Thursday, 29 November 2007

Abigail Brown

Abigail brought her birds down from London today and installed them in the gallery at Castor + Pollux.

They decorate the 'Christmas tree' and look very festive

Her intricate little beasties are machine and handstitched using new and recycled materials. Each have an amazing amount of character. Tiny birds occupy vintage matchboxes, some form pictures on canvas whilst others eye you, perched from above.

Prices start at £22.

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Xmas Presents 1

You've all taken the pledge (no doubt) to only buy handmade this Christmas as a gesture of support for designers and makers struggling against the hegemony of the chainstores! (or you just want something unique)
We'll be posting ideas for inexpensive christmas presents over the next few weeks. Here are a few ideas from Brighton Craft Fair makers

Large Gent's Toilet Bag Hunting Macleod £35.
Good strong grab bag with waterproof lining, fabulous for travel, in Harris Tweed Hunting Macleod. Strong zip closure and velvet pull tabs at either end for ease of opening and closing. 30cms long, 16cms wide and 5 cms high.
Buy on line from


'to nellie from daisie' - purse £20 and can be bought at


Wild Rose stud earrings oxidised silver(also available in polished silver) £35 - to order contact Alexis Dove


Solid silver cube earrings on hoops £30.
Order through
or email


Hand-thrown - Blue Spiral Mug from Sylphs 'Lift range'. Dishwasher proof
£17 + 6.50 p& p

To Order ring - 01273 540552
or email -

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Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Sign The Pledge

This is an American ecological, pro-small maker campaign trying to encourage individuals to buy handmade this Christmas 8000 have signed up so far - you can find out more and take the pledge below! For the nosey it also have everyones website or blog who's signed the pledge so far.

Click Here to Read More..

Monday, 26 November 2007

The Make Lounge

Last Monday was my first workshop teaching knitting at The Make Lounge.

The Hub in North London near Angel station has been housing various workshops lead by makers and crafters for the past couple of months.
The idea is, that those with busy lives who have little time for creative pursuits can take a short break and learn a new skill or two, in a friendly, relaxed atmoshpere they can share with friends.

Workshops have touched on a variety of skills including hotwater bottle covers made from recycling jumpers, felted bags, mosaic mirrors and beaded jewellery, knitted gloves and stockings.

Maxine Sutton, a previous maker of the week here, has been hosting applique classes.

You can find all the details here and thank you to Jennifer

Click Here to Read More..

Friday, 23 November 2007

Sarah Youngs new work

Sarah Young unveiled her latest string to the artistic bow at this years Brighton Craft Fair;
Fabric kits which can be made up to make figures, doorstops or framed as pictures.

The usual hectic schedule meant that printing was finished two days before the BCF private view and hemming is still going on (through the night) to finish individual kits to meet the demand.

Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, 20 November 2007


Jonathan Garratt FRSA

Jonathan Garratt concentrates on wood firing a locally dug clay (terracotta) for work ranging from unusual garden planters to slipware, decorative pots and garden art installations. Many of the influences derive from prehistoric pottery and other artefacts and from tribal arts.

Money spent on play is never wasted

Favourite living craft maker
Catherine Vanier (France) very highly skilled technically courageous imaginative (terre vernissee0

Favourite Artist
Alexander Calder - sharp, fluid, distinctive.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
Age 16 at Eton College

What place in the world has inspired you?
European alps, wildlife, memories of embryonic ski industry. Holidays 1960, space, visual drama, botany photographs.

Do you work best on your own or in collaboration?
By myself

What one craft item do you really covet?
Amber Jade Chinese "Ear Cup" - Han Dynasty. Just too beautiful

At aged 15 who influenced your style?
Hans Coper

Was there any individual who helped you on your way?
Gordon Baldwin

Best read?
The night watch - Sarah Waters

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace?
Not much, different price levels.

Who buys your work?
Gardeners, outside eaters, people who think for themselves.

How do you set about starting a new project?
Stetches on the back of envelopes

What do you have on your pinboard?
African textiles

Where is your studio?
Its an ex milking parlour with north light . I work by myself. A wall of African CD's keeps me going

Surprising activity
Growing wild plants from seeds collected on holiday

What one word would descibe your feeling of doing your work

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
Obviously, the whole new organic food industry is craft of a kind. If you want a civilised culture you need makers

Are there other (unusual) fields that you'd like to apply some facet of your work into?
New interest in Garden Design

Guilty secret
Drink too much

Can anything be art?
NO. Most current 'art' or 'craft' is too knowing vis a vis the marketplace not enough dreaming.

What do think are crimes against good taste and decency in art/craft/design?
Going for pretension and worthless aclaim/cash.

Most overated artist
D Hirst - trite

If you could exhibit in any gallery which would it be?
Haven't found it yet. Maureen Michaelson is an outstanding curator/host she takes the work seriously bothers to visit the artist andis effective on the sales front. Doesn't run a full time gallery as such but does shows.

Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, 15 November 2007

BCF Banners

It is always thrilling to see Sarah's design and illustration go up for the Art or Craft Fair, it was even better when we could afford the sides of buses, but it is still great the first time we see the posters and banners done large for the events.

Brighton as always is photogenic and the posters and banners look great (if not subtle) against a calm wintry seafront or the Pavilion.

Brighton Craft Fair starts on Friday and we still have a very few 241 tickets to give away. If you would like one email us on

The show looks like it will be a fantastic mix of different makers and (though I'm reluctant to remind anyone) a good place to do Christmas shopping for unique and handmade gifts (or yourself)

Click Here to Read More..

MAKER OF THE WEEK - Lorraine Linton Into Knitted Textile Design

Into Knitted Textile Design

A woolly extravaganza of amusing knits, juxtaposing a vibrant palette of spots and stripes with pictorial jacquards. The addition of decorative elements grown from manipulative felting techniques help create eccentric egg cosies, woolly jewellery and irregular scarves. Scale is used to exaggerate traditional components. Scarves are skinny with large bobbles and beaded necklaces develop overstated proportions. The result is a light-hearted design evolved through the development of unusual knitting applications.

1 One favourite living artist
Andy Goldsworthy - I appreciate art that combines skill and ideas. His manipulation of nature is remarkably clever. I want to be amazed rather than confronted, particularly as a designer myself. I want to react, by asking how as well as why an artist creates what they do. I think too much art these days emphasises on shock without substance – there is an element of Emperor’s new clothes which leaves me feeling empty and bored.

2 One favourite living craft maker (and why?)
I like the work of Lotto Jansdotter . Perhaps not a craft maker, but certainly the aesthetic of her work notates the handmade with the use of her mark making. She has a sensitive use of colour and delicacy.

3 What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased?
The last design piece I bought was an eel leather purse for my sisters birthday.

4 Last best read (book)?
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Mark Haddon – Insightful and charming

5 What do you have on your pinboard?
Angie Lewin prints, sketches and photos of Emma Cooks maternity range for topshop, ideas from Japanese ‘Zakka’ books

6 Where and what is your studio? Do you work alone? In silence, radio?
I work from home listening to Mark Radcliffe and ‘Steve Wright in the afternoon’ amongst other radio 2 shows – it helps remove the solitary feel of the day using the ‘posy’ to create a busier atmosphere!

7 Would you rather be doing something else?
I don’t think anything could give me the satisfaction of creating something that people truly love or desire.

8 Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
Absolutely. I think it is hugely undervalued and often taken for granted. When used in emotive arguments about public funds, there always seem more important ways to spend coffers money, but to imagine a world without it would seem very bleak indeed.

9 Guilty secret?
Steve Wright in the Afternoon – nostalgic nonsense!

10 Can anything be 'art'?
‘Art’ is in the eye of the beholder. There is nothing more subjective. It can only be debated, but never really decided upon and impossible to define. Art at its least has to communicate with the viewer.

11 What do think are crimes against good taste & decency in art/craft/design?
I think we are doing an injustice by building hoards of ‘mock’ historical housing, rather than modern 21st century dwellings. Where is the legacy of recognisable naughties architecture that defines how we live today, beyond Brookside style housing estates?

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Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Graham Carter @ Ink-d Gallery

Brighton Art Fair favourite Graham Carter has a solo show at the Ink-d gallery just up the road from 'Bills' in Brighton.

Graham is presenting a new body of work 'Robots & Tall Trees – a boy’s eye view'

he writes
"Step back into the mind of the boy and explore Robots & Tall Trees – a boy’s-eye view. Discover transforming tree stumps, migrating Yeti’s and homemade robots walking the horizon amidst striking landscapes, found backgrounds and sumptuous textures. "

He has produced exquisite original paintings, giclees, silkscreens and an army of handmade clay Yetis for his first solo show. His is a world of mystical tales, oriental folklore and it’s technically exquisite.

Show opens to the public Friday, 9th November and runs to Saturday, 1st December 2007

Gallery opening times: Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm

96 North Road
BN 1 1YE

Click Here to Read More..

Friday, 2 November 2007


Maxine Sutton Embroidered & Printed Textiles

My practice centers on contemporary embroidery and moves across the boundaries of craft, art and design.

I use hand and machine embroidery, screen printing, appliqué and needle-punch techniques. A personal language of abstracted forms and figurative images is continuously developing and springs from a variety of sources, such as; anatomy, nature and our relationship with the environment. Also folklore, customs and superstitions, witchcraft, religion and fertility rites that connected people with the natural environment and have provided a means of celebrating the world around us.

Recent work concentrates on printed and embroidered framed pictures and panels, worked on found fabrics and linens. Semi-figurative still lives and landscapes suggest narrative possibilities, and reference either domestic interior objects and spaces, or exterior environments.

1 Favourite living artist
Too hard to pick just one, but probably Kiki Smith. I really love her drawings and prints, and that she appropriates all kinds of materials and forms to express her ideas. I find the work honest and direct and I really like the play between the abject and the beautiful, fragility and strength. Like life really.

2 Favourite living craft maker
Primmy Chorley, I like the biographical narrative in her work and use of materials. Again it’s very honest and without pretension.

3 Favourite historical artist .
Roger Hilton for his colour and paint marks, his drawing, his irreverence and once again his honesty. His work makes me feel very happy.

4 When and where did you first want to do what you do?
Probably as a small child, doing sewing things with my grandmother,
Noona. Though I didn’t recognize it then.

5 What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased?

I bought a tall green/grey metal lampstand, without it’s wiring, for £4 from a fantastic secondhand furniture & bric a brac emporium in Margate, called Scotts. It’s beautifully proportioned and has a lovely old smokey green patina and it is more than earning it’s money’s worth now I’ve got it home. I mostly like ‘un-designed’ but beautiful ordinary things.
I like recycling & buying old things that have been around a while, if I had any spare £ would love a prehistoric petrified wood stool I saw in Mint.
Also, I would love to have one of Rob Ryan’s large paper cuts.

6 Where and what is your studio?
I work in a studio in my garden, listening to Radio 4, or music, seagulls and occasionally very low aircraft.

7 Do you have a good work/life balance?
I have a lot of trouble with the many hats - no balance at all. When I’m working I worry about my family and when I’m with them I worry about my work – Balance is something I am continually striving for.

8 What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?
It really depends, engrossing/happy or hurried/guilty.

9 Would you rather be doing something else?

Sometimes I would rather be with my family.

10 Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
Of course, isn’t art in all it’s forms, the most important thing ever, together with philosophy & science.

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