Open Studios

Opening Times : 10am – 6pm; Weekends + Bank Holidays
Dates : 21st / 22nd April ; 28th / 29th April; 5th / 6th May; 12th / 13th May; 19th / 20th May 
Venue : Back Farmyard, White House Farm, Great Glemham IP17 1LS
Enquiries :

More about Open Studios

Each year the Spring Festival offers a series of Workshop Residencies to artists and makers from Suffolk and other parts of the UK and abroad. These are offered seasonally to selected individuals and organisations during the festival period to help promote and develop their practice. For 2018, we are focusing on artists and makers who work with natural materials, including wood, leather, stone, textiles, metals, clays, rushes and wool.

The OPEN STUDIOS are arranged in farm workshops and old stables in the back farmyard. They are open to visitors at weekends and on bank holidays during the four week Festival season between 10am and 6pm – during which time the artists / makers will be demonstrating their work and available to talk about their practice.

NOTE : all makers have work for sale / can undertake commissions. Please take time to explore the Open Studios and talk to makers who are on site. All commissions and sales are made via the Alde Valley Spring Festival Sales Desk in the Entrance Barn. 

Open Studio 1

The Old Pig Sty ~ Jennifer Hall – Woodland Residency

Jennifer received a Woodland Residency in 2016. For the Spring Festival she is presenting studio work that has arisen from this 12 month project – including maps of the woods, drawings, prints and information about making oak gall ink in collaboration with archivist Lisa Psarianos.

Open Studio 2

The Old Pig Sty ~ Boris Aldridge – Lustreware & The Wall of Universal Consciousness

Boris Aldridge teaches lusterware tile making at the Princes School of Traditional Arts in London. His Open Studio presents examples of his beautiful tiles and introduces a larger ongoing project The Wall of Universal Consciousness : ‘Back in 2015 .. I knew then what I had to do. I was going to build a wall too. But far from building a wall to divide people I was going to build a wall to bring people together. A reaction to the politics of this world we live in. It would be a wall of tiles, each one handmade and unique in design. I would work with other local creative people including artists, ceramicists, musicians, songwriters. With every collaborator I would make a tile to go into the wall. By working with so many different people I hope to build up a picture of what it means to be human in the 21st century, to link the threads of our universal experience as well as creating an architectural record of cultural and creative life in Suffolk. And so The Wall of Universal Consciousness was born. Each tile for the wall is architectural and scale and takes approximately 4-5 days to complete using an innovative production technique that I have developed called ’Vitreous lusterware’ where I apply thick layer of glass on the ceramic body to give an unparalleled depth of surface and intensity of colour to the tile. I have been working on the wall now for about 3 years now and have completed a section approximately 5 metres long by 2.7 metres high.’  The Wall of Universal Consciousness will be on display at the farm and visitors are invited to visit Boris’s Open Studio to find out more about lusterware, tile-making and how to join his project.

Open Studio 3

The Stained Glass Shed & Alcove ~ The Lettering Arts Trust – Letter Carving

In a joint project with The Alde Valley Spring Festival and White House Farm, the Lettering Arts Trust has been awarded a Workshop Residency to help promote awareness of local, regional and national letter carvers. A different letter carver will be working on site each weekend during the Spring Festival Open Studios. Weekend 1 : 21st / 22nd April ~ Joe Hickey. Weekend 2 : 28th / 29th April ~ Jackie Perkins. Weekend 3 : 5th / 6th May ~ Ayako Furuno. Weekend 4 : Charlotte Howarth [Please see Festival Talks for Charlotte Howarth’s talk on the evening of 12th May 2018]. Weekend 5 : 19th / 20th May ~ Fiona Flack.

Open Studio 4

The Timber Workshop ~ Nienke Jongsma / Studio Vandertas – Leather Work

Nienke Jongsma manages her business Studio Vandertas from a workshop at White House Farm. For the Spring Festival Open Studios she is presenting a selection of beautiful new handmade purses, bags and wallets for sale. Please Note : Nienke’s studio will also be open on weekdays. Please follow signs at the farm or ask at the Festival Exhibition Sales Desk for directions. Commissions undertaken.

Open Studio 5

The Furniture Workshop ~ Jon Warnes – Wood Turning and Chairmaking

Author of books about working with green willow, Jon Warnes is also a gifted green wood turner, spoon carver and furniture maker. At weekends his workshop is open to visitors with examples of his work on display and for sale. These include : hand turned bowls; hand carved spoons; spatulas; boxes; stools; outdoor benches. Commissions also undertaken or pieces made to order using local Suffolk wood.
COURSES : Please enquire about woodcraft and woodworking courses including : bowl carving; spoon carving, willow work, chair / stool making; shed-building; charcoal burning.

Open Studio 6

The Furniture Workshop ~ Otis Luxton – Mendlesham Chair Residency

Otis Luxton works as a luthier and musical instrument maker, as well as a furniture maker. For 2018, the Alde Valley Spring Festival has agreed to create a Mendlesham Chair Residency in order to support research into the construction and design of original 19th C Mendlesham chairs – with the aim of creating a new 21st C design using Suffolk elm, yew and fruitwoods. Two original Mendlesham chairs from the Suffolk Chair Collection are being loaned to support the Residency project and Otis’s chairmaking skills.

Open Studio 7

The Furniture Workshop ~ Jim Parsons – Chairmaker

Jim Parsons is widely know for his beautiful Wenhaston and Sandling chairs – and his Cransford Stools. He has also created a number of Spring Festival Chairs, including a Festival Settle, Festival Boot Bench, a Great Glemham Hedge Chair Carver and a magnificent set of 14 matching Suffolk Ball Back side chairs. For the 2018 Spring Festival Open Studios, he is returning to his own classic chair designs as well as researching his own design for the Spring Festival’s Akenfield chair – a limited edition chair created to celebrate the work of author Ronald Blythe. Note : examples of Jim’s chairs are on show in the 2018 Spring Festival Exhibition.

Open Studio 8

Stable No 1 ~ Elidh Allan – Jewellery

Based in Great Glemham, Eilidh trained in jewellery making with a research interest in Celtic jewellery designs. She works with silver and [semi] precious stones, creating her own designs and also undertaking commissions for clients. To support her interest in Celtic jewellery, the Spring Festival has loaned examples of Etruscan, Roman and Celtic brooches from its collection. 

Open Studio 9

Stable No 2 ~ Tobias Ford – Knife Maker

Tobias Ford works as a sculptor at Butley Mills Studios, with examples of his work included in the 2018 Alde Valley Spring Festival Exhibition. He is also an accomplished and very gifted knife maker. The Spring Festival has underwritten the cost of creating a forge at White House Farm to support his knife-making practice, which ranges from kitchen knives to foraging knives. Blades are cut or hand forged from recycled steel, using local Suffolk hardwoods / recycled tropical hardwoods for riveted handles. Examples of kitchen and foraging knives are on display and for sale; bespoke designs can also be made to commission. Recent examples of commissioned knives include : a set of three rosewood handled kitchen carving knives; a mushrooming knife made with a blade of North Sea steel and a handle of spalted horse chestnut wood.

Open Studio 10

Stable No 3 ~ Linda Farrow – Harry Becker Residency

Linda Farrow works as an artist, photographer and film maker. For her Open Studio, she is screening a film short about the Suffolk artist Harry Becker. This is available to view at weekends and is offered alongside the Harry Becker Archive Exhibition in the Farmyard Classroom.

Open Studio 11

Stable No 4 ~ Saul Hunt – Tree Surgery and Woodwork

Saul Hunt is based at White House Farm and has a display of tree surgery information at his Open Studio. He is also demonstrating large scale / monumental woodworking in Open Studio 14 in the front farmyard. He helps supply furniture and knife making workshops at White House Farm with rare / unusual woods. Please enquire about tree surgery work and specialist tree felling.

Open Studio 12

The Nightingale Room

Sarah Butters ~ Wool Residency
Stephanie Bunn ~ Basketry Residency

Sarah Butters completed a 6 month Wool Residency at White House Farm in 2017. During this time she researched the quality of wool from the sheep flock at the farm, testing it for felt-making, spinning, weaving and knitting. She also kept details of the time taken for different steps in processing and finishing wool for different end uses; and tested a range of locally available natural dyes – including nettle, mulberry, oak leaves and willow bark.

Stephanie Bunn is currently researching the mathematics of basket designs; and the application of basket making to dementia care. Her Open Studio has displays of basketry and basket-making materials for visitors to view.

Open Studio 13

Lambing Barn ~ Mobile Foundry with Alice-Andrea Ewing and Freddy Morris

For ONE WEEKEND ONLY ! Freddy Morris and Alice-Andrea Ewing are bringing the Portable Foundry to White House Farm to offer visitors a walk-through bronze casting experience. Each participant will be provided with a sandbox in which to scribe / imprint their own design. This will then be taken and cast in bronze by Freddy and Alice. Once cooled, extracted, cleaned and finished the bronzes will returned to each maker the following day. Cost : £75 pp – including read-to-use sandbox, all materials, casting, finishing and your bronze returned the next day.

Places limited to 20 castings each day. Children must be supervised by an adult.
Please contact the Spring Festival to book a place :  / 01728 663 531

Open Studio 14

Steel Barn ~ Open Air Woodworking – Saul Hunt
The Steel Barn doubles up as a lambing barn /sheep shearing /wool store at different times of year in the farming calendar. During the 2018 Spring Festival it is being used as an Open Studio space to demonstrate large scale / monumental furniture making with tree surgeon Saul Hunt. White House Farm is home to small areas of semi-natural, planted and wild / self-sown woodland. Timber from the woods is milled each year to provide materials for furniture making. Dead oaks with high timber / low wildlife value are also felled for planking. Each year one or two larger dead oak trees are set aside to be cut into outsize planks and lumps of timber, which are then available for processing into enormous table tops, counters and display stands. Examples of these are on display at weekends together with information about the woodlands and different kinds of timber that are used on the farm.

Open Studio 15

Old Storeroom ~ Jason Gathorne-Hardy – Drawing Studio

The Drawing Studio is open at weekends showing sketchbooks and recent works on the drawing board / easel. Unframed works are available for sale, including ‘Lucky Dips’ - smaller original drawings in sealed envelopes.

Note : ** Boris Aldridge’s Wall of Universal Consciousness will be installed at the east end of the back farmyard. **


 The Farmyard Classroom was created in 2014 with generous support from Natural England. It is furnished with floorboards and furniture made with oak from the farm created by Raymond Hopkins, Alex Johnson and Drywood Ltd. The paint on the walls was dug up from a field called Holly Tree.

 The Classroom is used for Farm Education visits by local primary schools and students from Easton-Otley College. More recently, it is also used by Marisa Formicola to offer “Flourishing through the Arts” – a programme of workshops for home-educated children aged between 4-10 years old.

 For more information about Marisa’s workshops, please pick up a card in the Classroom or contact the Marisa directly : 

 For 2018 the Farmyard Classroom will be hosting an Archive Exhibition of works by the Suffolk artist Harry Becker. This will include copies of photographs, exhibition cards, postcards and a selection of original works on show but not for sale. The Festival Shop stocks postcards and new limited edition prints of selected works owned by the Alde Valley Spring Festival. Additional works are available for sale in the main Spring Festival Exhibition – with many thanks to Simon Loftus and Abbott & Holder in London. 


 The circuit of OPEN STUDIOS includes a large map signboard of the farm. During the Spring Festival a series of short Farm Nature Walks are made available for visitors to use and explore :

The Woodland Nature Walk, The Hedgerow Nature Walk, The Bluebell Walk and the Meadow Nature Walk past the big picnic table.

If you visit the OPEN STUDIOS and farm, please feel free to explore the Nature Walks – but please keep to the waymarked routes and also please treat the land as a home to wildlife .. go quietly, take time and photos, but leave nothing but footprints !

 * Health & Safety : Please note that the ground may be uneven in places. Visitors are responsible for their own safety when using the Nature Walks and visiting the farm. Please keep children accompanied at all times and please do not enter ‘No Access’ areas on the farm. FIRST AID and FIRE POINTS are marked in the farmyards.

 For More information about Open Studios :

  • The Summer Exhibition :

    The Spirit of '48  +  Here and Now.
    Sat 9th June Sun 1st July Details>


  • Local Places to Stay :

    Good places to stay within 1 mile of the Festival and farm : Crown Cottages, Great Glemham; Stable Cottage, The Grove; Alde Garden, Sweffling Details>


  • Festival Exhibition opening times :

    Festival open every weekday except non-Bank Holiday Mondays. If you are coming in the middle of the day there are good local pubs in Great Glemham and Rendham.


  • Free Entry & Parking :

    Free parking and free entry to Festival Exhibition and Open Studios [@ weekends] – come by foot, bike or car share !

  • Harry Becker Exhibition :

    Archive Exhibition about Harry Becker in the Farmyard Classroom with works for sale in the barns.

  • The Festival Exhibition theme for 2018 : Claudius ~ Suffolk’s Roman Emperor!

    Celebration of portraiture, life drawing and the figure in the landscape

  • New works:

    New works by over 20 artists and makers in the Festival Exhibition.

  • Festival Talks:

    Festival Talks with Maggi Hambling, Simon Loftus and Charlotte Howarth.

  • Farm Suppers with Peter Harrison:

    Farm Suppers with Peter Harrison each Thursday evening in the farmhouse Dining Rooms from Thurs 26th April – 17th May. Book early to reserve places.


  •  Eat on the Wild Side :

    Cakes, pastries and pies made with foods from the farm’s market gardens, hedgerows, pastures and woodland. Served and on sale at weekends in Hedge Quarters’ Tea Rooms.


  •  NEW for 2018 :

    More pop up exhibition spaces in the barns for The Spring Festival Exhibition.

  •  NEW for 2018 :

    New Workshop Residency spaces – open at weekends from 21st April – 20th May.

  •  Spring Festival launches 21st April:

    The 2018 Alde Valley Spring Festival launches on Saturday 21st April and runs until Sunday 20th May – come and visit us !


  •  NEW for 2018:

    Open Studios showcasing some of the best makers in Suffolk and UK : leather work, letter carving, chair-making, knife-forging, jewellery, tile-making


Works for Sale

We have some wonderful works by artists that exhibit at the festival currently for sale. Details >
The Festival Shop

Stocking a range of unusual cards, books, walking sticks and other handmade items made on the farm & by local artisans. Details >
The Suffolk Chair Collection

The Collection of original early – mid nineteenth century Ball Backs has been set up as a design reference collection. Details >

Icon Painting in the Alde Valley

For more information....
Details >
Food Adventures

We have listed some of the Alde Valleys outstanding food businesses.
Places to Stay

The Alde Valley and East Suffolk are full of good homestays, holiday cottages, B&Bs and hotels.
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