Artists Open Houses
This post will anger your bank manager

By Harriet Barratt Dorling, 13th May 2012

With the sun came AOH’s busiest weekend yet – and once again I’ve been clearing out my purse and wearing out my shoe soles catching some excellent open houses.

Polish & Pin (venue h4, 23 Wilbury Gardens, Hove) is a treat all round – a wide range of innovative artwork and wonderful food from Fruition Foods to boot. I loved Emma Troy’s prints and collages, such as the butterflies each made of a particular day’s newspaper (click to enlarge):

Elsewhere in Polish & Pin, Boboho’s fun lighting and Treacle Furniture’s brightly-coloured armchairs (complete with cat when we visited) gave me dreams of grandeur for our house. I came away with some of Dana Leigh’s lovely jewellery (silver hoops with pale green stones) and a stomach full of homemade pesto and roasted vegetable gnocchi – oh yes. A real front-runner for best house of the year in my book.

I really enjoyed the Wolf at the Door (venue h3, 49 Hove Park Villas), not least for a rare chance to see the excellent Sharon Hannah’s prints and paintings. Less often exhibited than her equally talented  husband Jonny Hannah, also exhibiting here, Sharon’s work is endearing and highly skilled:

Do catch the difficult but rewarding exhibition at Harebell House (venue i23, 1 Florence Rd). Brian Mander’s wife, Sarah, died of cancer in 2006. He has undertaken a series of bone china incorporating her ashes in commemoration of both her life and her work as a ceramicist (see www.fortheloveofsarah.co.uk for more context). A thought-provoking and brave piece of work, and one that will stay with you for some time.

While you are there, pop next door for Sylph Baier’s ceramics and Sarah Lock’s wooden lighting at 3 Florence Road. Ravenswood (venue b16, 28 Florence Rd) is also a delight - I especially liked Chanchala’s recycled jewellery, made out of old watch mechanisms, and Jo Riddell’s etchings (not to mention Kate Helmer’s cake!):

Finally, if you are a garden-lover then don’t miss The Garden House (venue b9, 5 Warleigh Road), selling plants, textiles, jewellery, vintage garden tools, tin cookware, garden metalwork and kinetic outdoor sculptures – opening the garden only is an interesting concept and it’s one that works. A lovely place to while away a sunny afternoon.

Have a good week – pip pip and keep AOhing!