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Crafts in Action at Michelham Priory

The Sussex Guild has really gone to town this year for Crafts in Action – a four-day craft extravaganza at Michelham Priory. Nearly all of the 40 exhibiting artists will demonstrate their craft, while selling many they have made earlier. Prices will suit all purses and range from £5 to several thousands of pounds. Visitors will also have the opportunity to commission work from the individual artists. Lewesians familiar with the Sussex Guild since its craft shop opened in Grange Gardens, will appreciate some of the more notable demonstrations. John Warren (known as John the Potter) will dress his corseted torso planters - the torsos are made out of high-fired stoneware clay (fired at an incredible 1275 degrees centigrade) which is frost proof so ideal for life outside during the British winter. During his demonstrations John will take a ‘nude’ torso and dress it with lacing and corset detailing, they sell for around £135 and make unusual garden features.

Harriet Appleby will show how felt is made from Jacobs wool fibres demonstrating how heat, friction and moisture are used to merge fibres together and how through manipulation the fibres begin to shrink and form a fabric that can be shaped and molded – felt when wet is very pliable giving it great sculptural possibilities. Appleby’s work is very physical and fascinating to watch and the felt making process itself is akin to working with both clay and pastry. Five guest exhibitors will also be there – Maggie Stern (a silk weaver complete with silk worms); Karen Norfolk (a figurative sculpture); Dennis Hales (who produces coloured woods) Alison Dupemex (a knitwear specialist) and Dan Aston (a hand glass blower who makes beautiful vases and bowls, while specialising in exquisite dichroic glass jewellery.

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John Warren’s ‘corseted torso planters’: garden gnomes for the
chattering classes