You can follow our trailing finds, picks, buys and likes as they happen at @philippa.hammond.com
Then each weekend we’re collating our responses here.
Aaaaaaaand … We’re off!
2019 Brighton and Hove Artists Open Houses kicks off early for us.
Looking forward to a fabulous @brightonfringe month of art, theatre and events, our Sussex Playwrights Fringe-time event and Chelsea Flower Show on TV – my favourite month is about to launch.
Hove Arts Venue 18 Dion Salvador Lloyd
Shortlisted Best Painter 2019 Awards
Our first Brighton & Hove Artists’ Open House preview party sees us at Dion Salvador Lloyd’s consummate show, always our opening event, and always a highlight.
Dion and Emma and a team of nibbles-&-fizz bearers welcomed us to their 19th AOH year.
If you’re a regular, you’ll know his signature enigmatic sea and skyscapes style, and pallette of natural-world stone, shell and bone.
But Dion’s long year turns, and elegant winter is slowly softening her grip. There’s a drift towards the spring, allowing fresh pinks and greens, yellows and blues to turn up the colour. There’s a tumble of dried flowers and soft toned seaglass here now, and a suggestion of heat on the horizon. But not yet. This exploration of a new season feels like it’s only just begun.
We loved: Secret Place and Chamomile
Dyke Road Arts Venue 5 The Trojan House
This well established @artistsopenhouses essential offers expertly curated variety – painting, print, ceramics, glass, silver, iron and stone in a calm, civilised setting.
Host Troy Ohlson’s fascinating wildlife-inspired painting and print. Odessey Blacksmiths’ twisted iron hairpin – imagine a warrioress pulling that spike out ready for battle! Tracy Steel’s handcarved stone lettering – small pieces channelling an ancient art.
Dyke Road Arts Venue 6 For The Man I Love
If pretties and frills are not for you, step inside a cosy den full of tasty treats, spicy scents and wantable finds for anyone (like me!) who also loves gentlemanly things.
Sleek silver jewellery, dog beds, chutney and chocs, plus Brighton Wick Candles – there’s a sense that this is how the nicer bits of Regency Brighton might have smelt – all sea, tobacco, chocolate, spices and wood. Tasty.
Dyke Road Arts Venue 2 Art at The Good Shepherd
I’ve always loved children’s books. The writing, the storytelling, the illustrations and so often the powerful sense of place that had my family holidaying all over the country in the footsteps of the Famous Five and the Lone Pine Club.
This show sends me straight back there – it’s a traditional, mature celebration of the locations and natural world that mean so much to us. Sea and cliffs, woodland and country churches – so many of these images seem to want an adventure to be happening there.
David Diplock’s meticulous, delicately observed watercolour studies of winter and Riverside, plus the most fascinating Artists’ notebooks.
Dan Woods’ Early One Morning series called up JM Barrie and Michael Bond’s tales from a world where a nursery just might be a thing.
Dyke Road Arts Venue 1 Art At Zerb’s
Shortlisted Best Artist’s Open House 2019 Awards
Welcome to this brand new house with the wow factor – a fab Edwardian villa and sculpture garden.
A great mix of ceramics, painting, wood, leather and glass … something for all, and with the departure of Wolf at the Door to Yorkshire, Si Uwins has found a new space for his sinuous wood sculptures right here.
Hove Arts Venue 19 Collectors’ Selection
If you only have limited time, here’s the first of a pair of ‘must-see’ venues on the Hove Arts trail
An elegant, cultured show featuring spectacular sculpture on a domestic scale.
A pagan beast theme runs through this show; bull-headed and goat-legged beings in ceramic and metals.
Contemporary sculpture with an ancient world memory.
Hove Arts Venue 20 Art In Bloom
My personal pick for Best Artist’s Open House 2019
And if you only have limited time, here’s the second of a pair of ‘must-see’ venues on the Hove Arts trail
@artinbloom has definitely burst into flower since their first bud showed at last year’s Artists’ Open House festival!
Karen Hollis’ high impact floral paintings bring the glamour to this jaw-dropper house. So lush you can smell the scent – ah no, that’s the vase of white lilies. Maybe.
Jill Tattersall (now a York resident) night skies and silvered river paintings, Tessa Wolfe Murray’s distinctive and assured ceramics … well, everything. Possibly the best curated house I’ve seen so far; a superb blend of medium, colour, shape and setting.
Artists Open Houses Hove Arts Venue 15 Axios
Ade Stacey’s darkly glowing oil paintings, all sullen intrigue, conjure up volcanic inferno visions and a sense that the Balrog may appear any second now …
Central Venue 7 Brighton Sussex County Arts Club
This long-lived arts club’s annual Fringe exhibition is always worth a visit. See the fruits of the year’s drawing, painting and sculpture practical guided sessions with life, costume and portrait models. It’s the ideal studio setting for those looking to give focussed attention to developing their skills in like-minded company.
Accomplished work this year included
Helen D’Arcy’s Lady Peacock
Bill Donohue’s Mark
Beyond the Level Venue 5 Glass In Fusion
Another of my regular must-see venues, this studio is open throughout the month. Stephanie Else presents her glowing collection of glass pieces – from tiny earrings, fridge magnets and hangings, to important statement pieces fit to grace the most imposing boardroom or boutique hotel. Her use of colour is gorgeous – I’m particularly drawn to her turquoise, teal and white sea and sky inspired work with glass bubbles and foam effects.
And another pair of earrings (turquoise glass studs) has found its way into my AOH jewellery collection!
Guests Victoria Lovell’s statement rings and Graham Whittaker’s leatherwork.
Fiveways Venue 22 Rex Matthews
‘They’re just like Noggin the Nog!’ if you’re the right age, you’ll hear yourself exclaiming as you encounter Rex Matthews’ interpretation of the Lewis Chessmen.
And it’s true – I was at an exhibition at the British Museum where Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, the creators of Noggin, the Clangers, Bagpuss and other children’s TV icons, discussed the influence the chess pieces had on the design and personalities of their Viking characters. These dark, powerful and fascinating images will draw you in.
Another example of a house with a limited number of artists’ work harmonising together throughout the house and sculpture garden. I’m increasingly less engaged by too many, too much, and this confident blend of Matthews’ drawings and paintings, Margaret Massie Taylor’s paintings, David Price’s clay sculptures and Claire Morris’s stone and alabaster carvings is well worth a visit.
Beyond The Level Venue 9 11 Rugby Road
Shortlisted Best Artist’s House 2019 Awards
It’s no use … I have to confess to an ‘eeeeeeeep!!!’ reaction on entering this ever-growing favourite. Also ‘where do they LIVE?!’ From previous years upstairs, they’ve now expanded over the entire house and garden – and it’s charming. Narnia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream … Everywhere’s an Instaphoto waiting to happen, plus a few inspirations on just what I could do with that old mirror in the back room and some of those planks left over from doing the floor. Clever.
The Crunkles; pierced ceramic … sea urchins? Toadstools? Candle light flickers through in the darkened bathroom
Into the garden for a forest of ceramic mushroom picks – edge past people carrying fistfuls at just £1 each. I’ve got five …
You can follow our third weekend trail over at @philippa.hammond on Instagram, and we’ll collate our finds soon.