Thursday, 29 May 2008

Wonderful Worthing!

Think Worthing; think Brighton's downtrodden, sleepy neighbour; the place where people see out their twilight years; a shoddy seafront with not much to offer; no culture unless tribute bands and dance teas are your bag and no trendy cafes or restaurants in sight!

Live Worthing and know that things are on the up! We moved here from uber trendy Brighton nearly three years ago to sniggers of amazement from friends; " What will you do there?" they asked incredulously. "Live", was our reply. The fact was that Worthing offered beautiful, spacious homes at 'normal' prices, 'outstanding' Ofsted schools with the West Sussex education system that we thought really appealing, wonderful libraries, a Museum and Gallery offering imaginative and ever changing exhibitions and a feeling of 'real life'. Gone was the middle class, judgemental snootyness of Brighton and in were 'ordinary' people and an amazingly friendly community!

When we arrived we delighted in Worthing's quiet ways; endless walks on the sandy beach with the tide way out and no other bodies around, the odd cafe serving coffee without a latte in sight, the best two penny slot arcade we've ever seen and the surrounding countryside with Cissbury and Chanctonbury Hills to run wild on. We were in heaven.

And then slowly things began to change; really decent cafes opened up - Pestle and Mortar, Coast, Parklife; the renovated Dome cinema re-opened with it's own film club to rival Brighton's Duke of Yorks; a wonderful independent music shop and even a Monsoon! The highly bonkers and entertaining Birdman has been moved from Bognor Regis to Worthing and the beautiful open gardens of Ambrose Place have hit the broadsheets. Worthing is waking up!

Art wise Worthing offers RAG - The Revolutionary Arts Group a central site for local artists and makers which organises festivals and open houses throughout the year. Walter Jack Studio’s has been selected to develop a £70,000 piece of public artwork at Splash Point along the seafront. The artwork, called 'Suncloud' is made up of 44 steel masts approximately four metres tall, topped with a solar panel and LED light. Independent galleries are cropping up in town and in the smaller surrounding villages and in 2007 the town staged a huge campaign to save Dame Elisabeth Frink's 'Desert Quartet - four bronze heads which sit atop the exterior of the town's main shopping centre.

Every other person we meet has moved from Brighton or London, the beach is full of families enjoying the safety of its waters and the cafes are bustling. Part of us doesn't want too much change - we loved the nostalgic feel this place had when we moved here - but then again I have to admit I am partial to a latte!

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Wednesday, 28 May 2008

ARTIST OF THE WEEK - Charlotte Hardy

Charlotte Hardy

I work in mixed media, using acrylic paints, inks and collage on watercolour paper and canvas. Eclectic elements are playfully arranged to form a narrative. Interesting vintage objects from museums, shops, markets, cafes and domestic environments inspire me. I am driven by my imagaination and passion for colour and pattern.

I have recently developed a range of screen-prints, about faded grandeur and elegant architectural features, for example chandeliers and old wallpaper. These sketched-style black line prints are individually hand-coloured with dyes, inks and paint.

This year I have created a bespoke wall illustration in a new teashop in Highgate in London called High Tea.

Favourite living artist
One of my favourite artists is Twombly. I love the energetic colourful scribbles and the hugh scale of the paintings. They are very playful and child-like, but also beautiful and sophisticated in the use of space and composition.

Favourite living craft maker
I'm really inspired by Maxine Sutton's embroderied textile pictures. I love the imagery she uses and her tea cosies are so imaginative. They remind me of the the beautiful tea cosies my great-grandmother used to make.

Favourite historical artist
Bonnard. I really love the colours he used and how he created a magical domestic world in his pictures.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I've always wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember. When I was studying printed textiles at university, I realised I didn't want to be a commercial textile designer and wanted to create one-off pictures for galleries.

Do you work best on your own or in collaboration
I always work better on my own in my studio, when I have time to fully concentrate and immerse myself in what I'm doing.

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased?
I have recently bought a fantastic teatowel from Habitat! Its got a chandelier on it and some birthday candles.

At age 15 who influenced your style? Was there any individual who very much helped you on your way?
I had an art teacher who just gave us complete freedom, which I relished and ended up painting on chairs and mirror frames.

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace?
I do always consider if my work is sellable and who would want to buy it, so I think I naturally bend it to the marketplace a little bit from habit and necessity.

How do you set about starting a new project?
I love research and always start off new projects gathering inspiring images. Its always brilliant if I have time to go and do do some drawing somewhere and take photographs.

Where and what is your studio?
I work at Clockwork Studios, which is in South London. It used to be Charlie Chaplin's rehersal studio and then became a clock factory. It has been artists studios for about 20 years.

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Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Anita Klein - Summer Exhibitions

Anita Klein has the following exhibitions coming up over the summer months. Catch one near you!
7 April - 27
June 2008
Anita Klein -
drypoints and woodcuts

Chelsea & Westminster Hospital Gallery
London SW10

30 May - 01 June 2008
Anita Klein - paintings, drawings and prints:
The Fine Art Partnership at:
The Jointure Studios
11 South Street
Ditchling, E. Sussex
(contact for tickets to artist's talk: Saturday May 31)

Anita Klein, New Prints: 7 June - 2 July 2008
Bircham Gallery
14 Market Place
Holt, Norfolk NR25 6BW
01263 713312

Anita Klein: Thursday 3rd July 2008 from 6pm
Exhibition of pictures done as visiting artist at
Lewisham College 2007-2008
Brockley Restaurant
Lewisham College
Lewisham Way
London SE4
contact: Frances Butler for invitation

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Through The Keyhole - Paula Fahy

The artist Paula Fahy has lived in Hove for about nine years and got her shed for her studio a couple of years ago. Paula and her partner at the time chose the house because although it is Edwardian someone in the seventies had knocked 2 reception rooms and the entrance hall into one big room.
Having been living in a period flat in Brunswick Road all the other houses they looked at seemed poky and a bit claustrophobic. This one had the potential of being so light and airy plus it had a garden which Paula had missed living in a flat. "I wasn’t sure about the location at first as all my friends gave me stick about moving to deepest Hove. However I love it. Boundary Road and Portland Road are so interesting and the Portslade station is only one minute away so it is so easy to get into central Brighton when I want to".

Paula's favourite places in the house are the kitchen and her shed. They knocked the dining room and the kitchen together to make more light and space and fitting folding sliding doors at the end means that it feels like the garden and kitchen are one. Paula loves gazing out at the garden when eating, working, cooking etc.

With regards her workspace Paula says; "The shed has a lovely smell and I am always really happy in it. It is snuggled in amongst loads of foliage and feels truly private".

Paula describers her decorating style as minimal. Lots of white because she loves the light with blocks of colour from furniture etc. She is not keen on pattern! The contents of the house are quite eclectic. Some hand me downs from family. Paula's favourite piece of furniture is the table that was made by Rustic Earth to her spec. to fit the long thin kitchen. It is made from recycled floor boards. The house provides inspiration because of the light and the colour combinations; "It continues to surprise me which colours look good together. I have a large poster by Rothko (not pictured) –I love his moody depth of colour. Also because the house is Edwardian it has high ceilings but very few of the original features – some people would think this vandalism – though I did not remove them- but I suppose it is the proportions of the rooms I love and not the era".

Artwork in Paula's home is mainly her own as she hangs it to see what it looks like. The picture above the fireplace in the living room is by Gail Eastwood. Gail's work inspires Paula because of her use of colour and how she layers images. Paula has only been painting for a couple of years. She has a degree in fine art but due to teaching being so full on she has only recently been committed to doing her own work; "I only did this as I wanted to teach my sixth form students how to use oil paints so thought I’d better try them myself first. Because I found them really hard my ‘practices’ just continued".

Paula loves the light of the South Coast but she mostly gets inspiration from her garden and from Great Dixter gardens near Rye. This was Christopher Lloyds garden and although he is now dead it retains his brave use of colour and life.

Paula Fahy and Gail Eastwood are exhibiting at the Brighton Art Fair in September.

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Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Unpopular Culture - Grayson Perry selects from the Arts Council Collection

This weekend I spent a very enjoyable day at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea. I was exhibiting at the Midcentury Show, but inbetween working I was lucky enough to be able to walk across the foyer and see some really wonderful art.
The Unpopular Culture exhibition is a selection by the British artist, Grayson Perry, of paintings, photographs and sculpture all from the Arts Council Collection. The work on show reflects real British life and society from the 1940s on, and reminds us of a slower time. Just my sort of thing. There are paintings by well know artists such as Lowry, Paul Nash and Carel Weight as well as lesser know works by Elinor Bellingham-Smith and others. There is also new work by Grayson Perry including the most spectacular pot.

The exhibition is a real treat and and is free.

Open now until the 6th July 2008.
For full details see or phone 01424 229111

Grayson Perry at the Opening

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Monday, 19 May 2008



Describe your work…..
Worn, eroded, corroded surfaces, visual reminders of places, feelings, things past.
History. Archaeology.

Favourite living artist…..
My mum, Jenny Lock, the best painter I know; she makes work that touches people and that has inherent poignancy.

Favourite historical artist…..
Jannis Kounellis, Sculptor, monumental, primal, weight, substance, immediacy – elements I wish I could achieve within my paintings.

Inspiring place…..
Melvich beach in Sutherland, North Highlands – 20 foot deep rockpools, amazing microcosmic spaces; Glencoe, melancholic landscape made by unimaginable natural forces and stained by human history and cruelty.

Where and what is your studio?

Painting for me is a solitary practice, I try and lose my self-awareness cos otherwise I make contrived and shallow imagery that falls in love with itself. My best work comes from being brave and destructive. My studio is by the Clocktower in the heart of Brighton shared with 5 other artists; a typical day at the studio involves lots of tea and listening to Bob Dylan while making a right racket with my electric sander and noxious fumes with my blowtorch.

Do you work best on your own or in collaboration?
I work best on my own because my paintings are personally driven and introspective but I prefer to exhibit with a group – not just because of safety in numbers, but I like the way different work talks to each other, the conversations that can develop between paintings, sculpture, spaces; connections, clashes, crossovers.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
As well as my own practice, I have a manic job at Croydon College running several art programmes, including A Level Art, A Level Photography and the Foundation Course in Art & Design. I love working with the students but also treasure the holidays where I can be in the studio day after day! I also have a 5 month old baby called Noah who is cute as buttons and a right distraction.

Most overated artist/maker?
Howard Hodgkin! Arrogant and dismissive – paints like a sledgehammer, turns colour into mud. But I’m sure he won’t lose sleep just because I don’t like him.

If you could exhibit in any gallery which would it be?

The Botanical Gardens at Inverleith in Edinburgh – I saw the British Art Show exhibits by Anya Gallaccio and Damien Hirst there when I was a student at Edinburgh College of Art and the setting heightens the senses and is conducive to thoughtfulness.

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

Who would you say buys your work?

Gawd knows!
I would like to think that they are maybe people who like puzzles, who don’t like to be told what to think but would rather create their own meanings for paintings, who enjoy the freedom offered by abstraction and the opportunity to spend time looking. People who want more than a glance.

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Friday, 16 May 2008

Artists Open Houses - Ravenswood

Jo Riddell has opened her rather beautiful and light house in Florence Road, Brighton for the first time this May but put together a great exhibition. The Open House would be worth a visit for a look at the lovely house and garden but the exhibition is great. (and it is also opposite Sylph Baier's house so you can take in a few at a time

This is a rather poor photo of one of Jo Riddell's large canvasses.

Jo Sweeting's papercut's - Jo Sweeting is exhibiting her carved work but also interesting embossed paper and papercuts.(one day I'll learn how to rotate images in blogger) Jo Sweetings carved pebble alphabet

Katrina Mayo's Etchings.

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Artists Open Houses - Maggie Feeny

Maggie Feeny's house at 88 Springfield Road, Brighton won last year's Best 2D Artist Award and the exhibition has 2 rooms inside showing Maggies lovely atmospheric semi-abstract landscape paintings as well as Clare Crouchmans ceramic wall panels.

The kitchen leads to a small but rambling tropical garden running up to the railway embankment, where Guy Stevens' simple carved sculptures sit beautifully with the lush planting.

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Artists Open House - Southdown Ave

Mel Williams has put together a large and eclectic assortment of artists to exhibit at this years Open House from Vanessa Mooncies crochet jewellery and other items (donuts etc) - below

To Annebet Wyndhams silver jewellery - this year with subtly coloured enamelling

and Helen Musselwhites paper sculptures/pictures

also Jane Arkwright's paintings, Gabriella Casemore ceramics, Maika Crampton's Textiles, Kevin Warren's Ceramics, Masha Whites brooches clothes and prints, and Jonathan Williams prints - (and more).

Mels house is also ideally placed to visit (walk to) many of the houses featured here over the last few weeks - Brighton Festival ends next weekend.

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Artists Open Houses - The Real Mackay

We visited The Real Mckay - Angela's Mckay's Open Flat (59A Springfield Road, Brighton) on the the first weekend of the Brighton Festival and actually bought something (it's unusual due to lack of funds) but with the new shed and the garden looking blooming marvelous we thought we needed a bird bath to finish it all and we rather taken by Christian Funnel's in the front garden.

Angela McKay this year has been the artist in residence at Preston Manor and much of her exhibition is drawings done there as well as drawings of the Houseboats at Shoreham and farmyard animals.

She also makes things - knitted and printed bags. etc

Angela always seems to attract great makers and this year is exhibiting the jewellery of the talented and original Grainne Morton

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Thursday, 15 May 2008


After the sun comes rain, and thunderstorms, winds and torrents, but the first rain held off until a few minutes after the final ridge piece had been secured.

The shed now has changed from a rectangular box to a more of a greek temple shape. Roof trusses going in, skylight installed, plywood and waterproof membrane fixed in place and finally the corrugated iron screwed down. Then the rain came down - good timing!

Shed nurds see also installment One and Two

Gables sheathed and door frames installed

The shed is now watertight (with a vapour membrane) and the doors are on - just in time for torrential rain forecast this weekend.

Next week we'll get the cladding on and the finish the inside.

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Wednesday, 14 May 2008



At the moment I am making ceramic figures which are placed in a setting.
There is a dialogue between where the figure finds itself for example the plinth, orb, diminishing ledge, rocky ground.or falling.
Into these scenes there are lines of poetry, ranting songs, fragments of nature, symbolic trees and emblematic animals.

Penny Green is exhibiting at Preston Manor during the Brighton Festival.

One favourite living artist is Glenys Barton. I admire her because although she works mainly in clay, she crosses many boundaries. She has produced work on a large and small scale of sculpture, portraiture and installation. Every time I see an exhibition of hers, it fills me with hope the future of non-vessel oriented ceramics.

A favourite historical maker is Thomas Toft. I love the fun, naivety and freedom of his large chargers.

Do you work best on your own or in collaboration?
I have not collaborated with anyone for ages but I would really enjoy it. The last time was when I had just left the Slade and worked with the theatre designer Yolanda Sonnabend. Initially I was interpreting her costume designs for an exhibition at the Whitechapel gallery but we worked well together on some huge articulated figures which were padded and stitched and out of that I started to make clothes and somehow ended up being a fashion designer.

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased?
Every year we go to St Ives, and the Tate has produced a series of etchings by artists living or associated with Cornwall. This year I bought one by Carl Weschke whose work I have admired for a long time and who sadly died recently.

Last best read (book)?
Currently reading 'A Life of Picasso' by John Richardson - The Triumphant Years 1917 - 1932. Fantastic.

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace?
I would say I don't bend my vision at all. However opinions can have a subtle effect and working on new work can be scary.

Who would you say buys your work?
A surprising range of people ranging from established collectors and museums to people who understand the literary and cultural references but have not bought ceramics before..

How do you set about starting a new project?
It would be wonderful to have a clean sweep but new work evolves all the time and in ceramics we tend to be testing glazes and materials which in turn become the new work.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
I have a useless work - life balance. If I am very busy I just work all the time.

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