Meet Surrey Guild members at Wisley Arts Festival 2018

Wisley’s Arts Festival each year is eagerly anticipated by regular visitors to the gardens, bringing a taste of both performing arts and more importantly a chance for members of The Surrey Guild of Craftsmen to show off their skills.

This will be the second year for us – sixteen members will not just be selling their work but, as last year, will also demonstrate how they come up with their stunning creations and some will also be offering visitors the chance to have a go themselves.

Textiles, ceramics, glass, jewellery and metalwork are all on show.

Regular visitors to the gardens will probably have seen Alison Catchlove’s work (above) both during the Butterfly Event and in the Rose Garden. As well as this larger work Alison will also be selling smaller pieces and running short workshops.

There will be eight jewellers, all with very different work.

Linda Connelly will be running short workshops introducing her enamelling methods. Her own work is very finely detailed but if last year’s efforts are anything to go by, visitors will certainly manage some pretty exciting work of their own. 

Gabriella Sellors’ speciality is texture and visitors will see how she starts with plain sheets of silver or silver ‘wires’ and changes the shape and texture to create fascinating patterns on the silver surface. Hilary Webb also works in silver and her background in calligraphy will be recognised in her distinctive bracelets, earrings and necklaces. Another jeweller, Alexandra Simpson, works in silver and gold, her designs very often incorporate flowers – ideal for this venue!

Dani Crompton, Colleen Higham and Caroline Wiltshire create intricate beaded jewellery but each is so different and their processes fascinating. Dani also incorporates carved paper which result in truly amazing creations, Colleen uses kumihimo techniques to create beautiful ‘rope’ necklaces and bracelets and Caroline will also be showing knitted silver wire designs. Colleen, who has recently taken over Arty Crafty in Godalming, will be running taster workshops during the weekend.

Colour also dominates Ruth Winchester’s designs. Ruth works in polymer clay creating the most beautiful and very intricate ‘kaleidoscopic’ designs. She also makes small homewares like cheese knives and cake slices, which make lovely gifts for someone moving house or getting married.

Ceramics don’t come much more varied that those on show with the work of Alan Wallis and Georgina Gardiner both being demonstrated. Alan’s quirky designs are now quite a feature of many events at Wisley – who can forget Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit, or the Pig in a Bath? 

Meanwhile Georgina’s designs are smooth and the patterns geometric and precise. She will be offering children an opportunity to make something in ceramic which she will keep for firing and can then be collected at The Surrey Guild Craft Gallery in Milford.   

Linda Scott-Cerins, showcasing designs in glass (above), will also be running short workshops with the results also available for collection at our Gallery

We have quite a few members working in textiles too.

Sue Holton’s distinctive knitwear is ideal throughout the year. She uses wonderful fibres – including linen and silk – and dyes many of these herself. Visitors will be able to learn how she gets some of her fascinating colour combinations, and the reasons are not always obvious!

Nancy Shafee will give visitors a chance to try their hand at a simple felt project or purchase colourful designs in both handmade felt and vintage fabrics while Carolyn Wallis’s beautiful woven scarves will show off just how finely fibres can be woven. She will be demonstrating spinning during the show.

Louise Bell’s colourful stand will showcase her applique quilts, cushions and wall hangings and visitors will be able to see just how accomplished she is with a simple sewing machine, as she applies her designs.

While not textiles, another member with sewing skills is Phaedra Menas whose oh-so-soft leather purses and belts catch the eye for their wonderful colours.