Surrey Artists Open Studios 2014 - look out for the orange signs!

Eric Barfield

Eric Barfield - Credit: Various

From printmakers, jewellers and sculptors to textile makers, painters and glass-blowers, over 200 artists across the county will be throwing open their studio doors to visitors this month. Here, Tinx Newton meets a few of those involved to find out what’s in store...

Diana Croft

Diana Croft - Credit: Various

Need to know:

The Surrey Artists’ Open Studios summer event runs from Saturday June 7 to Sunday June 22, 2014 when over 200 artists across Surrey will be throwing open their studio doors.

This will be a chance to view a diverse range of creative skills including print-making, jewellery, ceramics, textiles, painting, wood-turning, sculpture, illustration, glass work and more.

Studio locations are all over Surrey, from vibrant town centres to rural villages in the heart of Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Caroline Jackman

Caroline Jackman - Credit: Various

Openings are usually from 11am to 5pm each day with the occasional open evening instead.

For more information, visit the Open Studios website at or pick up a brochure from libraries and creative outlets.

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Christine Hopkins

Christine Hopkins - Credit: Various


Eric Barfield

What: Oil paintings, charcoal drawings, sculpture

Where: Ericaceous Art Studio, 54 St Paul’s Road West, Dorking RH4 2HS

Roger Marsden

Roger Marsden - Credit: Various

When: June 7, 8, 11, 14, 15, 18, 21 & 22, 11am–5pm, and June 12 & 19, 6–8.30pm

The low-down: Eric’s main interest is drawing and painting people, and having a good conversation in the process. He enjoys working ‘en plein air’ in the Surrey Hills, particularly on Box Hill and Ranmore. Eric runs life drawing classes from his Dorking studio and also charcoal workshops.

My inspiration: “I’m a huge fan of the American philosopher and writer Sam Keen. In this fast-paced world, he believes we need to “stop, look and listen”. It may sound obvious, but is quite hard to put into practice even with the beautiful Surrey countryside on our doorsteps. Being genuinely present to one another is the most valuable way we can spend our time and this is central to my work as a portrait artist.”

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Jake Mee

Jake Mee - Credit: Various


Diana Croft

What: Printmaking, paintings and glass

Where: Clocktower Studios, Parkhurst Cottage, Leith Hill Road, Dorking RH5 6LW

Annee Robson

Annee Robson - Credit: Various

When: June 7, 8, 12, 14 & 15, 11am–5pm, and June 12, 6–8.30pm

The low-down: Diana lives, works and teaches in the Dorking area. Her prints have a distinctive and vibrant style, and reflect her surroundings. For Open Studios, she is exhibiting with Karen Pearson (painter and sculptor), Chrissie Ferriroli (painter) and Reiko Evans (ceramicist). Visitors will be able to see demonstrations and work in progress with an interesting variety of different mediums being exhibited.

My inspiration: “My linocuts and collagraph prints have evolved over the years to become stylised representations of the landscape around me. I particularly like Surrey’s rolling chalk downland and find early spring and autumn the most inspiring seasons with clear crisp colours and the patterns of ploughed fields and bare trees showing the structure of the landscape. Living in Dorking, I find walking over Ranmore or through Denbies vineyard is always guaranteed to inspire. Also, my recent three-month trip to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos will no doubt give my new work an Eastern flavour.”

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Ruth Taylor

Ruth Taylor - Credit: Various


Christine Hopkins

What: Mixed media painting/printmaking

Where: The Skylight Studio, 55 Wray Park Road, Reigate RH2 0EQ

Ali Tomlin

Ali Tomlin - Credit: Various

When: June 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21 & 22, 11am–5pm

The low-down: Christine paints and prints images of the built environment – the grittier the better! Developing printmaking skills at the Ochre Print Studio in Guildford became her art-college substitute. As she worked with talented professionals, feasting on their knowledge and absorbing creativity with every visit, printmaking quickly became her creative addiction of choice. Today, Christine is involved with the Society of Graphic Fine Art, serving on their council and selection panels for their Open Exhibitions and membership.

My inspiration: “Man-made structures feature significantly in my work. I am drawn to their solidity and strength and the way they can dominate a landscape. I sketch and photograph buildings across Surrey and elsewhere, and in the studio I transform these into representations rather than reproductions. The backs of things – skips, dustbins, scaffolding, the mechanics of building services – are of more interest to me than their more formal fronts.”

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Ruth Wheeler

Ruth Wheeler - Credit: Various


Caroline Jackman

What: Painter and original printmaker

Where: Tilthams Farm, Tilthams Corner Road, Godalming GU7 3DE

When: June 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15, 11am–5pm

The low-down: Character, colour and texture are the backbone to Caroline’s artistic creations. Paint and original print are her preferred medium, specialising in animals and landscapes. She is often commissioned to capture the personality and individuality of a favourite pet. As artist in residence at the Ochre Print Studio in Guildford, she is now developing skills and techniques in linocut, etching, screen printing and creating one-off original prints.

My inspiration: “I live and work on a farm based by the River Wey near Godalming. All the images I use for inspiration in my work are from animals, birds and other creatures living on the farm, or places I have travelled to. My current project, Fear and Fascination, uses photography, drawing, printmaking, painting and installation to overcome my fear of spiders. This extensive study has helped me overcome my arachnophobia! The final piece will be showcased during Surrey Artists’ open studios.” • Find out more at


Roger Marsden

What: Woodturner

Where: Selmeston, Glendene Avenue, East Horsley KT24 5AY

When: June 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21 & 22, 11am–5pm, and June 12, 6–8.30pm

The low-down: Roger produces adventurous wood-turned practical pieces such as large pepper grinders, also artistic bowls and platters of all sizes and shapes, mostly from local English hardwoods including local woods from Surrey. He exhibits several times a year with Oxshott Art & Crafts Society, Molesey Art Society and at Denbies Wine estate.

My inspiration: “I love the freedom of finding the best features in wood and enhancing them. I turn shapes that appeal to me without specific uses in mind – I would prefer people to admire and feel the work rather than fill the bowls. I enjoy using locally sourced woods where possible. The recent wet winter saw many trees coming down and I now have a stock of woods from Surrey. Some wood takes years to fully dry – the waiting, however, can sometimes turn into magic when the natural fungi in wood affect its colouring during the drying out.

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Jake Mee

What: Glassblowing

Where: Smithbrook Glassblowing Studio, Smithbrook Kilns, Cranleigh GU6 8JJ

When: June 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20 & 21, 11am–5pm, and June 12, 6–8.30pm

The low-down: In the rural setting of Smithbrook Kilns near Cranleigh, Jake creates ranges of art glass combining classical forms with contemporary surface decoration techniques, building up colour on clear glass. He also collaborates with other artists to create sculptural installations as well as doing restoration work, including removing chips from wine glasses, grinding and polishing. He also does courses, talks and demonstrations.

My inspiration: “My inspiration derives from nature, spring flowers, meadows, the treetop canopy and the rich Surrey landscape.”

• Find out more at smithbrookglassblowing


Ruth Taylor

What: Painter

Where: Jeffreys Cottage Group, Jeffreys Cottage, Bealeswood Lane, Dockenfield, Farnham GU10 4HS

When: June 14, 15, 19, 20, 21 & 22, 11am–5pm

The low-down: Ruth trained as a textile designer at West Surrey College of Art and Design. In recent years, she has returned to painting, working in oil on canvas and board, applying layers of oil paint to the canvas with brushes, combs and even her hands (which children particularly enjoy seeing!). She then employs a variety of tools to work through the layers to produce atmospheric landscapes.

My inspiration: “My paintings are inspired by the English countryside, from the South Downs of my childhood to the area where I now live on the Surrey/Hampshire border. With Frensham Common and the ponds on my doorstep, I am able to observe the constantly changing colours and the effect of the weather and the seasons on the landscape. Open Studios is my favourite event of the year as the public can share the process by which I create my paintings, hence breaking down the barriers between the art and the viewer.”

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Ali Tomlin

What: Ceramics and porcelain

Where: 4 Sands Close, The Sands, Farnham GU10 1LU

When: June 13, 14, 15 & 16, 11am–5pm

The low-down: Ali’s work is mainly thrown porcelain, with most of the outer surfaces unglazed but sanded to a smooth, silky finish. This makes the pieces beautiful to touch and hold. Some are glazed inside, like a shell that is hard and glossy inside but sanded to a smooth finish by the sea on the outside. Ali prefers to work with a limited palette using simple lines and scraped and brushed colour, leaving much of the surface in the natural white of the porcelain.

My inspiration: “My inspiration comes from random marks and lines, how the clouds look against a dusk sky, worn-off paint, cracked bark, a scribble or a splash of colour. I live by Crooksbury Woods and regularly walk there with my son and dog, and we never return home without something that has caught our imagination.

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Annee Robson

What: Screenprint

Where: Ochre Print Studio, Lockwood Centre, Westfield Road, Slyfield Industrial Estate Guildford GU1 1RR

When: June 7, 8, 14 & 15, 11am–5pm, with a range of events (e-mail

The low-down: Annee is a Guildford-based artist and printmaker with a distinctive, vibrant style. She is also a director of the Ochre Print Studio where she tutors in printmaking. Ochre Print is an open access print studio, welcoming and encouraging artists and printmakers of all abilities to engage in traditional printmaking and contemporary print technology.

My inspiration: “Living and working as an artist in the Surrey Hills, I always carry my camera with me; it is my sketchbook. Screenprint is my favourite method of printing; it is a wonderful process that allows me to create layers of colour and texture using photographic images, paper stencils, drawings, photocopies and anything else that can be safely put on an exposure unit.”

More @ or • Find out more at


Ruth Wheeler

What: Surrey woodwork (including oak, cedar, chestnut and elm)

Where: Punchbowl Arts, The Workshop, Devils Punchbowl, Hindhead GU26 6AB

When: June 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21 & 22, 11am–5pm, and June 13 & 19, 6–8.30pm

The low-down: An award-winning sculptor, Ruth is also the founder of Surrey-based arts organisation, Sculptit, which works with all ages and abilities helping communities to discover their creativity and achieve their big ideas. Alongside her community engagements, Ruth has launched ‘Woody bits’; a collection of handmade, wooden crafts made solely from Surrey Oak. Sculptit are currently working with the Arts Partnership Surrey to coordinate and create eight community, intergenerational and sensory art gardens across the county.

My inspiration: “I have always loved wood in all its forms, having had a connection with trees from a young girl. I love living in Surrey with its abundance of trees, which inspire me in my work. My workshop is at the top of the Punchbowl viewpoint, which is such a beautiful area and provides me with studio space to work on public art commissions and my own art and craft collections, as well as space to season local wood.”

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