Arts and Crafts - Exhibition
at Marchants Hardy Plants
On Monday a visitor popped into Viva Lewes, a former opera
director called Rebecca Meitlis, who wanted to tell me about
a weekend exhibition in the garden of Marchants Hardy Plants
in Laughton, taking place this weekend. I didn’t expect
much, but she came equipped with photographs of some of the
work that will be on show, and it looks like it will be a
fascinating and rather beautiful event, featuring the work
of a number of highly original and rather high-class craftspeople.
One of the stars of the show will be the garden itself. Graham
Gough is a former opera singer who has turned his attention
to selling exotic grasses and unusual perennials from his
land in Laughton. Such things as Agapanthus, Kniphofia, Sedum,
Miscanthus and Molinia, if that means anything to you. The
garden is full of these breeds, which are on sale in the ‘Potting
Rebecca’s own plant pots will be on show. She is a specialist
in using ash glazes. “Each type of tree gives a different
sort of quality,” she says. “My husband is a pyromaniac,
and we are donated all sorts of dead fruit trees, which he
burns.” The searing white heat of the kiln melts and
vitrifies the ash, which settles onto the pots. Also dotted
around the garden will be Sarah Walton’s amazing birdbaths.
Sarah lives at the foot of the Downs, and her pieces, which
are very sculptural, reflect the roundedness of the hills.
The works are salt glazed, an interesting process which involves
salt being thrown into a special kiln; the sodium vapour it
releases melts the surface of her clay creations, and forms
a unique and interestingly uneven glaze. The baths are specifically
designed for birds to fit into their contours, and I’m
told they make a nice focal point in the garden.