Surrey Open Studios is one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the county’s cultural calendar and artists are getting ready to open their doors to the public.  

The event will kick off on June 3 and continues until June 18, although individual studio opening times do vary.

Open Studios offers the public a unique opportunity to visit artists’ working studios and for art collectors to buy original art directly from artists in an informal setting. 

But, as importantly, it’s a chance to go behind the scenes, and find out how their works are made and their inspirations behind them.  

It gives the public a very different experience than going to a gallery. Producing art and craft is by and large a solitary occupation for the artist and Open Studios provides a wonderful opportunity to share their passion with their visitors, gain feedback and exchange ideas with fellow artists. 

Artists love having that personal contact with their buyers and, equally, buyers love to know the story behind the artwork they have bought.

A group of 14 professional artists in the Grayshott, Hindhead and Frensham area have come together and formed their own local art trail, which can be combined with beautiful walks in the area. 

Hindhead Art Trail brings together a fantastic array of talent. The trail showcases a wide and eclectic mix of styles and disciplines which includes painting, weaving, ceramics and garden sculptures.  

There are expressive landscapes, gusty seascapes, stylised trees and cityscapes, intricate wildlife, equine and pet portraits, unique stoneware, nature-inspired pottery, traditional weavings with a modern twist made into a range of interior designs, and beautiful bronze glazed ceramic seed head garden sculptures.

Two newcomers who have joined this popular trail this year are Katie Netley and Deborah Gourlay.

Katie is known as a ceramic storyteller, draws inspiration from totemic tribal artefacts and cultures, and has a love of pattern and colour.

She creates eye-catching and expressive stoneware pots, sculptures and ceramic totem poles. Her wonderful totem poles are a made in collaboration with her clients, weaving elements of their stories into the pole. Her ceramics are glazed and perfect for gardens.

Katie will be sharing Emma Godden’s garden studio in Beacon Hill where her work will be displayed alongside Emma’s garden sculptures and her unique botanical-inspired vases.

Also joining the Hindhead Art trail this year is Deborah Gourlay. She was artist in residence at the Grange near Alresford and the Watts Gallery in Compton, producing work inspired by the atmospheric interiors. 

Deborah works in an instinctive way and loves combining and layering various media such as charcoal, printmaking, photography and painting. She loves colour and pattern but is also known for her large atmospheric charcoal drawings of interiors. 

More recently she has been attending Glyndebourne Opera House’s dress rehearsals and has been hugely inspired by the visual magic created on stage which led her to produce theatrical and colourful paintings of the quirky characters and amazing set designs. 

Refreshments will also be available at several of the individual studios as the artists celebrate the opening weekend, and in some studios there will be the opportunity to sign up to a workshop or two.

It is a chance to be inspired, and for an art collector there is no better way to discover new talent.

There is a map detailing the location of each studio, together with information on local food and drink establishments in the area.

They are all close enough to visit in a day and could even be combined with a beautiful walk.