Sunday, 8 May 2011

South Heighton Pottery

Visiting South Heighton Pottery is always lovely and this May, as part of the Brighton Festival Artists Open Houses, they have created a very special exhibition. Not only is the pottery open with beautiful work by Chris Lewis and Chris Ford, but also the flint house is open and in it is something special - A Retrospective Exhibition of Pottery, Sculpture, and Paintings by Ursula and Norman Mommens.

Just past Newhaven or on the way into Newhaven, depending on where you are travelling from, is South Heighton, a small community and village, rather tucked away by the Downs. As you arrive it is the pottery you see first and it is filled with pots, bowls, jugs and more by Chris Lewis and Chris Ford who both make all their work at the South Heighton Pottery.

We spent a long time looking and enjoying seeing the different pots. We could not resist them and came away with a beautiful pinched stoneware jug and a large stoneware mug. There are also some rather lovely collages and related prints by artist Jane Robbins on display as part of the Brighton Festival.

Then we headed across the garden to the flint house where Ursula Mommens lived until she died at the age of 101. The retrospective of work by Ursula and her husband Norman celebrates the 60th anniversary of their arrival at South Heighton, where Ursula was to live and work until she died in 2010. Chris Lewis, who shared the pottery for many years with Ursula Mommens, has curated a beautiful exhibition. It is all displayed so well in the house where Ursula Mommens lived. There are pieces on display from all stages of her long career and includes early pieces from her student days at the Royal College of Art and others made to celebrate the Festival of Britain.

We then headed out into the beautiful garden which has some great garden seats and pots made by Chris Lewis. In one corner of the garden in the pottery workshops there are hand made cakes and teas and coffees for sale. We had coffee and cakes sitting on one of Chris Lewis's garden seats. We learnt that Ursula Mommens favourite cake was lemon drizzel, which she would keep and eat for weeks, a small piece at a time. We wondered if that was the secret of her long and fascinating life!

South Heighton Pottery and the retrospective exhibition of work by Ursula and Norman Mommens is open at weekends throughout May 11.00am - 6.00pm
South Heighton Pottery, Newhaven, East Sussex. BN9 0HL
Tel. 07754814067
For more about Chris Lewis ceramics see
For more about Chris Ford ceramics contact Chris on
The obituary in the Guardian from 2010 has more about Ursula Mommens and her life.

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