Brighton Arts Club

Brighton Arts Club
43 Providence Place Brighton BN 4GE

About this theatrical, flamboyant and creative new Brighton venue, hosted by artist Pasha du Valentine

Brighton Arts Club
43 Providence Place Brighton BN 4GE

http://whatson.brighton.co.uk/at/Brighton_Arts_Club

About this theatrical, flamboyant and creative new Brighton venue, hosted by artist Pasha du Valentine

You might easily miss this new venue in the shadow of St Bartholomew’s Church – it’s well worth a look inside, a great space, with wooden floors, a gallery and double staircase. The high ceiling can apparently even be used for trapeze performance.

The Club is currently looking for a lighting system – can you help!

What’s happening:

  • Current Christmas exhibition features handmade feather and crystal jewellery, Frederike de Jonge’s photography featuring drag queens and Venetian masks, Pasha du Valentine’s painting
  • Resident film company One Yellow Shoe Productions
  • Film night begins in January
  • Artist space, theatre productions, film, photography, art, life drawing classes with a dominatrix model
  • Open mic nights Thursdays for music, comedy, poetry
  • Vanity Dare clothes hire
  • Burlesque makeovers
  • Rehearsal space for hire
  • Sascha Cooper for tarot and psychic readings
  • Sascha’s resident theatre company Crimson Horse’s next production at the Club: Grimm’s Fairy Tales February 19 – 23 7.30
  • Winter Solstice celebration December 21st

Brighton and Hove Artists’ Open Houses Christmas 2012

Introducing the Christmas 2012 Brighton and Hove Artists Open Houses event

 

AOH Xmas 2012 Brochure

Artists’ Open Houses Christmas 2012

December brings a smaller Artists’ Open House Festival to Brighton and Hove, with fifty-four houses and venues opening across the city this year to showcase the best in art and craft for Christmas. Browse hand-made presents, cards and decorations in peaceful surroundings away from the high street and be sure to find something very different for your Christmas 2012 gifts.Many venues are selling refreshments, with mulled wine and mince pies joining the traditional summer tea, coffee and home made cake on offer, and winter sees many of the Victorian and Edwardian houses showing off their best features – welcoming fires burning in ornate fireplaces.

Most venues are open Dec 1/2, 8/9 and 15/16, from 11.00 – 17.00, but do check the brochure carefully as opening dates and times are decided by the owners.

Saturday December 1

2012 Beach Hut Advent Calendar

Beach Hut Advent Calendar 2012

Tonight also sees the first opening of the 2012 Beach Hut Advent Calendar, a month long event. From 5.30-6.30 every evening in December one beach hut along Hove seafront per night will open its doors to reveal a festive display as part of a giant Advent Calendar. See www.beyondchurch.co.uk for more.

Saturday December 1

The start of Christmas proper and a flourish of Christmas fairs to visit on the way to our first winter open house; Bluebell Would [ venue 7]. A wealth of paintings, cards, glass mosaic mirrors, cosy hand knits, collages and decorations in this warm and welcoming house with, Martin Rolt’s moody seascapes and Fiona Hutchinson’s pretty silver shell jewellery standing out.

Studio 106 Brighton Artists Open Houses

Studio 106

Then to Studio 106 [6], a mews shared studio space featuring the work of many artists each with their own quiet space to visit and enjoy. Particularly liked Grizelda’s topical cartoons which have featured in the Independent and Private Eye, and Maria Tribe’s accomplished paintings and prints.

Lastly to Villa LVI [4] with its fabulous Roman mosaic kitchen floor and a great display of hand-made glass. Most striking was the glass garden, glass flowers ‘growing’ out of a mossy table.

Sunday December 2nd

To Festive Fox [37], Joy Fox’s house on a hillside, with front door to the first floor then down to basement kitchen to the garden. Enjoyed the tweedy kilt-pin scarves and foxy buttons [English country style with a twist]; and Betty Bib’s intricate hand and machine embroidered landscapes.

Hoity Toity

[36] Milton House featured Hoity Toity vintage inspired jewellery – especially liked the Roman-looking earrings with twisted gold wires and tiny beads, and wall boxes with letters and dinky toy collages.

Stephanie Else

Then down under the viaduct to Glass in Fusion [46] at Beaconsfield Studios, Stephanie Else’s glass studio with handmade pieces, ranging from affordable little gifts and decorations to some stunning wall hangings and epic-size platters. My first buy here – a glass pendant with golden flower patterns. Just along the corridor is Caia Matheson’s painting studio – see the large scale misty green woodland canvasses in oils.

Finally today as darkness falls, up the road to 99 [45] a beautifully presented house overflowing with gifts – very superior Christmas wreaths, handpainted miniature ceramics, woven silver jewellery and tapestry bags.

Saturday December 8th

Another foray into Hove today for first breakfast, then straight on to second breakfast at [10] Sunshine Books, Art and Coffee. This bright, family-friendly cafe near the seafront does exactly what it says on the tin, with a lively exhibition of mixed media collages, prints, paintings, Brighton photography and textiles. Particularly liked Helen Jewell’s purple leather silhouette raven brooch with a golden beak, Made by Mabel’s charming children’s knitwear and some gilded flower paintings [no sign of the artist’s name, sadly].

Dion Salvador Lloyd

Then along to [11] 9A Hove Place. The term ‘basement flat’ doesn’t do justice to this terrific venue, hosting a harmonious exhibition of ceramic and oil paintings from many artists which blend as if they were made to live together. Stormy atmospheric paintings by Dion Salvador Lloyd and Justin Weeks plus imposing sculptural and monochrome ceramics by Dan Kelly left a lasting impact. In complete contrast were Ian Gregory’s tempting little turquoise ceramic birds and Bailey Tomlin’s delicate peapod and flower brooches.

Finally today to [12] Albert Mews Studio. Usually a buzzing makers’ studio, it’s home to this collection of artist makers for the Christmas festival. Handprinted tights by Hose, ceramics and textiles printed with Brighton scenes by Martha Mitchell Design, Lizzielock’s 1920s cloche hats, Kysam’s witty little silver gifts including plectrums and chip forks and Anna Collete Hunt’s ceramic stag beetles with golden horns are just a few of the highlights.

Just noticed – a chance conversation with one of the [12] artists saved us from missing the New England House Christmas Open Show – unlike everywhere else they are not open at a weekend, but on Thursday 13th and Friday 14th December 12 – 8pm instead. Looking forward to this one, but can’t help thinking it’s likely some people will assume the only two days they are opening will be a weekend, and so will miss out.

Sunday December 9th

We began today at Olive Street Artists [32], a pristine house of ceramics, prints and textiles. Especially taken with Adam Regester’s one-man Artyadz studio producing small original paintings, bunting, ceramic buttons and handknits, and the work of two very different jewellery designers – Annie McCabe’s italianate flamework glass bead bracelets, earring and necklaces and Annette Street’s delicate Silvessence pieces.

Then to Bonnie and Clyde and Friends [20], a light, airy pastel pink and white house, for collage and print, scarves and jewellery displayed attractively over vintage books and screenprints with a strong Carmen Miranda vibe.

Be prepared for stairs, says Ed Kluz [19], and it’s up to a top floor 200-year old flat with bow windows overlooking the sea and Norfolk Square. This is a fascinating exhibition of Ed’s Brighton-inspired paintings, prints and collages, and especially his miniature scraperboard images. Particularly liked the Long Man of Wilmington and Vandalian Tower pictures. Ed is also currently exhibiting in London Past and Present at Potterton Books, 93 Lower Sloane Street [until 24th December 2012].

To Christmas Boutique [18] at Cross Street Workshop; a room where Jane Austen might have felt at home – wood panelled walls and marble fireplace a harmonious background for bunting, embroidery, mosaics, printed textiles and silver jewellery; just a few of the great selection of gifts to browse.

Then to Chapel Mews for two open studios, beginning with Borderline Studios [16], home to ceramicists and painters. Noticed Fay Green’s blue celadon bowl, Kathy Laird’s pretty ceramic Christmas tree stars and Mike Topham’s clever canvases using wire ‘drawings’ instead of pen.

Thursday December 13th

Caught the New England House [46] show today – a trail all by itself, over six floors in an extraordinarily hideous building rejuventated by a colony of artists, craftspeople and small businesses producing out of the units on each floor. A sometimes slightly eerie atmosphere, as Christmas music echoes down the concrete corridors, and quite a lot of mulled wine going on.

On Level 2 I spotted John Dilnot’s insect and bird -inspired prints, especially Startled, his print of glowing green starlings in a tree. Sadly Create photographic studio and gallery opposite were missed off the exhibitor list, so be sure to take a look.

Lots to see on Level 3 [plus cafe] then to Level four. Especially liked Sue Haseltine’s Pink Peony painting here.

Level 5 featured Sam Williams’ retro prints with a 50s Sci Fi film poster feel, and Jake Spicer’s Draw studio – life drawing classes in an inviting theatrical costume and props atmosphere.

Rowena Gilbert Contemporary Ceramics Meadow Design Ceramic Stem Vases

Rowena Gilbert

Level 5 Unit 3 is something special – a ceramic studio home to six ceramicists, each so different in style and method, all harmonising together. Rowena Gilbert’s elegant grass-patterned bowls and vases, Linda Calvert’s tall slender white lamps formed from casting the patterns left by the sea on sand and Simon Mathews’ handthrown ceramics in misty greens and soft blues stood out.

Level 6 – lots more here, especially Dupenny’s naughty 40s’ pin up and burlesque girl drawings covering everything from knickers to a standard lamp, My Little Robot’s cute ceramic robots and some fabulous views over Brighton at sunset.

Grab your chance only till 8pm today because they are going it alone and not opening when all the other Christmas open houses are open …

Saturday December 15th

Suzanne O'Leary: Illustrated Glass Tile - Palace Pier at Little Beach Boutique

Suzanne O’Leary

Today kicked off with a walk along the seafront between the piers. The old fisherman’s workshops in the arches under the road opening onto the beach have been sympathetically restored and colonised by cafes and artists, many open all year round.We visited two neighbournng arches exhibitiing in the Christmas AOH; starting with Little Beach Boutique [27]. Featuring handmade glass, I most liked Suzanne O’Leary’s frozen blue slice of wave, complete with bubbles, capturing the spirit of the sea. Some very charming children’s felt character slippers from Charlotte Macey, too.

Then to 229 Ceramics [26], home to the work of a group of ceramicists. A great selection on offer; the silver birds, miniature egg cups for quails’ eggs and the polka dotted milk carton milk jugs all caught my eye.

Into town next, to Limited Editions [25] housed in Wagner Hall just behind Churchill Square. This venue houses work by users of mental health services and people with learning difficulties, and proceeds support skills and confidence building projects. They are joined this year by Dee Williams, stained glass artist who can create an impression of your cat in stained glass, and also specialises in renovating vintage stained glass.

 

Alejandro Martinez

Then up to Alejandro Martinez Art [23]. Martinez is an architect and artist in pen and ink watercolour and computer print, specialising in animals, architectural drawings and landscapes. Loved the simplicity of “Beachy Head”, muted, delicate washes of watercolour and free flowing lines.

The Thistle House [24] Enjoyed tea and ginger shortbread on the sofa in front of the lovely fireplace at this warm and welcoming house. Liked the scented handmade candles in vintage cups and glasses’ fabric animal sculptures and printed bedlinen.

Finally today as the rain set in to Artbelieve [22], a tiny and very attractive flat housing contemporary work inspired by urban life and landscape. Particularly liked Daniel Doherty’s prints and collages and some teeny boxed hangings of bats and seagulls.

Sunday

Theresa Winchester

Today dawned beautifully bright and sunny, so I decided to do the long Fiveways circle of houses. Theresa Winchester and Friends [38] houses a great variety of work. Winchester’s accomplished linoprints inspired by myths, legends and wildlife are joined by Polly Finch’s dainty papercuts Maria Tilgard’s sinuous and eerie black swan cushion and Peter Brett’s simple Shaker wooden pieces.

The Wildlife Photographer [39] is to me what an Open House is really all about – meet the artist and family [and lovely blue dog] and enjoy the photography and needlework on display in their home. World travelling photographer Andrew Forsyth has captured some spectacular wildlife, landscape and astronomy shots.

By Moonlight

Clair Letton

The Cake House [40] is very well named! A fantasy cupcake and a cup of tea in the kitchen with the papers first [well it was Sunday morning] then a look around. Clair Letton’s engrossing paintings of colourful towns and villages had the feel of the best children’s book illustrations; I especially noted “Butterfly Collection” and “By Moonlight”. A rainbow coloured staircase and lots for children made this a very family-friendly house.

Over Fiveways to Art @ 73 [41] – a bit out of the way but worth the walk, with a house full of guest artists. Perhaps this did make the house feel rather impersonal, more like a shop with very little evidence of family life, but the mulled wine and friendly welcome were great. Nick Orsborn’s juicy watercolours and cicada jewellery and Dee Wadham’s Love Letters [hand painted mounted wooden letters] very attractive.

Nearby is The Red Door [42] [and some more mulled wine]. A new venue showing Nicola Jackson’s handmade turquoise butterfly-covered sketchbooks, Kitty Cava’s fine art printmaking [the Morning Glory prints stood out] and Karen Tilley’s cyanotype prints.

Agnes Chevalier forest

Agnes Chevalier

Then down to All Colours Permitted [43], housing some superb work – fine art in textile form. Francoise Koester’s hand painted silk bed covers, cushions, hangings, scarves … gorgeous colours and striking designs. Agnes Chevalier’s intricate hand and machine embroidery as framed pictures and jewellery – sadly as her picture “The Green Man” has been sold, only prints and cards of this Tolkienesque green woodland scene are now available to see.

Set of 6 Serviette Rings

Fleur Grenier

Sylph Baier [44] opens her garden summer house again to visitors – if you can tear yourself away from the charming chickens! Fleur Grenier’s pewter decorations, especially the long mistletoe branch are so attractive, and Michael Embden’s hyper realistic paintings of the South Downs are the highlight.

Jubilation

Caia Matheson

Then finally as the heavens opened again a return visit to Glass Infusion [46] to pick up some more of Stephanie Else’s almost edible coloured glass fridge magnets, and to Caia Matheson’s studio for superb woodland oil paintings.

The end of another Artists’ Open Houses Christmas event.

See you in May 2013 and meanwhile if you have an exhibition, open house or other art event anywhere – please do let us know.

features@artistsopenhouses.co.uk


Brighton and Hove Artists’ Open Houses May 2012

We visit the 2012 Artists Open Houses trails over four weekends in May

AOH May 2012 Brochure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like last year, our Festival began on Friday evening, with a visit to Dion Salvador Lloyd’s [i6] private view of new contemporary landscape and abstract paintings influenced by the interplay of light, shadow and cloud.

On Saturday morning, after braving the drizzly grey weather which would take hold for the entire Bank Holiday weekend, we enjoyed a veggie breakfast at Hove Station cafe, then took in Makers’ Boutique [i5] first, and met Bean, the balloon-popping Jack Russell who welcomed us into this friendly flat showing a selection of seaside-themed handmade art and craftwork.

Next we headed for Hove Arts, where we discovered the Hove-trotter passport, the official sticker-collection pass specially for children, who might win a prize in the Hove Arts quiz.Beginning with our cluster of highly recommended venues by the station, this group of imposing Victorian villas is full of detail and interest:

Polish and Pin [h4] This house, complete with a fox sauntering casually about the garden, is something special. A diverse show, with the common theme that everything is made from recycled and reclaimed materials: Tom Simpson’s nostalgic Atomic Robots created from cast off parts from classic cars, Treacle Furniture breathe new life into old chairs with new upholstery and paint, Meriel Ensom shows detailed wildlife paintings on salvaged driftwood and Anne French re-creates old wooden chairs with clever decoupage comic book heroes.

Collectors’ Selection [h2] is a painterly home full of books, instruments and plants, showing paintings, sculpture and wood-carving throughout house and garden. John Baldwin’s hand-carved model pocket knives featuring gargoyles, angels and gothic windows, Simon Royer’s Wave Study oil paintings and Olivia Ferrier’s black and gold leaf sculpted ravens perched on reclaimed sea groynes particularly stood out.

A new home for The Wolf At The Door [h3] which has moved just round the corner and stationed their fearsome wrought iron wolf in its new front garden. Highlights include Campoli Nelson’s sea pebbles trailed with silver forming elegant candlesticks, Si Uwins imagined seed pods decorating the vegetable garden and Roland Miles’ vintage children’s books collected into handmade wooden book cases, each unique. Tea and little cakes for £1

Sunday continued the Dyke Road Arts trail, starting with the Gloobah House, showing a selection of crafts, printed textiles and Sharyn Esteves’ luxe printed silk scarves.

One Must Dash – Lacy fiigree ponchos, Love of words and letters

Nine by Nine – Letters and print typeface

Milton House – Standout Lisa Green painting, water colours and prints

Then over to Kemptown to enjoy the vintage commercial vehicle rally right outside JAG Gallery and Open Studio [] on the seafront. This community of artists’ spaces under the arches on Madeira Drive features work by many artists including Eve Poland, Barry Hinchliffe and Jacqueline Hammond.

Tony Mills and Friends [K10] is showing some epic and atmospheric acrylic sky paintings in his impressive seafront flat [check out the little curved door!]

Then to an independent venue at 8 Eastern Terrace Studio where Jay Collins shows meticulously detailed and evocative Brighton paintings.

The Studio – College Road [K9] is another working mews studio, showing Philon’s striking paintings in abstract blocks of colour and white.

Nearby another independent, 31 Art at 31a College Road, caught our eye, especially Mike Higgins’ leafy gleaming green ceramic bowls.

Bank Holiday Monday: As Hove Arts were all open on Monday, we headed that way again for more. It’s very convenient when all the houses on one trail agree to the same opening times and days, avoiding disappointment for visitors.

Creative and Affordable [h1] is a smart Hove villa, featuring sculpture and metal work in the garden, Christine Howitt’s light and water-inspired stained glass and Caroline Marsland’s detailed and realistic acrylic painting. Tea and cakes £1.50.

Tessa Wolfe-Murray and Guests [h7] is another well established Hove venue, featuring host Tessa’s tactile smoky-hued ceramic wall plaques, clocks, vases and jewellery. Decorative metalwork by Simeon Smythe includes small scale standing metal pieces inspired by fish, birds and water, delicate shoals and moonlit landscapes. Fleur Grenier offers the natural world in metal, flowers, conkers and shells.

Nigel French and Guests [h8] show Brighton and London inspired alphabets, pub sign collages and Americana, photography and print in this welcoming and popular basement flat location.

51 Wilbury Road [h9] Highlights include Ali Nightingale’s Alice in Wonderland and Victorian themed decoupage heads, clocks and frames and John Beetham’s paintings of Brighton seafront, and landmarks, European travel and skyscraper scenes, reminiscent of book illustrations and theatre and film sets.

Kellie Miller [h11] once again opens her working mews studio to visitors to show her calm and peaceful ceramic pieces including arial view wall plaques and elegant tableware.

Art at All Saints [h10] is a group show in a church, where you can admire the art and the 19th architecture all in one visit. Royston Hawley’s dramatic seascape paintings, and Sue Penrose’s sparkling mosaics are particular highlights here.

Albert Mews Studio [h15] is a friendly studio space where you can watch glam hats being made and enjoy a wide selection of craft work.

The Claremont [h14] Hotel is almost entirely open to visitors who can wander round the covetable bedrooms, bathrooms and the lounge [which was of course serving tea and cakes], admiring work throughout, including Dylan Floyd’s mixed media leopard – with horns.

Eve Poland and Elizabeth O’Donnell [h13] have moved to a new venue. Particularly liked the mirror frame encrusted with toy action figures painted gloss black, the naughty boudoir ladies and sullen kitties screen prints.

We introduced our Swedish house guest to the concept of Open House today, beginning with a return visit to One Must Dash and a chat with the two resident Swedish artists.

Then towards the sea front to enjoy the lovely weather. En route we found out about the Underground Open House Art Movement, a new arts collective of rogue independents launching in May. See their website at www.uoham.co.uk for details of the UOHAM venues across Brighton and Hove.

The Broken Biscuit Society art group at 48 Wilbury Road is part of UOHAM. Visiting an Open House really is about the people and the place just as much as the work on show, and this family-friendly venue is a great example of the concept. An artistic creative and green-fingered community, showing together in this welcoming, relaxed house. We enjoyed tea and cake [£2] in the gorgeous urban woodland garden with bunting strung round the trees and canine welcoming committee, then took in the show including vintage cameras turned into lamps and closeup detailed photography shown on widescreen TV. My favourite was a study of feathery sparkling dandelion seeds.

Then to Studio 323 [bt1], situated in one of the mansion apartments on beautiful Palmeira Square. On arrival we were greeted by a guide in the lobby and handed a leaflet on the history of the house – built 1860, complete with imposing Victorian lift and a huge stone fireplace [possibly with a Lord Byron connection] in the hall. Well worth a read if you’re interested in Brighton history and architecture.

Studio 323 is showing in what was once the principal drawing room of no. 32, and is now a working photographic studio. Work includes Helen Holland’s fascinating miniature beach huts, each decorated in its own style, especially appealing to appeal to lovers of dolls’ houses and model stage sets. Melissa Simpson’s substantial and elegant leather goods including bags, belts and purses, Ted Davis’ vibrant close up photographic studies of fading flowers and Richard P Cook’s detailed watercolour views of land, water and boats.

 

 

Brighton and Hove Artists’ Open Houses May 2011

We visit the 2011 Artists Open Houses event over four weekends in May

Today is the first day of the 2011 Brighton Festival, and the start of the 30thanniversary Brighton and Hove Artists’ Open Houses event.

Brighton and Hove Artists’ Open Houses week one

Friday We began our Festival as guests at two private views in one evening; Cecil Rice [S11 at Seven Dials Artists] and Dion Salvador Lloyd [i4 at Independent Open Houses]. Rice is showing views of Venice, Brighton and Morocco in watercolour and oils. Lloyd is showing new abstract and contemporary landscape painting using oils and mixed media; the fruits of his recent cross-America road trip. Both parties were very well attended, and we bumped into old friends at each – hopefully, a sign of a happy Festival for all.

Unlike the Festival and Fringe brochures which are always out well in advance of the start, I hadn’t seen a trace of the elusive AOH brochure until this evening, and seized my copy. I’d have liked to have had it earlier on so I could plan my weekends, but I’m enjoying it now, apart from the rather murky and indistinct brown cover image which doesn’t particularly attract.

Saturday

Starting at the bottom of Dyke Road and heading up past Bhasvic, we visited some of the Seven Dials and Dyke Road Arts houses today.

S1 Number 8 is a fresh new venue, situated right behind St Nicholas church [said to be the oldest building in town], so very convenient for starting from central Brighton. Three friendly girls from Belfast welcomed us in as some of their first visitors, showing photography, print making and painting.

Nearby, S2 Diva, another new venue, revealed a spectacular miniature panelled great hall and staircase, and offered a wide selection of textiles and crafts.

Then on to S3 Arthouse, down narrow stairs and into a basement flat opening onto a secluded garden on two levels, where we enjoyed some gorgeous cupcakes and tea [this will become a recurring theme], before admiring prints, painting, photography and jewellery. I especially liked Jodie Collins’ hazy golden Desert Storm painting.

Next was S4, A Shot in the Park, a flat in an imposing Victorian villa with a terrific high ceiling and great window [although I found the reflections from the light streaming through did make it difficult to view the photography opposite with ease.] Emma Brownjohn’s ‘Lowryesque’ paintings and Paul Reed’s dreamy seascapes caught my eye.

S6 Sixes and Sevens have a wealth of painting, drawing and photography, and I was rather charmed by Hickory Dickory’s selection of children’s handmade wooden bedroom gifts, including height charts and name plates.

Sadly S7 was shut today so I made my way on to S8 Walled Garden. I’ve passed this usually closed ivy-covered door on Seven Dials many times, and it was intriguing to be able to step through into the terraced garden and in through the double doors to the hidden flat beyond, for paintings, cut-paper silhouettes and ceramics. Michael Gower’s Eagle painting and Sue Roberts’ ceramic armadillo shell were particularly striking.

Last house of the day was Dyke Road Arts’ D5, Yarn and Glue, another newcomer, showing entertaining illustration prints, including ‘Brighton Line’, a fun echo of the London Underground map especially for those who know their Brighton.

Sunday

A leisurely café breakfast, then along to the long-established and accomplished Dyke Road Arts D8 The Trojan House. Here I met with my first buy of the Festival; a print of Troy Ohlson’s Art Nouveau-esque green dragonflies embellished with gold. Inspired by animals and the natural world, Troy’s paintings, prints and filigree jewellery are joined by her daughter Tema’s Tematations handmade bags, and a host of guest artists showing silver jewellery, ceramics, wooden boxes, carvings, lamps and textiles.

Then a brisk walk towards town for a few more. Only one weekend opening for this rather special venue on Seven Dials Artists; S7 Brighton and Hove High School. Pupils of all ages produce canvases, postcards and photography together with their thoughts on the theme of ‘other worlds’, and in a spirit of healthy competition, visitors are given voting slips to vote on their favourite pieces. This is their third year, and now something of a tradition for us [including the tea and cupcakes on the lawn] and each year I’m struck with how inventive and creative the girls are in their work. I particularly liked Tuesday Jamison’s sculpture; a dress constructed of wicker, wire and photographs, Shana Langridge’s eerie body-casting and Nandi Clarke Coulibaly’s glittering black and silver collage, Pandora. Congratulations to the staff and students once again.

Then to S10, Eve Poland and Elizabeth O’Donnell. This flat is situated in a splendid Victorian mansion with perhaps the most imposing entrance of all the open houses I’ve seen this weekend. A very Japanese feel inspires the prints on show this year, and especially memorable were Poland’s sea sirens and sullen cats with attitude. I particularly liked the piratical cat on a union jack print.

A walk past St Anne’s Well Gardens leads to S13, Davigdor Mews Studio, a pop-up temporary venue opposite the artists’ ceramic and glass workshop. A guided tour and explanation of the processes was very illuminating. Tanya La Mantia’s beautiful translucent white bone china, produced with a complex process of layering and sand blasting were especially memorable.

S12 The Colbourne Collection is another newcomer in this year of début houses. Sometimes you just walk into a house and want to live there – this is one of those; a light, airy and immaculate house showing a great variety of work.

Brighton and Hove Artists’ Open Houses week two

Saturday

The second weekend began with tea and home made rock cakes at the Pavilion Gardens Café, venue 10 on the Shop Window trail. Then to a selection of venues on Central Brighton trail, which is more a selection of shops, studios and galleries than open houses per se. C16 The Fine Line Project was not open until 12 so we continued through the North Laine without seeing it – I do feel that it would be better for visitors if all houses on a trail open at the same time, to avoid disappointment.

C14 One In The House is a shop set over three floors of what was once a tiny and intriguing cottage. Mingled with the stock were Donya Coward’s textile collages on a canine theme, and Andy Beck’s photographically realistic acrylic city scenes.

From C15 Brighton’s Arty House, a tiny and immaculate terraced house which is home to Arty magazine, and is showing a selection of print and photography, we fought our way through the buzzing street market to C13 Unlimited Editions to view some typeface themed print. Then on down Bond Street to C11 Sussex County Arts Club, which has for many years hosted classes in portrait, costume and life-drawing classes and is again showing many studies of intriguing-looking subjects by its members, working in a variety of media. Note – This old building is also home to what must be one of the country’s oldest working loos!

Later this afternoon we visited a few more Dyke Road Arts venues, beginning with DR10 The Dog House. Karen Barratt’s Memory Wall of family photographs and memories struck a chord with me, as we all seem to have boxes and suitcases of old family photos which together could tell such a fascinating story. Terri Bell Halliwell’s gilded leaves and white outdoor wall plaques, Tom Pockley’s turned wood amphorae contrasted with dark driftwood and Joanna Zara’s millinery were most memorable. After tea and cake in the rooftop studio overlooking the raised back gardens, round to DR7 The Gloobah House, filled with handmade crafts and textiles, where Ali Rabjohn’s beautifully soft felt wraps were especially attractive.

Sunday

If you said you only had a few hours to spare for a trail, I’d recommend this trio of elegant and engrossing Victorian / Edwardian villas all packed with interest, situated just north of Hove Station, and a few minutes walk from Hove Park Café:

H2 Collectors’ Selection is for me the ideal open house, where we were greeted by the owners and enjoyed the work which is harmoniously mixed with the owners’ books, musical instruments and plants throughout the house, and on into the garden. See Aksorn Pongtarin’s dreamy impressionistic paintings, John Baldwin’s intricately carved lime-wood puzzles and nonagenarian Cyril Mount’s beach, carnival and night life paintings.

H3 Polish and Pin have set up a full-scale café in the kitchen and on the covered deck, with tea and chocolate cupcakes our excellent if rather expensive choice. Nina Mills’ painted glass bowls and Artbooks leather books were most memorable works.

Visitors to H1The Wolf At The Door [moving house after the Festival] are greeted by a huge metal sculpted wolf outline by Ian Tatum, whose magnificent working Foxglove Gate sculpture also graces the back garden. Inside for jewellery, glass, silver and photography. I especially enjoyed former teacher of mediaeval literature Jill Tattersall’s mixed media pictures. Her work mixes text, colour, gold and silver leaf, reminding me of a mediaeval scientist’s notebook. Today there were amusing science demonstrations and a jeweller at work.

A brief trail for us today, ending the second weekend.

Brighton and Hove Artists’ Open Houses week three

Saturday

A slice of Fiveways with a few independents on the way, today. One of the things that has rather annoyed has been the inconsistency of house closing times; 5, 5.30, 6 …

On the way over I stopped in at Dyke Road Arts DR4 The Artful Fox. One of those TARDIS-like Brighton houses built on the side of a steep hill, with a surprise extra floor to visit, this tall cool green house is showing a diverse group exhibition including intricately detailed hand embroideries by Lesley Buckingham and Carol Butler.

Then across the divide that is London Road, and up into Fiveways. Preston Drove splits the northern chunk off from the rest so that’s where I spent the remainder of the afternoon.

F13 Theresa Winchester and Friends has made the Latest Homes Long List for best open house this year. Plenty to admire in another imposing Victorian villa; jewellery, textiles and sculpture in the terraced garden, ceramics, carving and photography mingling with Mick Hulme’s intricate Green Man and oak leaf carvings. I remembered Theresa’s own Raven painting from last year, and had there been a print available I would have had one!

Round to F11 Eva Wibberley and Friends, and after German apple cake and tea in the cool green garden I enjoyed Sue Wood’s mixed media botanical canvases with a sketch book feel and Ben Barker’s ancient world creamy green ceramics.

i21 Art at 23 is another new arrival and another splendid house, hosting an eclectic show including Sonya Pettigrew’s images of ballet and Lainey Powell’s textile creations from recycled treasured fabrics.

F9 John Whiting for a painterly show featuring work in oils, pastels, charcoal, inks and prints by Whiting, Pip Adams and Gabi Carr.

i22 Mrs B celebrates her tenth AOH, features the best shed in Brighton and an intriguingly extended house showcasing a wealth of crafts and paintings.

Round to i20 Fiveways of Seeing for an international show in a domestic setting, with painting from Venice and the Greek islands, pottery, portraits and still lifes.

Then to finish the day with F12 13 at 3 Found Objects, Fine Art. Another of those intriguing hillside-built Brighton houses with unexpected extra floors to visit. Driftwood, stone and beach-glass found and turned into sculpture, jewellery and wall hangings by Cece Mills and Naomi Sack, with plant sales in aid of Parkinson’s research.

Sunday

Another helping of Hove Arts today, beginning with H7 Art at All Saints, a wealth of crafts and painting set out among the pews of a working and vibrant Victorian church with a very welcoming atmosphere and some magnificent 19th century wood and stone carving.

Then to H4 Tessa Wolfe Murray & Guests. This calm and engrossing venue is both home and studio, showing Tessa’s own muted, elegant and enigmatic work in ceramics; vessels, jewellery, wall panels and some very charming buttons from this prolific artist. Tim Gill ‘s nature photography featuring water and flowers was admired on the way up to the room in the roof for lemon cake, tea and good conversation.

Then down to the basement of a block of mansion flats for H5 Nigel French and Guests. Graphic artist and photographer French is showing striking black and white and photographs, and I particularly liked the Brighton Alphabet, created from photographing distinctive lettering from all round the city.

H6 51 Wilbury Road features John Beetham’s spectacular and highly popular cityscape paintings and Sussex landscapes, with sculpture, carvings, knits, textiles and glass in support.

Then H8 Kellie Miller Art and Design celebrating fifteen years at the Biscuit Studio in this authentic mews venue. This year, see work from her recent solo exhibition in Japan, featuring her collection of unique ceramic cups, chat with the artist and learn all about her work and inspirations.

Finally another stop off for refreshments at H1 The Wolf at the Door, where today we saw some wood-carving demonstrations

So ended the third weekend of AOH.

Just heard that Oxford also has an AOH festival, running at exactly the same time as Brighton. One for next year, perhaps?

Brighton and Hove Artists’ Open Houses week four

Saturday

Another visit to Hove, first to i4 Dion Salvador Lloyd where we had attended the opening night party and wanted a further visit at a quieter time so we could view the richer colour developments of his more recent paintings in tranquillity.

H11 Albert Mews Studio is one of those 19th century Brighton mews developments that are as interesting as the work they house, and well worth a look. The studio at the back showed some sweet wire silhouette pigeons, merging Agnes Jones’ twin fields of artist blacksmithing and illustration.

To the Old Market for The Consciousness Engine, part of the curated House element of the AOH. The installation is certainly different, a walk through different rooms with sound and light telling an enigmatic story.

But for me, the House element sits uneasily with the rest of the AOH. Its subtitle ‘Art and domestic space’ simply does not describe what the event offers; there is little of the domestic about any of the venues [theatre, art gallery, shop window, studio space, etc].

H13 Osborne Vistas for a beach-themed show featuring Lucy Palmer’s driftwood and pebbles sculpture and David Streeter’s photography, especially beach huts and their locks, the ubiquitous pier and a graphically satisfying monochrome image of a bicycle chained to the seafront railings in the snow [my one postcard purchase this year].

Then to H15 Fellow Travellers, housed in a gorgeously corniced and turquoise-fireplaced mansion flat on the incredibly windy seafront, for jewellery, textiles and mixed media.

H16 Stables Studio is an award-winning venue. The ground floor is the working studio of actor, architect and theatre designer turned sculptor and artist Deryk Parkin and guests, showing a vast range of small-scale carvings in green and white stone. The studio leads into one of the AOH’s Best Gardens, a cool green oasis of pools, shelters, and harmonious sculptures. Then up the outdoor steps to the upstairs flat, somewhere between a captain’s cabin and a hobbit’s home for more works. This venue just has to be seen.

Brunswick Town’s BT4 Adrian Walker – Open Studio, into an old mews courtyard and upstairs to Adrian Walker’s cool white studio hung with his pale pastel Turner-esque seascapes, full of cloud, atmosphere and light.

Sunday

Today I stopped off at Dyke Road Arts on the way down to Kemptown. DR2 Nine By Nine has made the Latest Homes Long List, and is a house that loves letters, numbers and words in all their forms. Who’d have thought that the Shipping Forecast could create such an elegant piece of artwork?

Neighbouring D1 Milton House, a new venue, has lots of crafts, jewellery, paintings and hats to offer.

Right over the other side of town to Kemp Town K2 Faith In The City A Sense Of Place. A modern Methodist church with some terrific architectural features, we were disappointed that the exhibition was already being taken down as we arrived before the close of the festival , but enjoyed especially Shirley Veater’s hand painted ‘stained glass’ window panels.

At K7 Kelly Sweeney and Co, Kelly’s screen-printed stags and owls, and Reuben Kyte’s wood and metal outdoor sculpture looking like a giant spear hurled into the grass were most memorable.

Then to K6 Towerblock Art The Highest Exhibition for Serena Sussex’s lightning photography from her 9th floor balcony viewpoint, and enigmatic landscapes with a gorgeous glow and an oriental feel. Patrick Bremer’s Satyr collage was a powerful last image as we left the venue.

K4 The House of Curiositea is a basement flat with an extraordinary anatomy and, this week, a rock ‘n’ roll style. The girls’ fifties outfits, music and activities made it feel more like an event than an artists’ open house – but entertaining, especially Saffron Reichenbacker’s black and white glamour girl prints.

Monday

Bank Holiday Monday and the last day of the AOH. Not all houses open today, but all Hove Arts houses have obligingly scheduled to open, as have some of the independents, so we had one last artistic fling before Christmas, starting at Hove Arts H3 Polish and Pin for tea and the Flutterby bakery’s very pretty and delicious [if rather expensive] cupcakes .

Then round to i13 The Rock ‘n’ Roll Boudoir, for vintage rockabilly style and Hollywood inspired prints, especially Kitty Finegan’s Save Saltdean Lido Art Deco style prints.

A return visit to H7 Art at All Saints church, and the chance to look around again brought us into conversation with Royston Hawley, a prolific artist who works in oils producing seascape paintings driven and inspired in part by personal experiences. I felt reminded of Norse, Welsh and Ancient Greek myths and legends. For our first original art purchase, we chose a moody rocky scene, reminiscent of the clashing rocks of Ancient Greek mythology.

H9 Gallery City Retreat, Val Fawbert’s home, studio and intriguing garden, is showing her striking large-scale palette knife paintings and prints of mountains, trees and lakes. Big, graphic and powerful responses to landscapes.

H10 The Claremont Hotel is hosting thirty artists throughout its corridors, bedrooms and public rooms. A clever way to show off a most attractive hotel [and its beautiful bathrooms], with Claire Fletcher’s nostalgic seaside watercolours especially bringing back memories of childhood book illustrations.

i7 22 Third Avenue is showing artist and architect Peter Hayes’ fast, cheerful, cartoony pen and ink drawings of houses and Brighton buildings.

Then back to All Saints to collect our painting and stroll home, so ending our 2011 May Artists’ Open Houses event.