I’M always astonished by the number of people visiting my studio at Bevere who tell me they haven’t visited the site for several years, sometimes as many as 10 or even 15 years, and of course they notice a huge difference.

Others haven’t visited since before the Covid-19 pandemic and they also see major changes.

Bevere Vivis Gallery was founded in 1974 by Heather Taylor, a Worcestershire businesswoman of the year and chair of the Worcester Tourism Association.

Heather and a group of leisure painters attended classes in Worcester run by Geoffrey Vivis.

They subsequently decided to exhibit their work to the public with Heather and husband Gordon converting the cellars of their house Bevere Knoll into exhibition space.

In the 1980s the art group moved the exhibitions to a separate building, the Coach House, where local artists were able to display their work.

Heather’s son Alastair later set up the framing department in the deep litter chicken shed to complement and work with the artists.

Heather and Gordon retired in the early 2000s.

Alastair and his wife Kim took over the reins in 2003, changed the name to Bevere Gallery and introduced the ceramics programmes with the support of curator Stuart Dickens, soon to be joined by gallery curator Clare MacFarlane, both still in the business today.

The café came next in 2004, operated on a daily basis from the Stable in the Café Garden moving inside and upstairs in the Coach House in the winter months.

Siobhan Archer joined the business as framer in 2016 and the cafe moved into the downstairs room of the Coach House.

The business largely ran as such until the arrival of Covid-19 in 2020 when for the first time in its 46-year history the site closed for two-and-a-half months.

It reopened, within strict Covid-19 guidelines, in late June 2020 with three new artist studios, a refined café offering and two galleries displaying ceramics, original prints, paintings and jewellery.

I was one of the first professional artists to occupy the studios from 2020.

It was a strange first year or so given the various lockdowns and restrictions in place.

However, the take-out café and newly-built ‘pods’ attracted visitors and the site acted as a much-needed meeting place for local people during this difficult period.

There are now four professional working artists creating contemporary art with studios open to the public, a café with indoor and outdoor seating offering home-baked food, a much-developed framing service and an enlarged gallery space showing the work of over 140 studio ceramicists from across the UK.

The team you will meet these days are still Alastair and Kim, Clare, Stuart and Siobhan with Emma in the cafe.

Heather still lives next door in Bevere Knoll with Alastair and his family and pops into the gallery from time to time.

The resident artists are Jane Arthur (textile artist), Dan Holden (abstract oil painter), Jennifer Ng (Chinese ink and watercolour) and myself (painter and mixed media artist).

Next time you drive past the ‘ART, CERAMICS, CAKE’ sign on the A449 just outside of Worcester please do call in.

There’s lots to see on our site and you can be sure of a warm welcome.

I feel privileged to occupy one of the studio spaces in this idyllic countryside setting.

Bevere Gallery and Artist Studios, Bevere Lane, Worcester, WR3 7RQ, is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm. There’s free admission and plenty of free parking.

We can be contacted on 01905 754484.

Our columnist Susan Birth is resident artist at Bevere Gallery.