Guest Blog by Dan Mackey – 11 Rugby Road

11 Rugby Road’s first Open House was back in 2011 and since then we have enjoyed putting our own spin on making a fun house to visit and explore. Before moving to Brighton, the Open Houses here had always been a draw to visit Fiveways as the birthplace of the concept. It still remains the best way to see our neighbours and inviting visitors to our home that we might only see in May and at Christmas, but still enjoy catching up with.

Christmas planning and making started in August for us this year! With our Open House being filled by myself and Adam’s creations (with the help of our creative family), it takes lots of preparation. Famously we fill every room and every inch of our house in May and at Christmas even more so as it gets invaded by a forest of trees in the front room; each adorned with homemade decorations.

I have always focused on graphic prints & cards and we offer more than ever (I especially like drawing Brighton icons in a minimal style, which may not be recognisable at first). Our kiln here has been working hard with Adam spending most evenings hand building ceramic crunkles (each one still unique with no moulds used) and transforming driftwood into wall sculptures. My Mum is still crocheting us cute woolly items and Adam’s Mum sends us her stained glass decorations down from Yorkshire. We’ve even inspired my Dad to help us make some wood worked gifts this year.

This coming Open House is a special one for us, as it is the last one we will only put on in our flat here. Next May we will expand downstairs at 11 Rugby Road to double the space we have to use, allowing us to put on workshops and events. As well as opening our garden to everyone as somewhere to put your feet up during the festival, we’re excited of the possibilities!

Before we open our door to our Christmas Open House we have our own makers market on the 11th November ‘Bright Craft Fair’ that we organise at the Brighton Unitarian to showcase our work and other Brighton creatives. Then we pop up the following day at the Open Market on the 12th. Ignoring an early Christmas… We currently have some ceramics at Pop-Up Brighton’s Halloween shop in the Kings Road (arches near the i360).

Dan Mackey – 1 half of 11 Rugby Road