HUNDREDS of Cornish creatives will throw open the doors of their studios and workshops from Saturday, May 25, to Sunday, June 2, to showcase their skills, impart their influences and share their stories through Open Studios Cornwall. 

Distinctive orange Os denote these intriguing spaces – from Lamorna to Looe and Mullion to Menheniot – which offer a cultural awakening as people explore the ambit of art forms, dive deep into the human psyche, open peoples’ eyes to new worlds and embrace the power of creativity to ease the mind and soothe the soul.

In Edwardian terraces, Georgian summerhouses and Victorian shops; potting sheds, fish cellars and milking barns, Open Studios Cornwall not only shines a spotlight on the creative talents and unique perspectives of painters, potters, printmakers, photographers, jewellers, woodturners and weavers. It also allows us to view the county’s harbour villages, coastal towns and moorland hamlets afresh, and acquire original work from a myriad of makers who are eager to invite us in. 

This year, several creative clusters have emerged – in Trew, Trewidden, St Agnes, Falmouth and the environs of the Helford River – energised by a spirit of community and collaboration.

Open Studios Cornwall also offers one of two annual opportunities to gain behind-the-scenes access to many of the artists’ studios at Krowji in Redruth, which are usually closed to the public.   

From Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints and Korean tea bowls to 19th century wet plate collodion photography and heritage dyeing techniques, ancient cultures merge with modern ideas in an exuberance of artistic alchemy. 

Wool, flax and woad; clay, wax and honeycomb; stones, fossils and bones; sepia ink and egg tempura; vintage linen and antique lace; spray paint and copper wire; foraged foliage and raw pigments are layered, stitched, spun, glazed, fired, carved and cast, and ingeniously transformed into tangible manifestations to evoke emotion and provoke thought. 

The soft lines of sea-worn boulders and tidal patterns on the shoreline; the elemental drama of the coast and the timeless enchantment of verdant valleys and leafy lanes are all sources of inspiration, as artisans record their individual responses to Cornwall’s exceptional light and the ever-changing colours of land, sea and sky. 

There is also folklore and fable, and the realms of the subconscious to be explored as participants address the nature of reality and perception, themes of humanity and injustice, and our collective quest to capture moments of stillness in our busy lives. 

A programme of pre-bookable workshops also encourages visitors to develop expertise in botanical painting, seaweed pressing or crafting for wellness. 

“From contemporary realism and intuitive abstracts to hand-stitched adornments, surrealist mezzotints, decorative homewares, and so much more, Open Studios Cornwall celebrates the extraordinary diversity of Cornish creativity,” explains project director, Bethany Lyne. “Whether inspired by the county’s rugged natural beauty or underpinned by broader environmental and social concerns, eclectic styles and traditional crafts combine in this annual appreciation of Cornwall’s community of creatives, which enables us to highlight their artistry, hear their voices and purchase their work.” 

Dean Abstract Artist - Mixed Media, Painting - Menheniot, Liskeard
Mixed media painting by Dean Abstract Art from Menheniot, Liskeard

Listed below are some of the workshops taking place:

• ‘Beach Find Artwork’ with Claire London — Join Claire on this mix media painting workshop using pottery and sea glass beach finds and acrylic paints. In this two hour step by step workshop you will be shown how to create a quirky piece of art using treasure washed ashore by the sea. Each artwork will come in a glass and wood box frame to protect your artwork. May 26 to 27, 3pm to 5pm. On Board Lady Daphne Barge, Charlestown Harbour. 

• Handbuilding Taster with Tor Pottery Works — A playful and creative chance to get your hands on some clay and relax. Join the handbuilding speed taster led by sculptor Denzel as she teaches the tactile pinch-pot method and celebrate impermanence via the therapeutic act of slamming your piece into the reclaim bucket at the end. May 26, 27, 30 and 31. 2.30pm to 3pm. Tor Pottery Works, Newquay. 

• ‘An Introduction to Linocut Printmaking’ with Lee Stevenson — Looking at linocut printmaking without using a press. Visitors will have the use of all tools and materials and will learn the basic skills for making an original print from drawings or photos. May 27 and 31. 10am to 3pm. 2 Darlington Road, Longrock, Penzance. 

• ‘Let’s Twist Again Cordage-Making Workshop, Crafting Wellness Through Creativity’ with Jane Gray — Discover why the ancient craft of cordage making is relevant today and how a hands-on workshop connects us directly with nature. You will leave with knowledge of the history of cordage making, a hand-out sheet with a visual reminder of how to make cordage. May 27, 29 and 31. 7pm to 9pm. The Towans Weave Studio, Hayle. 

• Throwing Taster with Tor Pottery Works — A zero pressure and relaxed environment is the perfect setting for trying your hand at something new in this speed taster. See how you fare under the attentive tuition of our resident wheel thrower Jenna, and then smash the results in the reclaim bucket. May 27, 30 and 31. 10.30am to 11.30am Tor Pottery Works, Newquay. 

• Floral Watercolour Painting in an Artist’s Garden with Kerry Grant — An exclusive opportunity to join floral artist Kerry, for an all day workshop which will guide you in how to paint beautiful watercolour studies of your favourite flowers. This workshop is aimed at all levels of experience. Experienced watercolour painters will benefit from painting together in the peace and tranquility of this unique garden; and for those who have no experience and wish to develop basic skills, Kerry will teach some key principles in how to achieve effective and beautiful results with this delicate medium. May 28. 10.30am to 3pm. Tresithney Bowl Rock, St Ives. 

• Ceramic Botanical Trinket Dishes with Michelle Foote — This hand building workshop will focus on surface decoration techniques including sgraffito, inlay and stamping to create beautiful ceramic trinket dishes. May 29. 10.30am to 1pm. Tresithney Bowl Rock, St Ives.

• The Art of Seaweed with Claire London — With a love of natural forms this is a perfect way to get out of the studio making art from natures treasure. To find out more about this Victorian past time join Clair where she will be talking and demonstrating the art of seaweed pressing. May 31. 5pm to 6pm. On Board Lady Daphne Barge - Charlestown Harbour. 

• My Textile Journey Through Southeast Asia with Kitty Wilson Brown — An informative presentation of Kitty’s time in Southeast Asia researching traditional textiles. Working at studios and with hill tribes with a big focus on hemp textiles. She will also be talking about Contemporay Hempery and her own textile garden. After the talk visitors will finish with a backstrap weaving and flax processing demonstration alongside answering any questions you have. June 1. From 2pm. Middle Tencreek, St Veep, Lerryn, Lostwithiel. 

• Flowers in a Tea Cup with Claire London — Join Claire for a three hour painting workshop. This workshop we will be designing a blue & white Wedgwood style tea cup filled with flowers. This step by step painting workshop will be based around a tea cup full of flowers, you will design an image of the Lady Daphne in a Wedgwood style using acrylic on wood board, learn different painting technics to fill your cup with beautiful flowers and create a finished piece of art. June 1 and 2. 2pm to 5pm. On Board Lady Daphne Barge, Charlestown Harbour. 

To book tickets for any of these workshops, visit:

Heath Hearn - Painting - Millbrook, Torpoint
Painting by Heath Hearn’s from Millbrook, Torpoint