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Suffolk Open Studios gives art lovers the chance to go behind the scenes

PUBLISHED: 17:25 01 June 2018

In Simple Splendour by Hilary Barry who is  taking part in Suffolk Open Studios this June. Photo: Suffolk Open Studios

In Simple Splendour by Hilary Barry who is taking part in Suffolk Open Studios this June. Photo: Suffolk Open Studios

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Suffolk Open Studios offers the public to have a sneak peak behind the scenes as works of art are created. Arts editor Andrew Clarke celebrates the richness of our creative county

Lucy Perry who is taking part in Suffolk Open Studios this June. Photo: Suffolk Open StudiosLucy Perry who is taking part in Suffolk Open Studios this June. Photo: Suffolk Open Studios

Suffolk Open Studios offers an annual peak behind the scenes to anyone interested in how art is created.

A wide range of Suffolk-based artists, producing all sorts of work from landscapes to portraits, from sculpture to ceramics and glassware, are throwing open their doors and inviting the public to pop in, have a chat and see how unique pieces of art work are created.

Suffolk is a creative county and behind hedgerows, hidden away in winding country lanes as well as in sheds and studios at the end of gardens hundreds of artists are toiling away every day but rarely get to meet their public. Suffolk Open Studios is a way to introduce the artist to their audience.

Cally James, chair of Suffolk Open Studios at work in her ceramics studio. Photo: Suffolk Open StudiosCally James, chair of Suffolk Open Studios at work in her ceramics studio. Photo: Suffolk Open Studios

The real thrill is watching the artist work and getting a running commentary about how they go about doing what they do and how they make those all-important creative decisions as they work on a piece.

For some there is a clear objective insight, right from the very beginning of the process, for others it’s only finished when something inside them tells them that it’s done.

Suffolk Open Studios Chairperson Cally James said: “The importance of sharing art is crucial in our society. Exhibitions are just one way of achieving this, but inviting visitors into your personal creative space brings a whole new dimension to sharing your work.

Hilary Barry at work in her studio. Photo: Suffolk Open StudiosHilary Barry at work in her studio. Photo: Suffolk Open Studios

“This year’s programme promises to be one of the most exciting yet. We’re expanding and diversifying the Open Studios concept but keeping the intimacy that visitors like, of being able to see and ask about artists’ work within their own studios.

“With such a broad range of artists and galleries showing work across the entire visual art spectrum, there’s no better way to see and understand the state of art practice in Suffolk today.

“Over 100 artists and galleries are taking part, showing work across a wide range of media covering every aspect of art today, including painting, ceramics, glassware, pottery, sculpture and more.

Stoneware by Lucy Perry who is taking part in Suffolk Open Studios this June. Photo: Suffolk Open StudiosStoneware by Lucy Perry who is taking part in Suffolk Open Studios this June. Photo: Suffolk Open Studios

“Rarely do you get the opportunity to see inside the studios of working artists. Many of our artists work from a residential location and it is the chance for the enthusiast to see how working in a studio in the garden is a rich and fulfilling experience. There is no obligation to buy from the artists, they are there to welcome you to their studio and share their enthusiasm for their creativity.”

She added that in addition to visiting single artists, the public can also follow artist trails or visit artist hubs which will allow he public to see work from a number of different artists in a single location.

This year, Suffolk Open Studios is supporting Suffolk Artlink, a participatory arts charity which develops and delivers inclusive arts programmes in communities that bring skills, support networks, confidence and joy to people in the East.

Suffolk Open Studios is also looking to expand their membership. Cally James, an art teacher and ceramics artist, said: “Suffolk Open Studios is a well-established organisation with around 110 artists opening their studios to the public during June each year. Our aim is to celebrate the outstanding and diverse talent of Suffolk based artists.

“We welcome all artists with studios based in Suffolk to join as a member. New for this year is the opportunity to subscribe as a ‘Friend of SOS’ to be prepared for the annual event in June as well as getting regular updates of artists exhibitions throughout the year along with a copy of the directory delivered to your door.”

A printed directory is now available in galleries, libraries and tourist information centres and downloadable from the website. This year, the directory has been grouped into local regions (Babergh, Forest Heath, Ipswich, Mid-Suffolk, St Edmundsbury, Suffolk Coastal, Waveney) making it easier for visitors to identify studios nearby and plan their visit.

Visitors can also learn about participating artists, see examples of their work, check opening times and plan their route by visiting the Suffolk Open Studios website at www.suffolkopenstudios.org or on Facebook @suffolkopenstudios. A map shows the location of all participating artists and galleries.

Suffolk Open Studios runs over the first four weekends of June, commencing Saturday June 2.

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