How do you plan your Artists Open Houses visits?
Flicking through the brochure, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the variety of artists and houses on offer. Some people like to organise geographically – visiting all the Houses in Hove, for example. Some people seek out particular types of work, searching for ceramicists or printmakers. And some people just let chance and curiosity structure their weekends!
Here at Phoenix Brighton we’d like to offer up an alternative way to engage with this year’s festival: visiting the four Phoenix artists who are taking part!
First up is Luella Martin, who forms part of Cameron Contemporary Art on 2nd Avenue, Hove. Luella says it’s very important to her life as an artist to take part in festivals like AOH: “It’s a beautiful space to show my work and I love exhibiting with the other gallery artists there. I think the important thing is to get my work seen as much as possible and taking part in the festival helps make this possible.”
Luella’s work responds to the landscape and here she will be showing new paintings in oil as well as solar etchings. If you’re curious about solar etchings, Luella demonstrates the technique in a video here.
Art Across The Line is a collaboration between Phoenix Artist Kate Strachan and Shyama Ruffell. Kate explains the reasoning behind the name of the house, which is now in its 7th year: “We are friends who live in the 7 Dials area across the railway line from each other…..hence the name ‘Art Across the Line’!”
The two artists take turns curating a Christmas Artist Open House together in one of their houses. This year they are joined by some exciting new people including fellow Phoenix Artist Juliet Walters, who says: “Being part of the Open Houses has been part of my life in Brighton since moving here over 20 years ago. It’s unique to find such a variety of original work in one area and it’s much more civilised than the busy high street at this time of year.”
What should visitors expect? Both Kate and Juliet agree: “A great mix of art, craft and gifts with a glass of mulled wine thrown in!”
Last stop on our tour is David Streeter & Friends, where you can visit jeweller Rowena Park. Rowena is delighted to be taking part this year, saying: “The Open House I’m in is a very warm and friendly place with lovely hosts – David and Lucy, plus fab cat Meowster!“
Rowena’s work is all about design and colour: “I work primarily in acrylic combining transparent colour with gold leaf. I have pendants, bangles, earrings, brooches and cufflinks.”
She also had some words about the Artist Open Houses festival in general: “The Open Houses do give everyone a lot more choice that the main high street shops, so perfect for anyone looking for that something just a bit different.”
Enjoyed your visit to the above houses and want to know more about the artists who rent studios at Phoenix? We participate in the AOH May Festival each year, where we open our entire building for one weekend only, allowing visitors to explore six floors of artists’ studios. However, for those of you who want a more intimate glimpse into our organisation, our new Phoenix Friends scheme offers regular monthly events and exclusive studio tours.