The Treatment Rooms

Carrie Reichardt’s Open Studio for Artists at Home
Chiswick Park West London

Reviewed by Tracey Dunn
Photographer Ruth Dillon

I first met Carrie Reinhardt - renegade potter and campaigner for US political prisoners on Death Row - when she was at the Liverpool Museum in March for International Women's Day. Carrie was there to give a talk about the Mary Bamber Suffragette statue she had made with artist and musician Nick Reynolds which was purchased and is now on permanent display at the museum. It was here too that I first heard her raising awareness for innocent black men jailed in America for crimes they did not commit.

The artist told me I was welcome to visit her home The Treatment Rooms anytime I was in London so I was glad to take up that offer when I saw she was having an open studio for a West London Artists At Home event. I invited the artist and photographer Ruth Dillon to visit Carrie with me.

Carrie's house is in leafy suburbs and really stands out as it is almost completely covered in brightly coloured mosaics and objects all in her own original style.

Outside is the mosaic customised Tiki Love Truck which was commissioned for a UK Art Car Parade and is dedicated to John Joe ‘Ash’ Amador. Ash was wrongly executed by the US state by lethal injection for a crime he did not commit and Carrie was there in Texas with his family to watch. She had been writing to the Death Row prisoner for about a year before he was murdered by the American Government. Carrie told him how she would like to create the truck complete with his death mask to remember him and as a protest against the death penalty. His death mask is also inside the house and an artwork with a cast of Ash's arm where the injection was inserted, called Doing God's Work, hangs on a wall.

Every inch of Carrie's house is filled with edgy, anarchic customised ceramic tiles, fetish objects, dolls’ faces, ceramic aerosol cans, embroidery, flying eyes, transformer robots, speakers, skulls, sexy vending machines, kitsch and more. There is even a genuine police bomb disposal jacket upstairs on the landing with a Metropolitan Peace embroidered patch on it!

The backyard and outside wall had also been totally customised including a pulpit with mirror ball and slogans like Fuck the law we want justice, Bibles, bombs and Big Macs We love the USA, I am an artist your rules don't apply and a giant mosaic of an afroed woman like the many armed Shiva on a lotus flower. Most of the outside wall is dedicated to the executed political prisoner Luis Ramirez, and includes his death certificate and ceramic guns.

There was a table inside filled with brightly coloured badges, postcards, tea towels, prints, mugs and more for sale including the recent Mad In England series. In another room was a table filled with hundreds of printed ceramic tiles for purchase, all in Carrie's unique anarchic style.

She also has her own studio and gallery a short walk away which we visited. This woman is prolific!

Carrie told me how much she likes Liverpool with its radical edge and would like to do more work here. Let's hope she gets her wish.

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