monday musings – Natwest Venus Awards Brighton and Sussex…

Ok. We are doing a little bit of trumpet blowing today. Last week, on a blisteringly hot day in Brighton, we went to the Grand for afternoon tea with the Natwest Venus Awards for Brighton and Sussex. We were delighted that we had been nominated for the awards in the Green Business category and even more delighted that we had made it to the semi-finals of these very prestigious awards.

Natwest Venus Awards 2

We met a raft of other, very inspirational women who work across a variety of sectors and we were shocked and very humbled when we were announced a Finalist in our Green Business category, with the winner being revealed at a red carpet event in October, also at the Grand hotel in Brighton.

Natwest Venus Awards 1

It is absolutely wonderful to be recognised in this way for the work that we do in eco design and we are ecstatic to be finalists in the Natwest Venus Awards, but ultimately we wish that eco design and green business was not segmented at all and it was just the way that everyone went about their business – with ethics and care for the implications their actions have.

It can be harder, it can take longer, but ultimately we think this is just the way it should be done, or to quote one of our lovely clients and fellow Natwest Venus Awards Finalists, hiSbe – it’s just how it Should be.

(photo by claire potter)

weekend colour inspiration – a Brighton beach hut…

Well, not Brighton. Hove actually. But even still, when you are looking for colour inspirations, the beach huts of Brighton and Hove take a bit of beating – particularly if you are not shy of a bit of colour. The main colour of the beach huts are closely regulated (the green that everyone has to use is a British Standard colour called Iceplant Green), but the doors are completely up to the owner. So long as they are either a solid colour or striped, you can nearly do what you wish.

So, we quite often have a little wander about to see what the new colours that people have adopted look like in situ – especially at the start of the summer when they are fresh and newly painted.

Some go for a nice toned feel to the beach hut door, but some people go all out with a colour smash. This year, there appears to be a great deal of stripes about, but it was this particular combination on a Brighton Beach hut that took our breath away…

brighton beach hut

It is reminiscent of the sort of sour sweets or refreshers that we used to eat as kids – bright, brash and acidic. And we think we like it…

What do you think?

(photo by claire potter)

weekend colour inspiration – pink and grey


Today on weekend colour inspiration we are looking at yet another colour combination that includes grey, but we are mixing it up a bit today with a bit of pink. Now, we are not well known for our love of pink. At all. But, in the right context and with the right tones, you could do something rather wonderful.

pink and grey fishNow, this rather lovely fellow is a Red Gurnard – which we caught just off the coast in Brighton last week. And what a handsome fellow he is too – check out those pinky orange tones, plus the blue green in the eye which are echoed in the fins (which you can just see).

Combine these pinky tones with the steely grey of the bucket and you have got a really interesting pairing which has a good balance of the urban industrial and a touch of femininity. With a contrasting pick up tone of the blue or green and you have got a very, very interesting set of colours to play with.

Take this into an exterior scheme with galvanised steel planters, silver foliage and pink / blue flowers, or perhaps a steely bedstead with a shell pink and orange spread and a bright blue lighting cable… Pink and grey with a touch of blue…

Nothing fishy about that combo. (sorry)

(photo by claire potter)


SPOTTED – the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft

Last week we trotted up to the rather beautiful village of Ditchling, which sits on the northern side of the South Downs just above Brighton to attend a lecture by Simon Garfield about type. As well as looking forward to the lecture, we were also itching to see the buildings of the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft.ditchling museum of art and craft

We were certainly not disappointed. The architecture was absolutely beautiful with the Grade II listed cart house and original building being stunningly connected with a new addition by Adam Richards Architects. A really sensitive adaptation of the existing in an honest way, using traditional materials has resulted in a space that is not only contemporary in feel but one which also feels very much in respect of both its location and heritage.

ditchling museum of art and craft

Exposed rafters in the cart house, which acts as the entrance, shop and cafe show the original structure of the building beautifully, plus the numbered tour of the elements are a clear and minimal way to engage visitors with the architecture.

ditchling museum of art and craft

The exhibits and collections at the museum are rooted with the artists who are connected with Ditchling, plus there is a substantial type influence, as Eric Gill, the designer of the Gill Sans typeface was a resident of the village. All signage throughout the museum is in the typeface, with both lettering and symbols used to great effect.

ditchling museum of art and craft

There is also a significant amount of both lettering and print based exhibits from all ages, all displayed with sensitivity in a variety of interesting ways.

ditchling museum of art and craft

The Ditchling Museum of Art and Crafts is not a huge affair, but it is bursting with clever architecture, character and heritage, not to mention wonderfully enthusiastic staff and fantastically stocked shop.

Plus, the museum is currently a finalist for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2014

A must visit for print and architecture junkies alike. Which we are both.

(photos by claire potter)

monday musings – the New Designers…

Well – here we are again in July. We cannot believe how quickly the year has gone, but we are back in July – which means that New Designers is already in full swing. Based at the Business Design Centre in London, the exhibition runs in two parts, with the second part about to begin this week – showcasing the newest up and coming designers in illustration, interior design and architecture, furniture design and product design.



We love attending this exhibition each year. The variety of concepts that have been developed over the final year projects of the students are both interesting and show how the next wave of designers will be influencing the design sphere.

As with attending all exhibitions, there are always a few things that perhaps are reinventions of the old or existing, but there are also products and styles that are completely new. And this is what we love to see – how the boundaries of design are being pushed.

Plus, I am personally delighted to say that the Product Designers from the University of Sussex that I have had the pleasure of teaching this year are also going to be there, showing an incredibly wonderful – and exciting range of products for the first time to the wider public.

We will have a full run down of the show and our top pick of the newest designers here on the Ecospot next week, but in the meantime, visit the show and support the next wave of new designers at New Designers…

(part 2 runs from 2nd-5th July at the Business Design Centre, London)

join us on our Chelsea Fringe edible city foraging walk this saturday…

Hello everyone. Apologies for the few posts that have disappeared over the past few days, we have been experiencing a bit of a tech melt down… but, we are still here (actually, we are in Berlin at present with Fixperts, but more of that next week) and we will also be getting ready for our Chelsea Fringe event this coming Saturday!

Chelsea Fringe 2014 Flyer merged

Last year, we ran a very popular guided foraging walk in Brighton, so we have decided to keep to the theme and are running another three – this time in the centre of Brighton, starting in the landscape behind Brighthelm on North Road. This will be a bit of an intro to what you can find in the city which can be easily foraged.

We will be starting at 11, with each walk taking about an hour, including a free foraged cordial drink at the end and a free copy of our very special and very new map of Brighton which you can customise yourself with the icon stickers…

Spaces on the walk are FREE but VERY limited, so please get in touch to reserve a space on one of the following time slots:

11.00 am walk / 1.00 walk / 3.00 walk – email us on to reserve a space, or use the booking form on the right of this page…

In between times, we will be at our little stand in Brighthelm selling copies of our Edible City pack (map and stickers), plus copies of our limited edition A-Z of British Apples prints, so please do pop by and say hello! If there are any spaces left on the day you will be welcome to join one of the walks but we cannot guarantee that there will be any left!

Oh – if you have previously got in touch about reserving a space on the walks, please get in touch again – we have lost a lot of emails in our recent tech fail…

We look forward to seeing you!

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)

Monday musings – this years Chelsea Fringe event announced…

Well, well, well. Where exactly has this year gone? We honestly cannot believe that it is a year since we did our Edible City foraging walk for the Chelsea Fringe festival last year. So – what are we planning on doing this year Another Edible City foraging walk, but this year, we are planning a few little extras, which we will be revealing over the next week or so…

Chelsea Fringe 2014 Flyer merged

Yep. A foraging walk, a free map and even a foraged drink at the end…

Extra details coming very soon…

SPOTTED – the Brighton Artist’s Open Houses – the Fiveways trail part 2

For our second part of our jaunt around the Fiveways section of the Brighton Artist’s Open Houses we found a lovely little selection of garden ceramics and illustration. In fact, so far we have found quite a few great examples of exterior ceramics this year – all taking references from seed heads or petal formations, but each with their own twist.

First up was the beautiful exterior ceramics of Frances Doherty, which are currently on show at 31 Havelock Road, number 9 on the Fiveways trail this year. They look like massively enlarged close ups of flowers, giving the ‘bugs eye view’ that Doherty looks for in the pieces she creates. The colours are intense and beautifully formed and would look great in a flower bed to give extended interest, particularly in the winter months. 
frances doherty 1

Next we tripped over to 28 Florence Road (which is actually part of the Beyond the Level trail, but hey ho) to see a wonderful range of both painting, illustration and sculpture. We were very taken with the printing and illustration of Jonny Hannah, which had a very voodoo type styling, playing with the iconography of tarot cards in bright and brash paintings. We loved the ‘welcome to dark town’ prints, which each had a different back illustration.

jonny hannah 1

The tarot style painted playing cards were displayed in a large grid formation above the fireplace, which, in itself was very striking, but each one is actually available to purchase individually. Framed up, these little cards would bring a real injection of colour and character to a tiny room. Stunning work and we had trouble choosing our favourite.

jonny hannah 2

Last up, we ventured into the garden, with our pot of fresh coffee and cardamom coffee cake and carrot lime cake (highly recommended!) and enjoyed sitting beneath a fully blossomed tree in the sun, taking in the view of the gorgeous walled garden and the sculptures that were on display from Si Unwins.

si unwins 1Taking another view of the stylised naturalistic, these sculptures were created using centres of carved wood with bent, verdigris patternated copper nails creating the main seed head elements of the piece. Available in a variety of sizes and styles, these sculptures both blended with the surrounding foliage and created a real impact once you spotted them.

A great set of garden ceramics and illustration and definitely something for everyone…Especially if you like cake too. Which we do.

Check back at SPOTTED next Tuesday for the next instalment in our travels around the Artist’s Open Houses in Brighton…

(photos by claire potter)