With Coastal Currents’ Open Studios featuring so much to see, HIP has enlisted three local artists to help navigate the delights on offer. Lorna Crabbe, Sarah Lloyd and Alan Rankle share which of this years’ open studios they’re most looking forward to.

Artwork by Clare Fletcher, Black Winkle
Artwork by Clare Fletcher, Black Winkle

I took part in my first Coastal Currents open studios in 2008, the year after I moved to Hastings and it introduced me to a wide-range of people who came tripping through my door, many who stayed for an hour or more and many who I am still good friends with now. As a consequence I’ve always made an effort to get along to open studios as it’s such a good way to discover artists old and new, to nose about and to really get a sense of their work and environment.

I am going to be cheeky and recommend a scattering of studios right on my doorstep on West Street in Hastings Old Town, as it’s such a treat to have so much going on in our hidden away little back street.

The Workship has been opening its doors for many years; it’s a very welcoming space showing a range of paintings, prints, illustrations, collages and objects. Ed Boxall sells distinctive, inky, dreamy prints and a range of small, affordable self-published books popular with children and adults who refuse to grow up. If you’re lucky, you might get to meet his small dog Dixie, who features in a book of her own. Also stop by to peek inside Kate Iles’ beautifully crafted, delicate boxes, lit up by fairy light.

Directly opposite and now a firmly established presence on the street, Hare & Hawthorn is both an independent bookshop & bindery run by Neal Neofitou who has a wonderful eye for special edition books, cards and handprinted papers. Give yourself time to browse as although it’s a relatively small shop, it’s well-stocked and additional, original artworks will be nestled between the tomes during the festival.

A hop and a skip down the road is the shiny new studio of artist Olivia Bishop who will be opening her doors for the very first time, showcasing a range of original prints & cards. Olivia is a relative newcomer to Hastings but has settled into the arts scene with gusto, running workshops as an artist educator at the Jerwood Gallery.

Five minutes walk to Rock-a-Nore, past Jaye Ho’s wonderful dazzle ship on the fishing beach, the Black Winkle studio is not to be missed. Two floors of treasures, trinkets, wonders and surprises from artists Peter Quinnell & Claire Fletcher, selling assemblages, paintings, badges, postcards, prints and collages. The studio is ideally positioned opposite the Fishermen’s Museum, so you can pop in to say hello to the great wandering albatross or just wander down to the rock pools for a paddle.