Coastal Currents studio visits

Last weekend we went down to view some of the Open Studios for Coastal Currents.
     We were surprised how few there were this time – last year there were loads of beach huts up by Bulverhythe, for example.

Strange Coastal Currents people…

     We didn’t ask anyone why this was. I think last year I commented that the festival seemed to be getting a bit up itself – I don’t know enough this year, because we missed a good deal of what was going on due to holiday. Some of it looks plain weird, like these performance people – look at this…

     Anyway, first thing we went to pay our annual visit to the Hazelwood and Dent fly-press, which we gave to metal sculptor Leigh Dyer when we moved down here. See earlier blog on Battleaxe’s Brummie heritage.

The fly-press looks quite happy…

     The press lives at the Incurva Studios in the Old Town, which were open for Coastal Currents, and is getting ready for its next job, stamping out bits of copper for jewellery.  That, of course, is what it was made for in the first place, which is nice.

Leigh Dyer – gothic monkey
Leigh Dwyer – wolf

     Leigh is very talented, but we were not too totally sure about his latest direction – very gothic-looking monkeys, sort of steam-punk pirate type style…. I like this wolf, though.

     After, we went  to visit another of our favourite artists, Claire Fletcher, in the studio she occupies with her partner, Peter Quinnell, along Rock-a-nore Road.
     We bought one of Claire’s paintings back in 2010, at probably our lowest time during our house-sale saga, when I was also facing up to a stay in hospital and a massive great scary operation. The painting hung on the wall at the end of our bed in our
old house in Birmingham, so I could see it and think about the future –
our new life in Sussex.

Claire Fletcher

It now hangs in the same position in our house in Hastings. It is of a little child sitting, arm round a big dog, on the grass at the top of somewhere that looks like the Devils Dyke or Ditchling Beacon, looking across the landscape beyond, with a big blue sky full of interesting clouds. Claire specialises in pictures like this – fantasy recollections of childhood, often with seaside themes. Some of them almost make me weep, they are so evocative of the lost magic of times past.
     Peter Quinnell makes compositions of found objects in strange juxtapositions – this year he had gone in for a number featuring Barbies – they reminded me of the window displays at Retro Bizarre. Incidentally, it is now 10 years since we opened the shop. I might do a commemorative blog post.  Anyway, the found objects make the studio into a marvellous junk heap. We were really envious…..Here it is.

Lovely studio….


      Yesterday, Anna came down – she wanted to visit junk shops to find things like racks, boxes and baskets to display goods on her stalls at craft fairs. We cruised Kings Road in St Leonard’s and saw an unbelievably tacky 1970s electric hostess trolley waiting for us outside a shop. It was only £15 and looks unused.  We had to have it for our retro 70s home…..Crank up the Demis Roussos and bring on the cheese and pineapple….
      Finally, there was an incredible sunset last night. Weather has been mild, but damp.

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