The artists of Crowborough are busily making final preparing to welcome the public to their studios, and exhibitors’ houses, for the town’s second Open Studios event this coming weekend.
Thirty-eight individual artists, both amateur and professional, and four creative groups, will be showing their work in twenty-three venues throughout Crowborough and Jarvis Brook during the weekend. From 11am to 5pm, there will be opportunities to admire the creativity of painters, jewellers, ceramicists and textile artists, and the chance to buy individually-designed and handcrafted items to suit all styles and purses.
Crowborough Open Studios is run by Susanna Petszaft, co-founder, with Angela Vernon Bates, of Crowborough Arts, a loose grouping of creative local people, established in 2011. The group’s philosophy is that art should be available to all, and to encourage all local people to develop their artistic skills. Susanna and Angela’s work reflects this approach; Susanna experiments in ceramics, collage, paint and drawing, and will be exhibiting mixed media and quirky necklaces, while retired opera singer Angela produces exquisite life drawings, and her latest foray is into the world of upcycling, with a fantastic array of glamorous jackets made from pre-loved materials.
Exhibitors come from a wide range of artistic backgrounds, amateur and professional. Lucy Jeal’s artistic journey has been a typically interesting one:
I have kept an illustrated journal for many years which has provided inspiration for the production of my cards. Dabbling with some sculpture, both stone and clay has also kept me busy. Then a completely different approach to art presented itself to me in the form of icon painting in the Russian Orthodox style, which has a material and spiritual approach which I have found both challenging and fascinating.
Morag Hockin experiments with a range of textures , drawing inspiration from plants and flowers:
I like to use natural fibres such as merino wool, silk and cotton as well as recycling found fabrics and objects. To create my pieces I use a combination of machine embroidery, embellishing and hand stitching.’ Local photographer Dave Brooker has been snapping local views and landscapes for 50 years: ‘My main interests are landscape and travel photography, and creating digital audio-visual shows. I especially enjoy the varied photographic opportunities available in and around the Ashdown Forest area and East Sussex.
You can download a printable version of the map here: Open Studios 2015 Guide & Map.
As well as Open Studios, the group has an annual Christmas art exhibition at Penshurst Place, and runs regular workshops for life and portrait drawing, alongside theatrical and musical events and reading groups. For further information about Open Studios, and a map showing both artists and venues, visit the website at www.crowborough-arts.org.uk.