This new art studio sits within the grounds of an important 19th century listed building in Ulverston – Conishead Priory. The studio building incorporates all of the stages of production of Buddhist statues and plaques that previously was being carried out in badly equipped rooms dotted about the main building and ramshackle portacabins within the grounds.
Architecturally this was a complex project from start to finish, we had to work along side the artists and technicians from each department to understand the diverse processes that were now to be housed in a coherent way under one roof. At one end of the unit the sculptors now work mainly in clay but also with three dimensional computer modelling to create the original pieces. These are then moved to the casting studio where moulds can be produced. The casts are then formed in Jesmonite plaster and sprayed before being moved to the finishing room where the statues cast are prepared and finished to the absolute highest standards. The statues are then filled, packaged up and shipped out to various temples and Buddhist centres throughout the world. Each process required its own particular level of heating and ventilation appropriate to the materials being used and the particular process being carried there. The roof lights and windows have been carefully arranged to provide the level and orientation of natural light best suited to the activity being carried out within the various rooms within the building.
In the two years it has been operational the studio has proved to be a great success and the 10-15 artists that use it say how delighted they are with their new working environment. Early signs show that it has also had the desired effect of improving their ability to produce better quality statues, more quickly in a clean, safe and comfortable environment.