Thursday, 30 July 2009

Artist of the Week - Sam Lock

Sam Lock lives and works in Brighton. His paintings contain surfaces built up over time and through approaches and material choices, where layers, scratches, colours, stains, marks, floods, remnants and hints co-exist. His processes of painting are built around remembering, losing, forgetting and rediscovering the creative choices he has made.

What place in the world has inspired you?

I studied for an MA in Fine Art with specialisms in Painting and History of Art at Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art, graduating in 1997. Living in Edinburgh gives you an all-pervading sense of history and an awareness that you are merely the latest layer; it is a city of hidden stories that seem to whisper to you and dark corners full of lost information. It has an identity that is both dark and beautiful, playful and sober, wild and solid; the duplicity of the city makes it hard to define, forcing you to live in the margins, the spaces in-between. Since leaving Edinburgh, my practice has been a pursuit of a visual language that explores this dichotomy; I have tried to find a tone of voice for my paintings that tells yet conceals, imagery that is both inviting and elusive, physical yet spacial, open and closed, warm yet melancholic. My paintings aim to present part of a story for the gaps to be filled in by the viewer, to allude to places that have been seen before but are only part-remembered, reduced to colours, marks, traces, remnants.

My paintings are accumulations of materials and decisions; artefacts of thinking and doing, an attempt to locate poetry in the relationships, combinations and interactions between materials and physical elements.

One favourite living artist? Why?

Glen Onwin – his work is intelligent, ambitious, alchemic, substantial – attributes I want my paintings to contain.

One favourite historical artist? Why?

Antoni Tapies – his paintings are physically engaging and his painterly decision-making is free, empowering and full of adventure.

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

The Natural History Museum

Where and what is your studio?

My studio is part of the top 2 floors of an old townhouse on Queens Road, central Brighton, shared with 5 other painters. My studio room is ideal, rundown, crumbling, cracked, a completely unprecious space, encouraging a physical and experimental material approach.

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


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Wednesday, 29 July 2009

A Carrot in the Toaster

I was told about Marion Sharville's poems by her daughter, hat maker Jane Sharville who visited me at the Worthing Open Houses last weekend.

Marion has written poems all her life and finally saw her dream come true at the age of 87 when her poems were finally published. The poems are wonderfully humourous and beautifully written.

The title 'A Carrot in the Toaster' comes from Marion realising that she was beginning to forget things - like we all do - so she would put a carrot in the toaster to remind her of things she might have forgotten to do!

Marion wrote a poem about the huge amounts of wood that washed ashore Worthing Beach in January 2008. Watch her reciting it here.

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Monday, 27 July 2009

Frances Doherty - Life Cycle Sculpture Trail

Ventnor Botanic Gardens, IOW.

Two years ago at the Brighton Art Fair, Brighton artist Frances Doherty met a gallery owner from Ventnor in the Isle of Wight who thought her seedpod sculptures would be just right to show in the Botanic Gardens on the Island. Frances had always wanted to show her work in situ so jumped at the opportunity and spent the next six to eight months visiting the gardens, photographing and sketching the plants in order to come up with around twelve installations that could be placed in suitable spots among the planting.

As the gardens are on a channel island, they have favourable weather which means they almost never suffer from frost or snow, and so can grow all sorts of plants. They have Australian, South African, Japanese terraces with many of the plants that you would associate with these countries. That gave Frances plenty of scope for designing. Usually Frances concentrates on the seedpods of plants as she is fascinated by their forms, but as she was visiting the gardens throughout the seasons she decided to cover the whole life cycle of the plants from bud to seedpod, and this is where she got the title for the Trail.

Frances started building the sculptures at the end of summer 2008, and finished the last one just a week before set up at the gardens in June 2009! Frances can only build ceramics to a certain size because of kiln and physical limitations, so several of the installations are multiples to give impact, one of these installations “A Host of Fallen Angles” is actually twelve separate sculptures. Frances says 'There were the usual disasters along the way, glaze runs, pieces blowing up in the kiln (a whole weeks work gone) but most potters become philosophical about these problems and try to build them into the time frame. The biggest ‘problem’ came when I showed one of the larger pieces destined for the Island at my Open House in the festival and promptly sold it. I hadn’t expected such an expensive piece to sell so quickly in the current economic climate so was rather caught out. I managed to replace it, but only just!'

Frances' main concern over all the time she was building the sculpture trail was that the sculptures would ‘disappear’ once they were placed in the Gardens. Something that fills the kiln and looks enormous on the studio table, can somehow shrink once placed outdoors. However once they were placed in their allocated sites they looked better than Frances had imagined, and the sun made the glazes glow. The Trail opened on midsummer's eve with a bit of a fanfare and lots of people from Brighton who had seen advertisements for the Trail during the festival also made it along to the opening. So far the reaction to the Trail has been amazing, and Frances is getting daily emails from people who have been to see it and are taking the trouble to write and tell her how much they have enjoyed it. As someone who works in isolation much of the time as many artists do, Frances finds this incredibly gratifying.

The sculpture trail will be running until September 13, 2009 and the Gardens are free to enter with access 24 hours, 7 days a week.

The trail is being run by The Old Studio Gallery in Ventnor and by the Friends of Ventnor Botanic Gardens, with funding support from the Finnis Scott Foundation.

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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Shop on the Shore - 6th - 17th August

'FiFi' by Fiona Howard and 'Cardigan' by Kate Jenkins will be celebrating Summer on the seafront in their first "Pop up Shop" at The Fishing Quarter Gallery on Brighton Seafront (next to the Fishing Museum).

Both Fiona Howard and Kate Jenkins are textile designers with decades of experience in their fields : Fiona in Home Furnishings Printed Textiles and Kate in Designer Fashion Knitwear. This is their first exhibition together and will combine their passion for colour, texture and summer living. Come along and experience the vibrant mix of stylish, exotic knitwear and yarn accessories with printed linens, bone china mugs and contemporary homewares.

6th to 17th August
Open from 11am to 5pm

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Worthing Open Houses

(Sarah Young's Studio, with Christian Funnell sculpture)

Worthing saw an unusual sight last weekend - Brightonians making the trip 12 miles west to look at the art of Worthing displayed in 20 Open Houses and Gardens. Worthing's is a small trail compared to Brighton's 220 house one in May but it is rather more manageable and has been very much enjoyed by the visitors during the squally first weekend where many houses were full for much of the day.

(Alison Milner and Steve Speller's house - Painting by Kevin Johns)

Many of the houses follow a trail near and along the seafront either side of the pier. There are new galleries on the front and as well as Open Houses serving tea and homemade cake there are cafe's along the seafront - I'd recommend Coast Cafe (they also have an exhibition on in their upper room)

(Fleur Grenier, Christiane Kersten and Alison Milner)

Some of the artists from moving stichers group have opened a temporary shop in the local shopping centre where they are promoting the Open Houses, holding workshops and demonstrating their skills/ Their Open House is at 15 St Botolphs Road.

(Jon Sweeting, Annie Hewitt, Joy Fox)

Sarah Young is holding a studio sale - cleaning out her plan chests and selling all her prints, paintings dolls and illustration at at least 20% discount (the sale extends to all items on her website). Also Sarah's opening her new garden studio to the public for the first time.

(Sarah Young, Jo Sweeting, Annie Hewitt)

Worthing Open Houses are open next weekend only from 10.00 - 6.00. The whole trail can be easily cycled in a day.

(Christian Funnell)

(Sarah Young's new studio with illustrations)

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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Printmakers at Hornseys - Ripon

It's great to see that more and more galleries are exhibiting original prints as a discipline that can stand alone and not just as an adjunct to paintings or as a means of reproduction.

Hornseys in Ripon - who also have 'The Shop' at Newby Hall in Yorkshire - are one of the galleries pioneering this revival. Honsey's Ripon have a group show of printmakers Kittie Jones, Sarah Young, Al Heighton & Jonny Hannah which started last weekend and runs till 15 August when Laurie Hastings & David Troupes exhibition takes over.

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Maker of the Week - Fiona Howard

Fiona Howard has been designing textiles for over 20 years creating collections for the Home Furnishings market in the UK and worldwide for names including John Lewis, G.P.& J. Baker, Sandersons, Pierre Frey, Habitat and many more. While continuing to design for her clients, she has now created 'FiFi', the first collection under her own name. FiFi designs are inspired by and evocative of happy outdoor memories with a fresh contemporary feel to lift your spirits and make your home a beautiful, happy place.

One favourite living craft maker (and why?)
Edmund De Vaal, because his ceramics are beautiful, considered, quiet and serene.

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased? or What one product/item do you really covet? (and why?)
The last thing I bought was a beautiful bowl by Jonna Behrens, but I really covet one of Christo's beautiful drawings for his immense and inspiring projects such as 'The Wrapped Reichstag' or 'The Gates' in Central Park.

At age 15 who influenced your style? Was there any individual who very much helped you on your way?
Aged 15 I was totally into Salvador Dali, though I don't think he had any hand in what I'm doing now. I was very lucky to have a fantastic tutor at school, Colin Temblett-Wood who persuaded me to follow my dream and go to Art College when my family weren't so keen.

Last best read (book)?
The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho......changed my life !

Where and what is your studio? Do you work alone? In silence, radio?
I used to share a studio, but for over 18 years I've worked on my own. I work best with no distractions, not even the radio, ( though Chris Moyles on Radio 1 in the morning is my secret pleasure !) At the moment my studio overlooks the sea in Brunswick Square, this is my favourite time of year when I can work with the windows open and listen to to seagulls and the sounds of summer.

What is your favourite (art) website (and why)? for lots of lovely inspiring work

Surprising activity/hobby ?
Surfing ( badly ) with my two teenage boys in Cornwall every summer

Do you have a good work/life balance? Are you able to switch off from art work?
No, I'm terrible at switching off...there's always something else I could be doing at my desk, and ideas, cut outs pieces of paper sketches and notes seem to creep all over my flat !

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?
All consuming ( sorry that's two words !)

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
Yes, absolutely it would be a very dull world without it.

What do think are crimes against good taste & decency in art/craft/design?
'Crocs', which may be practical but are so ugly, as is the Fiat Multipla !

le="font-weight: bold;">Do you think art and craft has any real importance?

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Have you bought these paintings?

I was contacted today about a small disaster befalling Charlotte Hardy at this years Brighton Open Houses. Charlotte was exhibiting in a house on Preston Park Avenue, sold lots of paintings but the cheques forwarded to her in payment went missing in the post and there was no record of the purchasers.

I expect many lessons have been learnt here but if by some chance you bought one of the pictures below or know who did, could you get in touch with Charlotte? -

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Sunday, 12 July 2009

Sarah Young's Studio Sale

Two years ago Sarah Young held her first ever studio sale - the aim was to help raise funds to build a new studio, and we now have built a new supa-dupa cedar clad painting studio in the garden.

With the recession and all that Sarah's decided to hold another sale. She'll be selling everything on her website at 20% off but if you visit the house and studio - there will be work on sale at bigger discounts as well as work not usually exhibited; Sarah will be opening her plan chests and showing and selling original illustrations, print proofs, paintings and prints at at sale prices. The house and the new studio will be open, and we'll be serving tea, coffee and cake in the garden.

Artists exhibiting in the house and garden (but not necessarily in the sale) are
Joy Fox - Button Jewellery, & recycled fabric corsages and wall pieces.
Christian Funnell - sculpture
Annie Hewett - Ceramics
Julia Mills - Glass
Sarah Packington - Jewellery
Jo Sweeting - Stone carving/sculpture
Annabet Wyndham - Jewellery

Sarah's studio sale is part of the newly reorganised Worthing Open Houses and Garden Trail which features 20+ houses this year - most of whom are within easy walking distance of our house. See for full details and trail map.

The sale is on for 2 weekends - open 10am till 6pm 18/19 & 25/26 July 2009.Parking is free all Sunday and most of Saturday. Map here. Do come and see us.

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Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Through the Keyhole - James Stewart

James Stewart is the Director of the Zimmer Stewart Gallery in Arundel, West Sussex. He lives above the gallery which is in the town centre.

When did you move to house/studio?
December 2002

What made you choose it, what interested you about it's style or location?
The garden, more space than we had before and the shopfront which presented me an opportunity to move away from accountancy and work for myself again.

What's your favourite room - why?
Difficult to decide – jointly the “Blue Room” because it is snug and where we have our favorite paintings, ceramics and other objects & the Kitchen/Living room this opens onto the garden and in the summer it feels like one big space, it is also the best room when we have loads of people over.

How would describe your decorating style?
Eclectic, unplanned, constantly evolving, old meets new, a constant battle between the houses of my parents & grand parents and the style I have developed for myself

What about it does inspire you?
My inspiration comes from working directly with artists and the excitement of seeing new work by new artists, going to exhibitions and galleries. I collect work from the artists I really like, and to have these around me all the time keeps me focused.

What is interesting about your house and why?
It is interesting living and working in the same place, the gallery takes up the ground floor and we live upstairs and downstairs.

What is interesting about your house contents and why?
The house contents are a mix of inherited furniture and contemporary pieces – they seem to work well together. There are loads of paintings everywhere, and ceramics and sculptures on shelves – it must look like the home of an art magpie.

Why do you like your area of the world - how does it relate to your work if at all?
I like West Sussex because of its proximity to the sea and the South Downs. I love running and can go in almost any direction straight from the house. The people are nice, and there is a close knit community in Arundel. Having said all that I need to go to London often as an antidote, to get lost, be anonymous and hear all the different languages on the tube!

All photographs by Alun Callendar

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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Tom Paine Festival in Lewes including working press and original prints.

Today I visited Lewes in East Sussex to see two events that are part the "Tom Paine Festival - Revolution and Reason" being held in the town from the 4th - 14th July.

Thomas Pain, the radical propagandist and revolutionary, and plain-spoken voice of the common man and woman lived for some time in Lewes and the Tom Paine Festival celebrates the anniversary of his death in 1809. There is full information on his life and work on the website

As part of the Tom Paine Festival, Paddock Printmakers, a group of artists based in Lewes, have produced a really super limited edition book with prints of images of Lewes buildings and sites associated with the life of Tom Paine in Lewes. The book is in a limited edition of 130 and is a beautiful, hand bound book with each image originating from a handmade print by a member of Paddock Printmakers. The prints too are available and are being exhibited until late August at Pelham House, St Andrew’s Lane, Lewes, just off the High Street. The prints show a superb range of styles with different printmaking techniques; woodcuts, linocuts, drypoint and collagraphs.

If you then want to see printing in action walk up the main High Street in Lewes and head for the Market Tower and there, in a beautiful space off the courtyard, is a fully working printing press. The full size oak press was made this year and is based around a working 18th-century-style wooden ‘common press’, as used to print Paine’s massively influential pamphlets and books.

The Press was formally opened on July 4th, and free demonstrations take place at the Market Tower throughout the Festival, 10am-1.30 and 2.30-6pm, until July 14th. For full details about the press please see
There are lots of events on over the Tom Paine Festival in Lewes and both the exhibition by Paddock Printmakers and the display and demonstration of the printing press continue throughout the Festival.

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Monday, 6 July 2009

Online Shop of the Week - Betty and Jeff

Betty & Jeff is an online boutique selling unique products which are handmade with care and with beautiful attention to detail. Betty & Jeff source jewellery, interior products, textiles and small artworks all of which are original and often quirky.

All products are made in the UK and are crafted by relative unknown artists and recent graduates to designers and makers who only produce a few key pieces each season some of which are marketed exclusively by Betty & Jeff.

Orders made online will be individually dispatched by each designer, directly to you.


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Friday, 3 July 2009

Two quarterly magazines a pleasure to receive - Illustration and Printmaking Today.

This week it has been a pleasure to receive two magazines which I subscribe to. Both come out quarterly and the Summer issue of each arrived in the post this week.

For anyone interested in printmaking, illustration, art, design and finding out about related events and exhibitions, both magazines are thoroughly recommended.

Printmaking Today is the quarterly magazine in the UK for printmakers and those interested in printmaking. The magazine features profiles on printmakers as well as news on events and exhibitions and articles about the practical side of printmaking.The Summer issue features an article and interview with
Emma Mason who has recently opened a gallery in Eastbourne, East Sussex. Emma Mason British prints specialise in original prints from the post war to present day and the article explains how the business began and talks about the printmakers they represent and the decision behind now opening a gallery. Emma Mason have regularly exhibited at the Brighton Art Fair.

Illustration Magazine, also out quarterly is a beautifully produced magazine full of features on illustrators and their work. The Summer issue, just out, has a feature on illustrators who are turning their hand to make patterned fabrics and toys and other hand made items and includes work by Sussex artist, printmaker, and illustrator
Sarah Young who exhibits both at the Brighton Art Fair and at MADE the Brighton design and craft fair.

Both Printmaking Today magazine and Illustration magazine are stocked and available to buy at the Emma Mason Gallery in Eastbourne (t. 01323 727545 or see details below).
Both magazines also take subscriptions.

Printmaking Today published by Cello Press Ltd (Subscriptions tel. 01993 701002)


Emma Mason Gallery 3 Cornfield Terrace, Eastbourne, East Sussex. BN21 4NN
t. 01323 727545

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Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Maker of the Week - Lucy Mutter

Lucy Mutter is a glass worker producing sandblasted and engraved work from glasses to vases and lamps to windows. She lives and works in Portslade near Brighton.

One favourite living craft maker (and why?)

I think my favourite living craft maker would have to be Kaffe Fassett, his needle point in particular is stunning and I love the way he finds influence from all sorts of different things, from ceramics to cabbages.

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased? or What one product/item do you really covet? (and why?)
I try not to covet things, it causes heart-ache, especially when there's only just enough money in the bank account to keep myself fed, watered, housed and in glass! However, I do yearn for a piece of furniture by my friend Cassian Garbett, who is a master craftsman and furniture maker. He lovingly works driftwood into beautiful and practical pieces. I already own a chair he made, given to me by my parents for my 21st birthday (some years ago now!) It will certainly be a mark of my success when I am able to commission him to make me something to go with that chair.

At age 15 who influenced your style? Was there any individual who very much helped you on your way?
At 15 I'd say my greatest influences were my parents, both very skilled makers, my father is a cartoonist and model maker who always tries to inject fun into his work, and my mother is a true craft artist with an incredibly diverse repertoir, from pottery to silversmithing. Both practice their crafts for their own enjoyment, almost in a therapeutic way, and both have supported me beyond measure as I have grown up.

Last best read (book)?
Duncton Wood by William Horwood. It's a book I read when I was 11 and re-read recently, it is a beautiful story set deep in the English countryside about a community of moles!

Where and what is your studio? Do you work alone? In silence, radio?
I live and work in Portslade, when looking to buy a house the first main priority was to have a garden big enough to build a workshop. My machinery is large and loud so it needed to be purpose built and the equipment craned in! I work alone, and have discovered that I work best when I am also singing along to my favourite music (so it's probably a good thing there's no one around to hear me!)

What is your favourite (art) website (and why)?
I often find art websites disappointing, as they often seem disjointed and clunky but I love I admit to being slightly biased here, because Ed is my Brother-in-Law, and the site was built by one of my very best friends, Gary Stanton. It is an un-fussy and very user friendly site, with style and elegance, so it's a good thing Gary will be doing my website for me (watch this space!)

Surprising activity/hobby?
I love the countryside and love being out and about in it, but one of my favourite hobbies is canoeing on the Cuckmere River, it really is the most stunning place to be.

Do you have a good work/life balance? Are you able to switch off from art work?
I find that work can often take over, and at the end of a long day it is sometimes hard to get my craft-working hat back on, but ideas come thick and fast at any hour of the day! I find it best to record these ideas when they come, and dedicate time specifically to the workshop when I can devote my full attention to them.

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

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
Art and craft is something that has been practised by Human Beings since they first scrawled images onto cave walls, it is an intrinsic part of culture. Without it the world would be a very grey and depressing place.

What do think are crimes against good taste & decency in art/craft/design?
I think one of the beauties of the art world is the sense that 'anything goes', but I do feel that this can be abused sometimes and work is done merely for it's shock value. I consider myself first and foremost a craftsperson, concerned mainly with my medium, the potential of my equipment, the scope of my imagination, and how I can combine these things to make something beautiful, practical, and hopefully treasured.

Lucy Mutter:

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