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  • Writer's pictureMariaRado

Artist Open Studios in December


Maria Rado Art Studio open days in December

Artists' Open Studios on 3rd, 10th and11th of December, 11-4pm at Beckenham Place Mansion, lower ground floor.

Walk-in, free event.


It has been some time I haven't opened my studio to the public, so this December there will be 3 open days with a very exciting guest artist. I can't wait to see the studio brightened by Elizabeth's colourful creations, to meet old and new faces and talk about art.


I have spend last few months painting mainly commissions, creating giclée prints and hand finishing them. Most of my original canvases are large and often collectors like an artwork but it's too big for the space they want to dedicate to art or out of the art budget of the household. So I've been working on smaller art prints that are more affordable than an original. No compromises have been made with the quality working on my new collection of prints. They are giclée prints on archival Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm or Hahnemühle photo rag metallic 340g paper and mounted with acid free mount card. My prints are limited edition, usually only 6 or 12 in edition. They are signed, numbered, mounted and come with a certificate of authenticity. My art can be seen in the studio at Beckenham Place Mansion, on the Artwork page, Instagram  and Facebook




What is a Giclée Print?

Giclée print is a high quality fine art print or reproduction. This high quality is achieved by using archival quality pigment inks which are sprayed on to an archival fine art paper or canvas. The result is an image with quality, and durability that can rival an original.

(Giclée is pronounced ‘zhee-klay’ as it comes from French, meaning ‘a spray or a squirt of liquid’)


Now let me introduce my guest artist Elizabeth Knapp


Elizabeth Knapp of When I Decorate Things is a south London mixed media artist. Here she answers few questions for us.


What inspires your work?

I love colour and have a very visceral response to colours and patterns. My When I Decorate Things creations are the products of that instinct and imagination in response to what I see and feel, honed by the skills and techniques I have developed over time to bring them to life. I am drawn particularly to animal and plant designs, and spirals.



What do you create?

I always have far more ideas than time to create them! My current main body of work is resin-based. I make small 3D resin pictures, usually depicting animal scenes; abstract fluid art and ‘dot art’ pieces; small resin animal ornaments; and also jewellery. I have recently been getting back into figurative painting (human and animal portraits and some urban landscapes). And I paint and decorate wooden furniture and ornaments. My work is a cacophony of colour.



What’s your artist’s story?

I have always drawn and painted. I won art prizes through school and anticipated a career in the arts in some undefined way. However I became disillusioned with Art at A Level and didn’t know where I wanted to take it – there was no social media in those days for inspiration... So I branched off into a social science degree, followed by living and teaching in Japan, and then a career in the financial and public sectors. While I continued to dabble in art and crafts over the years, it was when I moved into a new home with my young son in 2013 that my creative activities moved up a gear. The catalyst was furnishing our little flat, and the realisation that my wooden furniture didn’t actually have to be coated in brown varnish as I had always, on some conformist subconscious level, assumed it had. I fell in love with the brightly coloured and decorated furniture I had seen in magazines and on burgeoning social media. I bought a lovely little green and yellow Indian chest of drawers, with a hand painted floral pattern (which I still have). I wanted more such colour and pattern in my life and realised that such pieced were out of my price range. So I decided to try upcycling, revamping and decorating some of the brown furniture that I already had. While I had limitless ideas about the kinds of things I wanted to create, much research and practice ensued to acquire and develop the technical skills to support that and create pieces I was happy with. So there was lots of experimenting and learning – and that continues to this day. After some time, having painted, decorated and decoupaged most of the furniture in our home, I moved on to upcycling pre-owned smaller wooden pieces to given them a colourful, vibrant new lease of life. And so When I Decorate Things was born in early 2017. For the first couple of years my work focused almost exclusively on wood. Then I gradually had an inkling which became a calling to also create colourful shiny things with epoxy resin. And so ensued more studying, more research and more experimenting and practicing. And I gradually added resin art pieces and jewellery to my When I Decorate Things creations.

The upcycling theme continued with my resin work as I love incorporating salvaged materials into my pieces – for instance using old vinyl records (particularly records I have an aversion to) as ‘canvases’ for my resin art; and embedding things like foil chocolate wrappers and old necklace chains into my jewellery, for extra depth, shine and interest.

In early 2021 I picked up an art paintbrush again, prompted mostly by a spark that was reignited by the coronavirus lockdown series of Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year, and Channel 4’s Grayson’s Art Club. And I am now developing my picture-painting practice alongside my resin and wood work.



What are your values in your work?

While I work in a variety of media and creative a range of items, there is a thread of related values running through my pieces. The first value is of course colour – for me more is usually more, and I love experimenting with surreal colour palettes. The second value is happiness – I aim to create pieces which are quirky and joyful and brighten the viewer’s day whenever they see them. The third value is probably best described as ‘fostering being in the moment’, with my wish for viewers to pause for a moment while they look at my work, to create a little breathing space from the hecticness of daily life.



Where do you show your work?

As well as participating in art exhibitions I take my smaller pieces to craft fairs and markets. A list of upcoming events is on my website I took part in the first three Crystal Palace Artists’ Open House events in 2019, 2020 and 2022, and I am a founding member of the Crystal Palace Exhibit 12 artists’ collective. I have also been a member of the House of Upcycling, the UK and Ireland's leading authority on professional upcycling for interiors, since 2017. You can contact me at elizabeth@whenidecoratethings.co.uk or on socials Instagram Facebook Twitter


The art studio is on the lower ground floor of Beckenham Mansion, Beckenham Place Park, Beckenham, BR3 1SY. Map

The art studio can be accessed in 3 ways. If you enter the main entrance of Beckenham Place Mansion there are stairs leading to the lower ground floor. The door on the north side of the building is open for Artists' Open Days. Also you can go through the Mansion Bar & Cafe.


If you come to visit the art studio on 3rd of December there is a Christmas Market at the mansion where you can find Christmas Wreaths, decorations, candles, personalised gifts, glassware, woodcarvings, Christmas cakes and so much more.


On 10th and 11th of December also upper floor Artists' Studios will be open and the beloved So Last Century vintage market is taking over the mansion with its Christmas edition. A fantastic selection of mid-century home decor, lighting, ceramics and glass, books, records, prints, antique maps, brocante, salvage, vintage designer clothing and much more will be available for vintage enthusiasts. 40 of the best vintage dealers will showcase and sell their treasures, inside and outside the Manor house. Delicious street food, coffee, and brownies will be available outdoors, and the Mansion Bar & Cafe will also be open serving drinks and food. Don't forget to visit KHY Sewing School on the ground floor and see what treasures Verso Vintage shop currently have.




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