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The Conservatory & Co

Art and About with creative director Isabel Lopes.

By Tamara Howie

The Darwin Botanic Gardens has become a haven for artists with a new creative studio and retail space opening in the Eco House. The Conservatory & Co promotes the work of local independent artists and will host weekend workshops for established artists and beginners alike.

Creative director Isabel Lopes is thrilled to have a studio surrounded by nature and sat down with Off The Leash to tell us more about the new space.

How did this new venture come about?
As an artist I always wanted my own space. Darwin has a bit of a lack of art shops for artists and I’ve had this idea for a long time, but I never had the guts to follow through. When my business partner became available I asked if she could help. She said yes so we approached the Botanic Gardens to see if they had space.

Why did you have the Gardens in mind?
It’s just a magical place for me to have a studio there and it’s very inspiring for artists. For visitors, it’s convenient because it’s close to town and has free parking. The Gardens management want to activate the space at the top of the gardens.

What kind of artwork will visitors find?
We have a very wide mix of works by local artists – jewellery, ceramics, textile art, paintings and printed cards. We have a lot of contemporary work by our younger artists and some more traditional crafts such as pottery, too. 

Are there any themes running through the work?
We didn’t ask for it but a lot of the work is inspired by nature.

Can other artists get involved?
Yes! They can contact us via email or pop into the shop to show us their work and have a chat.

What kind of workshops can people get involved in?
They’ll be fun and relaxed. We’ve got photography for makers to learn how to use their mobile phone to take photos to tell their story, but we’ll also have lots of other workshops run by local artists.


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