by Lesley Samms | Pure Fine Art
What’s the Story? – Artists and Gallery owners talking about their unique journey
For this edition of Artgenue we have visited two galleries located within a few miles of each other on the Kent-Sussex borders.
Artichoke Gallery Ticehurst
On the eastern edge of Sussex, surrounded by beautiful countryside, Artichoke Gallery is in the heart of Ticehurst, a Wealden village with an eclectic selection of small creative businesses. In addition to featuring the work of artist/owners Vicki Atkinson, Liz Moys and Louisa Crispin, there are quarterly exhibitions of painting, sculpture, ceramics and jewellery from some of the leading artists and makers in the country.
Opening just over two years ago in October 2014, Artichoke drew on the experience of sculptor Vicki Atkinson who ran a gallery from her home for several years. “It was important to be able to continue to develop my own artist practice so when the old post office premises became available in Ticehurst I looked for a partnership to help in the day-to-day activities and we haven’t looked back. There is an enormous amount of work involved in selecting new artists every three months to provide an exciting and cohesive exhibition, but what I hadn’t expected was the benefits this would bring to my own work.”
Whilst the gallery is keen to support local artists, they like to bring new ideas to the area and considerable time is spent sourcing from across the country by visiting art fairs and craft shows, talking to artists and makers, developing an understanding of their dreams and more particularly their humour. Artists and makers are very generous with their knowledge and these connections have developed into firm friendships. The ladies are continually amazed at how far their reputation has spread already with visitors making special trips from London and throughout the South East. “We are on a tourist route, which brings visitors from all over the world but we especially value the locals, who pop their heads around the door on a quiet rainy day just to make us smile. Our busy opening parties are a thank you for their continued support.”
Artichoke Gallery has a spacious, relaxed atmosphere to show off the contemporary delights on offer, ideal for sourcing that extra special present or simply a chance to share in the ladies’ rather quirky sense of humour. Check out the website for a taster but better still, pop in for a sensory treat.
Artichoke Gallery, Church Street, Ticehurst TN5 7AE
Tel: 01580 200905
Wing Gallery Wadhurst
WING Gallery located in the Wealden village of Wadhurst is a real hidden gem. Owned by well-known sculptor Gavin Roweth, the gallery took its maiden flight in November 2012. The first exhibition displayed a diverse range of paintings, sculpture and ceramics, created by talented local artists. Since then the gallery has gone from strength to strength, exhibiting many themed, solo and group shows, featuring national and international artists alongside the wealth of fine artists who live in the Weald. “I quickly discovered that it was important to provide a diverse range of art that regularly changed to encourage more customers. Busy times at the gallery can be quite a buzz, selling artists’ work and discussing possibilities with clients is always rewarding.” Quieter times provide Gavin with the opportunity to catch up on his own design work and plan for future shows. This year for example he has added sectional dividing doors to the gallery to enable him to use some of its space as a separate studio and exhibition space.
Over the past four years WING has become part of the very fabric of the village, with the ever-changing feature window displays eagerly anticipated. Many of the gallery’s visitors comment that a few minutes inside can provide a brief pause in their chaotic lives. “This is an unforeseen result of opening a gallery, but hugely rewarding one,” says Gavin. “I have found that being approachable is very important; a gallery should not be an awkward or unapproachable place for anyone to walk into. I think it is a great help that WING is an artist-run business. Whether I’m working on a design drawing or a sculpture the process of what I’m doing seems to break down any awkwardness and very soon you are discussing the age of stone or the type of chisels I might use to create a piece. The gallery is also a great place for meeting existing clients; we can discuss a commission, have a coffee and at the same time I can introduce them to artists they may not have come across before.”
WING Gallery, High Street, Wadhurst TN5 6AA
Tel: 01892 783665