Sarah Jones, winner of Latest Best Open House Award 2020, talks to us
Hi Sarah, we’re really looking forward to seeing what Milton House will be doing this year! Have you any new artists exhibiting with you, or any major changes to your Open House this year?
I always bring in new artists each year to keep the house interesting. I change about a third of artists and try to bring in someone new to Open Houses too. The mix will be similar, artwork , ceramics, jewellery, textiles, gifts cards and homewares. I am being loaned a metal tree sculpture to stand outside the house, which should make us very obvious.
Last year Milton House won the prestigious Best Open House Award, sponsored by Latest TV. What did that mean for you?
It means a lot. I hope it encourages people to come here and say hello. I’ve had Milton House open in four different addresses, so having people remember the name is probably more important than the address. To win anything is always great, although it would be hard to say if it eclipses my two Blue Peter Badges !
What have you been doing over the last year – have you had any major new projects?
I have had a mixed year with two children at University and one doing A Levels, meaning all sorts of disruption in home life as for everyone. Some work continued for clients like The Radio Times , the Evening Standard and Waitrose and some went very quiet. I filled my time with DIY, baking and planning new work , some of which will be in the house in June.
Tell us about the postage stamp commission!
I was asked to illustrate one of the classic science fiction stamps the Royal Mail brought out this April, each illustrating a different book. The book I was given was Shikasta by Doris Lessing. It was a challenge to capture such a complicated narrative in such a small space. It is about the struggle of one planet Shikasta (Earth); the role of society, belief systems and how disease affects the goals of the individual and a community. The project had been held over for nearly a year, I think the pandemic made it seem slightly untimely! and I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone. It is one of my dream jobs having been brought up in a family of stamp collectors!
Your cats Percy and Murphy are a big fixture of your Open House -do they enjoy receiving visitors?
Percy more than Murphy I would say. He loves to be petted and sit on the gatepost to welcome everyone, Murphy on the other hand is more likely to sit on the stairs and watch. They love children and children enjoy seeing them, I think they help make the house more memorable.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
The message is please just come! I hope always to welcome new visitors who have maybe not been to Open Houses ever before, and this year also to welcome friends and visitors back who I haven’t seen for a very long time.
See Sarah’s Open House:
72 Clyde Road, Brighton, BN1 4NP
In the Beyond The Level Trail