Arts & Culture
by Aspect County

Down to a Fine Art

The creative community of the South East, are busy beavering away in their studios in preparation to fling open their doors and welcome the public into their artistic minds and spaces to showcase their art & crafts for all to see.

Clare Winchester Light on the Stade Oil on waxed board 50cm x 75cm Benenden

Clare Winchester: Light on the Stade, Oil on waxedboard –50cm x 75cm – Benenden

Now in its 25th year, South East Open Studios is one of the largest community open studio events in the UK, celebrating the creativity of up to 300 artists and makers. The event takes places across Kent, East Sussex and the Surrey Borders from the 3rd to the 19th June. It is an opportunity for art & design lovers to meet the creatives in their own environment, watch them demonstrate their skills, talk about their process and where they take inspiration from. Visiting the studio of an artist is a very special opportunity as it is here that you can see not only where the art is created but gain insight into the creative process, see the materials in which they produce their work and absorb the environment where it comes to life.

The open studios can be found in villages and towns across the countryside and along the coast, including Whitstable, Tenterden, Cranbrook and Hastings. It is a great way for people to explore the creativity this part of the world has to offer, whilst visiting studios and meeting new people and talented creatives. The makers come from a variety of backgrounds, some are self-taught, and others have formal training but the one thing that connects them all is their passion for creating.

Alf Business name The Soldersmith Circle City Ring and Fence Ring Sterling Silver Tonbridge

Alf (Business name – The Soldersmith): Circle City Ringand Fence Ring, Sterling Silver – Tonbridge

Ceridwen Jane Gray The Timeless Forest Acrylic on paper Framed 83cm x 103cm Image 54cm x 74cm Lamberhurst

Ceridwen Jane Gray: The Timeless Forest, Acrylic on paper, Framed 83cm x 103cm. Image 54cm x 74cm – Lamberhurst

Di Buttenshaw The Inlet 36cm x 40cm Ashford

Di Buttenshaw: The Inlet, 36cm x 40cm – Ashford

Elaine Thompson Veteran Tree Monoprint 32cm x 24cm Tonbridge

Elaine Thompson: Veteran Tree, Monoprint, 32cm x 24cm – Tonbridge

Within the diverse community there are a plethora of artists from all disciplines including photographers, sculptors, jewellery makers, printmakers and painters such as Nick Hebditch who creates landscape and cityscape paintings in oils and mixed media. These painting explore the interplay between light, sound, water, and sky. Nicks work is powerful and bold and a must see for inspiring painters. 

Ceramics seem to be a very popular discipline across the South East, you will find many talented ceramicists including Lorraine Singer who creates accessible and functional ceramics inspired by nature. She experiments with glazes, form and scale, for items for everyday use or to be displayed. 

The Team behind the Open Studios event are passionate about the artists and maker community and have set out a new set of internal values – Accessible, Inclusive, and Supportive’. These changes have seen more diversity within the community, and disciplines, to include different ethnicity, social backgrounds, and gender which SEOS is keen to focus on.

Lorraine Singer Stoneware Vessels Robertsbridge

Lorraine Singer: Stoneware Vessels – Robertsbridge

Maria Albiez Listen To My Inner Melody Alabaster 27cm x 18cm West Hoathly

Maria Albiez: Listen To My Inner Melody, Alabaster, 27cm x 18cm – West Hoathly

Paul Smith Turned Bowl Sevenoaks Weald

Paul Smith: Turned Bowl, Sevenoaks Weald

Sue Houghton Sunset Over Padstow Oils 40cm x 30cm Westerham

Sue Houghton: Sunset Over Padstow, Oils, 40cm x 30cm – Westerham

This year to celebrate 25 years of Open Studios, a fresh new design has been launched for the full colour guide distributed to targeted outlets across Kent and East Sussex. The guide showcases each artist and maker by area, with maps and information to make it as easy as possible to plan your studio visits. Pick up one of the 30,000 copies from local businesses and organisations or contact South East Open Studios for more information. 

South East Open Studios: 3rd – 19th June 2022