Coastal Currents and other excitements….

Last week our old friends Sue and Alex came down from Birmingham for a few days.  We did lots of walking, enjoyed the Barefoot Opera ‘Carmen’ on Saturday night, and visited some
Coastal Currents Open Studios. Battleaxe is going to concentrate on those,
because I love the opportunity to visit artists’ houses as well as
looking at their work.  Philosopher and I had visited a few the week
before, so I’ll mention those, too. Battleaxe has written about visiting studios in previous blog posts. Here are a few highlights from this year:

Strange creature by Tim Riddihough – see later

     Firstly, last weekend, a massive old house on The Green, St Leonard’s, which belongs to a friend of Philosopher’s from the Jerwood. She and her husband they are gradually doing up the place – what a job, but have turned it into an informal arts centre in the meantime.

     We found one artist, Marie-Louise Miller, who was producing work based on the walls – studying the layers of old wallpaper etc.

     We actually bought this – from another artist Philosopher knows, David Reeve – a photographic print of some rusty things on the Hastings Stade.

      Another artist/printmaker we both know, Cheryl Bell, was exhibiting at her home in Priory Road. I couldn’t resist this bag – it will also appear in the ‘Battleaxe of the Month’ slot at the top of this page!

      We went with Sue and Alex to Pett, to Fairlight End. This was a double whammy because as well as seeing some flower photographs from Robin Hutt, we had a chance to look round the beautiful garden.

      We have visited the garden several times before, and I’ve also been with the WI. It has won awards and features frequently in garden magazines. It was a cloudy day on Saturday, so I can’t better the photos on the website – see the link above, but I liked this one I took of squashes in the vegetable garden.

       Oh – Philosopher and I also went to Caple Gardens, off Albany Road in St Leonard’s, where they were advertising two open studios, one at a house we nearly bought back in 2010 – we sold the Birmingham house, and secured Caple Gardens – but the Birmngham sale fell through and we did not make it down here until 2011. The house in Caple Gardens was/is very pretty, Arts and Crafts. It belonged to the writer and journalist Kathryn Flett. However, I am so glad we didn’t have it, although it is much prettier than our present abode. It would have been too small for us, was quite inconveniently sited, had no sea view, and was overlooked. It was a terrible time for us in 2010 but life has worked out for the best.
       However – damn it – the open studio was cancelled. The garden had grown up incredibly since 2010 so you could not see anything, but the guy next door said Kathryn had moved out some years ago. Here is the Rightmove photo of the house from when it was sold in 2016.

4 Caple Gardens

       I’ve left until last what for me was the highlight – the utterly bonkers and amazing home and studio of  Tim Riddihough, in Pett Level – until last.

       Where to start?  Time spent most of his working life as a test pilot, and much of his larger pieces are strange constructions on wheels – they look at if they should fly, or at least propel themselves along at speed.  Unfortunately he doesn’t have a web site but here is a bit about him.
       I’ve got a few of these photos from the internet – was too stunned to take that many….

       He lives in the house on his own – it is hard to imagine who could share it… it is just covered with things and bits and strange things he has made. Many, many slightly spooky little figures -in another age, he would probably have been a sorcerer, or a shaman….

        He has a look-out tower in the garden, umpteen sheds…. it is just unbelievable. I suppose you’d categorise his work as surrealist?


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