Studio Loo is getting ready for the Artists Open Houses…

It’s that time of year again. May is possibly one of the busiest times in the studio for events, and this year, we are not only doing the Brighton Artist’s Open Houses and opening our Studio Loo to the public, we are also doing Clerkenwell Design Week too. No rest for the wicked as they say. And now we are in the thick of our set-up for the Artist’s Open Houses, we thought we would introduce you to our guest artists, designers and makers this year…

A3-A4 DE LA WARR V small

Linescapes were with us last year – with wonderful architectural prints of iconic buildings from Brighton and further afield, we will have a selection of prints and gifts at Studio Loo…

Keith Richards by Dave Friston


It is the first time fine artist Dave Friston is with us at Studio Loo, and we are really excited to be showing all four of his incredible Rolling Stones paintings, which use reclaimed pallets as their canvases. Prints will be available too..

Penelope Kenny is a huge favourite of the studio – with her exquisite screen prints of Darwinesque animal combinations. We’ll have a selection of prints from pocket money pieces to larger one-offs.

Ship Faced Tote Bag, Funny Tote, Drunk Tote Bag, Boat Tote, Canvas Shopper, Screenprinted Bag, Handprinted Cotton Shopper, Cute Tote Bag

Hello Dodo never fail to raise a smile with their brilliantly witty and bold prints and accessories. And this year, Hello Dodo will be launching a new range of prints at Studio Loo! Even we haven’t seen them yet! Come and check them out before they disappear.

Image of 'No Bulb in My Lamp: Selected Diary Sketches 2004-2014'

Local illustrator Peter James Field captures the delicacy and strangeness of life in a magical way. From cards to original prints and books, his is a world that needs to be explored…

Vintage Fabric Cushion With Woven Floral Stripe

Like reclaimed fabrics? You will love the work of Sue Milner, who is bringing a whole stack of one-off cushions to Studio Loo made from her extensive vintage fabric collection.


Like many pieces of large furniture, pianos often suffer the fate of being discarded and left to rot. Mark Reeve rescues theses pianos, dismantles them and builds these wonderful creatures for his Piano Planetorium. Each one unique…

Brighton Beautiful Shoulder Tote Bag - Navy Linen & Ikea Print, Microscopic Bugs

Frances Derbyshire of Brighton Beautiful will also be showing a great selection of vintage fabric makes – in the form of bags and purses. Brilliant colours and fantastic prints and all unique pieces again.

Traditional Japanese wood block artist, Claire Cameron Smith will be showing her stunning prints in both colour and monochrome. Carved in cherry wood, come and see the detail in these gorgeous prints, which, due to the method of creation and the natural block, are all slightly different…

So – come along to Studio Loo at the Artists Open Houses for the next four weekends in May (7/8, 14/15, 21/22, 28/29) from 10-5 and have a look. Oh – there is cake too!

simple pleasures cupcakery

check out this page for full details! 

Christmas Artist’s Open Houses @ Studio Loo – Kate Forrester…

Back in May, when we opened Studio Loo for our first Artist’s Open House, we were delighted to have the very talented Kate Forrester with us. And Kate not only exhibited a fantastic range of prints and cut lettering, but also hand illustrated our central window with a beautiful, intricate design which ended up being there far longer than the month of May it was initially planned for! Kate is back with us at Studio Loo for the Christmas Artist’s Open Houses, and we caught up with her for a chat…

Hi!  Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do? I am a freelance illustrator living and working in Brighton. I specialise in hand lettering and ornate, decorative illustration for book jackets, packaging and advertising etc (eg. check out the whole of Waitrose Christmas range this year!)

The Fold

What is your favourite thing in your range at the moment and why? I am really happy with my animal alphabet print. I originally designed it to be sold as individual letters and the full alphabet print was an afterthought. But it’s gone down really well with my clients and makes a great gift for a child’s room.

Paper Alphabet

Ok. I’ve got £20 to spend. What should I buy from your range? An intricate paper cut letter to give as an Christmas pressie (the unframed ones are £15!)

Paper Alphabet

What is on your own Christmas List this year? Pretty things! I live in a house full of boys and get fed up with cars, swords and smelly shoes everywhere.

Mendola Calendar - May

Christmas pudding or Christmas cake? I’m not a fan of either. I’d rather have a satsuma. They really smell like Christmas to me!

Thank you Kate!

*** you can see all of Kate Forrester’s lovely stuff and more at Studio Loo – we are OPEN for Christmas Artist’s Open Houses 21/22 + 28 Nov, 5 + 12/13 December – 10.30 – 5.00 at 201 Portland Road, Hove, BN3 5JA ***

Christmas Artist’s Open Houses @ Studio Loo – Penelope Kenny…

Christmas is certainly a time to stretch your imagination, for young and old alike, and one artist who has a wonderful imagination is the next up on our Studio Loo Artist’s Open House interviews – the fab Penelope Kenny

Hi! Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do? I make hybrid creatures inspired by our relationship with other animals and tampering with the species boundaries. I print my work by hand at a studio in central Brighton, using water-based inks that I make by grinding up pigments and metallic powders and mixing them with screenprinting mediums. I make limited edition books, wallpapers and prints and have recently begun to produce digitally printed textiles.

Limited Edition Love Bees Silk Scarf. 90x90cm. Made and printed in South East England. Now available in my shop.

What is your favourite thing in your range at the moment and why? Of the pieces available at Studio Loo this Christmas ‘The Transgenic Cabinet’ is my favourite print and was probably the most challenging to create. It has thirty-seven colours that were each hand-mixed and printed separately. It took two solid weeks of work to make and print the edition and was made especially for my first solo exhibition.

Coevolutionary Mutualism (100x70cm). Screenprint on Fabriano 5 paper. Printed with metallic and interference inks. Hand coloured with watercolour, inks and gouache. Edition of 4.

Ok – I’ve got £20 to spend. What should I buy from your range? For £20 I have a special Open House selection of things. There are sample 45x45cm silk squares, digitally printed in East Sussex on 100% silk crepe de chine and hand-finished in Brighton. Or alternatively there is a box of small prints of hybrid creatures ranging from £3- £12 that would make excellent stocking fillers and gifts.

Rhino Beetle. Limited edition screenprint with hand made metallic inks on fabriano 5 paper. Produced for NOT-ANOTHER-BILL

What is on your own Christmas List this year? I haven’t made a list yet, but I am keeping my eye out for something  locally made and that is ethically and sustainably produced.

Love Bees (25x25cm). Screenprint with metallic inks on Fabriano 5 300gsm paper. Edition of 10.

Christmas pudding or Christmas cake? Christmas pudding and Christmas cake 🙂

Thank you Penelope! 

*** you can see all of Penelope Kenny’s lovely stuff and more at Studio Loo – we are OPEN for Christmas Artist’s Open Houses 21/22 + 28 Nov, 5 + 12/13 December – 10.30 – 5.00 at 201 Portland Road, Hove, BN3 5JA ***

Christmas Artist’s Open Houses @ Studio Loo – Rarebit Design…

As many of you are probably aware, we have opened up our home, Studio Loo once more for the Artist’s Open Houses in the run up to Christmas with a raft of wonderful designers and artists showing their wares in our converted wc studio. So, we thought it would be nice to find out a little bit more about everyone with a little interview series. First up today is the fantastic Rarebit Design:

rarebit design 6

Hello! can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do? rarebit design was set up in 2012 by Rachel Thomas, a designer/maker living in Hove. Rachel makes lovely handmade things from ceramics, vintage paper and linen. With rarebit design Rachel brings together all her interests – from handmade ceramics to typography and vintage print, paper and linen – and produces collections of beautiful handmade things.

rarebit design 3

What’s your favourite thing in your range at the moment and why? My favourite thing in my range at the moment is probably my tiny speckle bowls – hand made stoneware bowls, each one unique and beautifully organic in form with a delicate speckled finish. They look amazing in groups or alone, and are perfect pinch pots for salt and pepper, or ring bowls, or dip bowls at the table… the possibilities are endless. Plus I love making them!

rarebit design 1

Ok – I’ve got £20 to spend. What should I buy from your range? £20 to spend? Well it’s Christmas, so I’d go for a few of my ceramic hanging decorations with suitably festive quips such as ‘Ho Ho Ho’ or ‘Humbug’ printed into the clay with vintage letterpress letters. A rarebit design speciality! Plus a handmade vintage paper Christmas card of course!

rarebit design 2

What is on your own Christmas List this year? On my Christmas list this year is something special from Christmas Artist’s Open Houses to hang on the wall. There’s such a wealth of amazing artists living in Brighton and Hove. I’ve already bought a fabulous print from Hello Dodo but there’s still more wall space…

rarebit design 4

Christmas pudding or Christmas cake? Bah Humbug…neither I’m afraid. Mince pies all the way…

rarebit design 5

Thank you Rarebit Design! 

*** you can see all of Rarebit Design’s lovely stuff and more at Studio Loo – we are OPEN for Christmas Artist’s Open Houses 21/22 + 28 Nov, 5 + 12/13 December – 10.30 – 5.00 at 201 Portland Road, Hove, BN3 5JA ***

click here for more details!

SPOTTED – a lovely Tim Burton poster collection…

Last Sunday, we were thinking about our Hallowe’en costumes and on discovering a black and white striped jacket in a charity shop I announced that I would be creating a female Beetlejuice outfit as a nod to my favourite director and macabre specialist, Tim Burton. And almost simultaneously, we found these Tim Burton posters on Etsy. Creepy. *ahem*

Tim Burton Collection Minimalist Poster Set / by moonposter

Created by moonposter, these fantastic posters recreate the imagery of six of the most prominent Tim Burton films with a beautiful minimal silhouette quality.

We particularly like the Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands, but these fantastic images would be the perfect addition to a hallway or up a stairwell to add colour and a little bit of interest.

And, they are a bit of a bargain too. At £41 or so for the set of A3 posters, they will add real character to a space for a relatively low cost. Just add frames and your homage to Tim Burton will be complete.

(image via moonposter)

Wednesday Walls – a dancing skeleton print…

We have a bit of an obsession with skulls and skeletons here in the studio. Well. I do anyway. In some ways perhaps it links with the other studio obsession of scaffolding – that framework of support with beautiful junctions. Often, the structures we create are described as skeletal too, so there is a definite theme. But, we digress. As lovers of all things skeletal, we have found a fantastic piece of art to grace the walls of Wednesday Walls today – a dancing skeleton print…

Dancing Skeleton Couple On Antique Dictionary Page Halloween Decor, Dictionary Art Print, Mixed Media Digital Collage Print, Wall Decor

Now, for all of you who think that skeletons are creepy – we defy you to not smile at the print above. Created by ReImagination Prints on Etsy, the Dancing Skeleton Couple is printed on antique dictionary pages from the 1800’s.

There are lots of these types of prints now available, with imagery printed over dictionary sheets and, perhaps understandably, some people are not too keen on the apparent defacing of an antique book. As bibliophiles ourselves, we can completely relate to this unease, but we need to think contextually.

Often these types of prints on antique dictionary pages come from books which have long fallen apart and lost all traces of binding. Serving no practical use, these books were mostly discarded, unless of course they are valuable editions. If the pages, which are pieces of history in their own right are discarded, surely we are losing something that should be appreciated and celebrated?

These types of overprints, like the dancing skeleton print allow the pages to enjoy a second life as a piece of decorative art – and we will be looking at the pages as well as the imagery over, so it is a symbiotic relationship. One element on it’s own would not have the appeal of the two combined.

So. We love these types of prints. We think it is artistic recycling – and makes excellent use of books that would otherwise be lost forever. And they are also very reasonable – the dancing skeleton print is a marvellous £7 or so plus shipping.

(image via ReImagination Prints)

SPOTTED – great white shark paintings by Dave White

A long time ago, in a childhood, far, far way, before design and music was on the horizon, I wanted to be a marine biologist. Being an astronaut, fireperson or even (don’t laugh) a ballerina was never of interest to me. I wanted to be a marine biologist. Now, lots of kids who want to do this usually want to study dolphins. I used to obsess over sharks.

I was fascinated at how elegant and beautiful they are, how misunderstood they are as a species and how varied they are in form, habit and character. And I still think they are wonderful and hugely targeted as monsters, which is a rather sweeping claim. As much as I also love Peter Benchley, his JAWS series only magnified this beautiful creature into a cold blooded, ruthless killer.

But, sharks are not the criminals – they are the victim. Killed for fins, or out of fear, shark numbers are decreasing at an alarming speed – do not get me started on the planned culls in Australia of sharks…

So, sometimes people need a reminder of just how beautiful these creatures actually are and the delicate position they hold in the oceans – which is why, as soon as I saw these paintings by Dave White, I fell instantly in love.

Apex VII

White’s new series – Apex – features Great White sharks, captured in different poses which portray both the presence and the movement of these stunning animals.

<em>Apex VIII</em>, 2014

There is an incredible fragility to these paintings, with the dripping paint and illustrative qualities which provides both a powerful and sad image. As if the sharks themselves are running off the canvas.

These paintings will not be to everyone’s taste – a client that we were sourcing some art for just felt an incredible sadness at thinking of how vilified these creatures are, but I think this is almost the point. We need reminding of how fine a line we tread within this world.

A stunning series and definitely on the studio wish list.

(images via Dave White)

SPOTTED – last of the Artist’s Open Houses – the Hove trail…

Today on SPOTTED we have the last of the pieces that we purchased on the Artist’s Open Houses in Brighton this year – finishing up with the last bit of the Hove trail. All in all, we were hugely impressed with the quality and quantity of fabulous work on show throughout the Artist’s Open Houses and we cannot wait to get involved ourselves when we open our new studio in Portland Road, Hove. Watch this space…

penelope kelly

But – back to the bits – we were absolutely delighted at everything we found at 1 Aymer Road – wonderful prints and graphics, like the fabulous prints of combined animals by Penelope Kenny, such as the moth bird above. They were colourful yet understated, modern yet traditional and we thought they were fantastic.

Also at 1 Aymer Road was a fantastic selection of stunning wood turned pieces by Barry Chillwell, but it was these very sweet cherries that caught our eye. Beautiful. Not sure which wood it is – but ironically, not cherry I think…

barry Chidwell cherries

Now, we could have left these cherries as just a decorative piece, but I thought it was a real shame as they were so beautiful, so, along with a couple of other pieces and after a trip to the Bead Shop in Brighton, they were turned into a necklace…


The button on the left you might recognise as the ceramic button by Teresa Wolfe Murray that I purchased a few weeks ago – this was added to a length of green suede, the enamel skull like key in the centre was another purchase from the weekend by Jane Cross, which I added to a copper leather thread and of course, the wooden cherries on the end were added to an antique brass chain – all of which I think work quite well.

And the lovely thing is that now I can take these three little pieces of art around with me, and talk to people about them rather than having them sitting at home somewhere…

Wearing your art is the way forward – don’t you think?

(photos by claire potter)

SPOTTED – Brighton Artist’s Open Houses – Beyond the Level trail

Last week on our SPOTTEDs we looked at the lovely bits and bobs that we found whilst travelling about on the Fiveways trail of the Brighton Artist’s Open Houses. Well, one of the houses we visited was technically on the ‘Beyond the Level’ trail instead, and had such delightful pieces  that we have split it onto today.

Ravenswood is located at number 12 on the Beyond the Level trail and features a lovely mix of sculpture, illustration and painting, and beautiful cakes. As well as the beautiful cake, (coffee and cardamom – oh my) we were also rather taken by the beautiful illustration at the house. Chris RiddellFirst up was the very mythically based drawings of Chris Riddell, who had illustrated one of my favourite poems – Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. The pen and watercolour illustrations were stunning, but we purchased a lovely print of one of the simple black and white illustrations of a bear like creature…

Jo Riddell 2

Next up was the gorgeously melancholy paintings of Jo Riddell, which featured singular architectural and agricultural features. Dungeness featured in the stunning paintings, as well as large agricultural farming silos, which we just fell in love with.

Singular silos, numbered 1-4 were shown – and we just thought they were beautiful, so, not having wall space for the large prints, purchased a set of the silos in card form, which are now off for framing…Jo Riddell 1

A lovely, lovely Artist’s Open House – and a one on the must see list…

(all photos by claire potter)

SPOTTED – Brighton Artist’s Open Houses – the Fiveways trail…

It was the second weekend for the Artist’s Open Houses in Brighton, and after a very enjoyable jaunt around the Hove trail last Monday, we headed over to the Fiveways trail to see what we could hunt out…

There are a few people who visit the Artist’s Open Houses with a distinct interest in a particular area and so pick and choose their destinations accordingly, but we tend to generally wander in loads as you never know what you could stumble upon.

First up was the lovely house of Philippa Stanton at 64 Sandgate Road, which, alongside a selection of beautiful photography, ceramics and vintage map based products is the shed. But not just any old shed. A shed that is styled each year to a certain theme. Last year I appear to remember that the shed was styled in a wild west, frontier style, complete with audio effects – this year Philippa is showing the Shipwreck Shed. shipwreck shed 2


Photo albums are mixed with strands of net and bits of old driftwood, with floats, books and little artefacts completing the look. It’s one of those places that you could visit repeatedly and see something new each time. jar posies

Then, as well as the art, you can also purchase a beautifully formed jam jar posie, with flowers gathered from within the garden…

Over the road at 31 Sandgate Road, we thought the illustrations of Fiona Blair were delightful, but it was this salvaged reel, painted to look like a giant cotton reel that we adored. A really interesting and unusually useful way to own a bit of illustration.

fiona blair


Also at 31 Sandgate Road, we thought that these paintings of tiny birds by Heidi Langridge were absolutely gorgeous. With a block coloured, pastel back, the birds are richly painted with beautiful textured feathers, which really bring them to life.

heidi langridge 1

Either as the set of four, or singly, these birds were just stunning…

heidi langridge 2

And this was just the very start of the trail – check back on our Thursday SPOTTED this week to see a few of the other picks we have, plus the bits that we snapped up ourselves…

(all photos by claire potter)

SPOTTED – the Artist’s Open Houses – the Hove trail… pt 2

Continuing on from our post on Tuesday this week, here is a couple of extra spots from our trip last weekend to the Artist’s Open Houses in Brighton – the Hove Trail part two…

It struck us as we were going around that there is a great range of ceramics on offer this year – with a good variety of styles and prices to suit everyone too. So, if you are in the market for a bit of ceramics this year, you will not be disappointed. tessa wolfe murray ceramicWe have a particular thing for useful ceramics – functional pieces that are a bit special too, and it was great to see the works of Tessa Wolfe Murray at 38 Lorna Road, where I snapped up a gorgeous ceramic button which just looked like a foxes head. Being washing machine safe, this lovely button is the largest of three sizes that are available in both sets or as individual pieces, with lozenge shapes, stars, hearts and geometric shapes up for grabs. This little fella will be turned into a necklace…

Then, on the way back, we dropped into Peanut Butter Tree Arts in Portslade after they tweeted us earlier in the day to let us know that they were open too, on the West Hove trail. This house is a real gem of an Open House, with a great atmosphere, huge variety of work on show and brilliant pieces. In every room we found something that we coveted, from screen printed and hand embroidered cushions to silver jewellery featuring squirrels and tiny wooden acorns.

georgina luck

There was also a great range of illustration on show, and we fell in love with the loose illustrations of famous brands by Georgina Luck, whose work has featured in lots of publications and advertising campaigns. We were torn between the Heinz Beans and the Black Treacle, so we got both for the new studio kitchen. 

We then had a couple of very good cups of tea in the beautiful garden and I succomed to one of my favourites – lime and poppy seed cake.


Next week we are heading to Brunswick and Fiveways trails we think – head back on Tuesday for our next SPOTTED in the Artist’s Open Houses series…

(photos by claire potter)

SPOTTED – the Artist’s Open Houses – the Hove Trail…pt 1

Hooray. It is finally May! For anyone living in or around Brighton, and involved in any tiny part with anything creative at all, this is the busiest month of the year with the Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe and of course, the Artist’s Open Houses. Whether curating, visiting, reviewing or just getting involved and buying something, this is the month where you will lose track of days in the most gorgeous of ways. And after a trip to the Bitesize plays with a friend on Sunday (go – they are wonderful) our Festival started with a trip around the main Artist’s Open Houses trail open on Bank Holiday Monday – the Hove trail.

kellie miller 2

Now, the Hove trail is rather spread out compared to a lot of the other Open House trails in Brighton, but it can be easily walked and is actually combines a rather nice bit of exercise along with the art.  So, what are our top spots from the Hove trail?biscuit studio

Well, first up was the extremely welcoming and gorgeous ceramic work of Kellie Miller, who was exhibiting with a couple of guests at Biscuit Studio. The work was gorgeous – bold, yet delicate and with an incredible depth. The wall panel work of Miller was especially strong, along with the figurative sculptures of farmyard animals. It was wonderful to see the stern faces of chickens (which is truly what they are like) rather than being represented as fluffy feather balls. kellie miller 1

Next up was another great collection of ceramics, alongside wonderful paintings and jewellery at 9A Hove Place. Everyone was greeted with smiles and a very quick explanation of the work being exhibited and we felt instantly welcome. We could have quite easily bought stacks of the gorgeous blue green toned cups and stacking bowls, but when I spotted this lovely little cup with a hare on by Phillip Wood – sold. Hares are sort of my thing and I was a sucker for this little beauty, which was wrapped with care in pale blue tissue and ribbon…Phillip Wood ceramic

Stay tuned for the Hove trail write up part 2 this Thursday…

(photos by claire potter)

the White Canvas Project III at Shoreditch from Supremebeing

There is a great deal to be said for wandering around somewhere you are not familiar with, discovering shops, venues, street art, inspiring locations and great design in all forms. So, it was with excitement that we trooped up to London to visit family and discover Shoreditch and the surrounding areas. One of our best finds? The White Canvas Project by Supremebeing.

Regular readers of the Ecospot will know how we adore industrial interior design and the combination of battered and old and the new, so when we spotted the sign for a free exhibition tucked down a passageway in an old warehouse we had to check it out.

Boy, are we glad we did. The space had been transformed by the Supremebeing team and featured artists into an urban, street art demonstration and exhibition space, with the most beautiful pieces of original work adorning cabinets, suitcases, oil cans and even a canoe as well as pieces on canvases.

The wall panels at the entranceway were in the process of being painted when we arrived and it was great to stand with a coffee and watch the artists at work and the variety of techniques employed to create great effects.

A little shop was tucked upstairs in one of the archway spaces, selling limited edition t-shirts printed with designs created at the event, with some of the funds generated being donated to Emmaus – a charity close to our own hearts as we have worked closely with the Brighton and Hove community.

There was also free, live t-shirt screen printing from the Hit and Run Crew London where you could choose the design and location of a print to create a fully customisable t-shirt of your choice. We chose an american indian girl in a forest green and a pair of grey wings, which we positioned in the centre of the back of the t-shirt, so we can add a skull cut out in the centre to customise it further.

There were loads of artists shown at the exhibition, including Will Barras, Mr Penfold,  Memuco, Buethewarrior, Guy Mckinley, Jim Vision, Sandra Dieckmann, Chase, Blaine Fontana, Sheone, David Walker – some which we knew and some that we are now huge fans of.

Check out this video of the event and if you can, get there before it closes on Wednesday this week.

(images by claire potter)