Visit West Berks open studios

Round & About

West berks

Some favourite returning artists are joined by new faces for this year’s event

City Arts, Newbury are opening their doors once again for West Berkshire Open Studios as studio number 77.

Returning to the art hub with Open Studios 2024 is Hawksbury Print with her artwork inspired by British birds, Petra Geide-Barnes exhibiting her found object sculptures, Pots of Hope Susie brings her thrown pots, vases and bowls and ceramicist Rebecca Maynard with her hand built figures.

This year they are joined by five new artists to the scheme: black and white photographer Nick Collins, The Berkshire Printmaker shows her playful silkscreen prints, Georgina Bouzyk presents her large landscapes and finally with her jewellery in the City Arts cabinet in Kinsella Colwell Design.

During the Open Studios you will have a chance to meet the artists as they work in the City Arts workshop space and talk about their individual creative process. Pots of Hope Susie will be demonstrating how to throw a pot and you will have the chance to try your hand at silk screen printing with Sarah Martinez, the Berkshire Printmaker.

This free group exhibition is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in May from 10 to 5pm. There is a cafe on site serving amazing coffee and home made cakes and dogs are more than welcome.

Check out the Open Studios website for more details about the artists and other Open Studios nearby. Artists at City Arts | Open Studios (

A new lease of life

Karen Neville

West berks

Second Hand September, upcycling furniture and repair cafes are all fabulous ways to fall in love again with something you once cherished, not only will it save you money but you’ll be doing your bit to help save the planet too!

How often have you bought something (often on impulse) got it back home only for it to loiter in the back of your wardrobe unworn for years? It’s probably something we’ve all been guilty of at one time, so this month rather than a) buy it at all or b) leave it lurking unloved, why not get involved in Second Hand September?

The Oxfam run project has been going since 2019 inspiring people to shop in a way that is kinder to the planet and with the recent record temperatures much of Europe has been experiencing it’s only too easy to see the effect of climate change.

In September 2022 more than 26,000 people only bought second hand during the campaign and as one shopper remarked when the initiative launched “I didn’t buy any new clothes for 30 days. Then it became two months and now it’s been nearly four years!”

By buying, wearing and donating second hand clothes you’re helping to reduce the demand for new and thus helping to reduce the damage to the planet. Did you know an estimated 16.2kg of CO2 is emitted for every pair of jeans made, that’s the same as driving around 58 miles in a car.

And it doesn’t just stop with clothing, Oxfam shops and online offer an extensive range of homewares, books and toys too. There are stores aplenty all over, visit to find your nearest one and get donating and buying pre-loved now.

Once you’ve revamped your wardrobe, how about revamping your wardrobe itself, by giving that piece of furniture a new look rather than just consigning it to the tip.

That’s exactly what Gillian does at GP Restorations in Newbury. She wants to reuse, recycle and repurpose your treasured possessions. Unwilling to see any well-made item to go to waste or neglect, she will help you through all the possibilities for future use, from repainting to redesigning. It is, Gillian says, this “up-cycling” process that helps extend the useful life of all styles and ages of furniture and is a great way to ensure their continued use in the home. Check out her website to see examples of just some of the restoration projects she has taken on, lovingly reviving your treasures; visit

A rather old and dilapidated tall boy sparked Claire’s passion for all things wood which she is now passing on with upcycling and recycling courses at the Old Dairy, Parsonage Farm, Collingbourne Kingston, just outside Marlborough. The tall boy had stood unloved at the back of a garage for 10 years when Claire decided to transform it and show it some love afresh. Delightfully, the piece now takes pride of place in her bedroom. She says: “I find pieces all over the place, from charity shops, private sales, auctions and sometimes even pieces left by the road side with ‘free to take away’ signs on.” Claire holds beginners classes, workshops and master classes throughout the year and also designs special courses to suit craft groups, schools, and elders. Find out more at

The delightfully eclectic and delightfully named The Cat’s Whiskers is two floors of decorative and vintage goodies for the home and garden, together with unusual gifts in Marlborough’s High Street. A charming little courtyard is crammed with treats for your garden. Specialising in the quirky, expect to find everything from vintage kitchen paraphernalia to antique fire extinguishers and French enamelware. They are they say “inveterate recyclers”, who are ingenious in finding new uses for items others would dispose of. Pop in and see what you can find.

Pretty much anything can be recycled, upcycled or repaired and if you need a little help then head to a repair café. Repair Cafés are free meeting places where you can repair your toaster or other electrical appliance, a bike or piece of furniture and just about any item you can think of! They’ll provide all the tools and materials you need and there’s expert help on hand to assist you.

Repair Cafés welcome everyone, if you have nothing to repair you can visit and enjoy some cake or tea or lend a hand with someone else’s repair job. The purpose of the events is to bring about a shift away from consumerism and viewing household items as disposable. The focus is on skill-sharing and building community, as attendees will be invited to learn how to fix their broken item alongside the repairers instead of throwing them in the bin.

The helpful folk at Hungerford Repair Café have recently fixed a toy boat, a winter coat with a torn seam and a blocked soda stream. They want to help the community learn how to repair their broken things in an enjoyable and sociable setting. Volunteers are able to either help mend or advise the owners about how to fix or obtain spare parts, regularly saving about 50kg of waste going into landfill or other recycling facilities. They next meet at The Croft on September 16th and November 18th.

To find a repair cafe near you please visit