Dyke Road Arts: Nine by Nine

Dyke Road Arts: Nine by Nine

John Christopher
John Christopher
This house is all about the beauty of print, letters and words. Particularly struck by John Christopher’s [flowersandfleurons.com] vintage letterpress Shipping Forecast prints and journeys – tall slender prints recording in wordlists and subtle use of colour the impressions of a day’s Sussex walks, plus Richard de Pasando’s famous faces created from different fonts.




Artists Open Houses 2013: Fourth weekend

The fourth weekend’s trailing


Jo Sweeting
Jo Sweeting
Saturday May 25th

Over the final weekend I visited as much of the Fiveways trail as time and tired feet allowed. This area saw the birth of the Artists’ Open Houses movement over thirty years ago, and since then Fiveways has become the most famous of all the trails. Unlike other trails, their policy of ‘houses only’ means no studios, shops, galleries, cafes or anything other than the domestic space features here. This year Fiveways created their own independent magazine / brochure, featuring each venue at two pages each. It will be interesting to see where this new offshoot of the movement takes us next year. Fiveways is probably the most affluent part of the city, with some jaw-droppingly wantable houses and gardens. These heavyweights host some of the most assured and confident exhibitions of the whole festival.Beginning at the top of Preston ParkTheresa Winchester and Friends [21]
So much to enjoy in every room, each surface showcasing another artist’s work. Winchester uses the Columbian printer, seen last week at bip-Art, to produce her illustrative work inspired by fairytales, myths, children’s stories, poems, animals and birds. Other highlights include Erin McAirt’s delicate etched toy theatre scenes and Mick Hulme’s woodcarving, especially the minutely observed oak leaves and acorn swagsEva Wibberley and Friends [22]
My second group show today, offering painting, ceramics, turned wood, handmade paper – variety abounds. I was most struck by Sue Haseltine’s oil “View From Cissbury Ring”, and Debbie Zoutewelle’s large scale work, especially her sepia-tinted oil and biro woodland painting, “Towards the Light” and her abstract “Earth Energy.” Ben Barker’s ceramics in black and gold have an ancient Greek feel. A thought – as I headed upstairs, I did find it rather too dark to be able to see the work clearly.Art at 23 [23]
A beautifully staged garden offering Plants for Parkinson’s, and a friendly open fire and some fab Victorian stained glass windows to admire. Plenty to enjoy, including some natural driftwood and pebble sculptures and a show of AR Barker’s vintage watercolours, some dating back to 1919.

31 [19]
Through the park to another of Fiveways’ imposing Victorian villas with one of the biggest groups showing. As a rest was needed, up the shocking pink steps for tea and a slice of a huge lemon drizzle cake [£2.50] in the terraced garden.

Amid the traditional home crafts of patchwork, textiles, mosaics and rugs, two contrasting painting styles stood out: Kate Osborne’s chickens emerging through sunlit drifts of watercolour wash, and the delicate detail of Japanese artist Sumiko Davies, inspired by English wild flowers.

122 Beaconsfield Villas [18]
A venue hosting a group of award winning painters. I liked Perdita Sinclair’s “Talking Head” in black multiple frames, and “The Birds” nude – her ‘line drawing mixed with completed oil’ style appearing unfinished, yet not needing any more to finish the story.

Hummingbird Studio [18]
This buzzing Beyond the Level venue, a centre for teaching, making and exhibiting, is one of those venues not qualifying for Fiveways membership, yet situated on its territory, right in the middle of a residential street. Ceramicist Bebe Bird has it all covered; from the life sized piggy family in the window down to the teeniest little jugs, and Tim Gill’s stained glass goes from strength to strength; his Art Deco-style sunlit birds in flight is gorgeous.

The Cake House [16]
Well named; the view through from the road to ladies enjoying cake in the kitchen was very inviting. Plenty to love if you’re looking for cushions, button brooches, hairclips and beanbags, and the rainbow staircase and Clair Letton’s children’s book illustration style make this a very family-friendly house. Her “By Moonlight” and “Looking at the Moon” are both images I wanted to study and enter – close peering revealed how harmoniously the appliqued elements of the mixed media pieces blended with the painting.

The Art of Opposition [35]
Up to Fiveways then round to this Independent. Nothing dainty, pretty or cute here – this venue hosts some difficult and stark images. May Ayres’ large ceramic Tony Blair war installation and pieces inspired by incidents at Abu Ghraib prison are among the angry and attention-catching responses to the 21st century in clay, paint and words.

Philippa Stanton – Synaesthetic Art with a Shed [14]
Does exactly what it says on the tin. I understand actor/artist Stanton creates a different mood-set in the shed each festival. I’ll be talking more about the Brighton shed in a later article, but this is a charmer. Inspired by the American settler style, it has an atmosphere all its own, and is created just for the love of it. A step back in time, an atmospheric experience surrounded by the artist’s collections and inspirations.

Stanton paints smells and taste – her “Gin and Tonic” nails the blue/white/silver glitteryness of the drink. Guest Holly Bell’s ceramics, green and lavender washed glazes, are all fresh simplicity with a subtle raised design of leaf, flower or bird.

Thirty One [34]
Another independent. If you have very little time, this house could serve as a taster for some of the artists [including Polly Finch, Stephanie Else and Kellie Miller] who are also exhibiting elsewhere this year, some at their own studios. I enjoyed the mini-beachfront garden and studio shed, too.

Jo Sweeting [13]
A stonecarver and teacher, with fascinating workshop shed in the back garden, Sweeting’s hand-carved art ranges from hefty monumental pieces to simple single-lettered beach pebbles. See some works in progress, demonstrations and examples of the methods and tools used to produce her work. An engrossing open house, with a real sense of the artist living and working right here.

41 HPA [36]
Independent. Graham White’s work at first sight appears to be oil painting – and then you realise that colour and shape are created by collaging coloured strips of paper cut from magazine pages to produce land, sea and sky images. The lovely conservatory is showing stained glass miniatures, with tea and cakes in aid of the Martletts Hospice in the Italianate garden, complete with archways.

Printhouse [12]
There must be something about printmakers – they all seem to love showing how they produce their work. I watched a small-scale lino cut being used on the tiny printer [a baby version of the great Victorian Columbian I saw at bip-Art] to produce a neat print, and it’s fascinating to watch the hands-on work in progress. My favourite image here is Kitty Cava’s “Heavenly Blue” flower print.

The Ceramic House [11]
Something different – here, the house itself really is a work of art. J Kay Aplin’s home is steadily being transformed into a showcase for her ceramics – to call them tiles doesn’t do them justice. Kitchen, bathroom, inside and outside walls … all display her powerful, richly coloured and three dimensional abstract images, featured in many magazine articles. The kitchen tiles look as if some great green sea creature has wrapped its tentacles round the walls.

Lots to see here; take a trip into the garden and find the Cave, a dark grotto beneath the house hung with lit ceramic pods filled with magnified miniature scenes, and up to the entirely ceramicised bathroom. Aplin and her guest ceramicists work in such varied styles; I loved Delfina Emmanuel’s white porcelain corsetry and the delicate sea creature- inspired gilded pastel ornamental teapots.

The Cicada House
A little extra –  previously next door to The Ceramic House, this house has moved and thanks to a helpful notice by the new owners I found their new venue just at the end of the road. Not in the brochure having only moved in a month before, they have presented a stylish and welcoming exhibition of Nick Orsborn’s cicada jewellery and paintings. Lovely glass of Pimm’s, too.

109 Stanford Avenue [9]
Finally today I dropped in at the original Open House – Ned Hoskins, creator of the idea some thirty years ago is showing a homage to Jeff Keen plus some of Hoskins’ paintings inspired by his own designs for a London Underground mural.

Sunday May 26th

I started at the other end of Preston Park today, for a look at the lower half of the Fiveways trail.

Sylph Baier [3]
Described as ‘a vibrant house, buzzing with arts and crafts’ – suits it perfectly. The garden is transformed into a cafe [tea and cake £4] with children’s play area. Pass the shell-roofed chicken house on the way to the garden room, showing the highlights: Baier’s functional tableware ceramics are all smooth curves and fifties colours, and Jessica Coote’s creative hand-embroidered pictures are inspired by the Sussex countryside.

The House of Mander [24]
Right next door, this Independent is about as far from the usual Brighton artist’s open house as it’s possible to get. No cushions, cupcakes or,polite watercolours here – this house has to be seen.

The charred firepit and the tale of the daemonwain tacked onto the Yeti cart in the front garden announce that you’re about to enter an artist’s world. My notes say “mysterious, spiritual, stories, religion, death, crucifixion, skulls, installation, concrete, stylised heads, ancient people, fire pit, iron, wood, broken, film set, antlers, Viking re-enactors, rusted metal … ” and for me, this mass of impressions sums it up.

We went back that evening for the closing party and a conversation with Brian Mander which ranged around prehistoric dawn of consciousness, masked ritual and last night’s lunar eclipse – just some of Mander’s inspirations. I’d visited his previous event, For the Love of Sarah, and am intrigued to discover just what he’ll do next.

31 Havelock Road [5]
More of Holly Bell’s subtle pieces as seen at Philippa Stanton’s, then to the glamorous red-walled room upstairs for Frances Doherty’s fantastical ceramic plant-inspired pieces with real sculptural presence. I was pleased to enter the competition to win a piece of an exhibiting artist’s work here.

Where trails collide – the next three houses are all listed in different sections of the brochure, despite the fact that they are neighbours, which makes it a little difficult to follow!

Rosalie Dodds and Guest Artists [4]
On an increasingly hot day the chance to sit for a while in this cool, calm interior was very welcome. I admired Dodds’ rough-textured monochrome striped stoneware and Maggie Feeney’s strong near-abstract landscapes and skies.

Number 11 [25]
Independent. Loved the white coral and sea urchin pierced ceramic lamps displayed in a dark and mysterious setting – the bathroom! And my favourite kitchen, with its yearly growing multi-tiered cake stand and glass jugs of fruit juice serving refreshments for a donation for children’s art materials.

All Colours Permitted [17]
Beyond the Level. Agnes Chevalier’s intricate woodland scene embroidered pictures [“Green Man”] and Francoise Koestler’s fabulous stylised hand-painted silk cushions, scarves, wall hangings, bed-covers – everything textile that can be decorated with irises, leaves, birds and many more nature-inspired images [“Blue Pond”].

David Williams and Guests [2]
Another wide selection of work here, with the painting taking centre stage, especially Williams’ hyper-realistic nature studies with the colour contrast turned right up. Loved his “Coastguard Cottage Garden” and Sally Grimshaw’s “Seven Sisters”. Then through the lush little garden to visit the artist’s studio.

The Pink Bird House [26]
Independent. Through the pretty front garden, dotted with Claire Rose’s mosaics and hangings in the shady tree, to a wealth of craft, textiles and pots here, including some quirky steampunk and recycled cutlery.

47 Southdown Avenue [6]
Home to artists and collectors. The brochure image says it all – I enjoyed Steve Jordan’s dynamic, energetic film still / snapshot-style paintings, always paired with Jane Jordan’s re-imagined, patterned revived furniture, each unique – especially the “Ferns in Red” chest, washed with shadowy leafy burgundy shapes.

Towards Fiveways itself for a pair of venues, both featuring the hard stuff – some serious metalwork.

Art in Nature – at 202 [8]
Colour and animals everywhere here! Ten artists share the space. Chris Brooks’ animal sculptures start with the inspiration of the natural driftwood shape, which is then evolved with metal embellishments – the otter and ostrich figures stand out. Then to the garden to enjoy his metal water sculptures. Metal and wood are matched harmoniously with paintings; I noted Alison Ingrams’ Art Deco “Skomer Puffins” especially.

Anvil Ironworks [7]
And finally today to this small working forge tucked behind a residential terrace. Pass if you dare the humungous metal spider creeping down the wall by the gate – a ten-foot Shelob coming to get you – and into the grassy space behind. The curly-fleeced ram, enormous crab and giant prehistoric fern fronds take you into a metal fantasy world. Watch the artist blacksmith Paul Wells at work at the forge, too.

Monday May 27th

Bank Holiday Monday saw Hove Arts all opening for a final flourish, so I took in a few last venues and revisited some of day one’s houses on the way home.

Art @ the boundary [12]
Evolved from last year’s Art @ All Saints, and the Sussex County Cricket Ground backdrop of the new venue suits it just fine. Persevere to find the suite round the back of the ground, and you’ll find quite a variety. Royston Hawley’s moody, threatening sea and sky oil paintings are a great foil for Polly Ballantine’s black and gold formal Oriental animal studies, and Nicholas Dunn-Coleman is showing a fascinating look at the art of the bookbinder. You can see exactly what goes on beneath the covers when a book is created by hand, and watch the process as happens. Some elegant hand-made books too, and a Victorian Bible rebound in leather for a new lease of life.

Nigel French and Guests [9]
French’s photography fills this busy show, standouts are the Brighton alphabet made up of photos of letters taken from around the city, together with Iconic shapes of urban landmarks. There’s an unexpected chocolate helter-skelter by Jen Lindsey-Clark to marvel at, too.

51 Wilbury Road [10]
They’ve colonised the whole of this imposing Hove town house this year. We started in the basement flat for Nick Lucas’ characterful children’s illustrations and tea and cakes on the terrace, then up to the main house. I was struck by two artists working on a hearty, energetic scale, here – Alain Guy’s hefty, grotesque and memorable heads of ancient-world warriors and John Beetham’s flamboyant great paintings of flowers, architecture and landscapes.

Dion Salvador Lloyd [4]
A return visit to  for a glass of wine and a chat about how it had all gone this year. Lloyd’s private view is always a big draw, and it’s good to be able to sit quietly and see the work in tranquillity here at the end of the festival.

And finally … a last visit to The Wolf At The Door [6] where we began it all a month ago.

Next stop: Christmas 2013!

But before then, there will be plenty more Artists’ Open Houses and Studios to visit and enjoy. The website will be featuring further events wherever they may be – we’re not just about Brighton and Hove.

So please let us know if you are holding an event, or if you’ve seen any particularly interesting houses by sending details to features@artistsopenhouses.co.uk.

Artists Open Houses 2013: Third weekend

Our third weekend trailing.

Cecil Rice The Seven Dials Elm
Cecil Rice
The Seven Dials Elm
Third weekendSaturday 18th MayKemptown Artists

Continuing my goal to see as many and to travel as far as possible within the city, I caught a bus from Hove Station out to Sussex Square this morning, to tackle Kemptown Artists. I decided to keep to those around the seafront and St James’ Street, again not seeing all the open houses but getting for a good flavour of this trail. Kemptown is a historic part of the city inexplicably vandalised in the sixties when some hideous tower blocks were allowed to land amid the Regency fascinations.

To a pair of venues at Arundel Mews first.

Cardigan Ltd [17
Cardigan Ltd [17] is the working studio of knitwear designer and artist Kate Jenkins. A very friendly and informative welcome told me about the artist who has worked with charities McMillan and the British Heart Foundation. Her machine knits introduce a limited edition of colours each year. Kate’s own design and invention, the 4-way poncho / cardi / scarf / wrap, fastening with rows of little charm buttons, was so clever, and the crochet applique scarves and witty crochet canapes and sequinned seafood pictures are among lots to see and buy.

bip-Art Printmaking Workshop [16]
Next door is bip-Art Printmaking Workshop [16]. This long-established print studio houses several antique printing presses, including the 1844 Columbian Press, and a community of enthusiastic printmakers happy to demonstrate and explain all about their work, handprinting with care and expertise. Tea and wheat-free cakes for a donation to charity.

Rock Apartment [15]
Just around the stunning Brighton architectural landmark Sussex Square and Lewes Crescent for Rock Apartment [15]. Something special, accessed down steps and through the stone lion-guarded little courtyard to this gorgeous mezzanine apartment packed with paintings. Ethne Greenfield Clarke and Lindsay Pearson are prolific and accomplished artists, showing paintings and prints from journeys to Venice, India and Africa, together with some private sketchbooks to leaf through.

Number 3 [14]
Check out Maggie Barradell’s pastel cloud formations and Ray Nowak’s Portland rock carvings here.

Cabinet of Curiosities [13]
This studio apartment houses the antiques of the future – the work of master craftsman and bespoke designer/cabinet-maker Huw Edwards-Jones. You’ll want to open and close the drawers of the unique and gentlemanly pieces of furniture fashioned from many different species of wood. There should be a prize for the most attractive business card; his is reminiscent of old book-plate engravings.

The Bungeroosh Gallery [12]
One of those tall Regency houses Brighton does so well, and a lesson on what to do with the tiniest garden space. See Suzanne Breakwell’s animal papercuts on ink backgrounds, especially the heron image “Water’s Edge”.

The Studio – College Road [11]
A painters’ studio housed in a Kemptown mews for Nick and Maggie Philo’s abstract paintings. Lesley G Aggar’s “Seascapes” series of images taken from the same Marina vantage point show the infinite variety of sea and sky mood.

90 Essex Place [6]
Not the most beautiful of high rise buildings but well worth following the instructions to get up to the venue. Friendly hosts and dog and a rest on the balcony with complimentary tea and cake, before enjoying Paul Griffiths’ painting and print show – especially the “Storm” series, inspired by the great views.

Five from the Fens [5]
Five artist friends from Cambridge. Helena Anderson’s sharp geological photography stood out; detailed studies of the Cornish coastline.

JAG Gallery [4]
Down the steps to the seafront now for the JAG Gallery [4], housed in part of the original seafront buildings under the promenade. An engrossing mixture here, artists each have their own cubicle where they work and exhibit.

The Silence in Thunder [3]
Back up the steps and into New Steine to a small hotel hosting this exhibition of paintings by Philomena Harmsworth. It’s a little difficult to tell if I’m in the right place for a moment as there is no Open House banner, but once past the uncertainty of ringing the doorbell, the exhibition of exuberant oil paintings of musicians in the act of making music is in the dining room.

Faith in the City 2013 [2]
Along to this modern Methodist Church. Take a look at the tiny round chapel faced in Sussex flint with stained glass accents, then look around at this community exhibition. Favourite: Doreen Savage’s butterfly paintings.

Lee Miller Archives Print Room Sale [6]
After a tour of the Spiegeltent Gardens for a festival flavour, I dropped into my first Central Brighton venue at  the Friends Centre. To be honest, I was a little thoughtful. Not an open house, studio or gallery, the artist long deceased, the main aim being selling off stacks of prints – perhaps not in the spirit of Artists Open Houses, but still, some superb archive images.

Sunday 19th May

Only a brief opportunity to trail today, and a pair of Seven Dials venues.

Brighton & Hove High School GDST [11]
Just for the one weekend the school opens to showcase students’ A-level and competition work. See how the girls study the work of great photographers and the history of photography, and then produce their own responses. Fascinating to see how this school consistently supports the confident, creative development of its young artists, their critical research skills and a professional approach. I noted Jessy Plant’s dance and music-inspired work and Gitana Harfleet’s filmic images. Tea and cake on the lawn £1.

Cecil Rice [10]
Constantly inspired by his knowledge of Venice and Brighton, ‘Painting the Light’ is very well named, the walls lined with glowing watercolours. Find out about painting courses at Rice’s home studio, books and instructional DVDs too.  My image of the Festival so far – Rice’s “ Seven Dials Elm” watercolour, sparked by the recent controversy over the Green Council’s attempt to chop down a venerable elm tree, survivor of Dutch Elm disease and iconic feature of Seven Dials, in order to facilitate a pavement-widening scheme. The tree survived, and the painting celebrates the success of local campaigners in protecting it from the axe.













Artists Open Houses 2013: Second weekend

The second weekend’s trailing

Angie Meaden-Bonnel
Angie Meaden-Bonnel
Second weekendSaturday 11th MayWe began today with the remaining three Dyke Road Arts houses on our way into town.Nine by Nine [3]
This house is all about the beauty of print, letters and words. Particularly struck by John Christopher’s [flowersandfleurons.com] vintage letterpress Shipping Forecast prints and journeys – tall slender prints recording in wordlists and subtle use of colour the impressions of a day’s Sussex walks, plus Richard de Pasando’s famous faces created from different fonts.Milton House [2]
Nearby is Milton House [2], a working studio home, full of ceramics, textiles, painting and print, and to the kitchen appropriately for ceramic tiles, pottery and home wares. A case full of petite smoke fired raku pieces by Judith Fisher and Tiffany Lynch’s pastel coloured acrylic woodland scene paintings were the stars.

Quilty Pleasures Studio [1]
Then to Quilty Pleasures Studio [1], a small shop dedicated to the art of the patchwork quilt. Showing examples of eight quilters’ work, you can book courses and learn the skills needed to create your own family heirloom.

Over to Beyond the Level, a wide oval trail centred around London Road station, for the rest of today.

Sorry to see that several of the BTL houses are not opening at all on Saturdays; it’s important to check your brochure carefully to avoid disappointment.

8 Rosehill Terrace [2]
To 8 Rosehill Terrace [2], and one of the best little gardens in Brighton. Ceramics, jewellery, digital installation, paintings and glass pieces to admire at this characterful house, several times shortlisted for the Best Open House award. See Louisa Crispin’s natural world etchings, especially the Owl, and the atmospherically paint-spattered artist’s studio upstairs.

New England House [1]
Next to New England House [1] which has several times invited the visitor to explore many of the studios on its multi levels to meet the artists and their work. Sadly, only a fraction of the building is open this time, with a much reduced small sampler show on the ground floor. Enjoyed a rather good cream tea [£2.50] and bought one of SDC’s gorgeous 3D animal cards, admiring Jake Spicer’s superb life drawings. Spicer offers his Draw life classes at his studio here.

The Dragonfly House [13]
The Dragonfly House [13], easily identified by the huge dragonfly sculpture clinging to the wall, is celebrating twenty years as a major player in the AOH event. Artists and collectors Angie Meaden-Bonnel and Marc Bonnel are joined by friends all inspired by the theme of nature and the British countryside. Enter downstairs via the smart kitchen, into the conservatory and courtyard then upstairs to enjoy the full show. Angie Meaden-Bonnel works in golden ink on black backgrounds to create her timeless landscapes, including the elegant and enigmatic “The Old Way.” Litterbug Mark Oliver’s fantastical insect creatures and Linsey Oliver’s country scenes using poetry, text, trees and skies add a striking 3D element to the show. Standing stones, landscape, living things … all the natural inspiration for this highly recommended event.

30 Gerard Street [12]
Then over the road to 30 Gerard Street [12]. There is quite a theme this year for 3D boxed pieces inspired by the natural world; here Frances Bloomfield’s “Dreamboxes” suspended tree shapes evoke designs for theatre and fantasy film sets. Remembering childhood shadow-boxes for little treasures, Alice Walton shows skewed ceramic shadow-boxed feathers and cotton reels.

97 Ditchling Rise [not in brochure]
The Wealden Potters have opened a pop up independent house at 97 Ditchling Rise. A real independent, with Jennifer Wood’s paintings in the house and a fascinating wild wood garden, home to several summer houses showing examples of the potters’ work.

99 [11]
Back on the BTL trail, right next door is 99 [11], a house full of crafts, textiles, fashion and food. A break in the day’s trailing with tea and a slice of Victoria sponge [£3] in the pretty vintage tea garden, with a needlework summer house at the bottom.

Jennifer Beresford [10]
Jennifer Beresford’s intricate Brighton and Dungeness studies in oils and acrylic involve the viewer, capturing attention with detail and colour. See James Caldicott’s weathervanes and Howard Johnston’s woodcarvings in the courtyard garden.

The House of Tattered Treasures [9]
Right out on the edge of the trail here, for expressive cushions, buntings, brooches and bags with a vintage theme.

The Sundial House [8]
You’ll recognise this house by the large sundial over the front door. The owners are members of the British Sundial Society and this house is showing a fascinating exhibition all about them – how they work, their history and style, plus a selection of mosaic, glass, silver, wood and card dials.

1 Newport Street [6]
Radek Andrle’s tall, curvy sculptures in gold-accented pewter shades, with works in the miniature garden, too, and some golden 3D fruit pod wall pieces.

Glass in Fusion [15] at Beaconsfield Studios
Although only Glass in Fusion is listed, Beaconsfield Studios houses several shows, including Caia Matheson’s painterly studio with guest photographer and leatherworker. We enjoyed a glass of Pimms and the chance to create some mini artworks ourselves while enjoying her large scale rich-toned oils, including distant forests and “Encircle”, a midnight study of beech trees.

Along to Glass in Fusion where fused glass artist Stephanie Else displays work created in her studio kilns. Jewel colours and iridescent accents adorn her epic wall pieces and platters, jewellery and decorative miniature hangings.

Sunday 12th May

Back to Beyond the Level first:

Betty and Friends [16]
Betty Shek’s handsewn flowery felt arts and vintage button corsages and Keith A Pettit’s wood engravings of the South Downs.

37 Park Crescent [5]
The Regency crescent tends to curve inwards, so you can see the sweep all the way, but this one curves the other way. This apartment features some tantalising glimpses to the walled terrace and to the communal garden beyond. See Jenny Shaw’s bold, assured oils and life drawings here.

The Hanover Art Trail is mostly uphill all the way, and features some surprising and interesting venues.

Barefoot Art House [1]
To the second Regency crescent of the morning, Hanover Crescent [this one curves the right way!]. Pass the lodge at the top of the crescent, admiring the town houses opposite the peaceful communal garden as you go, then to the Barefoot Art House – shoes off as you go in. Michelle Cobbin’s abstract oil paintings, including “Steam”, a vague, cloudy misty oil, work perfectly in the small tranquil space that serves as a yoga studio. The glam bathroom is open for more works, too.

Lisa’s Open House [2]
Lisa Holdcroft is the illustrator of The Cheeky Guide to Brighton, and her show allows you an in-depth look at the detail of all the illustrations plus her Brighton Peers characters too. A fun, child friendly venue with a family competition [£2 to enter].

Brighton Sculptors [3]
To the Church of the Annunciation now, home to a sculptural show. Although the rather dingy light makes it sometimes difficult to see the work and the details, I particularly liked Abby Martin’s ‘Rainsieve’ and Theresa Martin’s “Undulation”. Explore the church and enjoy the entertaining leaflet about the history of the church and its community, over tea and Victoria sponge [£1.20 – the winner so far].

Susan Evans [4]
Walk on up to Hanover Lofts, a converted school building, for Susan Evans’ massive cloudy, impressionistic skies stacked about this roofspace.

Design Courses [5]
Then around to Design Courses [5], and a surprise find. This big workshop bunker houses Sue Enitcknap and Richard Dykes’ thriving knitwear studio, with the knitting machines and great spools of wool used in their design business and some useful practical courses available here. Unique fashion items for sale, including delicate shrugs and lacy knitted cardigans. View Harry Venning’s cartoons, too.

 9 Beaufort Terrace [6]
To 9 Beaufort Terrace [6], a small venue with a big show. Paintings and sculpture abound; I especially noted work by Luke Jones, plus Elin Solstad’s restrained Norwegian winter charcoal drawings. Picked up a postcard with a great Dalek painting by Jones – would have liked to see the original.

36 Cobden Road [7]
Then to 36 Cobden Road [7]. Bryan Ellery bronze portraiture; lovingly observed small pet studies and textured characterful heads; are displayed about the house and the must-see terraced sculpture garden. Janet Brookes’ ‘Brighton Boozers’ linocuts caught the eye.

Another weekend trails to a close …



Artists Open Houses 2013: First weekend

Here’s what it’s like to enjoy the world’s biggest artists open houses festival. Pick up the brochure, put on some comfortable shoes and ensure you have plenty of cash / cheque book / credit card ready for when inspiration hits.

Our complete review of the first long weekend in May 2013.

Cliff Wright: Book cover illustration for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Cliff Wright: Book cover illustration for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
First weekendFriday 3rd MayAs ever, our festival began with a visit to previews at two well-established Hove Arts Open Houses, beginning with a champagne reception at Dion Salvador Lloyd [4]. Lloyd, a self-taught artist, surrounds himself with his inspirations, the natural ephemera of skulls, antlers, shells and flints, their muted colours reflected in his home and his work. His paintings [perhaps storms, planets, oceans or heaths? – you decide] range from epic scale naturescapes to intriguing miniatures, or “smalls.” Stand-out piece: “Edgeland”Then round to Kellie Miller’s [11] welcoming working Biscuit Studio tucked into Wilbury Grove mews; for cheese, wine and muffins and a private view of her latest work. We just missed the mayor’s visit. Particularly attractive were the 3D pieces, especially farm animals in tranquil porcelain fields, and “Follow your path”, an avenue of trees in oil and gesso.

Saturday 4th May

Staying with Hove Arts for now, after a rainy breakfast in Hove, our first visit was to a newcomer, 49a Hova Villas [3] to meet South African artist Andrew James Hofmeyr at home. A charming touch was the avenue of umbrellas suspended overhead leading us into his garden flat, which has perhaps one of the best garden features in town – the church next door.

Two very different styles to enjoy here, reminiscent of the best children’s book illustrations: first, the large scale paintings on mellowed recycled scaffolding board. Featuring domestic Brighton terraces, half-familiar landmarks and little glimpses into windows, the works are haunted by ever-present foxes and gulls. We share the city with wildlife and Hofmeyr’s work celebrates the connection.

At the other end of the scale, I also loved “Spring Fox”, an intricate black and white line drawing of a fox and ducks in the countryside.

After three individual artist showcases, next on to Collectors’ Selection [5], a great favourite. This effortlessly civilised and beautifully presented house is the home of some serious sculpture and a wealth of paintings.

To the conservatory and garden for the sculpture trail, where I found Olivia Ferrier’s rackety, raggedy black bronze ravens and wanted the whole flock of them. The ground floor features pleasures everywhere you look, especially Hazel Reeve’s white plaster head “Adam”. Then on and up for Diane Brandrett’s delicate window views and folding screen, and a celebration of the life and work of the late Cyril Mount. This house is consistently excellent, always a highlight.

Nearby is Polish and Pin [7], a house dedicated to reclaiming, re-imagining,and recreating works from re-cycled objects. The house is full to the brim with plenty to see and buy; I particularly noticed Anne French’s superhero contemporary decoupage furniture and Carola del Mes’ vintage teapots recreated as lamps and clocks.

Then to finish the Hove Arts morning, off to The Wolf at the Door [6], which has just had a new extension built. Destined to be the new kitchen, for the festival it’s a light airy gallery space. Highlights include owner Jill Tattersall’s handmade paper painting [I liked “Vitis Vinifera” very much] and Campoli & Nelson’s sinuous silver and bright glass pieces.

Later, over to Dyke Road Arts, kicking off at The Gloobaah House [4] and garden, for a wide variety of art and craft, especially Ember Vincent’s smoky raku bowls.

On to The Trojan House [9], hosted by artist Troy Ohlson. Her new pieces, including a quartet of bright acrylic landscapes, join her established wildlife work. I was very taken with two moonlit paintings; “Doves in Love”, a muted night time image and the striking “Midsummer Evening Hyde Park”. Guests include Howard Young, whose Maltese stone carving “Within” looked superb in the garden.

Then round to 56 Tivoli Crescent [8], the house on the side of a hill with two storeys invisible from the front. A room full of Chris Hill’s pastel acrylic Brighton scenes echoed the house’s fabulous views over the whole city.

Finally today to The Dog House [5], back after a year off. Rhoda Kay Baker’s sculptural white paperscapes, cut and folded hanging pieces catch the light and shade and Linda Calvert’s translucent white ceramic lamps inspired by wet sand on beaches caught the eye. Upstairs to the rooftop studio for cream teas [£3] before heading for home.

Sunday 5th May

A quieter day today, with a walk up to a new Dyke Road Arts house, The Holistic House [10]. My first note was “Wow!” This house needs to be seen. Set rather further out from the main trail than the map would suggest, the whole house has a spiritual feeling and it’s worth the walk. The sculpture lawn drifts into surrounding woodland and is peopled with willowy figures by Ginger Gilmor. Then into the sitting room, a quiet haven for Hellen Morris-Clarke’s jewellery and live music. The hall hosts Gill Orsman’s photography, and bright embellished fantasy paintings by Claire Johnson. To finish, a smart kitchen complete with waitresses serves afternoon tea. [One small jam and cream scone and tea is £3. A thought … perhaps better not to serve the jam and cream on top of the paper napkin, though]

We took a leisurely long walk back, finding ourselves at The Cat House [7]. Some serious steps and a welcome cold drink at the top, and into a mid-Victorian house [original-features and great-view hawks will appreciate this one]. Particularly liked Jill Christie’s blue -green ceramics collection, from sweet little egg separators and egg cups to big imposing vases.

And finally today to The Station Pub [6] virtually next door. A friendly corner of this sporty pub features Nigel Summers’ paintings, inspired by the Falmer Stadium.

Bank Holiday Monday 6th May

Firstly to established Independent The Claremont [11], a Victorian villa hotel and garden in Hove. Start at the top and walk down, visiting some of the bedrooms – and bathrooms – to see the work in place in attractive settings, and you’ll probably want to move in. I noted Stephanie Parker’s 3D illustrations, Carne Griffiths’ angel screen-prints plus work by established artists ceramicist Rowena Gilbert and painter Serena Sussex. The recently developed sunny garden featuring Karl Smith’s hefty driftwood bench is a great place to sit with tea and cake. Pick up the smart little brochure on arrival for a full description of the artists and their work.

Hove Arts are all open today, so on to 2012 Best Open House-shortlisted Albert Mews Studio [2]. A charming welcome and a cup of tea with Lizzie Lock, who is showing her vintage-look millinery. The 40s style printed hosiery, printed fashion, homewares and 3D seagulls are all created at this busy working studio.

Our last visit of the weekend was to Tessa Wolfe Murray and Guests [8], a very well established house. Upstairs to Tessa’s ceramics studio for her elegant galaxy-patterned vases, wall pieces and clocks, plus some tempting little gifts – I picked up one of her cards with an iridescent ceramic moon brooch today. The staircase features original work and prints by Harry Potter book cover artist Cliff Wright, including some captivating Rackham-inspired illustrations.

The end of a busy four-day weekend in May 2013. Next viewing on May 11th.


Hove Arts: Tessa Wolfe Murray and Guests

Tessa Wolfe Murray and Guests

Tessa Wolfe Murray
Tessa Wolfe Murray
Our last visit of the weekend was to Tessa Wolfe Murray and Guests [8], a very well established house. Upstairs to Tessa’s ceramics studio for her elegant galaxy-patterned vases, wall pieces and clocks, plus some tempting little gifts – I picked up one of her cards with an iridescent ceramic moon brooch today. The staircase features original work and prints by Harry Potter book cover artist Cliff Wright, including some captivating Rackham-inspired illustrations. 

Hove Arts: Albert Mews Studio

Hove Arts: Albert Mews Studio

Lizzie Lock
Lizzie Lock
2012 Best Open House-shortlisted Albert Mews Studio [2]. A charming welcome and a cup of tea with Lizzie Lock, who is showing her vintage-look millinery. The 40s style printed hosiery, printed fashion, homewares and 3D seagulls are all created by the artists at this busy working studio.

Independent: The Claremont

Independent: The Claremont

Carne Griffiths
Carne Griffiths
Established independent The Claremont [11] is a Victorian villa hotel and garden in Hove. Start at the top and walk down, visiting some of the bedrooms – and bathrooms – to see the work in place in attractive settings, and you’ll probably want to move in. I noted Stephanie Parker’s 3D illustrations, Carne Griffiths’ angel screen-prints plus work by established artists ceramicist Rowena Gilbert and painter Serena Sussex. The recently developed sunny garden featuring Karl Smith’s hefty driftwood bench is a great place to sit with tea and cake.Pick up the smart little brochure on arrival for a full description of the artists and their work.


Dyke Road Arts: The Cat House

Dyke Road Arts: The Cat House

Jill Christie
Jill Christie
The Cat House [7]. Up some serious steps to a welcome cold drink at the top, and into a mid-Victorian house [original-features and great-view hawks will appreciate this one]. Particularly liked Jill Christie’s blue-green ceramics collection, from sweet little egg separators and egg cups to big imposing vases.