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Christmas shopping at Artists’ Open Houses

18 November 2012 No Comment

This year Brighton is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Artists Open Houses Christmas festival over the first three weekends of December (1/2, 8/9 and 15/16).

Marking the start of the festive season, AOH offers a chance to buy unique pieces from the best local artists and makers at 54 venues, many of whom look to the styles of the past for inspiration or use vintage materials to create new works of art. Here, Helen Cann champions vintage-inspired talents from three different types of media.

Fashion & textiles

Barbara Jones - Artists Open Houses Brighton

Fashion and textiles always play an important part in the vintage lovers’ open house experience.  Barbara Jones’ is showing clothes and homeware in colourful 1950s-style inspired fabrics at her house at 99 Ditchling Rise.  Flirty frocks are beautifully retro. Quilts are made from genuine vintage fabrics, all handmade and totally unique.  And homewares such as cushions and zip bags come in playful patterns and make gift buying decisions very easy.

Paper-based arts

Lou Taylor papercut - Artists Open Houses Brighton

Paper-based 2D work shows up strongly in the Artists Open Houses this Christmas. Mid-century styles influence Lou Taylor’s striking papercuts, showing at the AT Open House, 42 Hendon St.  Bold colours and geometric cuts reference ’50s synchronised swimming routines, classic cinema scenes and the elegance of ’30s fashion magazine covers.  Lou has also created an intriguing range of Christmas cards with images reminiscent of old biology textbooks – intricate dissections of polar bears, turkeys, penguins and reindeer!

Liw Banks, showing at GreenTara Studio, also makes limited edition prints, influenced by graphics from the ’60s to the ’80s.  Simple lines and super saturated colours make a contemporary statement for the home.

Recycled materials

Janet Brough necklace - Artists Open Houses Brighton

With ‘make do and mend’ becoming an increasingly popular ethos, many artists and makers are now looking for ways to use vintage materials in new ways. Joy Fox at Festive Fox, 53 Kingsley Road is well known for making jewellery from vintage buttons.  Each piece is made from items that might be found in your grandma’s button box or at a fleamarket.  When brought together, they’re given a new lease of life.

Both Sherry Humphreys and Janet Brough, showing at 99 Ditchling Rise, also use vintage materials – up-cycling  vintage beads to create festive wreathes and recycled jewellery respectively.

Choose from the host of beautiful handcrafted objects to suit everyone’s taste and budget at the Artists Open House festival this Christmas. Most houses are open between 11am – 6pm, but check the AOH website for individual details. For brochure pick-up points or further information about opening times and access, visit www.aoh.org.uk.


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