A trip around Open Studios

A trip around Open Studios

Last weekend was my free weekend in June to explore a few Suffolk open studios. I wanted to visit people whose work I had never seen before, that looked appealing and was open on either the 6th or 7th since I would be busy with my own studio on the other weekends in June.  I decided to choose two regions to focus on and to limit myself to 3-4 visits.  I didn’t choose a trail, but chose one person’s art and then looked for others nearby as a ‘lucky dip’. On Saturday my husband Patrick and I visited: Toby Mayhew, Lisa Berry, Richard Dolan and Colin Slee.

John by Toby Mayhew

From Battisford, where we live, to Chillesford which is between Woodbridge and Orford, took us about 45 minutes to drive. It was a beautiful morning and the route was rural and picturesque. We were Toby and Lisa’s first punters. They put us at ease immediately and we were able to get immersed in their artist worlds.  They offered us tea and gave us time and space to pick up sketchbooks, thumb through canvases and ask lots of technical questions!

Toby had his work spread out in their garage.  When we’d finished looking he showed us the studio where he works.  Lisa has a studio in their house which we were invited to visit but didn’t in the end.  She had her work on the walls and leaning against walls.  We left feeling inspired, thinking we’d got off to a great start visiting studios.


Abstract with reds by Lisa Berry

At Richard Dolan’s studio we had a cup of tea.  Richard had written some context for his pictures on labels below the work, and we really enjoyed understanding his process that way as we looked at his landscapes. He had quite a few visitors already, but found time to discuss his work with us too.  He had affordable cards for sale as well as framed work.

Boathouse by Colin Slee


We were pointed around the corner to Colin Slee’s studio. He was also busy with visitors and I think he had just sold a piece as we arrived, but like all the artists, he made himself available to talk to us which was terrific. Colin’s studio has many personal objects.  He seems to be a collector of beautiful, interesting, textural and tonal things.  His work has these same characteristics. He had lots for us to look at, stacked up in frames in both his studio and in the conservatory.



Including the drive back, our outing took about four hours but it was absolutely worth it!  We discovered artists that we will follow from now on, and I got some ideas for my own Open Studio!

Rebecca Moss Guyver


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