Monday, 29 March 2010

Mike Levy pots at Castor and Pollux

Long awaited, Mike Levy has been busy unloading the kiln over the weekend. You will recognise his work from visits to the gallery and the Brighton open houses he has taken part in.

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Pick Me Up at Somerset House

Somerset House presents Pick Me Up, the first contemporary graphic art fair in the UK. The fair will bring together the most exciting graphic artists working today, giving you the opportunity to buy limited edition, affordable graphic art, illustration and design. Nice invitation design by Anthony Burrell. (Which I couldn't get to load here for some reason)

Live printing with London Print Club and a recreation of Rob Ryan studio will be on show from 23 April to 3 May.
Really exciting to see graphic design in this gallery setting.

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Eastbourne Festival 3rd - 25th April 2010

Starting this coming weekend is the 2010 Eastbourne Festival. There are varied events around the town taking place over 3 weeks. The events include music, drama, comedy, dance and the artists Open Houses. The brochure and list of events is available to download from the Festival website or there are brochures to pick up around Eastbourne.

Visit the website for full details

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Friday, 19 March 2010

University of Brighton to close 'Art House'

The University of Brighton has announced that at the end of the year all adult arts and design evening and Saturday classes (the Arthouse) will be closed.

Courses being shut down include photography, printmaking, bookbinding, ceramics, silversmithing, illustration, life drawing, carpentry, fashion, web design and so on.

Redundancy notices have already been sent out marking an end of Adult Arts Education in the University which used to be Brighton Art School.

We understand that as there isn't a firm economic case for closing the courses, the decision seems to have been made on prejudice against what is perceived to be 'leisure courses'

Having known both artists and tutors who have taken courses at the Arthouse it seems to be a shame as the courses have encouraged some great artists and is a good community resource for Brighton. It seems to mark the final chapter in the intellectualisation of art where art is now a university course to be written about in an academic way as much as a course where skills are learnt, explored, and developed.

Tom Hickey, Chair of the UCU branch, said yesterday: “We do not understand this decision at all. We were not consulted in advance, and were later told it was because of a large budget deficit. But there seems to be no deficit at all for these courses. To walk away from adult education would be to trample on the commitments that the University has previously given about its role in the community.

Since there is no apparent financial justification for this decision, it can only represent a prejudice against short course provision, and a repositioning of the Faculty. That has a major effect on the relationship between the Arts Faculty and the city. Yet it is a decision taken behind closed doors with no section of the University community consulted about it, and no prior notice to the City Council or consultation with other agencies. It is a serious misjudgment.”

A campaign has been formed if you want to learn more or sign their petition.

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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Mid Century Modern Dulwich This Weekend

The twice yearly celebration of Midcentury Design (mostly 50's 60's 70's) returns to the Christison Hall Dulwich College this Sunday.

The Midcentury Modern Shows are feature a combination of furniture dealers selling second-hand furniture and classic products from the best designers of last century - Eames, Jacobsen, Robin Day etc alongside contemporary designers making modern, simple, classic products today. For example flying in from Sweden for the day are Spanish/Swedish design partnership Cate and Nelson who designed the 'Crisis Shelves' below.

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3 New Websites Launched

At long last we have launched 3 new websites to replace our elderly ones for Brighton Art Fair and MADE10 and a shiny new one for our exciting new event the Palace Art Fair at Fulham Palace London.
The online application forms for artists seem to be working smoothly, and the redesigned sites have a crisper, cleaner look. Behind the scenes our selection process will be made simple with all the artists information viewable on screen and a slide show of submitted images.
Already there've been some fantastic applications for all 3 shows and as part of the selection committee I can't resist having a peek but we don't properly start selection until the deadline has passed (which is now 14 April as it took so long to get all the sites tested and ready)

The sites will be featuring (RSS) this blog on each of the home pages (so I better make sure I keep the blog up to date) If anyone wants to help write about what's happening in their area drop me a line....

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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Charlotte Wess Garden Design

There seems to be a trend amongst previously desk-tied designers, illustrators and artists to take their skills into the open air.

A friend of ours Charlotte Wess made that move from a successful illustrator specialising in botanical illustrations and watercolours to a garden designer a few years ago and has been taking the RHS courses part time over the past few years as well as running her own garden design firm 'wessgardens'.

Charlotte is now the holder of an RHS silver medal for her balcony design inspired by recycling and sustainable planting (recycling 'cycles' - geddit? - planters made from bike tyres and supports from bike parts)
Her website featuring some of her finished designs for Sussex gardens is here.

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Friday, 5 March 2010

Exhibition for March 2010 - Charles Bartlett Etchings

The new exhibition throughout March at the Emma Mason Gallery in Eastbourne, East Sussex is: "Charles Bartlett - Etchings from his Studio"

Opening on Saturday 6th March, until the 27th, the exhibition of etchings by Charles Bartlett (born 1921) will show work dating from the 1960s to the late 1980s. The etchings were selected from Charles's studio and in many cases they are the last remaining print from the edition.

Charles Bartlett is now 88 and is visiting Eastbourne to open the exhibition on Saturday 6th March. Charles grew up in Eastbourne and went to the Eastbourne School of Art before attending the Royal College of Art after the war. He is a highly regarded printmaker, a senior fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and a former President of the Royal Watercolour Society.

All work will be for sale with framed and unframed work. The exhibition will also be online on the website at

Emma Mason Gallery
3 Cornfield Terrace
East Sussex
BN21 4NN

T. 01323 727545

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Thursday, 4 March 2010


Origin - The London Craft Fair is on the move after 4 years in the courtyard of Somerset House.

This year Origin will move to Old Spitalfields Market in the East End, in an area where many creative industries, workshops artists are situated. The fair will coincide with the London Design Festival and Tent London the show for designs for production will be held across the road in the Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. Origin will be organised over one week only by Tent London 23rd-29th September 2010.

Whether this is a canny move by the Crafts Council to align the crafts with 'design' (which is perceived as more 'sexy') and to introduce individual craft makers to industry, encouraging collaborations and commissions or a risky move moving the show from a rich west-end retail venue to a trendy but still poor area of London remains to be seen, but it sounds interesting. The subcontracting of the event to a successful event organiser (tent London, 100% Design etc) seems to me to be a good move and I expect they can achieve enough savings to now be able to survive without grant aid.

Further information available here

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Lucienne Day

One of Britain's most influential textile designers - Lucienne Day died at the end of January - after a career spanning more than 50 years. Lucienne Day attended the Royal College of Art where she met Robin Day at an RCA dance in 1940, Robin and Lucienne were married in 1942.

Lucienne Day's drew inspiration from modern art - organic shapes and colourful patterns inspired perhaps by Kandinsky and Miro. Her work was designed to be affordable and mass-produced, bringing the best of design to the public.

Lucienne Day worked for Heals before getting a commission to work with Robin Day on fabrics for the festival of Britain for whom she produced the fabric 'Calyx'. The Festival of Britain introduced the public to a new design philosophy after the utilitarian and staid designs of the war and post war era. The Day's were foremost in the new design aesthetic.

Lucienne continued to produce fabric designs and applied decoration for companies such as Heals, and Crown Wallpapers as well as Edinburgh Weavers, Royal Wilton and in this country and Rauche and Rosenthal Ceramics abroad.

Lucienne Day Switched from designing printing pattern in the 1970's to a more craft based 'silk mosaic work' often large scale wall pieces for clients such as John Lewis and the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre.
Lucienne and Robin had a shared retrospective of their work in 2001 at the Barbican and much of their work is still in production.

Lucienne and Robin retired to a house at Chichester where an exhibition of Lucienne Day's textiles and Robin Day's furniture, "Robin and Lucienne Day: Design and the Modern Interior", will be held in Spring 2011 at Pallant House Gallery.
Guardian Obituary here

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