More than 300 artists will be demonstrating and showcasing their work in creative spaces this month, including gardens, galleries, sheds, attics, a yurt and a historic mill.

Many have taken their inspiration from the natural world – flora and fauna, coast and countryside. Others have been inspired by difficult topics such as mental health. There is art to delight and inspire as well as creativity to encourage us to think deeply.

The range on show includes painting, photography, sculpture, textiles, prints, ceramics and furniture.

As well as seeing artists at work, visitors will also be able to try their hand at creating something in one of the workshops, which include sketching in clay, eco dyeing, cyanotypes, paint & stitch, life drawing, stained glass, and woodcarving.

‘Visitors will be able to enjoy free exhibitions and demonstrations, take part in workshops, meet the artists and celebrate the range of talent across the county,’ says Avenda Burnell Walsh of Devon Artist Network, which organises the event.

The event is also very important for Devon’s economy, she adds. ‘Last year, more than half a million pounds was generated in sales of artwork to nearly 50,000 visitors. Purchases ranged from greetings cards and small gifts to large garden sculptures and paintings. And for those who can’t afford to buy anything at the moment, we’re encouraging everyone to share their favourite art on social media to help spread the word.’

Great British Life: Chrissie Hunt uses the texture, form and quality of the line to express elements of the landscape. Photo: Jim WilemanChrissie Hunt uses the texture, form and quality of the line to express elements of the landscape. Photo: Jim Wileman

Formed from clay

Ceramicist Chrissie Hunt uses mark making to draw onto clay. She uses the texture, form and quality of the line to express elements of the landscape. As well as her vases, she’s been creating some new forms.

Chrissie loves sitting on the beach and looking back at the landscape which inspires her work. She sees the cliff faces as the sides of pots, and the fields and undulations as the three-dimensional volume of her vessels. She’s been experimenting with this sense of volume by creating enclosed vessels with apertures for single stems.

This process of creating new work also involves experimenting with shape and decoration, deciding where the belly of the vessel should be, working with the marks created by the rhythm of the making process, and deciding how to draw using slips and glazes. Chrissie has also been working with different clays to achieve the contrast she is looking for, testing different slips on terracotta as well as black clay.

Devon Open Studios visitors will be the first to see the new work created during this period of experimentation. Chrissie will be showing her work alongside three other artists at the Tin Shed Studio in Shaldon near Teignmouth.

Great British Life: Susie Honnor uses the special textures of potato printing to make colourful patterns on cushions and lampshades. Photo: Robin ChristianSusie Honnor uses the special textures of potato printing to make colourful patterns on cushions and lampshades. Photo: Robin Christian

Potato designs

Susie Honnor is taking part in the event for the first time. She brings a new dimension to potato printing, using the special textures to make colourful patterns on cushions and lampshades. She was inspired to start making when she and her husband created a new room at the top of their garden. The space was so wonderful that she felt it should be used every day, and so she began experimenting. Using six pots of fabric ink to create a range of shades and colours, Susie takes advantage of the natural qualities of the potato to make her marks. She chooses her potatoes for their shapes and uses a lino cutter to make patterns. The skin of the potato picks up the dye to give a clean edge, while a different effect is created by the cut potato edges.

Although the process is low-tech, Susie carefully considers every detail at each stage to produce her special designs.

Caring for the environment is important too, and Susie pays careful attention to the sustainability of every part of her making — her choice of inks, fabrics and cushion pads as well as packaging.

Susie will be showing her work alongside botanical artist Rosie Sanders in Bovey Tracey.

Great British Life: Work by Jordan EastwoodWork by Jordan Eastwood

Conversation opener

Jordan Eastwood set himself a 100-day figure drawing challenge. He wanted to practice his skills and create more confident lines, so he decided to share his daily drawing process on social media. The posts quickly became popular, and people have been keen to buy the drawings.

Jordan has also been working on a burnt charcoal sculpture which forms the central part of his exhibition. His aim is to create an immersive environment in his studio, using visual art with a soundscape and specially created smells. This work focuses on loneliness and isolation, reflecting Jordan’s struggles with mental health. His aim is to open up the conversation about mental health and use his art to encourage others to confront their own emotional challenges.

‘I have a strong need to create works that will totally engage people, helping them experience feelings and new “environments” that they may never have before,’ he says. ‘My hope is to give people a sense of perspective, a real insight into how another person thinks and feels. I feel that visual arts have to fight quite hard to be fully appreciated in the current social climate, so to tackle that, I intend to fully immerse people by plunging them into a deep atmosphere.’

Great British Life: Catherine West's Unfurling is a series of work displayed in her greenhouse. Photo: Jim WilemanCatherine West's Unfurling is a series of work displayed in her greenhouse. Photo: Jim Wileman

Sculptural stitching

Catherine West has gathered a group of artists inspired by nature and wellbeing to show their work in her garden and studio in Crediton.

Catherine uses natural dyes, cyanotypes and stitching to create her textile work. One soft sculpture takes the form of a backpack printed with flowers using natural dyes. The sculpture is made of natural materials which change over time; the colours change with the sun’s rays. A skeleton magnolia leaf incorporated into the sculpture has become more fragile, and Catherine has reinforced it with delicate stitching. The sculpture tells the story of the baggage we carry with us, literally and figuratively.

Catherine’s Unfurling is a series of work displayed in her greenhouse. A textile laptop sits on a vintage wooden desk. The screen is made with cyanotypes (sun prints), the cable of hand spun woollen thread and the three-pin plug were created from a recycled blanket. Around the greenhouse sit framed prints of ferns made using different techniques including eco-printing, cyanotype and slow stitching from shadow drawings.

The 2023 summer solstice sunset inspired Catherine to make a woollen patchwork using reclaimed wool blankets dyed with dahlia, comfrey and other plants.

Great British Life: Mothecombe by Joanna HaighMothecombe by Joanna Haigh

Layers of print

Printmaker Joanna Haigh is inspired by the natural world. She was brought up in Devon and returned two years ago to live on the edge of Dartmoor, where she enjoys taking walks to seek inspiration for her work.

Joanna creates reduction linocut prints where each colour layer is carved into the same lino block. A layer is carved to print the first colour, then the next layer is carved to create another colour, and so on. The colours are built up from the palest to the darkest, and only a limited number of prints can be made. Joanna usually creates just eight or ten prints from a block, all very slightly different due to the hand printing process.

She enjoys the thought process she needs to go through before creating each piece, working out if an image will translate into print. Her colour palette includes blues and greens reflecting the hues of the natural environment. Rather than using a stark black as her darkest colour, she often uses a very dark purple to create a softer effect.

Joanna will be working on prints at her studio near Ivybridge so that visitors can see how the work is made.

Great British Life: Amy Jobes at work in her studio. Photo: Jim WilemanAmy Jobes at work in her studio. Photo: Jim Wileman

Seascape inspiration

Amy Jobes creates evocative impressionistic oil paintings inspired by the huge skies and distant horizons of the North Devon coastline. This is Amy’s third year taking part in Devon Open Studios, and she’ll be converting her log cabin garden studio into a beautiful gallery space to display a diverse range of works from greetings cards to huge statement oil paintings.

‘It's wonderful to join forces with so many other Devon artists for the biggest art event in the county,’ she says. ‘I love meeting the people who come to visit; we welcome locals as well as visitors who’ve travelled from around the county.

‘As a seascape artist I am inspired by the wild and dramatic coastline here in North Devon. Open Studios is a chance to talk to people in depth and in person about why I paint, and I love to discover my visitors' own personal connections to the work.

‘Often people see my paintings and share fond memories of time spent at their favourite beach, which I always enjoy. Life puts pressure on us all in all sorts of ways, but a visit to a vast and expansive natural environment can be incredibly grounding, putting everything in perspective. I think that resonates with a lot of people.’

Event guides are available in community venues, libraries and tourist information offices, or go to