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What’s On at Watts Gallery Artists’ Village, September and October

Published on: 28 Aug, 2023
Updated on: 28 Aug, 2023

A guide to the many attractions, events and things to do at Watts Gallery artists’ Village at Compton during September and October.


Victorian Virtual Reality

Photographs from the Brian May Archive of Stereoscope. Until February 24, 2024

For the first time at Watts Gallery, discover an exhibition of Photographs from the Brian May Archive of Stereoscopy, dedicated to a 19th-century craze that saw the birth of 3D images.

In Victorian Virtual Reality experience how this lesser-known Victorian innovation continues to captivate today.

Join co-curator Dr Emily Burns for a highlights tour between on Thursdays, September 7 and October 26.

Reinvented: The Art of Upcycling 

Until September 23

Creating beautiful art from unwanted rubbish, this exhibition celebrates work which makes the best use of things artists find – including newspaper, driftwood, old cutlery, and tins.

Making art from found or previously used material is not a new phenomenon, but it has become very topical with the current focus on green issues.

Old and discarded objects provide jumping-off points for fantastically creative work and the artists in this exhibition draw inspiration from old books and magazines, cardboard boxes, empty tins and bent cutlery, driftwood, and old fabrics.

Formations: Fiona Millais and Lucy Lutyens

September 7 to October 29

Combining painting and sculpture, both artists in this exhibition have a deep fascination with the landscape around us, how it has been shaped by previous generations and continues to impact those who inhabit it today.

By distilling the essence of natural forms down to their simplest elements, both artists manage to capture the timeless quality of landscape.


Create your own Cyanotype Stereoscope

Wednesday, September 6

Rebecca Sharpe and Denis Pellerin, curators of the Brian May Archive, will be in residence in the studio for one day, showing visitors how to create their own 3D stereoscopic images using the chemical reaction of sunlight on light-sensitive cyanotype paper.

Yoga: stretch and sketch

Tuesday, September 19

Join Susie Jewell for an evening for mind, body and soul in the atmospheric Watts Gallery. Guided through a mindful flow transition through a meditative sequence to create rhythm and harmony.

Then join artist Charlie Betts for some mindful sketching in the Gallery before returning to the mat for a final meditation.

Pottery Course: Hand Building and Throwing

Thursdays September 14, 21 and 28 and October 5, 12 and 19

Join Ceramist Luisa Cacciotti for this six-week pottery course.

The course will cover a range of hand building techniques including pinch, slab and coil pots, and there will be an opportunity for throwing on the wheel.

To complete the course, there’s a chance to experiment with slip decorating and glaze finishes.

Watts Creatives: Life Drawing

Thursday, October 26

Thirteen- to 18-year-olds can join artist Rachel Mercer for a life drawing workshop.

In this class students will gain skills in sustained observational drawing from the nude model.

Beginners in life drawing will be introduced to techniques to improve fluency, developing hand-eye coordination and speed.

The class will focus on layering and reworking drawings to challenge accuracy while also considering tone. 

Saturday Sketch: Slow Gaze in Nature

Saturday, October 7

Join artist Anna-Marie Garrett for mindful drawing outdoors in the gallery grounds.

Ground yourself through breath and being in nature, then enjoy a short, guided meditation in the landscape.

The class then flows into warm-up sketches and longer drawings.

No previous drawing experience is necessary, the workshop focuses on the process of sketching to build mindful connections to non-human nature in slowed time.

Ceramics: Arts and Crafts Dishes

Saturday, October 14

Join ceramicist Vanessa Pasquier for this workshop to create your own Arts and Crafts inspired dishes.

Look at the work of Mary Watts and William De Morgan and make your own unique designs in terracotta.


Lauren Thompson open studio

Sunday, September 3

Visual artist Lauren Thompson is artist in residence from August 14 to September 3.

Visit the studio on one of the open studio days to meet Lauren and hear more about her photographic portraits.

Heritage Open Day

Saturday, September 9

Explore the unique history of Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village. Enjoy free entry and site tours to discover the heritage of the Arts and Crafts gem.

There will also be tours of the site on the day, so visitors can learn more about its unique history.

Victorian Stereoscope Parlour Evening

Wednesday, October 4

At this special after-hours event, enjoy an exclusive tour of Victorian Virtual Reality with exhibition co-curators, Emily Burns and Denis Pellerin and Rebecca Sharpe, from the Brian May Archive of Stereoscopes. 

Experience Victorian style entertainment in an informal setting, select images to view with a variety of stereo viewers and talk to the curators of this fascinating exhibition.


Victorian Virtual Reality: 16-21s exhibition view

Tuesday, October 17

An exhibition view of Victorian Virtual Reality: Photographs from the Brian May Archive of Stereoscopy, exclusively for 16- to 21-year olds. 

Explore the exhibition, hear more about the history of stereoscopy from curators of the Brian May Archive of Stereoscopy, Denis Pellerin and Rebecca Sharpe, and discover handling objects from the vast archive.

Introducing Art in the Victorian Parlour

Wednesday, September 27

Join Denis Pellerin, photo historian and Brian May Archive curator for this talk to learn more about the Victorians interest in staging paintings in stereoscopes.

Watts Tots

Watts Tots

First and Third Friday of each month

Join a multi-sensory early years workshops to explore art and nature through making, storytelling and music.

September 1 and 15 – Suncatcher Drawings

Add colour to your room by making suncatcher drawings to string up at your window.

October 6 and 20 – The Big Draw

Big sweeps, little scribbles, cross hatching, shading and long lines. Practise drawing this October for The Big Draw!

The Make Space

First Sunday of each month

September 3

View Mary’s ceiling for inspiration and then join the Make Space for a modroc workshop. Create your own Gesso-type tile to rival the Limnerslease ceiling panels!

October 1

It’s the month of the Big Draw! Start it off with learning some clever yet simple drawing techniques. Pencils at the ready…let’s draw!

October half-term activities

Half-term family days

Sunday 22 and Tuesday 24 October

Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village is taking part in the annual Big Draw festival, looking at the 2023 theme of Drawing with Senses.

The dates include: activities, sketching stations and drawing with our senses!


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