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Art, Craft & Design

ARTches Project Showcase Event at the Round Tower on Sunday 13 September

With the summer on its way out, progress will become more apparent with the ARTches Project in Old Portsmouth. Despite it seeming quiet, a lot has been going on behind the scenes. On Sunday 13th September there will be a great event at the Round Tower that will showcase these developments, from 10.30am to 3pm.

The open day will provide an update on the development in Old Portsmouth to transform the former barracks into exciting creative studios. A new name and branding for the project will be unveiled, and project officers will be on hand to answer questions about the creative development, the studios and the opportunities for a brasserie and café.

There will also be local artists exhibiting their work (Southsea Night Markets) and refreshments provided by the Square Tower.

Work is scheduled to start in September and the studios will open next year, thanks to £1.75m of government funding. Heritage England has backed the project, which will secure the future of this historic monument in a creative way.

The event is open to all, simply RSVP to:

ARTches Project Showcase Event at the Round Tower on Sunday 13 September

‘I Wonder What it’s Like To Be Dyslexic’ Kickstarter Campaign

After the success of his first book Portsmouth University graduate and Graphic Designer, Sam Barclay is returning with a beautifully remastered version of ‘I Wonder What it’s Like to be Dyslexic’. The book aims to provide readers with a beautiful, design-led experience of what it feels like to struggle with reading.

Sam took to Kickstarter in order to raise the funds to publish his first book and he is returning to the website to help raise the money for revised version. If you are not aware of what Kickstarter is, it is a global crowdfunding platform which launched in 2009. The aim of a Kickstarter campaign is to raise money for a project which could be anything from a film, games, music, art, design and technology. The project creators choose a deadline and a minimum funding goal. If the goal is not met by the deadline, no funds are collected.

The first version of the book attracted total funding of £55,000 in thirty days, surpassing the initial target of £14,500, and continued to sell over 3,000 copies in over thirty countries. Now with this new version Sam wants to build on that success and continue to help and inspire others who suffer with learning difficulties.

Sam has delved deeper into the struggles of reading with a number of typographic experiments and has acted on feedback to include the story of his childhood growing up with Dyslexia, as told by his parents Karen and Ray, in the hope that this will give others the courage to see passed their difficulties with reading.

With studying Graphic Design, typography has always been at the forefront of the project, however Sam hopes that the message you take away from the book will help others: “Feeling stupid because I couldn’t understand things that came so clearly to others used to be all I knew. Having people around me, including my teachers, family and friends that could even slightly understand how that felt has helped me to communicate my frustration and has given me the confidence to succeed in life.”

Check out the link HERE to find out more about the the project and the full range of rewards available for anyone who wants to get involved. With donation rewards starting at just £5 please get involved and help make this original project happen!

If you would like to know more then check out the website and you can follow the project on Facebook, Twitter @reedeeng and Instagram @reedeeng.

Reedeeng – Kickstarter from Sam Barclay on Vimeo.




Oyster Design Looking for a Senior Graphic Designer

The guys over at Oyster Design in Emsworth are on the look out for a new Senior Graphic Designer to join their team. The details for the position are below, if you are up for it send your CV and sample portfolio to

Senior Graphic Designer, Based in Emsworth
We’re looking for a senior designer to play an important role in our print design team. You’ll have at least 5 years agency experience with real flair, interest and understanding of design. We need someone who is capable of leading creative sessions, with proven skills in brand, campaigns, marketing communication and print design. You will need to be a real team player, enthusiastic and self-driven, enjoy working with clients and be able to explore and interpret briefs to produce well thought out, effective solutions. Excellent Adobe CS skills are essential.

Oyster is a great design agency of 14 people, based in the coastal town of Emsworth. We work with diverse clients including Save the Children, Wiggle, Age UK and GE.

Salary subject to experience, benefits package includes generous annual leave and private healthcare.

If that sounds good to you get in touch with them direct.


Space Interrupted – Art Installations at Fort Brookhurst

Space Interrupted brings together artists and film makers who will create new and engaging work, responding to and interrupting Fort Brookhurst in Gosport, an English Heritage fort. The six artists have been drawn to the fort to make site specific installations inspired by its fortifications, history and archives, interrupting and overlapping the space, layering and fragmenting, disrupting function and meaning.

Space Interrupted is a collaboration between Curator Clare Sheppeard and artist Sharon Haward. Artists will present site responsive work which will span Fort Brockhurst, creating an assemblage of real and imagined installations. Audiences will be able to explore this rarely open site through the artists’ response to the space, experiencing a sense of place through sculptural installations, sound and projections Each work will enhance highlight, or disrupt the integrity of the building.

The exhibition itself will be open on the 10th, 12th and 13th of September 2015, with opening times – 11-3pm and FREE.

The artists involved in the exhibition and project are:

Sharon Haward uses a range of media to engage with a sensory and narrative sense of place. Her practice is predominantly site-responsive and installation-based created to capture a slippery sense of the past and present, fragmentation and dislocation. At Fort Brockhurst she draws on the period of revoutionary turmoil in Europe around 1848 and the historically fragile relationship between France and Britain which led to the building of the fort, by interrupting the space with a precarious barricade, projections and sound recordings.

Patti Gaal-Holmes is an artist/filmmaker and historian. Her cross-disciplinary practice includes working with moving image (celluloid and digital), photography, drawing, artists’ books and performance. For Fort Brockhurst she will creating a new film on 16mm. Gaall Holmes is the author of ‘A History of 1970s Experimental Film: Britain’s Decade of Diversity’ ( 2015).

Kye Wilson uses moving image to create site specific films and video installations that explore space, self and other. Wilson will be making a film inspired by the forts location and function.

Eileen White is a craft based visual artist who will be responding to textiles in the collection at Fort Brockhurst and their provenance. White will be working with a writer, poet and painter.

Helene Kazan uses research and archival material to generate moving image and multimedia installations. She is currently a phd candidate at Centre of Research Architecture at Goldsmiths. Helene will be creating an installation and sound piece inspired by home shelters.

Lisa Traxler is interested in conversation, personal memory and environment – emotive references and the fundamental are the inspirations for Lisa work. For Fort Brockhurst Lisa will make a number of large scale paperscape installations using the funcions and narratives of each room choosen.

Clare Sheppeard is a curator who has worked with local, national and international artists in a variety of sites David Batchelor, Mariele Neudecker, Karin Van Pinxterern, Alice Anderson, Kate MccGwire and Emma Crtichley. Projects include Coastal Currents Festival Hastings, Jerwood Gallery Hastings, LIMBO Margate, Venice Biennale, Van Abbemuseum and Independents Liverpool Biennial.

There will be a series of events related to the exhibition where you can take part and get involved:

Saturday 29th August – Point and Shoot photo tours. Meet at 2pm outside the Discovery Centre, High Street, Gosport, PO12 1BT. Bring your camera, camera phone, disposable camera and join artists Sharon Haward for a tour of Gosport looking at the architecture and historical buildings. The resulting photos will be displayed as part of Space Interrupted at Fort Brockhurst.

Thursday 10th September, 4.30-6.30 – Discussion & networking event with bluemonkey net at aspex, the Vulcan Buildings, Gunwharf Quay, Portsmouth.

Sunday 13th September, 1.30 – Walk and talk around the exhibition.

To book a place on any of these events email:

For further information check the Space Interrupted website:

Space Interrupted - Art Installations at Fort Brookhurst

The Clock Face Exhibition at the Coastguard Studio

On 22nd August The Coastguard Studio will open its latest exhibition The Clock Face Exhibition.

Wesley Brown has assembled a team of local creative talent to deliver an exhibition capturing the essence of time in all its glory. The artists involved include Wesley Brown himself as well as Kirsty Herring, Oliver Nelson, Bruce Spruce, Elliot Cranston, Mark Poyner and Stefano Pollina.

Wesley describes the use of time as the theme for the exhibition, “Capturing time is the essence of all photography; every photo is simply a moment we have managed to capture and store, something that we can use to remember it visually forever more. It really allowed me to open up the exhibition to a whole range of concepts”.

As well as the exhibition there will be music courtesy of InDeep Music. Doors open on the night at 6pm and it is looking like To stay up to date with the exhibition visit the Facebook Event page HERE.

Kirsty Herring
By Kirsty-Herring
Stefano Pollina
By Stefano Pollina
Wesley Brown
By Wesley Brown
Clock Face Exhibition

Fareham Arts Festival Begins Tomorrow

Just over the way, our neightbour Fareham has a great new arts festival that launched Thursday night and officially begins tomorrow, with loads of arts, theatre, film, music and more running through until later in August. Created by Live Art Local CIC and various partners, Fareham Arts Festival is a not-for-profit showcase of up and coming and established talent will break down barriers and engage the local community (and visitors) in the wonderful world of the arts like no other has done in Fareham before.

Visit the website for all the details on the dozens of event happening over dozens of venues in the town and to book tickets. Of particular interest might be the short film competition Fareham Shorts at the Ashcroft Arts Centre plus the Democracy Street workshop at Ferneham Hall (details also below). These are just the tip of the cultural iceberg, check here to find out more:

Fareham Arts Festival

Fareham Arts Ferstival

Fareham Shorts

Democracy Street Workshop

The Contemporary Makers Showcase at Aspex Galley This Weekend

This weekend Aspex Gallery is home to a two-day event aiming to bring together a selected showcase of fine craft artists and makers alongside skilled demonstrations and informative talks related to contemporary craft and design.

Admission is free to all and workshops, talks and live demos will be running over the weekend including:

– Drop-in necklace-making workshops with I am Acrylic
– Letterpress printing with Badger Press
– Sewn portraits whilst you wait with Emma Nicol
– Helen Murgatroyd exhibition live demo using experimental and inventive printmaking techniques
– Children’s experimental printmaking workshops
– Etsy branding 101 and drop-in surgeries with the Portsmouth & Southsea Consortium
– An intro to Making Space with Director Lynne Dick

Aspex is open from 10am to 4pm, please check below & their website for more details:

Aspex Gallery

The Contemporary Makers Showcase at Aspex Galley

The Jack House Gallery Summer Show Opens Tomorrow

Jack House Gallery’s first Summer Show opens this weekend and amongst the many and varied treasures on show are lithographs by established and renowned RA Chris Orr and rising star Caroline Walker. From an interesting new local perspective check out the ceramics with specially commissioned ‘Portsmouth Pots’ by Alice Mara and Marion’s Brandis’s mischievous feline beauties too. Some very German Expressionism by Stephan Geisler, drypoint poetry by Kate Boxer and Anita Klein’s distinctively stylised and quirky linocuts as well as John Dilnot’s exquisitely devised ‘boxes’. And there’s more….Barry Goodman’s collographs of vintage vehicles, Fabio Coruzzi’s city scenes and Susie Perrings badly behaved dogs. The gallery now has the best collection of fine art printmaking in the South and amongst the best are Portsmouth artist Chris Wood’s Portsmouth pubs, Mychael Barratt’s ‘art imitating life’ and the Greenwich printmakers have decided to stay with a great selection of their work still to be found in the gallery’s bulging print browsers. Be sure to drop by this new Portsmouth gallery and have a good look around.

You can find Jack House Gallery in Old Portsmouth open 11am to 6pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

Chris Orr Moonnlight.

‘Portsmouth Pots’ by Alice Mara

‘Portsmouth Pots’ by Alice Mara

Strong Island x Stonecarved

Stonemason and Lettercarver Thomas Appleton brings his Stonecarved Project to the main gallery space at Aspex in Gunwharf Quays this summer. The Stonecarved Project is about truth, status, memory and identity. Thomas has spent the past 18 months, visiting quarries around the UK, creating new work in stone showing in the gallery and on-line this August and September. We use the phrase ‘set in stone’ to define something permanent and true. But in our age of digital media, is there still a place of carving words in stone? Strong Island recently conducted the following interview with Thomas.


How did you find your way in to stone carving?

I was kicking around thinking about going to art school so started doing evening classes. I took a sculpture class, which included working with stone so soon I was booked on stonecarving classes and loving it. I’m naturally energetic and rather stubborn. Carving stone makes me slow down, think, and learn to work with a material on it’s own terms. There is something incredible about working with a material that is older than dinosaurs and leaving your own permanent mark. When you carve stone, every chisel cut is a discovery into a material that’s millions of years old, it’s a huge privilege.

In regards to the process, how does the time it takes to produce a carving influence your creative ideas?

I enjoy the journey of the process as much as producing the final work, so I try not to limit the idea by limiting the process and like to share the process as much as possible. I’m not into a big reveal, I like people to be able to see how work takes shape. The show at Aspex includes a time-lapse film in which I break all the rules of lettercutting. It made for an extraordinarily long process, from start to finish over seven months. If i’d stayed true to a more traditional process I could have carved it all in a day. For me, experimenting with process, while time consuming, can lead to interesting outcomes. While the show is on at Aspex, I’ll be doing some carving at the gallery from time to time so people can watch the process and how it comes together.


In your opinion, what does one of the oldest crafts have to offer in a world where digitally artwork can be quickly created and easily modified?

This is a really important question in my work. Does carving letters in stone still have a contemporary relevance? Yes, we use the phrase ‘set in stone’ to mean something permanent and true, but do we even notice stone carved inscriptions which have been created for social memory?

My belief is that carving words in stone is still relevant and potent, but then the question is whose words get carved… Most often, people only have the opportunity to think about carving words in stone for a grave marker. Over the last 100 years we seem to have evolved a generic language for memorialising our dead for example, ‘ forever in our hearts ‘ or ‘rest in peace’. I’m concerned that at pretty much the only time that people commission words in stone, the words people feel compelled to use are not their own but these socially expected or accepted statements. The Stonecarved project is rooted in a desire to know what words people really want to see set in stone.

What materials do you use? Where do you source them and how do they impact the work you create?

I often work with re-claimed or recycled stone. The exhibition features slates that have come from hearthstones and snooker-tables. The UK has an amazing geology which has shaped our country and how we live. I want people to reconnect with stone as an important native material. All the stone in the exhibition has come from British quarries, (many of which struggle to compete with cheap imported stone from overseas).


Is it important that your work is tactile? The engraved type three dimensional?

I learn and understand through working with my hands. Carving letters is really about playing with light more than touch, the shadow cast by the cuts in the stone is what makes the forms come to life.

Is there something special to the typefaces/fonts you use when it comes to stone carving, over say type used digitally?

Yes, letters caved in stone are closer to calligraphy than fonts or typefaces. The thick strokes and thin strokes in traditionally carved letters relate to brush strokes. So when designing letterforms I often start with a square-cut brush angled at 45% to understand where the weight and balance flows. The traditional method is to draw letters by hand and space them by eye. It’s a tricky business, but it allows the forms to relate to each other and the material in a what that digital type can’t

What do you see the future of stone carving to be in the art world?

I’d like to see more stone in the art world! There are incredible people working with stone, we have a wonderful resource in this country. It’s time for a new stone age.

Competition – win your own word(s) carved in stone.

Strong Island is partnering with Thomas to find the words you would like to see set in stone. A favourite song lyric, invented words you use with your family and friends. Nicknames, slang, colloquialisms – all welcome. Share your words during August using the #stonecarved and they’ll show in the gallery and on-line as part of the artwork. Next month, we’ll pick a winner who will have their words carved in stone to keep after the exhibition. To get involved tweet us here at @strongislanduk with the words you want to see carved, using #stonecarved to enter the competition

You can see the artwork as part of Thomas Appleton’s exhibition at Aspex Gallery, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth between 1st August and 27th September. Thomas will be in residency a few days week and also teaching a couple of letter carving workshops which you can sign up for via the gallery. We’re also planning other activities with Thomas in September.


Sam Brooks – Modernist Portsmouth Exhibition at Strong Island

This Thursday the 6th August Strong Island will be holding our much anticipated exhibition ‘Modernist Portsmouth’ by local artist and designer Sam Brooks.

Portsmouth Modernism is an original art series consisting of twelve prints that explore modernist architecture in the city of Portsmouth, Hampshire. The series’ origin can be traced back more than ten years to a piece based on the notorious Tricorn centre, and an experiment in how far its iconic design elements could be simplified whilst still retaining their distinctive forms.

The piece was eventually realised in its finished state as part of a 2014 exhibition that coincided with the tenth anni 2014 exhibition that coincided with the tenth anniversary of the complex’s demolition.Since then it has been expanded into a collection that celebrates what are arguably some of the most recogniseable and important examples of twentieth century architecture in Portsmouth. Some have become local landmarks, whilst others remain overlooked and anonymous. Some have integrated with their surroundings, relatively safe from destruction, whilst others, like the Tricorn, have already been lost; others still will continue to remain at risk from redevelopment and neglect.

By representing these buildings using stark, binary images, historical and geographical context can be erased leaving the pure architectural forms and detailing as envisioned by the original designers. Without the additional ravages of time and human indifference, it is hoped that they can be looked upon with fresh eyes by a community which may have come to at best take them for granted, and at worst begrudge them for what they have come to represent.


Sam was kind enough to give us a little background to the process of his work.

“I had most of the subjects in mind already, it was just a question of how many would be in the final series. I went and took pictures of each one, (preferably on a sunny day,) distorted them in Photoshop to create more dramatic or unusual perspectives, and eventually chose one or two as a guide for drafting the design in AutoCAD. This allowed me to further adjust the geometry and level of detail on the fly whilst keeping the precision I wanted to come across in the final pieces. Following this I exported the line art to Photoshop and added the text, colour and half-tone backgrounds. The final step was to create the desired look of a vintage print, which involved adjusting virtual representations of ink presses along with their various inconsistencies.

I saw it as a kind of challenge to try and positively present buildings that many would consider to be lacking in architectural merit.
With the Tricorn, the most frequent complaints you would hear from detractors focused on its decayed, uninviting condition, and how it encouraged anti-social behaviour – more reflections of how it was maintained by the city than a direct fault of the building itself. So in that sense it was almost easy to let the design speak for itself.

However, Barnard Tower or 176 London Road, for example, are a lot harder to sell. To look at them in person, neither successfully integrated with their surroundings, and aren’t particularly inspiring – they certainly aren’t making anyone’s list of great architecture. But when you strip back the materials and the context and the history, fundamental elements of good design can still be revealed. So this was kind of the aim of the series.”

This exhibition can be viewed for free starting with the opening night on the 6th August, 7pm at Strong Island, 12 Highland Road, Southsea. We highly recommend coming to view Sam’s work. The detail and work that has gone in to these pieces of art is outstanding. Below is just a sample of the 12 works that will be on display.







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Vintage Southsea Postcards

I dug these off the internet a while back and forgot I had them. Some real old school winners here. Click the read more link at the bottom of this article to see the full set.



Created Local – Matt Howarth

Local illustrator, blogger, cyclist and member of the I Love Dust crew has just relaunched his website with a brand new design and loads of new content. be sure to take some time and give it a good look, plenty of visual gems in there.

Portsmouth on Film – Episode 4

The new episode of Jonathan & Matthew Ring’s vintage family footage ‘Portsmouth on Film’ went up yesterday. This episode is of a bus trip from Old Portsmouth to Southsea to Eastney.

I still lament the loss of the Portsmouth Transport Museum.

Transport No. 1: Portsmouth Trolleybuses

With Portsmouth’s long history and particular geography it’s public transportation systems have been varied and have changed dramatically over the years. Over the next few weeks we are going to focus briefly on some of the more interesting ones, starting with the Portsmouth Trolleybuses.

The Portsmouth Trolleybus service provided by the Portsmouth Corporation was first introduced on the 4th August 1934 and covered most of the island and up to Cosham. The trolleybuses themselves were like normal double decker buses but were powered by overhead power cables like trams. The power lines for the trolleybuses criss-crossed overhead above the roads with routes and these wires became a constant in the city’s skyline, much like modern San Francisco and Vancouver.

The Guildhall (buildings in the distance are where the council buildings are now)

The trolleybus service continued until the 27th July 1963 and then sadly the wires torn down and almost all of the trolleybuses scrapped, today only two of the trolleybuses survive. No. 201, which was in Portsmouth’s transport museum before being moved, now lives on display in Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. No. 313 was the very last trolleybus to run but now is in fully restored working order and running at East Anglia Transport Museum (see it running here).

Ready for scrap (with the old airport in the background)

You can find out about all of the trolleybuses and see more photos here and watch below to see them in action with super8 footage from the 1950s and 1960s. Still looks strange seeing traffic through Guildhall Square.

P.S. Will the Portsmouth transport museum ever find a new home?

The Tricorn

It’s fair to say that we all loved The Tricorn outside of it’s it intent. A classic example of people reinventing architecture far beyond it’s original purpose. This short film doesn’t delve too deeply in to the many uses and inspirations The Tricorn had to offer, but it’s still a nice watch.

“An imaginative portrait of a futuristic concrete experiment of a shopping centre (‘the ugliest building in the world’ according to Prince Charles), built in the 1960s coastal town of Portsmouth, England. Loved or loathed, it developed a passionate cult following of artists and skateboarders but has now lost the battle for life.”

Directed by David Ferrone and Martin Fickling.

Portsmouth – Not The New Malta

Do you remember our post about Portsmouth, The New Malta and the advertising campaign that has been going on? The Telegraph has written a short article in response to the campaign. Check it out HERE and follow it up in the comments. Unfashionable, now come on Telegraph.

“We probably get about two weeks of sunshine at best, and you are more used to seeing people fighting than socialising in a quaint café,” said Tim Courtnell, a life-long Portsmouth resident. “The beach at Southsea is a mixture of shingle and Stella Artois cans on most days, and you wouldn’t think of swimming in the sea.”


Bike Ride Panoramics

We will have loads of photos and stories from Sunday’s hugely successful Strong Island Bike Ride and to get started we have some huge panoramics taken by George Crick. Sadly we can only show some of the small versions here that do not do them justice so be sure to visit George’s website to see the all of the photos in full size, and spot yourselves in there!

George’s panoramics will be available to buy in Wallspace Gallery in Albert Road from Saturday for a bargain price of just £35.

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.

The Infamous Harry Pounds Scrapyard Submarines

Many of you will remember the once iconic Submarines at the Harry Pounds Scrapyard on the way in to Portsmouth. We even featured a few photos by Robin Hinson back in 2010.

Although I never got to explore the sub aquatic giants myself I was lucky enough to find this little gem a few weeks ago. Although I can’t remember where, so sorry if I nabbed it and forgot to mention you.

Watch the video for a unique view of these “Uk, Admiralty Standard Range Diesels 16 Cylinder V mechanical supercharged monsters!”

Created Local – Mikey Ayling

Good friend of Strong Island and many Southsea locals, Mikey is quite the talent. He’s always been into art, design, photography, fashion, skateboarding, music and well, let’s just say all the cool stuff. He recently began his second year in Graphic Design (Communication Design) at Portsmouth University and he’s killing it.

Matt Sills from the Wallspace Gallery has helped Mikey produce 3 prints, on sale now, of which the ants ‘Tower Block’ is a limited run of 100 Giclee print and the others, ‘Do You Dream’ and ‘Love Life’ are open edition screen prints.

Get down Albert Road and grab yourself one of Mikeys prints. Seriously, these are like hotcakes I’m sure of it. Oh, and pop past The Little Johnny Russells Market on your way and grab some bargains.




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