Discover the artists taking part in this year's Surrey Artists Open Studios

Oil painting

Alone in Unison by Barry Fry - Credit: Barry Fry

We check out some of the must-see makers taking part in Surrey Artists Open Studio events this month.

For the coming month, Surrey painters, potter, makers and crafters will welcome the public into their creation stations for the annual Surrey Artists Open Studios (SAOS) event taking place throughout the county. This year there will be 286 artists taking part across 162 studios. 

As well as a chance to meet and talk to artists in their place of work, the annual open event offers visitors the opportunity to watch demonstrations, buy artwork, enter a free prize draw and even get involved in a workshop or two.  

Running for 21 years, this summer’s schedule is paying close attention to COVID-19 rules - in line with government guidance - to keep both the artists and members of the public safe when visiting studios across the county. This will include hand sanitiser, face masks, well-ventilated spaces, and social distancing measures.   

‘We are extremely pleased to be opening SAOS,’ says programme manager Caitlin Heffernan. ‘The past year has presented us all with many challenges, but we are hopeful that residents and visitors to Surrey will be able to enjoy the breadth of the county’s artistic talent and be able to support artists during this difficult year.' 

Here are a few of the local Surrey artists taking part: 

1. Haslemere’s Art & Soul Open Studio event runs until June 20. Featuring 21 creators, including Andrea Meakin, Barry Fry and Adam Aaronson, around 100 works will be on show, including paintings, drawings, ceramics, glass, metals at the gallery owned by David Paynter. There will also be a sculpture trail around the beautiful gardens and woodland that make up David’s contemporary ‘Huf’ house on Marley Common. 

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Date: June 11; 12; 13; 18; 19 & 20 

Time: 11am-5pm 


Painting of an owl

Owl by Andrea Meakin - Credit: Andrea Meakin

2. OKO: Art Gallery Studios based in Onslow, just outside Guildford, is opening two studios to show the work of gallery founder Tania Oko and Becca Clegg, alongside exhibitions from six other Surrey artists. These include graphic designer David Dragon, whose work graces several famous music album sleeves; urban image photographer Jon McRae; Diana Uzan, an award-winning photographer whose recent work has dealt with climate change issues; sculptor Claire Nelson; glass designer Joanna Lloyd and stoneware and ceramicist Jan Hite. 

Date: until June 20; days and times vary 


Woman holding board

From a student at the Orpheus Centre in Godstone - Credit: The Orpheus Centre

3. Taking place at the Barn Theatre, Orpheus Centre, North Park Lane, Godstone, the Orpheus artists have created a fabulous new exhibition exploring private lives. Beautifully observed from another side, it asks, ‘What do you get up to when you shut your door?’ and is the first time the centre, which focuses on developing independence skills for young disabled adults through the performing and visual arts, has taken part in SAOS. 

On view will be photographic and sculptural re-imaginings of classic stories, characters and secrets locked behind closed doors. 

Date: Saturday June 12 

Time: 12pm-4pm 


4. Gifted painter Alison Orchard is opening her fabulous studio at Applegarth Farm, Grayshott, from 10.30 pm-5 pm throughout the ‘open’ season. Her work is currently on show at galleries across Surrey, Hampshire and beyond, with images focusing on land and seascapes. You can also book lunch at the farm! 

Date: until June 20 

Time: 10.30pm-5pm 


Woman painting

Artist Sue Jelley at work - Credit: Sue Jelley

5. The ‘two Sues’ - Sue Jelley and Sue Ransley are two artists with several things in common, not just their names. Both are participating in the Surrey Artists Open Studios in June, both are inspired by the public as their models, and both will be fundraising for charities with children as the focus. 

Sue Jelley has looked to her garden, and her series 'Natures Exquisite Models' are, for her, a narrative of lockdown. She will also show a range of 'Small Works' - encompassing past sketches and paintings inspired by musicians, dancers and architecture in the landscape. Meanwhile, Sue Ransley will show a body of work called 'Pint Sized', celebrating the recognisable movement and behaviour of her grandchildren and other littlies, reliving happy memories to plug the gap of not being able to physically see them in that time. She will also show a new series in development called 'Freeze Frames' - capturing movement and physical expression. 

Find Sue Jelley at Venue 90, Cranleigh 

Date: 10; 12; 13; 17; 19; 20 

Time: times vary 


Discover Sue Ransley at Venue 87, Cranleigh 

Date: 10-13; 17-20 

Time: times vary 


For more artist events visit SAOS

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