Rolfe: 'out and about' - Dulwich Artists Open House

After years of talking about it I finally made it down to SE22 a few weeks ago for the last weekend of Dulwich Artists Open House.

First stop after a little browse on Northcross Road (and an impromptu guitar serenade in Arterie Gallery) was Sally & Peter Nencini

Products on display ranged from brightly coloured knitted cushions in a variety of fun, graphic designs to reupholstered chairs and stools each decorated with delicate embroidered designs, half sampler, half story-book. Read more about my favourite the Tyrella chair on their blog here

An open house is clearly a great opportunity for a Lloyd Grossman style snoop around the often eclectic habitat of the artists themselves and this was no disappointment.

Around the room books, unique wall art and numerous collections of tiny objects and old toys made this light, south London sitting room the perfect place to start my tour. The frequent call of the lovely and unusual cuckoo doorbell could be heard as new guests arrived to have a gander.

Moving on, up the hill and down Crystal Palace Road I found jolly, brightly coloured flower-inspired felts and textile collages at the house of artist Charlotte Clowes. And further down Glenda Haseler’s fascinating house in a former butchers shop was home to a wide variety of works from different artists from photographs to oil landscapes.

I had been tipped off in advance that a visit to the Skip Sisters at 284 Upland Road was a must and I wasn't disappointed. Skip Sisters, a group of local women artists reclaim discarded items and give them a new lease of life, reincarnating old clock parts into jewellery, vintage fabrics into cushions and bags, postage stamps into cufflinks, and other weird and wonderful creations. The sitting room was a treasure trove of unique objects and I left happy with my purchase of a colourful cow pincushion made using scraps of fabric and an old plastic toy.

I couldn't come to SE22 without a gawp at Sophie Cook’s infamous ceramic vessels with necks delicate as they come. Apparently there's a queue around the block on the first day. I wasn’t disappointed by the beautiful selection of matt and gloss glazes and bright yet sophisticated colour palette.

On my way back I called in at the home of one of this area’s most well established painters and member of the Royal Scottish Watercolourists, Simon Laurie.    Bold, colourful, acrylic paintings adorned the rather resplendent sitting room and a large fluffy cat occupied a lavish chaise longe in the corner making well-heeled guests at an impromptu afternoon drinks party eye up the wasted seating opportunity with ill concealed envy.

Laurie’s paintings are wonderful, graphic depictions of food and landscapes reminiscent of both French still lives and St Ives abstracts.

On my way out I was particularly struck by a small piece hanging in the entrance hall, quite different to the other works, but executed in a wonderful colour palette "Oh that's just my small daughter’s painting" a woman interjected clocking my interest. Clearly the next generation of Dulwich artists is going to be just as exciting...