Celebrating creativity at Horsham Artists Open Studios

Artwork by R Paul Baden
Artwork by R Paul Baden

Laura Cartledge finds out why turning 21 promises to be special for one Horsham event.

Horsham Artists Open Studios lives up to its name, and then takes the ‘open’ nature an extra step forward.

Art by Louise lambert. Picture by www.davidbaird.co.uk

Art by Louise lambert. Picture by www.davidbaird.co.uk

Jonathan Lambert, an artist and the events promotions co-ordinator, was inspired to join by the ‘spirit of inclusion’.

“There tends to be, with these open studio groups, a much heavier leaning towards fine art,” he explains. “But what encouraged us to become members is that there is a lot of 3D work as well.”

And the variety doesn’t stop there.

“It is not a group born out of having to be a particular type of artist. It opens the door to closeted amateurs who feel more welcome if they are not judged from the outset,” Jonathan enthuses. “We have jewellers, some of them are professional and run businesses in their own right and they share their expertise with the others who might work in their 
own time.”

Art by Deborah Timperley

Art by Deborah Timperley

While 2015 will be the 21st year on record, this supportive approach shows the event is having a second wind with membership having doubled in just six months. This should then ensure this month’s event, on June 13,14, 20 and 21, is the biggest and best yet.

“The range of what people will see are extreme but brilliant,” he says, admitting the appeal of it all is ‘difficult to pin down’.

“Because art is such a hard thing to pin down. I think it is the diversity,” he continues. “It appeals to everyone from eight to 80, there is something for everybody. From jewellery to glass, print making to painting.

“We have 14 venues across the Horsham area and each of them will have four or five artists exhibiting,” he reveals. “We hope the public will be inspired by what they see and perhaps become members themselves.”

The aim is, if things continue in this way, the studios will grow and stretch beyond the market town.

“It’s puffing up its chest; it’s had a new lease of life,” Jonathan enthuses. “I think we are on the path to doing great things.”

Thanks to support from local suppliers, sponsors and businesses the talk is that this could see a Horsham Art Festival take place in 2017.

Asked if he sees the open studios as a springboard, Jonathan echoes the thoughts of many: “I don’t know. But I am excited to find out.”

This article was taken from the June edition of etc, your free, monthly lifestyle magazine. For more of this article, including interviews with more of the artists, visit here