Originally posted over at Artists’ Open Houses
Second weekendSaturday 11th May
We began today with the remaining three Dyke Road Arts houses on our way into town.
Nine by Nine 
This house is all about the beauty of print, letters and words. Particularly struck by John Christopher’s [flowersandfleurons.com] vintage letterpress Shipping Forecast prints and journeys – tall slender prints recording in wordlists and subtle use of colour the impressions of a day’s Sussex walks, plus Richard de Pasando’s famous faces created from different fonts.
Milton House 
Nearby is Milton House , a working studio home, full of ceramics, textiles, painting and print, and to the kitchen appropriately for ceramic tiles, pottery and home wares. A case full of petite smoke fired raku pieces by Judith Fisher and Tiffany Lynch’s pastel coloured acrylic woodland scene paintings were the stars.
Quilty Pleasures Studio 
Then to Quilty Pleasures Studio , a small shop dedicated to the art of the patchwork quilt. Showing examples of eight quilters’ work, you can book courses and learn the skills needed to create your own family heirloom.
Over to Beyond the Level, a wide oval trail centred around London Road station, for the rest of today.
Sorry to see that several of the BTL houses are not opening at all on Saturdays; it’s important to check your brochure carefully to avoid disappointment.
8 Rosehill Terrace 
To 8 Rosehill Terrace , and one of the best little gardens in Brighton. Ceramics, jewellery, digital installation, paintings and glass pieces to admire at this characterful house, several times shortlisted for the Best Open House award. See Louisa Crispin’s natural world etchings, especially the Owl, and the atmospherically paint-spattered artist’s studio upstairs.
New England House 
Next to New England House  which has several times invited the visitor to explore many of the studios on its multi levels to meet the artists and their work. Sadly, only a fraction of the building is open this time, with a much reduced small sampler show on the ground floor. Enjoyed a rather good cream tea [£2.50] and bought one of SDC’s gorgeous 3D animal cards, admiring Jake Spicer’s superb life drawings. Spicer offers his Draw life classes at his studio here.
The Dragonfly House 
The Dragonfly House , easily identified by the huge dragonfly sculpture clinging to the wall, is celebrating twenty years as a major player in the AOH event. Artists and collectors Angie Meaden-Bonnel and Marc Bonnel are joined by friends all inspired by the theme of nature and the British countryside. Enter downstairs via the smart kitchen, into the conservatory and courtyard then upstairs to enjoy the full show. Angie Meaden-Bonnel works in golden ink on black backgrounds to create her timeless landscapes, including the elegant and enigmatic “The Old Way.” Litterbug Mark Oliver’s fantastical insect creatures and Linsey Oliver’s country scenes using poetry, text, trees and skies add a striking 3D element to the show. Standing stones, landscape, living things … all the natural inspiration for this highly recommended event.
30 Gerard Street 
Then over the road to 30 Gerard Street . There is quite a theme this year for 3D boxed pieces inspired by the natural world; here Frances Bloomfield’s “Dreamboxes” suspended tree shapes evoke designs for theatre and fantasy film sets. Remembering childhood shadow-boxes for little treasures, Alice Walton shows skewed ceramic shadow-boxed feathers and cotton reels.
97 Ditchling Rise [not in brochure]
The Wealden Potters have opened a pop up independent house at 97 Ditchling Rise. A real independent, with Jennifer Wood’s paintings in the house and a fascinating wild wood garden, home to several summer houses showing examples of the potters’ work.
Back on the BTL trail, right next door is 99 , a house full of crafts, textiles, fashion and food. A break in the day’s trailing with tea and a slice of Victoria sponge [£3] in the pretty vintage tea garden, with a needlework summer house at the bottom.
Jennifer Beresford 
Jennifer Beresford’s intricate Brighton and Dungeness studies in oils and acrylic involve the viewer, capturing attention with detail and colour. See James Caldicott’s weathervanes and Howard Johnston’s woodcarvings in the courtyard garden.
The House of Tattered Treasures 
Right out on the edge of the trail here, for expressive cushions, buntings, brooches and bags with a vintage theme.
The Sundial House 
You’ll recognise this house by the large sundial over the front door. The owners are members of the British Sundial Society and this house is showing a fascinating exhibition all about them – how they work, their history and style, plus a selection of mosaic, glass, silver, wood and card dials.
1 Newport Street 
Radek Andrle’s tall, curvy sculptures in gold-accented pewter shades, with works in the miniature garden, too, and some golden 3D fruit pod wall pieces.
Glass in Fusion  at Beaconsfield Studios
Although only Glass in Fusion is listed, Beaconsfield Studios houses several shows, including Caia Matheson’s painterly studio with guest photographer and leatherworker. We enjoyed a glass of Pimms and the chance to create some mini artworks ourselves while enjoying her large scale rich-toned oils, including distant forests and “Encircle”, a midnight study of beech trees.
Along to Glass in Fusion where fused glass artist Stephanie Else displays work created in her studio kilns. Jewel colours and iridescent accents adorn her epic wall pieces and platters, jewellery and decorative miniature hangings.
Sunday 12th May
Back to Beyond the Level first:
Betty and Friends 
Betty Shek’s handsewn flowery felt arts and vintage button corsages and Keith A Pettit’s wood engravings of the South Downs.
37 Park Crescent 
The Regency crescent tends to curve inwards, so you can see the sweep all the way, but this one curves the other way. This apartment features some tantalising glimpses to the walled terrace and to the communal garden beyond. See Jenny Shaw’s bold, assured oils and life drawings here.
The Hanover Art Trail is mostly uphill all the way, and features some surprising and interesting venues.
Barefoot Art House 
To the second Regency crescent of the morning, Hanover Crescent [this one curves the right way!]. Pass the lodge at the top of the crescent, admiring the town houses opposite the peaceful communal garden as you go, then to the Barefoot Art House – shoes off as you go in. Michelle Cobbin’s abstract oil paintings, including “Steam”, a vague, cloudy misty oil, work perfectly in the small tranquil space that serves as a yoga studio. The glam bathroom is open for more works, too.
Lisa’s Open House 
Lisa Holdcroft is the illustrator of The Cheeky Guide to Brighton, and her show allows you an in-depth look at the detail of all the illustrations plus her Brighton Peers characters too. A fun, child friendly venue with a family competition [£2 to enter].
Brighton Sculptors 
To the Church of the Annunciation now, home to a sculptural show. Although the rather dingy light makes it sometimes difficult to see the work and the details, I particularly liked Abby Martin’s ‘Rainsieve’ and Theresa Martin’s “Undulation”. Explore the church and enjoy the entertaining leaflet about the history of the church and its community, over tea and Victoria sponge [£1.20 – the winner so far].
Susan Evans 
Walk on up to Hanover Lofts, a converted school building, for Susan Evans’ massive cloudy, impressionistic skies stacked about this roofspace.
Design Courses 
Then around to Design Courses , and a surprise find. This big workshop bunker houses Sue Enitcknap and Richard Dykes’ thriving knitwear studio, with the knitting machines and great spools of wool used in their design business and some useful practical courses available here. Unique fashion items for sale, including delicate shrugs and lacy knitted cardigans. View Harry Venning’s cartoons, too.
9 Beaufort Terrace 
To 9 Beaufort Terrace , a small venue with a big show. Paintings and sculpture abound; I especially noted work by Luke Jones, plus Elin Solstad’s restrained Norwegian winter charcoal drawings. Picked up a postcard with a great Dalek painting by Jones – would have liked to see the original.
36 Cobden Road 
Then to 36 Cobden Road . Bryan Ellery bronze portraiture; lovingly observed small pet studies and textured characterful heads; are displayed about the house and the must-see terraced sculpture garden. Janet Brookes’ ‘Brighton Boozers’ linocuts caught the eye.
Another weekend trails to a close…
Image credit: Angie Meaden-Bonnel