Creativity has always been the beating heart of Charleston, the artistic residence to the Bloomsbury group since 1916. Every surface of the house bears the imprint of the artists who lived here, with unusual and delicately decorated furniture, fabrics and ceramics filling every room.
Hidden in the South Downs just outside Lewes, Charleston is now a thriving house, garden and art gallery with a diverse programme of festivals, performance and creative workshops throughout the year. In September this year, Charleston unveiled two beautifully restored Grade 2 listed barns and a suite of galleries designed by Jamie Fobert architects.
The rustic 18th-century barns will provide a beautiful backdrop to a series of designer and maker’s fairs, reflecting the legacy of the artists who lived and worked in the house. The inaugural fair on 24th and 25th November, the Frost Fair, has been carefully curated to include designers whose work embodies that same ethos of sophistication, vividness and playfulness as that of the Bloomsbury artists.
Molly Mahon, Melissa White and Amy Isles Freeman all experiment with bold painted and printed surfaces. Amy’s hand-turned and hand-painted wooden bowls are a modern reworking of the many examples of hand painted bowls in the House. Molly Mahon’s block-printed textiles are full of the same distinctive love of pattern that can be found in the painted walls in the house.
Hambro and Miller, Gabrielle Vary and Camilla Thomas work with wool to create heirloom knitwear and woven textiles. With over 30 stallholders, there will also be wreaths, stocking fillers, toys and handmade decorations.
The Threshing Barn café will be selling warming soups and stews, artisan mince pies and boozy hot chocolate. For families, there will be drop-in craft activities and a chance to visit the Snow Queen in her enchanted winter grotto. Booking in advance is recommended.
24 - 25 November 2018, The Hay Barn, Charleston, Firle, East Sussex BN6 8LL