Danny House, a beautiful Grade 1 Elizabethan mansion in Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, was once home to Prime Minister David Lloyd George. It will be opening its doors for the first time as an Open House. The Artists Open Houses Festival 2017, the largest event of its kind in the UK, will take place in Brighton, Hove and beyond over four weekends of May, starting Saturday 6th May.
Artist Stephanie Smart creates life-size garments and footwear using only paper and thread. Inspired by the way people are shaped by memories and experiences, Stephanie’s work seeks to display the particular stories we each “wear” around ourselves, creating a collage of illustrated and written details that she weaves into her designs. Maison de Papier will be her first historical fashion collection. On show will be garments influenced by fashion from different eras from Danny House’s history, including the 17th century, the Victorian era and the 1950s.
Stephanie has conducted research using the collections of the V&A and Brighton and Worthing museums. She’s also been influenced by the Sussex countryside surrounding Danny House, but her primary inspiration has come from the lives of past and present residents. One of the dresses to be shown is designed around a parachute and inspired by a current resident, and former Normandy paratrooper, who is now suffering with Alzheimer’s.
Stephanie says, “I wanted to do a project working with the elderly due to personal observation of the type of isolation that can come about as a side effect of ageing. I also believe that capturing details of real lives, memories that will soon be lost, is fascinating, important, and encourages community cohesion. I think visual art can have a profound effect, as regards social engagement, on so many levels, and likewise sharing personal stories. For this project each conversation I’ve had with a resident started with their memories of an item of clothing.”
Danny House itself has a wealth of history, dating back to 1586, and has been a home to housing figures from Sir George Goring, to Henry Campion and even the former Prime Minister David Lloyd George during WW1. This exhibition, an intricately crafted installation in a unique venue, will appeal not only to lovers of art and craft but also to those with an interest in Britain’s social and cultural history.
The Maison de Papier
May 6 & 7
May 13 & 14
May 20 & 21
May 27 28
Open from 11am – 4pm
Stephanie’s work has been supported by Arts Council, Seawhite of Brighton and Orchard Framing.
Full Artist Open Houses listings can be found at www.aoh.org.uk
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-Notes to Editor-
About Artist Open Houses
Brighton and Hove Artist Open Houses, the originator of the Open House movement, date back to 1981 when an artist from the Fiveways area of Brighton, Ned Hoskins opened his house to the public to view his work, and that of a group of friends. Other artists in the area followed suit to form the Fiveways Artist Group. In a city full of creatives, the idea proved popular and soon Artist Open Houses sprung up all over the city.
The Artist Open House festival is now the largest event of its kind in the UK. Around 200 houses and studio spaces across the city will be opening their doors to exhibit the work of over 1,500 artists and makers.