I recently heard about an artists’ space called West Street Loft and went along to yesterday’s open studio for a look. I took the 700 coastliner from Worthing and enjoyed views of the wild and windy sea from the top deck of the bus, and reached Shoreham-by-Sea in less than half an hour. I found West Street with no trouble and soon arrived at the studio space of a local artistic community. It felt warm and welcoming, and not just because of the cold and wet and wind outside.
I really like being in workshops and studios. There’s a feeling of organised chaos, with materials and equipment all over the place, an honesty about the often mucky processes of making stuff. About a dozen people have spaces here, on the ground floor, including painters Angela Edwards, Karin Hay-White and Geoff Lowe, ceramicist Jane Abbott, jewellery makers Sheila Way and Aron Salanson, mosaic artist Pauline Hudson Ford, designer Amy Baudet of Salt House Interiors and Jennifer Hilverkus of Cockles Candles, who was at work creating aromatherapy candles that gave the place a blissful scent.
On a visit like this, there’s a chance to see original works of art, craft and design, and to speak to the makers who are keen to welcome visitors and talk about their work. You can chat, browse and buy, or just look around and soak up the creative atmosphere.Upstairs is a big space (the loft part of West Street Loft) where a varied programme of events and activities for the local community are held, including courses in arts and crafts, health and fitness classes and cinema evenings.
The studios at West Street Loft are open every second Saturday of the month (coinciding with the local farmers’ market) from 10am to 3pm.