Recently I joined a local artists collective, called Horsham Artists Open Studios (www.horshamartistsopenstudios.co.uk) the group comprises a varied selection of creatives across many artistic disciplines. In the early summer each year the group holds two weekends for an Open Studios trail where the artists open (and sometimes also share) their studios to the public to walk in and see the work produced in them. A second and smaller event was held this last weekend with eight group members joining forces for a small but intimate craft fair at the Park Barn in Horsham.
Christmas at Park Barn
With only 5 weeks to go before Christmas the weekend started off suitably chilly with a ground frost and some watery sunshine, perfect weather to start thinking about doing some Christmas shopping. Where to go and what to buy can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, but these problems were solved for those seeking carefully crafted handmade goods by artists from the Horsham Artists Open Studios group. This past weekend saw 8 members of the group take over the Park Barn in Horsham for a festive feast of unique art and craft items.
Aylin Denziger-Sharp (www.aylin-d-sharp-art.com) exhibited a selection of her stunning land and seascape paintings, as well as intimate street scenes from her travels in the Mediterranean. While local Sussex woodturner, Dave Unstead had an array of intriguing and tactile wood items, including delicately patterned bowls and vases which brought out the best of the natural patterning in the wood usually hidden beneath the bark. A somewhat more unusual inclusion were the delightful little ‘mushrooms’ carved from the Banksia nut. It is no secret that I do like a nice piece of turned wood, and Dave’s stand was a pure delight!
Wood turned items and Banksia nut
There were three stands displaying ceramics each one being completely different to another. Jean Holder of Coalshed Pottery (www.coalshedpottery.co.uk) had a fabulous range of highly coloured bowls and dishes together with the loveliest fused glass pendants and earrings; while over at the stand of Susan Tindall from Tail End Art (www.tailendart.com) could be found canine inspired ceramic brooches alongside sweet little mushroom house tealight holders and a selection of festive tree decorations. I bought one of these, but can’t say more as it is a gift for a friend! Completing the trio was Barbara Clements with her fantastic ceramic fish and funky cats heads complimenting a selection of plates and vessels.
A variety of ceramics to suit all tastes
The two jewellers complimented each other, at one end of the room was Shirley Leather of Bead Dizzy showing a range of hand strung beaded necklaces and earrings, while at the opposite end could be found Jill Mills with her breath takingly delicate and very beautiful knitted and crocheted silver and goldwire necklaces, bracelets, earrings and cuffs. Many of these are further embellished with hand felted beads or semi precious stones and a particular feature of some is their organic appearance as if they were a living thing.
Crochet jewellery and beaded bracelets
Irma Westerdijk of Creations by Irma (www.creationsbyirma.co.uk) had a delightful selection of Irma’s signature quirky figures as well as decorative objects d’art. My particular favourite was the Madonna and Child family group, which had an ethereal look to it as the light seemed to almost emanate from the figures. Irma’s sense of humour was much in evidence through the semi circle of seated figures set around a small vessel which looked as if they were engaged in some kind of debate! Irma’s creations are quirky and fun but also functional.
Quirky debating group and lovely landscape paintings