Artists and makers showcase their work at citywide event

West Pier, Cecil Rice
West Pier, Cecil Rice

More than 50 venues will be part of this year’s festive Open Houses event.

It’s that time of year again when creatives in Brighton and Hove throw open their doors to the public in the lead up to Christmas.

229 Studio Artwork and Ceramics

229 Studio Artwork and Ceramics

More than 50 venues will be part of this year’s festive Open Houses event, with artists from all over the city opening their homes and studios to showcase a selection of unique artworks and Christmas gifts.

Many hosts will also be holding family-friendly and adult workshops, craft activities, puppet shows, drawing and making classes.

The Open Houses trail takes arts and crafts lovers all over the city, from the fishermen’s houses of Hanover to the urban warehouse spaces of the North Laine and cottages of the South Downs village of Ditchling.

The festival dates back to 1981 when Ned Hoskins, an artist from Fiveways, opened his house to the public to view his work. Other artists in the area followed suit to form the Fiveways Artist Group, and it has since grown into a city-wide event, with festivals in May and December each year.

Dion Salvador Lloyd Open House 2016 Dudley Williams

Dion Salvador Lloyd Open House 2016 Dudley Williams

Judy Stevens, festival director, said: “Visiting Artists Open Houses is a great way to take the strain out of Christmas shopping and this Christmas the Artist Open Houses Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever.

“The wealth of established and professional artists and makers, as well as new and emerging artists, offers the perfect opportunity to pick up a unique and original Christmas gift for friends and family.”

Artists Open Houses starts next weekend (Saturday, November 26, and Sunday, November 27), and will take place for the following two weekends in December.

Studio Loo, one of the festival’s more unusual venues, will be back for its second year with a selection of work from local designers and makers – all set within a converted public WC design studio at 201 Portland Road.

Art by men and women who have experienced unsettled housing and homelessness will be on display at William Collier House on North Road, in partnership with Brighton YMCA.

229 Studio at the Kings Road Arches, and 9A Hove Place are both set to display ceramics, sculptures and paintings by a variety of artists over the Open Houses weekends.

Wick Hall on Furze Hill will have a range of prints and cards on offer, and visitors will be handed a complimentary glass of mulled wine.

Brighton artist Cecil Rice will open hold a Christmas show at Granville Road, Hove, with a selection of oil paintings and watercolours of Brighton, Venice, Cornwall and Sussex. New print editions, books, painting DVDs and greeting cards are among the affordable gifts on offer. His art will also be displayed alongside the work of five other artists for one day only – Sunday, November 27 – at Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue in Hove.

Cecil’s ‘Sunset, West Pier’ will be on show, alongside works by Claire O’Hea from Portugal, Simon Chinnery from London and fellow Brighton artists Ilana Richardson and Annelies Clarke.

Polish designer Cat-Arzyna will be opening her home in St Keyna Avenue, Hove, to showcase her Christmas decorations made from everyday objects.

The Stanley Road Store, close to London Road, will feature a range of ‘peculiar and unusual’ gifts from a range of makers, including coin jewellery, hand-sewn leather goods, handmade soaps and beauty products, tapestry cushions, talismans and lucky charms, children’s soft toys made from recycled fabrics, jams and preserves, and embroidery kits.

And Fabula at Hove Museum will host a collective of local and international artists from many different backgrounds united by a desire to tell stories through image, objects and text. On sale there will be prints, notebooks, gifts, jewellery books and Christmas cards.

For the full programme and venue opening times, visit: aoh.org.uk