Artists’ Stories

There are some great stories from artists who have participated in Worcestershire Open Studios and what happened to them and their artwork as a result of taking part in previous years. Here are some of them.

Susan Birth – mixed media painter

sue birth at the coach house theatre“I first took part in open studios in 2018, I so enjoyed welcoming guests to my home studio and art display. Since then I’ve been involved in a range of other events including pop-up galleries and art markets and I’ve had a successful solo exhibition. To cap it all one of my paintings has been selected from a record number of entries to appear in the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours 2019 Exhibition in London alongside paintings by some of Britain’s leading watercolour artists.

I like to convey my personal impressions of landscape and floral type images in my work with occasional forays into still life. I also love experimenting with new techniques and mixing up my media. This year my open studio visitors will be able to have a go at creating their own multicoloured/patterned/decorated/marbled/uniquely styled collage piece. I can’t wait!”

Anna Cumming – painter

Anna Cumming at work Worcestershire Open Studios“I took part in Worcestershire Open Studios last year for the first time. I put the signs out on Saturday morning, and thought, “What if no-one comes?”… Shortly after, a couple from West Malvern walked down the drive, and spent a long time looking at my paintings and chatting, and I relaxed and thought, “this might be fun after all!” The sun shone all weekend, and visitors were cheerful and interested. Some wanted to discuss technique, which I was happy to do, and a surprising number bought my paintings. It was a very uplifting experience, and a massive confidence boost.”

Francesca Currie RBSA – painter

Worcestershire Open Studios“I first took part in Worcestershire Open Studios in 2016. It was incredibly exciting. We had more than 150 people come through our doors and this led to some invaluable contacts for the following year.

I have taken part twice now and both times I have gained significant commissions as a result. I was also asked to join the RBSA which has led to many exhibitions. Painting can be fairly self-reflective so it is wonderful to see people’s reaction to my work and to hear about theirs.”

Trudi Foggo – mixed media

Worcestershire Open Studios“This year’s event is my third time participating. I thought year one was great, especially as I was paralysed with fear at the thought of doing it and then last year was absolutely brilliant and I have an exhibition at Elmslie House in October as a result.”

Sally Anne Morgan – painter and printmaker

Worcestershire Open Studios“I have taken part since its inception in 2015 and my art career and artwork have grown as a result. After the first event I started to run workshops at home in printing and was then asked to run workshops at a local gallery, who now hang my work. I have gathered a growing audience for my website, entered local and international print exhibitions and had my first solo exhibition in 2017. My style has developed year on year and I have also developed friendships through taking part and that has been one of the bonuses.”

Richard Nicholls – photographer

Worcestershire Open Studios“This will be my third year taking part. It’s great talking to people and getting their take on your work, particularly from non-artists and artists who work in different disciplines. I think my practice has changed considerably over the past couple of years and that’s down to sharing what I’m doing and getting feedback.

Last open studios I shared a space with another artist and as a result we’re now working together on a collaborative project. This has been a fascinating process for me, learning how someone else works through an idea with research and experimentation and seeing how far our initial ideas have evolved over time into a cohesive body of work.”

Jilly Oxlade-Arnott – Architectural Impressions

Worcestershire Open Studios“I found taking part a great way to meet fellow artists and an opportunity to show my work to wider audience. I found this direct approach worked better than social media for gaining sales, rather than awareness, which inspired me the set the Pop Up Gallery Initiative 2018, where I assist and introduce new talent, from all artistic mediums, through temporary conversion of unoccupied and unloved buildings in urban centres, over a number of weekends and bank holidays throughout the year.

This compliments Worcestershire Open Studios well, through a calendar of events during the year helping artists prepare and make the most of open studios in August. It also provides the public with regular access to and maintains the awareness of art throughout the year.

Since the last Worcestershire Open Studios, I have been approached by the National Trust to present an exhibition of my work, as part of the Women and Power Exhibition at their flagship property Croome Court during the summer of 2018.”

Dora Williams – painter

Worcestershire Open Studios“I have taken part since the beginning, I strongly support this event because it is an opportunity to connect with local people. I enjoy most talking with visitors about what art means to me and how important is in our society, art as a language to connect to communicate with each other especially in a world that today is getting disturbingly divided.

One of my visitors in 2015 was music composer Liz Johnson. She lives in Colwall and bought a triptych called ‘Scarred Series’. I felt very honoured when Liz told me that she would compose some music based on the painting. A year later the painting became the focus of a set of pieces for Baroque instruments. The first of these, Triptych I, was first performed at the Elmslie House by Lucy Russell during the Autumn Malvern Art Festival. Since then we have gone on to work on several other collaborations.

Participating in Worcestershire Open Studio has brought me unexpected creative opportunities and collaborating with Liz has opened new avenues in my career and inspired my work. You never know who might walk through your open studio door!”

Sue Haslam – printmaker

Worcestershire Open Studios“When redundancy from my job as a graphic designer loomed, I began looking for other artistic avenues to follow, particularly printmaking. I’d enjoyed it at art college years earlier, but had little time to pursue it.

I happened upon St. Peter’s Printmakers, in North Malvern, when visiting Worcestershire Open Studios, admired the work on display and had a chat with some of the artists. Andrew Judd runs the group and gave me the information and encouragement to come along and try a session of printmaking that September. I’ve been happily cutting linos and printing ever since.

We’ve acquired some excellent equipment at St. Peter’s, through funding and through gifts, including presses and drying racks. More importantly, we’ve accumulated a lovely group of printmaking enthusiasts, whose hugely varied work is an inspiration to us all. I’ve enjoyed many Friday afternoons at St. Peter’s Church, drawing, cutting and printing – and when the muse has a holiday, I can always chat with the others and enjoy their work and a cuppa! For me, this is one of the best products of Worcestershire Open Studios – finding fellow artists to create with.”