If you aren’t from Brighton, then you may never have heard of the artists open houses, that happen each May at the same time as the Brighton Festival. It started in 1982 when an artist decided to open his house up to allow people to view his, and other peoples, work. It has grown and grown, and this year there are over 200 venues. The idea is to allow artists and craftspeople a fairly easy and inexpensive way to display their work. Most of the venues are houses, but there are also studios, churches and coffee shops exhibiting. I have been visiting houses for years, and we often pick a trail, then go off looking around with the plan to have an early drink in the sun at the end. I have happy memories of cup final day in 2001 walking round with my big pregnant bump in the sun, avoiding the football. Another year my son had a Scout event at the Level (for just 2 hours) so I took off up Southover Street and had lovely tea and cake and someones garden! It is good for present buying, especially as I have a lots of May and June birthdays in my family. I once described it to a friend who did not come from Brighton, and she questioned walking into peoples houses to look round. It is not strange at all – especially as there are certain houses who you just know are more than happy for visitors to peek as much at the lovely house and garden as the work…
I exhibited some quilts back in 2010 in another open house, so it gave me an idea of what was involved in taking part. It is fairly simple to do, you pay your registration fee, and if it is your first year you are sent a guide to what to do – and if you like a bit or organising it is not too difficult (maybe ask me this again when we are doing the set up on Friday!).
I am part of the Dyke Road Arts Trail which has been good for support, and things such as flyers and publicity. It has been comforting to know there are people who have experience who can advise if needed. The trails are areas where venues are grouped together, but there are also independent houses so it is worth checking the map to see what is exhibiting in the area you are visiting.
Right, onto Quilty Pleasures…
There are 8 of us displaying work at Quilty Pleasures, and we will be open every Saturday and Sunday in May, 11 till 4. Although the studio is small, it has been good having the support of each other, and it should present a varied range of work. I am hoping it means more people in the area will know we are there, and give our lovely regulars the chance to come in and see something new. We all work in textiles and we are…
Funnily enough I met Fiona at a Business Link for Women Course back in later 2009/early 2010. Our eyes met across the room of people setting up as personal trainers and make-up artists as I spotted her button necklace and she my patchwork bag. I love her style, and currently teaches at her home studio, Clothkits in Chichester, and has a Not on the High Street shop.
Sara Cook Quilter
Sara was my first quilt teacher (ooh, just a few years ago..!) and have been friends since (hope you agree with this Sara!). She teaches all levels of quilt making, and set up Brighton’s first City and Guilds Patchwork and Quilting Course last September. She will be selling some small patchwork artisan creations.
Anita Quirky Genius
I first met Anita through craft shows where I admired her bags, and admired my fabrics… I particularly love her dolls, and bought my daughter one for her birthday last year. if you have been to events such as Country Living you may recognise her work. These are her bunnies – her fab dolls can be seen in the guide, and on flyers.se
Wendy , and runs dress making and pattern cutting classes from her workshop on North Road in Brighton. A wizard when sewing knits, we will have some of her dressmaking patterns and tools on sale.
Alison Lavender Heart
Alison is another designer/maker I have met through events, and I am a huge fan of her cards. She describes herself as an embroiderer and knitter.
There is also Valerie from Brighton Crafts showing Feltwork, and Carolyn Clark displaying some of her long arm quilting.
…and me, obviously! I will be chatting about our workshops and parties, have a few kits, small quilts for sale, and fat quarter bundles and charm packs available.
One of the great things about having a team, is that we can share the stewarding duties. This means we won’t all be there everyday, so if you want to come and chat about anything in particular (such as C&G courses with Sara, or quilting with Carolyn) then drop me a line before you come.
I do hope you will pop along if you can. There is on street parking in the area, and we are about a 3 minute walk from the nearest bus stop, and 10 minutes up the hill from Brighton Station. I will post more photos on here once we are set up, fingers crossed it goes smoothly..!