Originally posted over at Artists’ Open Houses
Continuing my goal to see as many and to travel as far as possible within the city, I caught a bus from Hove Station out to Sussex Square this morning, to tackle Kemptown Artists. I decided to keep to those around the seafront and St James’ Street, again not seeing all the open houses but getting for a good flavour of this trail. Kemptown is a historic part of the city inexplicably vandalised in the sixties when some hideous tower blocks were allowed to land amid the Regency fascinations.
To a pair of venues at Arundel Mews first.
Cardigan Ltd [17
Cardigan Ltd  is the working studio of knitwear designer and artist Kate Jenkins. A very friendly and informative welcome told me about the artist who has worked with charities McMillan and the British Heart Foundation. Her machine knits introduce a limited edition of colours each year. Kate’s own design and invention, the 4-way poncho / cardi / scarf / wrap, fastening with rows of little charm buttons, was so clever, and the crochet applique scarves and witty crochet canapes and sequinned seafood pictures are among lots to see and buy.
bip-Art Printmaking Workshop 
Next door is bip-Art Printmaking Workshop . This long-established print studio houses several antique printing presses, including the 1844 Columbian Press, and a community of enthusiastic printmakers happy to demonstrate and explain all about their work, handprinting with care and expertise. Tea and wheat-free cakes for a donation to charity.
Rock Apartment 
Just around the stunning Brighton architectural landmark Sussex Square and Lewes Crescent for Rock Apartment . Something special, accessed down steps and through the stone lion-guarded little courtyard to this gorgeous mezzanine apartment packed with paintings. Eithne Greenfield Clarke and Lindsay Pearson are prolific and accomplished artists, showing paintings and prints from journeys to Venice, India and Africa, together with some private sketchbooks to leaf through.
Number 3 
Check out Maggie Barradell’s pastel cloud formations and Ray Nowak’s Portland rock carvings here.
Cabinet of Curiosities 
This studio apartment houses the antiques of the future – the work of master craftsman and bespoke designer/cabinet-maker Huw Edwards-Jones. You’ll want to open and close the drawers of the unique and gentlemanly pieces of furniture fashioned from many different species of wood. There should be a prize for the most attractive business card; his is reminiscent of old book-plate engravings.
The Bungeroosh Gallery 
One of those tall Regency houses Brighton does so well, and a lesson on what to do with the tiniest garden space. See Suzanne Breakwell’s animal papercuts on ink backgrounds, especially the heron image “Water’s Edge”.
The Studio – College Road 
A painters’ studio housed in a Kemptown mews for Nick and Maggie Philo’s abstract paintings. Lesley G Aggar’s “Seascapes” series of images taken from the same Marina vantage point show the infinite variety of sea and sky mood.
90 Essex Place 
Not the most beautiful of high rise buildings but well worth following the instructions to get up to the venue. Friendly hosts and dog and a rest on the balcony with complimentary tea and cake, before enjoying Paul Griffiths’ painting and print show – especially the “Storm” series, inspired by the great views.
Five from the Fens 
Five artist friends from Cambridge. Helena Anderson’s sharp geological photography stood out; detailed studies of the Cornish coastline.
JAG Gallery 
Down the steps to the seafront now for the JAG Gallery , housed in part of the original seafront buildings under the promenade. An engrossing mixture here, artists each have their own cubicle where they work and exhibit.
The Silence in Thunder 
Back up the steps and into New Steine to a small hotel hosting this exhibition of paintings by Philomena Harmsworth. It’s a little difficult to tell if I’m in the right place for a moment as there is no Open House banner, but once past the uncertainty of ringing the doorbell, the exhibition of exuberant oil paintings of musicians in the act of making music is in the dining room.
Faith in the City 2013 
Along to this modern Methodist Church. Take a look at the tiny round chapel faced in Sussex flint with stained glass accents, then look around at this community exhibition. Favourite: Doreen Savage’s butterfly paintings.
Lee Miller Archives Print Room Sale 
After a tour of the Spiegeltent Gardens for a festival flavour, I dropped into my first Central Brighton venue at the Friends Centre. To be honest, I was a little thoughtful. Not an open house, studio or gallery, the artist long deceased, the main aim being selling off stacks of prints – perhaps not in the spirit of Artists Open Houses, but still, some superb archive images.
Only a brief opportunity to trail today, and a pair of Seven Dials venues.
Brighton & Hove High School GDST 
Just for the one weekend the school opens to showcase students’ A-level and competition work. See how the girls study the work of great photographers and the history of photography, and then produce their own responses. Fascinating to see how this school consistently supports the confident, creative development of its young artists, their critical research skills and a professional approach. I noted Jessy Plant’s dance and music-inspired work and Gitana Harfleet’s filmic images. Tea and cake on the lawn £1.
Cecil Rice 
Constantly inspired by his knowledge of Venice and Brighton, ‘Painting the Light’ is very well named, the walls lined with glowing watercolours. Find out about painting courses at Rice’s home studio, books and instructional DVDs too. My image of the Festival so far – Rice’s “ Seven Dials Elm” watercolour, sparked by the recent controversy over the Green Council’s attempt to chop down a venerable elm tree, survivor of Dutch Elm disease and iconic feature of Seven Dials, in order to facilitate a pavement-widening scheme. The tree survived, and the painting celebrates the success of local campaigners in protecting it from the axe.
Image credit: Cecil Rice The Seven Dials Elm