Strong Island Co.

Art, Craft & Design

Created Local – Mica Peet

I think the first time I saw the illustration based prints and jewellery by Mica Peet was at a market a couple of years ago, or more. I really liked the mix of geometry and UK wildlife and bought a print and some other gifts and have been keeping an eye on all the new work on Mica’s Instagram and Etsy. It has been great to see this local university graduate and creative build an awesome design based business in Southsea.

“My design philosophy consists of juxtaposing my love of the beautiful natural world with an edgier, modern and idiosyncratic design aesthetic. My main focus is on how I can be innovative yet commercial with the strong use of my quirky illustrative style and how these translate into print designs to adorn the body and home”. – Mica

Check some of the latest prints and jewellery below and be sure to hit up the MicaPeet Etsy where you can buy these items and support a local creative.

Mica Peet (1)

Mica Peet (2)

Mica Peet (3)

Mica Peet (4)

Portsmouth Museums now on Instagram

Portsmouth Museums and Visitor Services run all of the city’s museums and care for the large city collection with everything from archeology through to fine art. To give more of an insight in to what goes on behind the scenes of the different museums and what the dedicated staff and volunteers do to curate exhibitions and care for the collection they have set up an Instagram account. If you’re on Instagram give them a follow at @PortsmouthMuseum.

Below are a few examples of the photos going up on the Portsmouth Museum Instagram:

Portsmouth Museum on Instagram (1)

Portsmouth Museum on Instagram (2)

Portsmouth Museum on Instagram (3)

Omega Printmakers Exhibition 2015

Omega Printmakers this weekend will be exhibiting a selection of original works of art. Based at The Omega Centre in Somerstown, the group of artists are busy throughout the year creating artworks using a variety of printmaking techniques. Exhibits will feature a variety of different processes including screen printing, woodblock, lino cut and monoprint, as well as various forms of etching.

Omega Printmakers is a voluntarily run, non profit making organisation founded in 2008 in order to enable printmakers to have access to the traditional printing presses at The Omega Centre. The centre also offers weekly classes, details of which can be found on the website –

The exhibition is being held in Portsmouth Cathedral in Old Portsmouth and runs from July 4th until 19th. Opening times are 10am–4.30pm unless there is a service. Be sure to pay the exhibition a visit as there are some great pieces of work on show!

You can stay up to date with Omega Printmakers on Facebook and Twitter @OmegaPrintmaker.


Southsea Summer Arts Fair at One Eyed Dog on Saturday 4th July

A quick reminder that this Saturday the 4th July the One Eyed Dog will be home to the Southsea Summer Art Fair which will have loads of local creatives involved such as Kendal James, Stu Linfield, Jennifer Hillier, Hannah Gordon, Chris Webb and April Lovelace. From the stalls in the pub you’ll be able to pick up some local art and craft plus tees, stickers, prints, jewellery and more.

The fair opens at 1pm but and to find out more have a look at the Facebook page HERE.

Poster artwork by Stu Linfield.

Creative Census Portsmouth Continues!

We’ve had a great first month for our Creative Census project with lots of people completing the questions about their creative jobs, businesses and organisations…but we need more!

With our Creative Census project we aim to measure the creative temperature of the city for the first time, with the help of everyone involved with the creative industries in Portsmouth and Southsea. The census is open for submissions at the Creative Census website, please take a minute to complete the questions and to share this with everyone. The more people who take part, the better the results!

Once the census is complete we will be analysing the data and producing a presentation on the findings which we hope can actively promote the city regionally & nationally and also help lobby for improved access to resources, training, funding and more.

Please share the census with all of your friends on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, your & your friends input can help make a difference.

We’ll be distributing flyers for Creative Census very soon with which you’ll be able to win a selection of locally created & designed prizes, more soon!

Creative Census Portsmouth

‘Her Story’ Video Game Created in Portsmouth by Sam Barlow

Innovation in video games is pushing out in many different directions at the moment, with heavy investment in new technology such as virtual reality, processor and graphics hardware heavy visuals & more but sometimes it is the innovation in game design and narrative concepts that create a buzz online and make for a successful game. Rather than looking in to a sci-fi future on radioactive landscapes or battlefields, how about becoming an investigator looking at the case of a missing person from over 20 years ago, just relying on the evidence recorded back then plus the VHS interview tapes?

Sam Barlow, writer and lead designer of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Aisle launched his first independent title, Her Story, last week. Her Story is Barlow’s first release after going independent in 2014. Playing like an interactive true crime documentary, the game lets you go hands-on with a police database full of live action video footage. It stars Viva Seifert, actress and one half of the band Joe Gideon and the Shark. If you are fan of TV detective dramas or the fly-on-the-wall documentaries, this gives you the chance to try out your skills as a detective.

Her Story was passed through the Steam Greenlight process in only two weeks and has since received the backing of the prestigious Indie Fund. With its innovative use of video and a non-linear narrative, Her Story is one of 2015’s most original video games. Already the film has gained very positive coverage in the national press, is an Editor’s Choice in Apple’s App Store is is getting some great reviews.

The gameplay of Her Story sits players in front of a mothballed desktop computer and logs them into a police database. They search through hundreds of video clips that cover seven interviews from 1994 in which a British woman is interviewed about her missing husband. Players explore the database by typing search terms then watch the clips where she speaks those words and piece together her story.

“I’m excited for players to finally get their hands on the game and lose themselves in the many layers of Her Story…This is a game that puts you in the mindset of a detective — players will experience the eureka moments, the frustrations and the curve balls of a cold case mystery firsthand…As they piece together this story I hope players will come to understand and empathize with the woman telling it. This is a video game where the most important skill is the ability to listen.” – Sam Barlow

You can buy the game on a number of different platforms, the PC and Mac version of Her Story can be purchased on Steam, directly from the game’s website and from the Humble Store.

The iPad and iPhone versions of Her Story are available to buy on the App Store.

Find out more about the game at:

'Her Story' Video Game Created in Portsmouth by Sam Barlow (1)

'Her Story' Video Game Created in Portsmouth by Sam Barlow (2)

'Her Story' Video Game Created in Portsmouth by Sam Barlow (3)

'Her Story' Video Game Created in Portsmouth by Sam Barlow (4)

Foal Arts Present BELIEF, An Evening of of Music, Performance and Art at Depozitory in Ryde

The good guys over on the Island at Foal Arts present BELIEF, an exhibition and much, much more at Depozitory in Ryde this weekend. The exhibition opens on Saturday 27th with a special preview party from 7pm and then the exhibition, featuring video, installation, painting, ceramics, and performance, is open from the 28th June through to the 5th of July, open daily from 11am – 4pm. Depozitory can be found at 23 Nelson Street, Ryde, PO33 2EZ, a short walk from the hovercraft.

“Belief is shaped from our experiences, sometimes from others and sometimes even without proof . For most it is the linchpin for existence. In 2012 we made the Depozitory, a converted Wesleyan Chapel our shared studio space and project space. We have invited 6 artists to join us and question the role of ‘Belief’ in society today.”

Exhibiting artists:

Marius Von Brasch
Karen Grainger
Chris Jenkins
Sue Paraskeva
Terry Magson
Joanne Hummel-Newell
Maya Malfatti Woods and Paradox Paul
Howard Hardiman

You can find out more about the opening party and the exhibition at:

Foal Arts Present BELIEF, An Evening of of Music, Performance and Art at Depozitory in Ryde

Ceramics Workshop at Make and The Craft Kitchen

After taking part in a ceramics workshop a few years ago, I can safely say that learning how to shape clay, use a wheel (no Ghost jokes please) and to see the final work glazed and fired in a kiln is a really fun and creative process. Alan RT Smith from Portsmouth based Earth Wool & Fire will be running regular ceramics workshop on the 4th July and every first Saturday of each month at Make and The Craft Kitchen where you can learn how to throw on a wheel, hand build and sculpt.

Check the Facebook event HERE for more information and book your place by contacting Nikki at Make 02392 822026 or email:

Earth, Wool & Fire

Earth, Wool & Fire
Game of Thrones yarn bowl by Earth Wool & Fire.

Doodle Clubs First Art Exhibition

Every creation from Southsea Doodle Club, from the past three year’s will be on display for one weekend only at Gallery Art Space in Portsmouth. The exhibition will include over 70 meters of doodle roll, all of which have been contributed by some of the cities finest doodlers.

Kendal James has run the club with total passion since the first meet almost three years ago and is motivated by bringing locals together to get creative.

The club has been supported by The King Street Tavern and meet up’s happen there on the first Thursday of every month. This lovely little pub has supported the club with a venue, snacks and materials in recent years and will continue to play host to upcoming evenings.

Starboard Media are kindly supplying materials for the weekend as well as some yummy beer from the Portsmouth Brewhouse. Another local attender to the club is supplying vast amounts of beer and wine to keep the weekend lubricated and friendly.

The opening night is on July 10th from 6-8pm and everybody is welcome.

Follow the event and updates on Facebook or contact Kendal James directly with queries.





Review of Portsmouth Festivities Spice Island Art Trail 2015

For the third year running Portsmouth Festivities and a small army of artists took over some of the best historic buildings in Old Portsmouth for the Spice Island Art Trail 2015. Each year sees more and more talented artists from different fields be selected to exhibit and this year saw some incredible work on display to the public for free as well as a great local schools exhibition showing their GCSE, BTEC and AS level art student’s summer work. As for the last two years judges from Aspex Gallery, Ast Space Portsmouth, Portsmouth Guildhall and Strong Island wandered around the different venues seeing the work on show, meeting the artists and finally choosing the winners.

This year’s winners, who will be exhibiting their work at Portsmouth Guildhall are:

Overall Winners:
1st – Kim Whitby
2nd – Alison Lawley
3rd – John Townsend & Margaret Marks (joint third place)
4th – Peter Nicholson

Commended – Michael Wright and Chris Wood.

Schools awards:
1st – Brandon CHoi (Portsmouth Grammar School)
2nd – Yana Trebska (Ryde School)
3rd – Laura Pullem (Highbury College)
4th – Megan Gray (Chichester High School for Girls)

The first venue I visited at 11 when the doors opened to the public for the Arts Trail was the Royal Naval Club & Royal Albert Yacht Club. This imposing, historic building overlooks the sports fields and the Royal Garrison Church before wide panoramic views of the Solent. The artists work on display was itself surrounded by an incredible collection of treasured objects & paintings owned by the club, with groups of work on show in different rooms from the ballroom downstairs up to the library. The first artwork that caught my eye were the sketchbooks of Trudy Barber, with different figures of musicians caught in the moments of musical reverie with their musical instruments.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Trudy Barber
Sketchbook by Trudy Barber.

Working to the back of the building, past a wall of portraits for each of the clubs’ many members to receive a Victoria Cross plus cabinets of trophies for sailing, I checked out the work on display in the large ballroom space. First up was the paintings by Jacquie Woodfield, with a great mix of detail and colour. I really liked the deckchairs painting in particular.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Jacquie Woodfield
Paintings by Jacquie Woodfield.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Jacquie Woodfield
Painting by Jacquie Woodfield.

Also sharing the space was Chris Wood with a collection of different work but front and centre were some band new linocut prints inspired by Ben Ainslie Racing yachts and Southsea. We predicted well over a year ago that BAR, their distinctive yachts and the new HQ would permeate through to photographers & artists as a striking new local inspiration and Chris’ new work is really rather special. These prints are available to buy framed and unframed.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Chris Wood
Linoprint by Chris Wood.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Chris Wood
Linoprint by Chris Wood.

Another artist sharing the space was painter Mary Amos who had on display a series of landscapes of Portsmouth Harbour. Also on show were a collection of different watercolours, which I really quite liked. Something about watercolours, one of the first techniques learnt yet it takes so much skill and creativity to control the water, the mix of paint plus there is no room to fix any mistakes.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Mary Amos
Paintings by Mary Amos.

Taking up one side of the room were the large canvases of Kim Whitby, depicting views out of HMS Victory. These and other work on show were created during a residency on the 250 year old ship which included drawing and painting at Nelson’s table. Victory also featured in some wonderful, loose monochrome work plus the ship and the Dockyard also filled the pages of Kim’s fantastic sketchbooks, which not only showed the creative processes behind some of the pieces on display but could have also been exhibited all by themselves.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Kim Whitby
Victory by Kim Whitby.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Kim Whitby
Victory by Kim Whitby.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Kim Whitby
Sketchook pages by Kim Whitby.

In another room in the club were another great mix of work, beginning with the playful, detailed pencil-work by Will Stevenson.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Will Stevenson
Artwork by Will Stevenson.

The diversity of medium and subject is one of the great things about the Art Trail, with neighbours in the exhibition often having significantly different work meaning there was something for everyone. Next to Will Stevenson were the small, impressionistic paintings by Michael Wright. Each of the three paintings drew the viewer in to a what felt like the middle of a dark fairytale, with the artwork keeping the details secret.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Michael Wright
Painting by Michael Wright.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Michael Wright
Painting by Michael Wright.

The Naval club building is Georgian so all of the rooms are high ceilinged and very open with large windows, so after climbing the stairs the view out over the Solent had to be photographed before viewing the work on display by different artists, including Lyndon Richards’ Old Portsmouth houses painted on bricks. Lyndon was the artists in residence painting during the art trail.

Old Portsmouth by Lyndon Richards.

Lunch at Point by Jean Battye.

Book by Darn Funky.

Artwork by James Shreeve.

From here it was on to Portsmouth Cathedral to see the artwork on show in the Nave.

With the Sunday service completed the cathedral was busy with people now exploring the Nave and discovering the different photography, textiles, painting, ceramics and more on show. As I walked in the first work that caught my attention was the watercolour work on the pillars by Sue Colyer, a set of two colourful abstracts and a country scene.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Sue Colyer
Watercolour by Sue Colyer.

Spice Island Art Trail 2015 - Sue Colyer
Watercolour by Sue Colyer.

Along to the corner of the cathedral where three large, striking and colourful photographs were on display by Peter Nicholson. The work is made with different coloured oils, waxes and more placed in suspension in a water tank and photographed throughout a lengthy process. These images were rich with detail and tones of colour that brought to mind Turner and the impressionist painters plus it reminded me of the large naval battle paintings in the Naval Club I had viewed earlier which had skies thick with cannon fire and the dense smoke of ships aflame.

Dark Trees by Peter Nicholson.

Also at the side of this historic building were paintings by Karl Rudziak. I’m a big fan of these detailed portrait paintings.

Painting by Karl Rudziak.

The far side of the nave was home to the intriguing & a little surreal ceramic figurework by artist John Townsend. It was great to chat with John and discover the ideas behind these wheel and then hand constructed ceramic forms, referencing back to the first photography that captured motion and movement.

Ceramic work by John Townsend.

Ceramic work by John Townsend.

Speaking of surreal, John’s artist neighbour was illustrator and painter Alison Lawley who had two incredible portrait paintings on display. The figure in both paintings was a hybrid of Alison’s friends and who was set in two different scenes relating to nature and wildlife, with surreal touches. The second painting had powerful eyes that would fix you in her gaze. Excellent work, looking forward to seeing more paintings from this new series by the artist.

Painting by Alison Lawley.

The schools artwork exhibition was in Beckett Hall, out the back of the cathedral, and was a collection of different student works from Ryde School, Highbury College and Chichester High School for Girls. Just like last year, you could spot a lot of talent on show in a wide variety of mediums, from printing to painting to 3D. This support of young artists from around the region through the Art Trail is a great way to see work normally not available to the public.

Once again the Art Trail was a great success in bringing dozens of artists and their many different works to Portsmouth and allowing the public free access to view the work, the wonderful buildings home to the exhibitions and creating an environment where you could speak to creatives from all walks of life involved in all different types of art. Looking forward to next year!

You can find out more about Portsmouth Festivities and the other great events happening throughout the rest of the month at:

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Hidden Treasures

Steve Bomford gave us the heads up on this wonderful short film made up of old film footage, from the 50s to the 70s, filmed around Portsmouth and Southsea. If you like looking at some vintage Portsmouth and Southsea you will love this (really interesting to see the Guildhall before it was pedestrianised and the buildings were demolished for the council offices).


The dockyards, taken on 18th July 1914. The dockyards and harbour are quiet as almost all the ships are anchored at Spithead ready for the Royal review by King George V.

(Click to see larger image)

It’s nice to be nice!

A new reader of Strong Island recently sent us this email. Glad to hear we’re doing things right and feedback of all kinds is always welcome, as is beer. Of course.

“Hi all at Strong Island

I just wanted to email to say as a recent visitor to your site how great it is to see something that celebrates the creative, cultural and positive life of Portsmouth and Southsea (and I don’t even skate or cycle!). ‘Strong Island’ sums up the spirit of this place so well. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing the site go from strength to strength and maybe impacting on some of the decision making that goes on.”

Best wishes



Meg and Lynda hug it out with the help of Andy.

Following Toby Taylor on Bored

If like me you can’t get enough of skateboarding, but just don’t know where to dig everything out from that there world wide webby, then local top gun Toby Taylors twitter feed for Bored of Southsea will fill all your needs in the world of local and international skateboarding. Jump on Tobys feed HERE. Check Tobys Tre Flip at the underpass courtesy of Tom Timewaster.

Seafront Lights: Adam Wintle

Southsea web designer and photographer Adam Wintle has recently been taking some really nice photos of the Southsea promenade lights and of the pier at night. Be sure to look through his Flickr for loads more great photos.




Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Following on from photos of The bandstand and Tennis Courts the other week, here’s another scan from Khalid.

Back before East Jet in the late 1940s, early 1950s people flocked to Southsea seafront. Check the beach huts near Canoe Lake. Dozens of them and the Paddling Pool which is now occupied by the Sealife Centre. Love the little train to the right of the picture. Click for a closer look.

Welcome to Southsea

Ian Parmiter recently found this photo at a sign makers on one of his many travels. A Facebook debate has already begun as to it’s original whereabouts. Any ideas?

Ben Schroeder Skating Southsea

Back in the 80s and early 90s Southsea would regularly be on the list of skateparks visited by American skaters as they toured the UK and Europe. Sometime around 1990ish the pool was built to replace the old reservoir at the end of the slalom and not long after American pro skater Ben Schroeder came through and (figuratively) destroyed the new bowl and the halfpipe, so much so that his frontside ollie transfer out of the bowl, over the platform and landing in the steep bank is legendary.

To cut a long story short Ben got in contact recently with some footage from the day. I’m going to go through the old skate magazine archives and hunt around for photos but for now, here is that footage. To find out more about Ben check out his Juice Magazine interview.

Southsea & Portsmouth Guide

Local photographer Steve Bomford recently sent over a series of scans from the 1926 Official Publication of the Southsea Beach & Publicity Committee Portsmouth Corporation book ‘Southsea & Portsmouth’.

‘It is of little use to invite intending holiday makers to a town, unless there are attractions to offer, under all conditions of our notorious fickle ‘English’ climate. We do not make the statement that the sun shines every day at Southsea, but records show that we do get the maximum amount of sunny hours. Last year again, 1,923 hours were recorded, the highest number (with one exception) in the United Kingdom. Admitting that the question of sunshine is an important one, it is contended that a holiday resort must have other attractions, such as charming amenities, efficient public services, splendid variety of amusements, good facilities for all outdoor sports, and a good selection of cheap excursions and places of historical interest, to make a general appeal to those who are seeking a health-giving and enjoyable holiday.”

I love all the old hand drawn adverts and especially like the ‘medically recommended’ page. Where the sun lingers longer. Couldn’t be closer to the truth still to this day. It’s a shame the ‘most artistic cafe in Southsea’ is no longer in operation and the amount of people gathered on South Parade beach is incredible. Be sure to check out the full set with over 80 pages of photos, adverts and chapters all about Portsmouth & Southsea over at Steve’s Flickr HERE. A really interesting read if you like your history. And we know you do.

Someone Invent A Time Machine

The photography exhibit The Birth of British Rock at the Museum is now in it’s last week so be sure to make it down before it finishes on June 6th. Looking through the Pompey Pop Pix Flickr, which contains loads of local photos, tickets and posters, I came across this poster for what must have been on of the best line-ups the Guildhall has ever had.

Strong Island Clothing Co.