using the latest technology. 

A 3d-printed dragon created by 3D Printing Gal.

All the workshops available at the studios can be explored on the Hylands Estate website. Many of them include free parking and a 20% discount at The Deli Hylands in the price. 

Community projects in 2024 

3D Printing Gal has other big plans for 2024, including an ambition to set up a model railway in her studio which the public can explore for free to see the magical possibilities that 3D printing offers. She’ll even be including a miniature Hylands House! 

Another newly joined artist David Bishop, owner of RunDMB, will be utilising his fantastic graffiti skills in this year’s Concrete Canvas art trail, run by Chelmsford For You. He’ll be painting a street art piece on an Open Reach cabinet near Chelmsford railway station. David joined Hylands in summer 2023 and his fun vinyl and resin art toys designed in his trademark abstract graffiti style have been adored by Hylands visitors. He also customises trainers, skate decks, and anything else you can draw on! 

Most importantly, if you pay a visit to Hylands Estate, don’t forget to pop into the artists’ communal shop. Here you can browse their skilled creations and purchase one or two as gifts for loved ones, or as a treat for yourself.  

Some of the beautifully crafted items you might find for sale include 3D printed animals and dragons by 3D Printing Gal; Mona’s warm glass coasters and trinket dishes; and David’s hand-painted trainers, toys and graffiti-style paintings. 

There’s also arrange of greeting cards and adorable needle felted toadstools and succulents by Handmade By Han. Hannah Winter used to be a secondary school art teacher and joined the Artist Studios just before the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. Since then, she’s devoted her time to experimenting with different mediums including mixed media, watercolour, and textiles. 

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Hannah joined the Artist Studios just before lockdown in 2020.

A new artist on the block 

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Ceramist Alex Harrington is the latest artist to join the studios at Hylands.

You’ll also find brand-new ceramic items appearing in the shop this spring as another artist joins the stable block. Ceramist Alex Harrington will be using her new studio space to create unique clay ceramic mugs, vases, candle stick holders, plates, bowls, and various other pots.  

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Alex's unique ceramics will appear in the Artists Shop soon.

Alex will also be offering regular ceramic workshops, starting this spring. Her six-week courses will explore different hand building techniques, from pinching to the Japanese kurinuki, while her one-off workshops will be perfect for beginners looking to try out pottery making.  

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Alex will be running regular ceramic workshops from spring 2024.

Alex is excited to join Hylands close-knit community: 

"I’m looking forward to being part of a creative community, working with likeminded people. It will be nice to have a base where I can focus on my work and share it with others.”

Alex Harrington, ceramist

Studio spaces available 

Are you interested in working creatively from a unique location? There are currently two first-floor studio spaces available at The Stables and the team are now searching for talented artists or makers to bring something new to Hylands’ artist community. You can learn more about the spaces and apply on the Hylands Estate website. 

April Open Estate marks World Innovation and Creativity Day 

This month, Hylands Estate’s Open Estate Day on 21 April will showcase and celebrate The Stables’ resident artists to mark World Innovation and Creativity Day! On the day, the Artists’ Studios will be open for visitors to explore and chat to the artists, and the Artists Shop will be filled with all things uniquely #MadeAtHylands. Plus, little ones can enjoy a special creative challenge alongside one of the resident artists, with the chance to win a prize! Pop down to the free event between 10am and 3pm to check out everything the artists have to offer. 

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Cherelle Nightingill
Cherelle Nightingill

Cherelle writes about Chelmsford Theatre, Hylands Estate, Chelmsford Museum, the Mayor of Chelmsford and culture and events in the city.