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Getting Inspired in Creative Margate

Do you ever feel like you’ve run into a creative rut?  You know, when you get up in the morning ready to face the world only to sit at your desk or in your studio and nothing comes.  It can be so frustrating. This is usually when I realise that I’ve been sitting at a desk for too long and it’s time to shake things up and have an adventure!

Margate beach

So with a date booked to visit an artist’s studio in Margate (more on that to follow), I decided to make a weekend of it.  Just me, a backpack and some good old pen and paper!  Well, it did the trick. Lots of planning, scheming, writing and daydreaming was done and I returned to my usual abode filled with energy and ideas.  The off-shoot was that I also discovered that Margate is bursting with creativity!

Charlie Evaristo-Boyce Shop Margate

Left: The tiny, but perfectly formed gallery of pop artist Charlie Evaristo-Boyce; Right: The creative characters of Margate.

Often thought of as a forgotten seaside town, there are some super exciting things happening in Margate.  Firstly of course, the Turner Gallery which sits perched on the waterfront and free for all to enjoy. Perhaps this was the beginning of the turning point for Margate, but now there are galleries, crafters studios’ and make shift artists’ shops spilling onto the streets, along with a string of interesting independent design and antique shops. The added bonus is that people have time for you and are more than happy to natter away telling you about all the exciting things that are going on in Margate, and where to get a good cup of coffee!

ETC Shop Margate

The enticing interiors shop ETC, which stocks the best of vintage and mid-century design along with contemporary plants and flowers.

One of the exciting new additions to the town is the recently opened Margate House. Margate House is a community project led by Canadian Lana Valetta whose vision is to see art and creativity for all.  This exciting space has taken over a previously boarded up building on the high street and is now a creative space for photography, moving image, technology and the arts.  A labour of love, since opening in early September this year, it has seen people from all parts of the local community come together to view, participate in and enjoy creativity without the usual stigma of a traditional gallery.

Shell Grotto Margate

The intricate mosaics of the mysterious Shell Grotto. A hidden treasure of Margate.

Margate is also the home to the little known Shell Grotto.  It doesn’t necessarily sound exotic, but it is quite a phenomenal place, especially given that it was discovered in 1835 and that no one knows anything about how it came to be or what it was used for!  Consisting of over 4.6 million shells that have all been hand laid into elaborate mosaics over every surface, it is a sight to be seen.

Margate Street Art Festival

After 10 years of campaigning, the famous Dreamland has also recently reopened in all its restored glory. This icon of Margate signals the continued regeneration of this seaside resort which is rising again. There are also remnants of Margate’s Street Art Festival with fantastic graffiti and murals dotted around the town.

Unfortunately I just missed the Kent Open Studios Week, but with so much on offer to inspire, it’s definitely in the diary for next year!

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