Sunday December 16th
(Map and artist profiles at the AOH listings site).
Today dawned beautifully bright and sunny, so I decided to do the long Fiveways circle of houses. Theresa Winchester and Friends  houses a great variety of work. Winchester’s accomplished linoprints inspired by myths, legends and wildlife are joined by Polly Finch’s dainty papercuts Maria Tilgard’s sinuous and eerie black swan cushion and Peter Brett’s simple Shaker wooden pieces.
The Wildlife Photographer  is to me what an Open House is really all about – meet the artist and family [and lovely blue dog] and enjoy the photography and needlework on display in their home. World travelling photographer Andrew Forsyth has captured some spectacular wildlife, landscape and astronomy shots.
The Cake House  is very well named! A fantasy cupcake and a cup of tea in the kitchen with the papers first [well it was Sunday morning] then a look around. Clair Letton’s engrossing paintings of colourful towns and villages had the feel of the best children’s book illustrations; I especially noted “Butterfly Collection” and “By Moonlight”. A rainbow coloured staircase and lots for children made this a very family-friendly house.
Over Fiveways to Art @ 73  – a bit out of the way but worth the walk, with a house full of guest artists. Perhaps this did make the house feel rather impersonal, more like a shop with very little evidence of family life, but the mulled wine and friendly welcome were great. Nick Orsborn’s juicy watercolours and cicada jewellery and Dee Wadham’s Love Letters [hand painted mounted wooden letters] very attractive.
Nearby is The Red Door  [and some more mulled wine]. A new venue showing Nicola Jackson’s handmade turquoise butterfly-covered sketchbooks, Kitty Cava’s fine art printmaking [the Morning Glory prints stood out] and Karen Tilley’s cyanotype prints.
Then down to All Colours Permitted , housing some superb work – fine art in textile form. Francoise Koester’s hand painted silk bed covers, cushions, hangings, scarves … gorgeous colours and striking designs. Agnes Chevalier’s intricate hand and machine embroidery as framed pictures and jewellery – sadly as her picture “The Green Man” has been sold, only prints and cards of this Tolkienesque green woodland scene are now available to see.
Sylph Baier  opens her garden summer house again to visitors – if you can tear yourself away from the charming chickens! Fleur Grenier’s pewter decorations, especially the long mistletoe branch are so attractive, and Michael Embden’s hyper realistic paintings of the South Downs are the highlight.
Then finally as the heavens opened again a return visit to Glass Infusion  to pick up some more of Stephanie Else’s almost edible coloured glass fridge magnets, and to Caia Matheson’s studio for superb woodland oil paintings.
The end of another Artists’ Open Houses Christmas event. PH