The ethos of Elmslie House has always been about supporting and promoting artists and craftspeople. Like so many small businesses, Elmslie has been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with bookings cancelled and events not able to take place.

Despite all the uncertainty and hard times that so many are facing, it’s uplifting to hear the good news stories – about those raising incredible amounts of money for charity and inspiring others to do the same; children creating artwork to show their support for the NHS and key workers; penguins visiting art galleries, communities pulling together and people taking the time to help others. Through all of the heartache, it’s important to have things that make us smile.

The creative community as a whole has been amazingly supportive, with artists coming together to create online sales and exhibitions. The #artistsupportpledge initiative has been hugely popular, with many artists and craftspeople, unable to show at exhibitions, open studio events and fairs, seeing it as a lifeline during lockdown. The team at Elmslie House, who are huge fans of all things creative, have been discovering new artists and craftspeople to follow, as well as reconnecting with old favourites. Daily forays on Instagram have turned up all sorts of treats (that have found their way into our homes!) and we’re proud to be able to continue our support of artists and craftspeople even though we can’t go out.

John Button
Sian McGill
Emma Stokes (Emma Davis Painting)

Another initiative that’s close to our hearts is the auction that is currently underway to raise funds for Charleston – the house, garden and art gallery in the South Downs National Park that was the home of Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. Charleston, like so many other properties and venues, is currently closed due to Covid-19 and so the Charleston Emergency Appeal has been launched to help protect its future.

Artist Emily Maude is hosting the Charleston Inspires Auction in aid of the Charleston Trust. Featuring over 160 lots that have been donated by renowned artists and craftspeople, it’s a real feast for the eyes! Emma Hardicker and Sarah Tyssen, both regulars to the Blue Magpie Contemporary Craft Fairs, have donated work for the auction.

The auction runs until 4pm on 20th June. To see the lots and place bids, go to @emilymaudey on Instagram. For more information go to www.charleston.org.uk/charleston-inspires-artists-auction/