Art fanatic’s adventure
Dorking has a buzzing local art scene, and it’s gained a reputation as a hub of artists, ideas people and creators. This independent spirit has helped build the town we know and love, and there’s no better way to reveal the true depths of a place than meeting the creators themselves and the galleries that host them. Let us introduce you!
Start your day in Dorking with a visit to meet the infamous Gillian Harris, owner of The Fluff-a-torium and avante-guard artist of all things woolen and felted. This is not your average store; instead you’ll be transported into a carnival-style land of colour, creation and wonder. Chat to the artist herself, maybe join a workshop upstairs (book early!), and feel first-hand the energy and passion of this well-known local artist.
Next, change the pitch and revel in the fine art galleries of the town. Wander up to Bourneside Gallery on North Street for ceramics and limited edition prints, then swing by The John Arthur Gallery at 11 High Street to see the most fabulous Turner-inspired paintings. Carry on down to Sandstone Studios where Dorking boasts two artists-in-residence; Landscape painter Chris Forsey, who works in a semi-abstract style and is a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, and ceramicist Stephanie Wright who creates abstract sculptural work in stunning colour and following forms. Both artists sell work from their studio / gallery, so don’t forget your wallet!
Your final, unmissable stop (if you’re visiting between April and October) is the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, a wonderful space where plants and mature trees support and frame a collection of stunning contemporary sculptures. Take your time, sit back and contemplate, and revel in the harmony of this 35-year old growing space.
And for the ultimate artistic retreat? Stay on for the night at the adjacent Summer House at Black and White Cottage. This self-catering B&B is nestled in a divine secluded woodland setting, and has a simple country chic style that we can’t resist. Fling open the doors, take up a spot on the decking, pop the complimentary Prosecco and just take it all in. The birds, the babbling stream, the natural light… and when it gets cooler, just head inside and get cosy in front of your own log fire! There can be no better way to unwind.