Open Studios at the Forge on Sunday 26 June 2022

Written by Forge

On June 8, 2022

On Sunday 26 June the doors of our Digswell Arts Studios in Welwyn will be open for the first time in two years, welcoming visitors in to explore the artistic lives inside the Forge building.

Several new artists have joined us recently, the studios are bustling with creativity. You will be able to meet some of the artists, see various artistic practices and gain a unique insight into the creative worlds of the studios.  It promises to be a wonderful event in this very special summer of celebrations!

Please join us anytime between 11am and 4pm, and enjoy exploring the artwork on show and enjoy a range of contemporary art including sculpture, print making and painting. The Open Studios are an opportunity for you to meet the artists in their studios and see where they create. 


Be inspired and take part in a short demonstration:

· 11:30: Paint making demonstration: From field to palette

· 12:30: Printmaking demonstration: Drawing a line with drypoint and monotype

· 13:30: Print making at home: How to print with a Tetra Pak


Admission is free and we look forward to welcoming you to the studios.

If you have any questions regarding accessibility at this venue or event or would like to make us aware of any access requirements that you have in advance of visiting, please email

Declan Hoare‘s approach to printing is to an extent a stochastic process and possesses an inherent randomness and he views the same set of starting values and initial conditions can lead to a collection of different outputs. Declan sees the printmaking process is as much a part of the resulting image as the subject itself. The process is a critical and essential part of the resulting image as much or more than the image subject itself: an artist can choose any subject but how they manipulate or alter that subject image is their art.

Marian Hall‘s art practice included artworks that usually reflects open landscapes and those with a strong horizon line. Recent work has been greatly inspired by the landscapes Marian saw in the Atacama desert and noted that these were very different to those she would enjoy at home. The landscapes there had the appeal of the exotic and left her in awe of the complex and natural processes that created them. When Marian begins a new series of work, she explores ideas and expriements in her sketchbook, enabling her to get a better understanding of the landscape she is studying and responding to. This process helps her identify which elements are the most important to her and cements the experience in my memory.

Molly Hagan‘s current medium is cut paper, ranging from 2-D paper cut-outs to 3-D cut paper installations. She initially draws from direct observation and photographic documentation, before experimenting with abstraction, scale and layering silhouetted forms. Finally, Molly cuts into paper to subtract negative spaces. This is time consuming but, as Molly says, “it’s a meditative part of the process”. Molly’s work has evolved from small- scale to sculptural paper drawings to installation and her experiments in installation are presented as large scale abstract patterns suspended in space. Molly works with the use of natural and controlled light to cast shadows, creating multi-dimensional situations, offering the viewer an experience of a heightened state of awareness that challenges their perception.



Sandra Smith‘s artwork is influenced by a continuous uprooting and travel in childhood. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, the feeling of being part of a European diaspora engaged in a search for identity and belonging, has resulted in a desire to understand and ‘re-build’ her world through that lens. Sandra attempts to ‘re-make’ the places and spaces she exists in, or passes through in her paintings. Sandra sees her work as a flat object embodying the ‘re-enactment’ of the building of a ‘place’ using elements of the hand drawn akin to historical design and engineering (measurement, mapping, diagram, geometry) combined with empathetic sense-based painterly processes to imitate surfaces and light. Subjects include domestic, institutional, industrial and landscape environments- kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, schools, roads, roundabouts, skies, constellations, shipping lanes and sometimes famous tourist sites.

Mary Down‘s work is cross disciplinary with the means and materials determined by the primary idea.  Much of Mary’s work has come out of research into a  family genealogy, in particular the way women are represented in the text of written histories. History as a form of sorting and collecting carries with it issues of differences and exclusion.  The absence, silence and disqualification of women in both historical records and in contemporary situations are gaps and ommissions that Mary explores in her work, with cultural and ethical issues influence and underling her practice. Mary’s work comes out of a critical and analytical view, in particular of gender, race and politics and at the same time she tries to make work that is accessible despite an emphasis on formal qualities and an abstract bias. Alongside her main pracice Mary also makes one-off books which combine minimal text with various print media. Typically each project consists of work in a range of different media focused on specific themes.

Sue Pilborough‘s creative practice is generally centred around the sculptural form and installation work, using various familiar materials in unusual context, though occasionally Sue draws to express her ideas and thoughts. Much of Sue’s work can be provocative, intricate, and fragile, with the ritualistic component of repetition and an emphasis on texture and materials, to infer a multitude of interpretations and connections. Sue’s intrigued with form, shape, texture that nature offers and her interpretation is deliberately ambiguous with implied uncanniness.




Sue Jarman is an image maker and printmaker, whose work is predominantly figurative and inspired by people, fashion, figures, and environments. Drawing is a catalyst for Sue and a fundamental part of her practice, using it to capture ordinary moments from everyday life from busy cafes, bustling streets and public spaces: observe, listen, and reflect. Sue refers to her observation drawings as ‘visual eavesdropping’ and this is a key element in how her work evolves, through observed and constructed human dialogue. In complete contrast to this figurative hustle and bustle, Sue also enjoys working on location, often in more remote environments, but in places that still incorporate a human presence. This work has a different set of challenges; as well as an invaluable way to feed, inform and creating stand-alone physical and immediate responses. Sue work’s with a variety of printmaking techniques including screen printing, etching, lithography and woodcut. Materials and subject matter always lead my processes and material choices – then a life-long fascinated with colour informs my colour palettes.

Bob Spriggs is a sculptor who creates stunning three, and sometimes four, dimensional, works with a geometric, abstract focus. His practice is informed by mathematics and science. He was a Physicist, working in a number of academic institutions in the UK, for more than twenty years. Art was always part of his life but, when he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2013, he retired from his science career and devoted himself to art full-time. The opportunity to pursue his creative side has been the silver lining to his MS cloud. Bob has exhibited widely across the UK, installing large, kinetic sculptures in a number of venues. These 4D pieces are constructed using magnets and sophisticated electronics and draw on Bob’s science knowledge. Bob recognizes that physics is creative and has a beauty all of its own. Science is not the subject of his work, he uses science as a medium from which he creates very special pieces.

Jane Bottery is a contemporary artist working with a variety of media to create minimal works where the original inspiration has been subtracted to its essence. The work Jane makes is concerned with reduction and distillation, with landscape and composition and with process and materials. The work is influenced by the locality and topography of where it is made, and can be a direct response to place, as well as memory of place and time, representing a fleeting idea and sensation of personal experience. Jane’s aim is to capture a luminosity and translucency to represent these fleeting moments of presence. Often made in series, or in relation to and influenced by other works, mark-making, surface and meditative action and inaction are important considerations, as is an element of chance and improvisation. Each piece is gradually built up over time, with the concept of the work resting before its completion being an important part of the process.

Elizabeth Murton’s art practice explores the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of the complicated and awe-inspiring world we live in –whether through religion, philosophy or science.  The work reveals the dynamic nature of life’s entanglements through abstract drawings and sculptures. This manifests through the materials: the tension across fibres to maintain their structures; small vessels like baskets which nurture, contain and hold; fabric and yarn folding, unfolding, wrapping; knots, such as in large undulating fishing nets, unravelling as tensions dissipate. The artist seeks to excavate alternative stories about knowledge assumptions – probing us to ask questions and embrace positive change. 

Magdalena Gluszak – Holeksa, through the process of painting and drawing, explores the human speculation of memory and familiarity as experienced in the pursuit of human identity and the ‘unknown’. Merging the lines between fiction and reality her works reflect a non – linear approach to the suggested narratives and metaphors. “The natural environment is a central feature of my childhood memories and has become a starting point in my exploration of identity. This sense of identity oscillates between the past and the ever-becoming of the present moment.” In Magdalena’s approach to painting, any sense of control over forms and colours continually evolves and shifts. This uncertain state of mind is reflected in the tension between shadows and electric colours, fluid forms and ambiguous settings, together rendering a dream-like realm. The compositions are initially collaged from family photographs, staged self-portraits and found images online: bringing together that which is documented, remembered, staged and imagined to create transitory moments within the canvas. The spaces formed on the canvas merge elements of landscape, body parts and man-made structures.

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