Saturday, 30 May 2009

Tooveys - Contemporary Art Auction Tonight

Toovey's Auction House in Washington, North of Worthing is holding their Auction of Contemporary Art tonight (Saturday 30th). The Auction is pioneering because it gives emerging artists the chance to sell their work at auction, whereas usually Auctions seem to favour dead or very collectible names. Sarah's got a few pieces in the auction tonight and in previous years has had good success selling some work for over the gallery price.

For the auction goer, there is a chance to see a large variety of high quality work selected by the Auctioneer Nick Toovey in one place. As well as the chance to snap a bargain - many of pieces have low reserves but be warned it is easy to get carried away bidding for the piece you really want.

Also - don't forget the Old Forge at South Heighton, Newhaven is open this weekend for a fantastic open house, cream tea and a lovely shady garden.

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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

New Gallery Opens in Sussex - Specialising in work by British Printmakers

emma mason British Prints celebrate the opening of their new gallery.

Although they have been established for quite a few years it is only now that emma mason have a gallery - a permanent home to show and sell their collection of original prints by British printmakers.

emma mason British Prints are known for specialising in original prints by British printmakers, working from the post war to the present day. They represent many important printmakers; an established generation of printmakers including Robert Tavener, Charles Bartlett, Garrick Palmer and Arthur Hackney and then younger printmakers continuing the tradition of printmaking such as Ed Kluz, Michael Kirkman, Chloe Cheese, Andy Lovell and Sarah Young . Work by all these printmakers is available in the new gallery. There will be specialist exhibitions throughout the year. The first exhibition "On Show" is a celebration of printmaking with one or two prints by each printmaker represented by emma mason. The exhibition runs now and on throughout June. It is also available to view on line at

The new gallery is in Eastbourne, in one of the town's oldest terraces near the seafront and theatres, all within walking distance of the town centre and station. (It is also round the corner from the newly opened Towner Gallery) It is open Thursday to Saturday and at other times by arrangement. They are very happy for people to arrange to view particular work by appointment and for people to spend time browsing the collection.

Full details for the gallery and exhibitions are on their website

emma mason Gallery
3 Cornfield Terrace
East Sussex BN21 4NN

Tel. 01323 727545
Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10.00am - 5.00pm (At other times by arrangement)

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Boxbird Wins Award for Artistic Excellence

Huge congratulations to the Boxbird Gallery who have been awarded the Readers Award for Artistic Excellence at the Brighton Fringe Festival for their current CinemaScope exhibition. Readers of the Argus Newspaper were asked to vote for their favourite show in the festival and as the only award voted for by the public it is a very prestigious award for the Gallery to have won!

CinemaScope is an exhibition of contemporary printmaking inspired by 100 years of international cinema. There are over 30 artists involved and all the stunning prints and original works are exclusive to Boxbird.

CinemaScope is open 11am – 5pm until the 31st May 2009, and all work can be viewed and bought online at

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Online Shop of the Week - Jake Phipps

Well this isn't technically an online shop but I've loved Jake Phipp's work for such a long time that I'm sneaking him in as a shop - you can order from him direct so that surely counts!

Jake set up his product design business in 2005 in response to an increased demand for his work. He originally trained as a cabinetmaker and began by designing and making one-off furniture on a commission basis. His work caters for a wide range of projects both commercial and domestic and includes Isis the world's thinnest folding chair at just 3cm and the quirky Jeeves and Wooster pendant lights made from bowler and top hats.

I covet Jake's beautiful and simple love seat made from solid cedar. It is a classic piece of understated functional design.


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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Last Chance - Old Forge Open this weekend.

Whilst most Open Houses in Brighton shut up the shutters last weekend, filled the nail holes in the walls, cracked open the celebratory/consolatory wine and started to get their houses back to some semblence of normality - Christian and Rhoda at the Old Forge in South Heighton (Newhaven) are opening for a fifth weekend this weekend.

Hopefully this is a wise and wily strategy as it gives all the artists and house owners who have been tied up in Brighton during the festival the chance to get over and enjoy one of the best houses in one of the best locations, perhaps spend their earnings and certainly relax over a cream tea in the lovely garden.

There are getting on for 30 artists exhibiting this year throughout the house, studio and garden including Christian and Guy Funnell, Jo Lamb, Sarah Young, Mark Bodimeade and Harold Mockford. So there is lots to choose from.

The forecast for the weekend is great so perfect weather to go over to the Old Forge see the artwork and relax in the garden. It's free and there's parking!

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Saturday, 23 May 2009

Brighton Open Houses - South Heighton Pottery

South Heighton has a number of great houses including the Old Forge. Chris Lewis' pottery at the bottom of the hill is selling the pottery of Chris Lewis - Pots, Garden Seats, Sculpture and Chris Ford's Stoneware pots, as well as Jenny Crisp willow baskets, and Jane Robbin's collages.

The Pottery is in an old barn and behind the pottery is an orchard/kitchen garden where Chris Lewis' seats and larger pots are displayed amongst the trees, veggies and flowers.

I have to admit to a passing jealousy for their studio/gallery - enough space to work, backing onto a beautiful walled garden with a Georgian house to the side looking over the Ouse Valley. I'm sure that there are drawbacks, draughty in the winter perhaps but on a sunny May day it doesn't seem like it could get much better!

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Brighton Open Houses - The Handmade House - Dichling

Last weekend we spent a day going round Brighton Open Houses without actually entering Brighton proper. With the weather looking good for this weekend we strongly recommend that you might want to do the same. Some outlying houses - for instance in Ditchling or South Heighton Newhaven have the space to put on fantastic exhibitions in the houses but also have the setting and gardens (and little cafes) which come into their own on a hot May day.

We reviewed the sculpture trail at Ralph Levy's 'Handmade House' in Ditchling last week, but the actual house is somewhat in contrast to the sculpture trail - a beautifully put together house where the house, handmade furniture and artwork all work together. The feel is of a warm cosy timeless (well perhaps 1940's) arty country cottage.

Tiles and vases made by Ralph Levy and decorated by Jane Sybilla Fordham.

The garden is a lovely place to sit and have your lunch, and unlike many houses which only serve tea and cake the Handmade House have savoury lunches as well.

Water colour by Kate Sherman


The handmade house opens 11-6 this weekend. (last weekend so get there!)

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Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Paul Davis at Castor and Pollux

A ’snippetist’ He says he is fascinated by everything, all of the time, and produces at least 300 drawings a month. ‘I am interested in the construction of images but that part of picture making isn’t as important as the message. Not in my work, anyway.’
Based in London, working as an illustrator for clients which include Creative Review, Time out and Dazed and confused, Paul Davis is showing a selection of his algorithm drawings on sketchbook and found paper, two of which are being produced as 4 colour limited edition screenprints.

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition of Paul Davis drawings Castor and Pollux have published a pair of limited edition four colour silkscreen prints, which will be available from Friday. Limited to 50 of each, they will be signed and numbered by Paul. Each print is 297 x 420mm. They will be available at a very special Brighton Festival price of £120 a pair or singly at £70). (The regular published price from 25th May will be £180 a pair, £95 each.) Prices include VAT. Contact or come down to the gallery.

They will be available in the gallery from 22 May until 20 June, and online in the very near future!
The private view is this Friday (22nd) so contact or 01273 773776 if you would like to come along.

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Online Shop of the Week - Smart Tart

I became almost obsessed with Karen Arthur's Smart Tart bags about 8 years ago when I came across them in a beautiful craft shop in Brighton. I had to have one - and so did! I still have it, wear it with pride and enjoy the fantastic comments I receive when it's hanging from my arm!

Karen has been making unusual and quirky bags for over 20 years now and her studio in St Just, Cornwall houses the fantastic amount of textiles that she has collected with a passion over the years. Karen makes mostly fabric bags from this collection but has also recently started making soft leather bags in various styles including the infamous 'bucket' shaped style.

The Smart Tart website offers bags ready for sale of why not choose some fabric and have your very own unique bag made up?

Recently Karen has opened her own online gallery selling not only her bags but ceramics, jewellery, paintings and rugs. Well worth a look.

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Through The Keyhole - Stephen Davids

Stephen Davids lives and works from his home in London. Stephen runs an art space called F-art in Brick Lane which shows 'the best and the odd' and also produces his own drawings, assemblages and paintings.

When did you move to house/studio?

I moved into my house in 1997 and it has always been a place where I have worked even when I have had a studio space.

What made you choose it, what interested you about it's style or location?

At the time it was all that I could afford, however I have always found Victorian houses beautiful and robust. In terms of location it suits me perfectly - 2 minutes from the underground from where it only takes me 20 minutes to get into the centre of London. My house over looks what was once a field, and it has no houses behind so it appears that I am living in the country and it is reminiscent of what the view may of been like in the early 20th century (the house was built around 1880).

I am able to see rabbits and foxes running about on the disused train line that once went straight to Liverpool street before the Central Line was built. My view from the garden is the Olympic Village development and I am also able to view the Eurostar en route to Paris, as I am behind where the Eurostar is serviced and parks up.

In terms of style my house has been designed using furniture which I have collected. I have simple Ercol wooden chairs in the main space and this space is dominated by a 1940’s oak plan chest and an imposing Oak easel. Lighting is subtle. I light the space with a 1950’s Jiedle floor lamp and also a desk one. The main space is open plan which is where I draw and the light is south facing so I get good light through sash windows.

What's your favourite room - why?

I like my bathroom as it has a French roll top bath that sits simply in the middle and I am able to lay in the bath and take a view of London seeing the city and the Natwest Tower. The colour of the bathroom is Farrow & Ball grey/blue and this compliments the greenery outside.

How would describe your decorating style?

Simple / Contemporary

Do you have any special treasured objects?

As an avid collector of objects, I made this into a business however it is something that also inspires my work. Objects that adorn the house are mixed with contemporary modern and objects that have been handmade. My most prized object is an 1980’s Aunt Sally that was given to me as a present and ‘she’ sits comfortably on the shelf in the original dress (which is rare).

What is interesting about your house and why?

My house is interesting to me as it is a space which I am inspired by.

What is interesting about your house contents and why?

Objects often carry a story that will relate to you and your work. I love junk and junk is Art (to me). I am more inclined to look for something that is worn, battered and old, as this carries a history and resonates a story. The contents of my house are an eclectic mix of old, new and odd, but together they represent me and what I like and what I am inspired by. I am a lover of Ledgers and have many on my shelves. These I use as drawing books. They fascinate me to the point of leaving me dumbstruck, purely by their beauty and the calligraphy that lies within the page. The books are beautifully bound and the paper is robust. I have ledgers that are dated from the 1850’s and when I look at them on the shelf I am instantly inspired to draw and write.

I am also a lover of the juxtaposed, the vernacular and the graphic. Text and bold design inspire me. The contents of my house find their way into my work in some way whether that be by text or a reference; however each object has a history and a story to it. By way of how I came to own it, a story of bartering, a gift, the place where I bought it, the price I paid. All this adds to the provenance of the object.

Why do you like your area of the world - how does it relate to your work if at all?

My area is not Notting Hill, Islington or some chi chi part of London, but what it lacks in style it makes up for being functional. It has all what I need. I have a beautiful deli on the corner (that does the best coffee at affordable prices and not the break the bank prices accustomed to London) I am 20 minutes away from my Art Suppliers; but if I’m lazy I can mail order. But above all it’s cheap and accessible. My house in another part of London would be unaffordable to me; however I am able to live in a beautiful contemporary period property in an area which is quiet and on the up, and its my East End of London.

I’m an artist who lives on a minimum fluctuating budget,being practical is crucial to my survival. Home is where the ‘Art ’ is.

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Sunday, 17 May 2009

Brighton Open Houses - The Handmade House - Of the Genus Cruciferae

We went along to the furniture maker Ralph Levy's "handmade house" in Ditchling. It's always a lovely house with a sculpture walk attached so we thought we knew what to expect - but were surprised and slightly unnerved!

We approached the house via the sculpture walk and this year the sculpture walk features a monumental exhibition by Brian Mander - entitled 'Of the genus Cruciferae': Liminal, Proximal, Nouminal.

The sculptures consist of large totemic sculptures, composed from large wooden beams, skulls, antlers, rusted ironwork and chain, old agricultural implements and fire. The objects greet you as if a warning to visitors not to proceed further, but get more monumental - 20ft cruciform structures until you approach a clearing with a lit fire and 3 large structures.

The feeling is of an interrupted ritual, a sacred place in the woods. Impressive and moving - competes, I think, with Anish Kapoor in Sussex this year for imposing ambiguous sculpture in the landscape.

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Friday, 15 May 2009

Brighton Open House - The Boathouse

The Boathouse 3 StJohn's Road Hove (towards the sea from Palmeira Square - opposite the Boxbird Gallery) - is exhibiting 8 artists.
A nice mixed exhibition and some interesting photographs of Eastern Europe by George Coles (tried to google him but for obvious reasons it turns up lots of pictures of Minder and St Trinians! - so no link)

Sonia Stanyard has new sparse landscapes - open spaces fields isolated buildings and lacking her trademark forests she exhibited at Brighton Art Fair.

Dion Salvador Lloyd is exhibiting new small scale abstract paintings.Liz Spencer-Clare is exhibiting one or two larger luminous abstracts.

Sue Fenwick
Leila Kotting
Christine Tongue
Claire Fearon
George Coles

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East End Arts Club - Said Why Eggs?

Helen Lang - Animalphabet

Haven't been to this but Mark Perronet sent over an invitation and we're suckers for alphabets so we're upset we can't get to this exhibition of "26 artists, 26 letters, 26 intepretations of the Alphabet by artists, graphic designers, illustrators and print-makers".

Mark Perronet - Brown Fox

At the East End Arts Club until 31st May
Saturdays 12-4pm
Sundays 12-6pm Until
Weekdays by appointment only.

Most of the exhibits are on-line here
Lucie Sheridan
Helen Musselwhite

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