By Mireille Galinou
Artist Sarah Hamilton felt lonely in May 2013 when she was the only exhibitor in Artists’ Open House in her neck of Peckarmans Wood. But since that time the number of participating artists has steadily increased. For the first time this year, a cluster of six houses are opening their doors to showcase the work of ten different artists.
On 7 and 8 May visitors will be encouraged to collect ‘stamps’ at each venue; and when all six houses have been seen, they will be able to enter a prize draw. The prize will be an Art Swag Bag – an exciting sample of works by Sydenham Hill artists. The scheme was devised by the enterprising Anna Jackson, who will be exhibiting for the first time at 2 Crescent Wood Road. She is a printmaker who loves fabrics and she creates pieces evocative of dreamy landscapes. She is also planning an intriguing ‘tea pot installation’.
All the open houses are as fascinating for their architecture and interiors, as for the art on show. Two new hosts, at 2 and 4 Crescent Wood Road, will welcome you in Victorian properties which have survived the transformation of the area by the Dulwich Estate in the 1950s and 60s. Sarah Hamilton’s house was the object of a lengthy feature in the latest issue of the prestigious magazine Mid-century, the author of the article exclaiming: ‘I love how fluid and social this house is’. Social it is and sociable too: no-one should miss the yearly treat of Sarah’s pop-up tea shop, run by Chris and Yuko (the home-made cakes are legendary). Sarah’s work is like a breath of fresh air – colourful, witty and inventive. She has invited Gabriela Szulman and Georgia Bosson to show work alongside her own.
At least three artists work in harmony with their mid-century environment – Justine Ellis, Sarah Hamilton and Virginia Armstrong (Roddy&Ginger). Tiff Howick, by contrast, is drawn to wild-life themes, so relevant to the Dulwich Woods on everyone’s doorstep. But expect an explosion of colour with Eve Williams and Elizabeth Lloyd.
Jo Lewis is a landscape artist who works with paper, ink, watercolour and the ebb and flow of the tidal Thames: ‘on the shores of the Thames there is a feeling of landscape, like nowhere else in the city’, she says. And Jo developed a close and trusting relationship with the river, allowing its muddy waters to spread vibrant colours across the immersed sheets of paper. The results are thrilling. Jo also runs popular workshops at the National Gallery and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, so catching her at home should be a real treat.
Oh … and I will be selling signed copies of my new book on Dulwich (The Dulwich Notebook) at Sarah Hamilton’s studio!