Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Christmas Fair at The Ropewalk

My aim this year was to find gifts for my family which upheld my beliefs in supporting local artists and makers, so I visited the Christmas Fair held at my local gallery, The Ropewalk, in Barton-Upon-Humber.

A grade II listed former rope factory, The Ropewalk has three exhibition spaces, a shop, cafe and studios which house a variety of makers and businesses.

The Ropewalk is a great example of a small contemporary visual arts centre, housing so much in one beautiful building, with the dramatic backdrop of the Humber Bridge.
For the Christmas Fair the studios had been thrown open to the public and the artists were on hand to talk about their work. There was a display in the Artspace gallery and the corridors were lined with stalls.

Handmade decorations and gifts were the order of the day, all items available for sale on the day were to be priced under £250 to fit in with the affordable art idea. Alongside the work from the residents The Ropewalk features local artists’ creations in the Box Space and shop areas. Ideal for Christmas shopping as a lot of the items are priced at less than £50, meaning you can spend as little or as much as you like and still come away with unique, handcrafted items and the feeling that you are supporting your local artists community.
I purchased a ceramic piece for my Mum by Alan Butterworth, a ceramicist from Barton.

And, as is often the case at Christmas, a ring for myself-

However I will let myself off as the ring in question was made by my first jewellery tutor, Alex Hallowes, and I have always promised myself something of hers to remind me of my first tentative move into the world of decorative crafts.
Due to the range of mediums the artist makers work in there was something for everyone, from Richard Hatfield’s landscape paintings of the Lincolnshire countryside to Marc Renshaw’s wild cartoon like drawings... Michael Scrimshaw’s striking metal sculptures.

Any time of the year if you're passing it's worth a look in, you won't be disappointed.

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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Christmas Draw at Cardigan

If you haven't yet done all your Christmas shopping yet and are within easy reach of Brighton get down to Cardigan - Kate Jenkin's shop in Arundel Mews off Sussex Square Kemptown. It's a lovely shop with lots of perfect knitted gifts for some family members and a visit there will be far more enjoyable than the shopping centre scrum.

In addition Kate is running a competition - the prize being a stripey wrap worth £165.00 - the draw will take place at 4.00 on Christmas eve. All people have to do is come into the shop and give their e-mail/telephone number and I will contact the person on Christmas eve. Cardigan's opening times are 9.30-6.00 Monday-Friday and Saturday 10.00-6.00

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Friday, 19 December 2008

SuperChristmasMarket at Somerset House

When on your way to the ice rink this weekend, Somerset house are also hosting an affordable design fair featuring 20 selected makers.

For £2 entry you can see these people.....

Alex Bettler
Bernadette Deddens
Carl Clerkin
David Weatherhead
Gitta Gschwendtner
Hannah Waldron
Isabel Costa Lucio
Joe Wentworth
Jon Harrison
Julia Lohman
Lucinda Barnes
Martino Gamper
Michael Marriott
Offcut Design
Out of Office
Robert Archard
*pipless jam
Sarah Colson
Sena Gu
Simon Donald
Simon Jones
Tim Parsons

Open Friday 19 December, 18.00-21.00, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 December, 10.00-18.00.

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Wednesday, 10 December 2008

New England House Open Studios

The madness that is New England House Open Studios starts tomorrow. For those who don't know New England House - it is a haven of industry and creativity in the centre of Brighton a vertical industrial estate on the London Road and one place which (as yet, although it has been threatened) is yet to be turned into yuppie flats. It may not be pretty but within it's walls is produced some of the most innovative ceramics, lighting, glass, lingerie, stationery, art, as well as the best bread and cakes in Brighton. (and mulled wine and minced pies)

Artists known to Brighton artfair and Made include - Lara Aldridge Glass, Ken Eardley, Rachel Eardley, Ophelia Fancy, Sue Hastleltine, Ulrika Jarl - there are a lot of other studios spread over this towerblock. It's worth a nosy round this iconic building and the workshops of the various makers (and it's the best view in Brighton as it's the only place you can't see this iconic building). On my experience last year if you are planning to visit the Sukie sale go early with steely determination and sharpened elbows - bargains are there to be had but in the end is it worth it?

Open Houses in the rest of Brighton continue this weekend.

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Sunday, 7 December 2008

Christmas Open Houses - 14 Southdown Avenue

Mel Williams is opening her Southdown Avenue house for the last ever time this Christmas. The house is full of Christmas goodies for sale - bowls, fabrics, prints, crocheted decorations, cards and more! Well worth a look if you are about 5ways Brighton for the next two weekends. Artist Open House Brochure here

Sarah Young's 'Brighton Belle' doll and Gariella Casemore's ceramics.

Helen Musslewhite's paper cut constructions/pictures and Mel Williams's vintage lavender bags.

Sarah Youngs relief prints and Maika Cramptons textiles.

Gabriella Casemore's Ceramics and Billie's rather moreish parmesan biscuits.

Jonathan Williams digital prints, Sarah Youngs 'Snakeriver press' books.

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Saturday, 6 December 2008

Christmas Open Houses - The Old Forge South Heighton

After visiting this fantastic open house over a number of years, and always being impressed with the wonderful selection of artists as well as the house, garden and views over the Ouse Valley at Newhaven, it was exciting that Sarah was invited to exhibit her smaller paintings and dolls in the house this Christmas.

The Old Forge at South Heighton, Newhaven is showing quite a few artists and makers this Christmas including Christian Funnel's sculptures, braziers and birdbaths. Guy Stevens carved bowls and stone carved products - spinning tops and light pulls. Paintings by Guy Funnell below....

I'm not sure who made the striking felted 'modern icon' cushions - Ghandi, Dylan, Guevara below...
Two of Sarah's paintings below...

and Sarah's new Cat Doll with a coat made of mice!

Work by Kirsten Kinvara, Guy Holder, Yolanda Beer and Sarah Lock.

And Christian Funnell's trawler.

Really recommend a trip out to Newhaven to see this house and also others in the AOH trail - to see all houses click here

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Use and Take Care - Lewes

buy unimaginative, mass produced products, when you can commission a specialist artist, to create something unique that lasts, and perhaps will increase in value over the years? asks Chiara Bianchi, who with partner the sculptor Guy Stevens who have opened one of the most unique, quirky and original shops in Sussex in the Needlemakers in the centre of Lewes.

Use and Take Care - sell a lovely selection of artists products such as Guy's - smaller sculptures, as well as sculpted light pulls, and stone spinning tops, Chiara's - figurative silver jewellery and fabric badges, Aldo Lanzini - one off fabric puppets, artists books, pictures, embroidered bags, dolls, and lots of other one off and handmade artists products.

If you find yourself in Lewes it's well worth visiting Use and Take Care and whilst you're there stop in the Old Needlemakers Cafe run by Lewes artist Sarah Grisewood and have a coffee and cake in this great cafe.

It takes a brave couple to open a gallery/shop specialising the unique and handmade this winter but one that we all should support so please pay them a visit and spend your money with them rather than Argos/Amazon/Marks and Spencer!

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Friday, 5 December 2008

Guerrilla Art Market-Brighton Media Centre- this weekend

A Christmas market bringing together Brighton's best with East London's brightest artists; selling their wares at wholesale prices.
December 6th and 7th, the Brighton Media Centre, 15-17 Middle St, next door to the Hop poles.

Featuring: PinkyVision, Lula Mai, MujuWorld, Call Of The Wild, Gassius, Req One, Sinna1, Bella Clarke, The Osh, Sri, Lonny, La Dilly, Cloudy, Snub23, Anna Kyriacou, Belle Star, Cameron Watt, Hazel Welch, Hizze Fletcher, Jaguar Shoes,Jasmine & Corduroy, Mark Hooley, Russel Maurice, Vanessa Jones.

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Friday, 21 November 2008

MADE08 Launch

We managed to build and launch MADE08 without incident and we're relieved and pleased that the response from the public has been incredible. Buyers say that this show is the best they've seen in Brighton and gives top London shows a run for their money! They praised the quality and originality of the exhibitors and the range of work on show.

The show was opened by Clare Gogerty editor of Coast Magazine - she praised the quality of work at the show and stressed the importance of supporting craft and design by individuals buying work.

"Brighton and Hove Collects Award"
The Private View also saw the launch of a new award the "Brighton and Hove Collects Award" which is a partnership between Made and Brighton and Hove Museums to purchase pieces for the museums collections. Polly Harknett the Craft Curator at Hove Museum presented the award to Nick Barberton for a carved wooden platter and Ark Glass for their exuberant blown glass.

The show continues Saturday 10.00 - 6.00 and Sunday 10.00 - 5.00 we really hope you'll get there!

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Christopher Corr at Castor and Pollux

Hot on the heals of a successful exhibition for Angie Lewin, celebrated illustrator Chris Corr is Showing a selection of paintings at Castor and Pollux.
Opening next weekend, we are treated to New York, Marrakech, Chandigarh, Merida and Brighton in Chris's imaginative style.

To see more pictures go to

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MAKER OF THE WEEK - Katherine Bree

Katherine Bree

Semi-Precious Beaded Fashion jewellery. Colour plays a very important role in my work.

The pictures are of my winter garden collection which will be for sale at MADE.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
Standing in the Jewellery room at Liberty' in London, looking at the inspirational designer-maker pieces for sale at that time.

Who would you say buys your work?
Individual and creative women and those who buy for them.

How do you set about starting a new project?
I create mood boards that are a culmination of what has inspired me over the previous few months.

What do you have on your pinboard?
1950's Tikki style images of film posters, postcards of tropical foliage, collections of coloured stones and shell, experimental jewellery pieces,

Where and what is your studio?
My studio is based in an old mews property in north London, which is freezing in the winter and like an oven in the summer. Although the mews is full of rubbish bins belonging to the shops that back onto it, I have a beautiful little roof garden where a trainee horticulturalist friend of mine likes to experiment with new planting ideas. It started as a black garden, all black foliage and flowers and now has bright oranges and purples, cabbages, a grape vine and a weeping willow. I work alone, but listen to BBC London which keeps me sane! Vanessa Feltz, Robert Elms and Danny Baker are my constant companions.

Surprising activity/hobby?
I recently took up tap dancing which is great escapism!

Do you have a good work/life balance? Are you able to switch off from art work?
I rarely switch off. I constantly have design ideas racing around my head, too many to produce.

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
I think art and craft is essential in this world of speed and technology. For makers and appreciators, it is a doorway through to the soul.

Are their other fields that you'd like to apply some facet of your work into?
I originally qualified in textile design. Publications such as 'Selvedge magazine' are really inspiring in their portrayal of textile designers and it's giving me a hankering to take up textile design again.

Can anything be 'art'?
If 'Art' stands for ideas then I guess anything may be art. But in this society it appears this only applies if the artist has a qualification.

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Thursday, 20 November 2008



Brighton based AnnaTilson has been making mosaics for more than 9 years.
She uses only carefully selected vintage crockery to bring a new quirky slant to mosaic making. Turning old discarded plates and cups left at the back of the cupboard, into new precious objects.
Anna Tilson’s work is inspired by a combination of a Victorian boudoir and a 1930’s tea room – nostalgic and whimsical.

All her pieces are original one – off designs and the range includes fancy mirrors, eclectic vases, romantic brooches and fancy floral wall plaques.

Where and what is your studio?
I work at Cross Street Studios in Hove. We’re just off the seafront, and there are 12 of us on 3 open plan floors. We are big Radio 4 fans on the top floor where I work.

What do you have on your pin board?
Photos of my children, postcards from exhibitions and a few badges. See photo.

What is your favourite website? Bulk buy reduced priced bus tickets for Brighton’s expensive public transport

One favourite living artist?
Gillian Ayres. She paints large, exuberant and colourful paintings which lift your spirits.

One living craft maker?
Grainne Morton. She makes beautifully made jewellery using obscure and miniature objects.

One favourite historical artist?
Marie Laurencin. Beautiful, simple paintings using delicate and feminine colours.

What was the last craft thing you purchased?
A lovely rose transfer mug by Hanne Rysgaard which I bought at this year’s Origins. I have used it every day since I bought it!

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Tuesday, 18 November 2008

MADE08 - scotching rumours

I got a news of a disturbing rumour today going round that MADE08 had been cancelled -it hasn't, it starts on Thursday and it's looking fantastic!

I have tracked down the source of the rumour though - another event called "Brighton Loves Handmade" which was to have taken place at Fabrica in December has been cancelled, although their website doesn't yet mention that fact.

So please all come to MADE08- Brighton's design and Craft Fair this weekend and bring your chequebooks!

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MAKER OF THE WEEK - Natsu Nishimoto

Natsu Nishimoto

One favourite historical artist?
Gaudi - Because of his strikingly original works, that always inspire me and give me ideas.

What place in the world has inspired you?
Everywhere where there is wilderness, - that is my source of organic images.

At age 15 who influenced your style? Was there any individual who very much helped you on your way?
My father

Last best read?
The Golden Compass by Philip Pulman

What do you have on your pinboard?
Images that give me ideas. Photo of my family.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
Not really...

Are you able to switch off from art work?
No, I can not stop thinking.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

Would you rather be doing something else?

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?

Can anything be 'art'?

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