Brighton Festival: TheBigForest recommends


Brighton Festival 5th to the 27th May 2012

Second largest international arts festival in the UK (the biggest is Edinburgh of course)

Brighton, Sussex, England (not one of the other half a dozen Brighton’s across the world)

Now in its 46th year

Guest Director for 2012, Vanessa Redgrave.

Lots and lots of wonderful arts, click here to learn more.

Artists Open Houses

One of our favourite strands of the festival is the Artists Open Houses, open every weekend across the city promoting a wonderful selection of high quality work. Short of time?  Here are TheBigForest recommended, must not miss, houses.

14 Southdown Avenue, Brighton

We love the work here, ceramics by Ken Eardly in a beautiful pallet of colours, fantastic 70’s inspired illustrations by Sean Sims and whimsical boxed folk (that is what it says on the postcard!) by Sam Stas. Somehow work which expands and explores similar themes to ones own (a kind of celebration of the retro/vintage aesthetic) always appeals particularly when the work looks completely different. We were tempted to buy pieces by all the artists in this house. And whilst each artists work is quite distinct they complement each almost as if one is viewing a curated show. Best of all….. it is happy work, art/craft/design to lift your day and we love that.

64 Sandgate Road, Brighton

An open house and an open garden shed by Artist Phillipa Stanton. Phillipa describes herself as being synesthetic, she explains “that [she] can see sound in shape and colour where others can only hear it, allowing her to create unique portraits of people’s voices”.

We loved the work particularly the garden shed with a loop of British sounds (cricket and such like) and glimpses of an imagined English past realised in miniature model railway type scenes. Phillipa also has an Etsy shop selling table lamps made of vintage maps. As we were on a mission to see work in three different artist house groupings we didn’t stop to chat which was a pity as we would have liked to have found out more about the work however Phillipa gave us the link to her website and it’s definitely worth exploring.

36 Cobden Road, Brighton

Having hurtled round our home patch of Fiveways we then nipped across the railway and got totally sidetracked by tea and cake in a surprisingly long luxuriant garden on Ditchling Rise. We then dashed round some more houses and finally came to rest at Cobden Road where we were entranced by a man on the house roof with headphones (actually a shop dummy), a fantastic hall (a typographic experiment you will have to see rather than me describe) and beautiful box art by Frances Bloomfield. We have only recently considered how to bring our longer term practice of box art and artist books to TheBigForest and we are still experimenting (we will post some images on the blog soon) so it was so good to see Frances’s work which has an architectural, surreal quality and a technical and creative brilliance we admired immensely.

37 Park Crescent, Brighton

Ok, I’ll admit it, it’s not only the art that makes walking round the artist open houses so much fun but it’s also looking at the houses too and 37 Park Crescent is the most beautiful early Victorian house. I recall when we opened our own house a few years back someone came in, didn’t look at the work, and said ‘I love your yellow living room, can you tell me which paint you used?’ and then walked out when I couldn’t remember! It annoyed me for days as I wanted folks to concentrate on the art but now I’m a much more chilled bear and recognise its possible to enjoy art and pick up a few interior decorating tips at the same time. Here the art is great and the setting makes it even better. We loved the painting but didn’t take the name of the artist and now I find there are works by three different painters in this house so you will need to go yourself to explore.

The Garden House, 5 Warleigh Road, Brighton

All Im going to say here is that if you love gardens then this house……holds……….a……surprise. Not saying more!

So there you go, five mustn’t miss houses and many many more brilliant ones I havent had time to review or we didn’t get time to see. Find out about all the open houses here and  do go and visit before it’s all over for another year.

About TheBigForest

TheBigForest. A silly artist maker creating in felt and paper construction. Like us on Facebook: TheBigForest. Find us at Twitter : twitter/TheBigForestuk


  1. annperrin

    Glad you liked it, will try to get the Garden House. thank you ann

  2. Love the recommendations, there are so many Open Houses to see it’s great to have some to look out for

    • A couple of years back we had two days of going round open houses and seeing work that really didn’t do it for us, but this year we had a great time. The work in Crescent Studios, opposite the Park Cresent house is interesting too. We are up to our ears getting ready for our selling events in May and June but we hope to spend another weekend exploring the open houses before the end of May.
      It would be good to see you at the Craftganza event at Fabrica, more details soon.

  3. annperrin

    i wish they did Open house campervans – small but beautiful! But what’s good enough for Big Forest is good enough for me. Great post! . A friend called Teresa Winchester opens her house with a group of friends, she does brilliant prints, friends make jewellery, wood carve, make poetry etc there is a little courtyards and cakes! Budget buys are the cards and odd shaped breadboards! it’s all at 45 Preston Drove, Brighton, BN1 6LA
    Have funx

    • Thanks Ann, we will check out Teresa’s house, sounds interesting. We have seen your posts about gardening so try and get to see the Garden House. It looks unimpressive from the front but go down the side alley and there is a surprise!

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