It’s been a very exciting and vibrant time for all things artistic, creative and fantastical as the May Festival has been celebrated in my hometown of Brighton.
One of my favorite things to do is go and have a nosey around the Artists Open Houses. You get to look and even purchase some sensational art and design but also get to hang out in some wonderful houses for the day.
However I’d like to share with you my favourite house this year, the Handmade House in Ditchling, owned and run by renowned potter Ralph Levy. Ralph is a very special man and curates and excellent collection of paintings, prints, pots along with jewelry and cushions. On top of all this he runs a mouthwatering café with pizzas prepared in his garden pizza oven- what’s not to love!
The house is a quintessential Sussex farmhouse with tile hung exterior and Crittall windows. Inside the rooms are freshly whitewashed with powdery hues on the stairs and floors- the perfect backdrop to show off the collection of artists work inside. Ralph has a metalwork studio (he is regularly commissioned to make furniture for Designers Guild) and a ceramics studio where I have been for his evening pottery classes. Many of his designs are in the house; I particularly love his metals beds and occasional tables.
Ralph loves artistic collaborations and so has worked with some renowned local Sussex artists on some pottery pieces.
Along with Beth Partridge he has thrown a breathtaking series of porcelain vessels for Beth’s ethereal mark making using a rare combination of slips and glazes that support Beths work with inks on paper.
Ralph worked in terracotta with artist Sophie Abbott supplying her bold sense of colour and brush strokes on these statement vases (two of which are now on my sideboard!).
The house is nestled in a coppice of woodland, and an enchanting pathway leads you through the undergrowth, over bridges and under branches until you reach the enchanted Hut.
This really is a place of magic, where the children run around for hours while you enjoy the art. I just had to take home a Maria Tilyard greyhound cushion, and explain to my son Arthur that this was mummies special cushion- not a childs toy!
My shopping trip wouldn’t have been complete without a show stopping pair of tassel earings from bespoke jeweler Katie Weiner. I’ve no doubt they’re about to make an appearance on TV anytime soon!
Check out the Handmade House for adult evening pottery classes (tried and tested!), children’s pottery parties and fabulous catered dinner parties. You can even book a nights accommodation in The Hut in the woods.
Ralph Levy, The Handmade House, Beards Place Farm, 98 Lewes Road, Ditchling, BN6 8TZ. Phone: 01273 845355 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on next years Brighton May festival check out http://brightonfestival.org