Strong Island Co.

Art, Craft & Design

Aspex Gallery Wins Arts Council England Funding to Develop and Grow

Today it was announced that Portsmouth’s Aspex Gallery was one of 39 organisations to receive funding from Arts Council England in the latest round of their small capital grant programme. The £10.8 million of funding aims to help develop resilience by giving these organisations the right buildings and equipment to deliver their work, and to become more sustainable businesses.

“We’ve seen applications from organisations of all sizes, from far and wide, and it’s fantastic to be able to support their ambitions through our small-scale capital programme. This funding provides support to get many vital projects off the ground, ensuring the successful applicants have the right facilities and equipment to support and deliver their excellent work across the country.” – Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England

The grant of £158,504 will allow Aspex to finance the further development of their stunning historic building at Gunwharf Quays, extending their reach to a much wider audience. The project will include the development of a larger space for Aspex’s award-winning programme of participation workshop and events, which in turn will also improve the gallery’s hire facilities. The former education space will be transformed into a new artists studio, enabling the hosting of regular residencies by local and international artists.

A mobile participation studio will also be created, to allow the gallery to take its work out into the community increasing the number of people who are able to get involved in arts activities.

“As Aspex celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, we are thrilled to have received this significant support from Arts Council England and our small capital project will be an excellent way of starting our celebrations. It will enable us to develop our building to improve its facilities for audiences and artists, while also reducing our environmental impact and improving our sustainability.

Two key new features will be an artists studio, accessible to all of our visitors, who will be invited to engage directly with artists while they work, and a mobile participation studio which will help us to reach out to local communities in and around Portsmouth who do not currently visit the gallery.” – Joanne Bushnell, Director of Aspex

Further improvements will be made to the building’s environmental sustainability and Aspex’s digital capabilities will be upgraded. The build element of this project is scheduled to start in April 2016, and Aspex are currently working to raise the necessary match-funding required to release Arts Council England’s support.

We’re looking forward to seeing this much loved Portsmouth gallery develop and grow in what it offers artistically and through participation with the local schools and community.

Aspex Gallery, Photo © Oliver Tubb/Paul Miller/Victoria Chapter

University of Portsmouth Graphic Design Pub Quiz 2016

A firm favourite in the annual diary, the University of Portsmouth Graphic Design Pub Quiz brings together loads of creative minds to battle it out over a quiz packed with design related questions. If you know your pantones like the back of your hand and can spot your typefaces from a mile off or if you don’t know your Comic Sans from your Impact, the night is always good fun and raises vital funds for the final year students in helping them organise and set up their London graduate show.

The rounds are as follows:

Round 1 – Graphic Design
Round 2 – Typography
Round 3 – Music
Round 4 – Mystery
Round 5 – Bonus

As well as the quiz there is also a raffle with lots of great prizes plus Gentle Bren (a course graduate and awesome designer) will be DJing too.

The quiz kicks off from 7pm on Thursday (11th February) at the Fat Fox on Albert Road. It is only £2 per person to enter with teams of a maximum of 5 members. If it is anything like previous years, it will be an awesome night.

The posters (two shown below) are all created by final year students. Liking the xerox drag.

University of Portsmouth Graphic Design Pub Quiz 2016

University of Portsmouth Graphic Design Pub Quiz 2016 (1)

Hotwalls Studios – Applications For Studios Now Open

Since the early beginnings of Hotwalls Studios (once previously named the ARTches project) local creatives have been keen to find out more and to sign up for one of the studio spaces. The time has finally arrived and formal applications for Hotwalls Studios are now open!

The Hotwalls Studios is located in the unique and important heritage buildings, known collectively as Point Battery. Thirteen studios are available in total, ranging in size from 194 square feet (18 square metres) to 258 square feet (24 square metres). Hotwalls Studios can be used between 7am to 11pm, seven days a week and Portsmouth City Council expect the studios to be occupied for at least 30 hours a week during this period. You can apply to rent a whole studio or to share with another person/business.

Portsmouth City Council have produced a studio application pack which contains detailed information about the studios, including rents and terms, to request a pack get in touch with PCC by emailing:

The deadline for applications is the 25th March 2016, so get involved!

Hotwalls Studios is due to open mid-summer this year, we’re really looking forward to seeing this fantastic new creative hub in the city.

ARTches Proposal Consultation (3)

Frame Loom Weaving and Navajo Weaving with Alice Hume

On Saturday 27th February Alice Hume will be hosting a weave workshop in Fratton 10am-4pm. For the cost £40 students will learn how to make their own fabric, warp their own Loom, finish and create their own woven wall-hanging or decorative fabric.

Alice Hume is a Textile Artist who graduated from Winchester School of Art with a degree in Textile Design: Woven Textiles. She also had the opportunity to study Woven Design at the Swedish School of Textiles in Boras, Sweden in 2012. Her Native Beards Woven Collection has been exhibited in Edinburgh and London as well as being featured in Cover Mag and an Ebook with TextileArtist.

Materials included are a home-made Hume Loom, tools and a variety of yarns. Looms are for course use only, but will be available to purchase at the end of the workshop. You are welcome to bring along strips of fabrics, beads or anything you want to experiment with.

To find out more information or to book your place Don’t hang around because spaces are limited!

Frame Loom Weaving



‘Our Worlds Are Minds Apart’ Group Exhibition at Coastguard Studio

Coastguard Studio is no stranger to epic group shows and this month we see another with ‘Our Worlds Are Minds Apart’. This new exhibition brought together by Oh So Curious Illustration, is an A – Z artist book exploring imagination from a wide variety of local creative talent. The project touches on lots of different mediums such as illustration, graphics, photography, fine art, 3-D, textiles, collage, printmaking, old school animation, street art and digital. The whole 9 yards of creativity pretty much.

The exhibition opening night is Friday 12th February 6pm to 9pm and will run just till Saturday 13th. So no sleeping on this one because if you snooze you will lose.

Artists involved in ‘Our Worlds Are Mids Apart’ are:


Check the Los Dave poster for more details (each artist has their own teaser poster which is a cool idea – collect the set) and hit up the Facebook event HERE.

'Our Worlds Are Mids Apart'

Southsea Flea Market This Saturday

This Saturday sees the return of the Southsea Flea Market at St Swithun’s Church Hall on Waverley Road, just off Albert Road. The market will be an eclectic and affordable mix of vintage/retro & modern mens’ and ladies’ clothes, bric-a-brac, jewellery, textiles, furniture and collectables. The flea market runs from 12:30pm to 3:30pm.

After browsing the stalls be sure to sit down for a chat over a tea or coffee and get involved with the homemade cake too.

Check the flyer below for more info and the Facebook page.

Southsea Flea Market Flyer

Southsea Flea Market (2)

Seeded’s First Annual Craft De-Stash at the Square Tower

Craft store Seeded (located on Winter Road) are hosting De-Stash this Sunday at the Square Tower, their first annual event where people can bring along their stash of wool, fabrics, paper-crafts, buttons and general haberdashery to sell on and people can come along and buy items for new projects. All selling tables are now taken, but get in touch with Seeded to add your details to their list for the next event.

De-Stash kicks off at the Square Tower at 11am on Sunday 7th February and runs until 3pm, tea and cake will be available too. Admission is free!

Find out more at the Facebook event and check out the Seeded website too:

Seeded - De Stash

Creative Census Portsmouth 2015 is Now Closed

Creative Census Portsmouth 2015, a project run by Strong Island and Claire Sambrook with the support of Portsmouth City Council to take a snapshot of the many people & businesses in the Portsmouth area who work in the creative industries, has now closed for submissions. A huge thank you to everyone who took part!

We’re now in the process of collecting all the data together and in the coming months we’ll be creating a report which we aim to release to the public before the summer. The report will contain all of the interesting information drawn from the data and we’re working with award winning Portsmouth graphic designer Sam Barclay on its design.

We’ll let you know as things progress and visit the Creative Census website for more information:

Last Couple of Days to Take Part in Creative Census

We’re coming down to the last couple of days when people can get involved with the Creative Census, a project run by Strong Island and Claire Sambrook with the support of Portsmouth City Council. The project aims to try and engage with as many people & businesses in the Portsmouth area who work in the creative industries. We are also hoping people & businesses outside Portsmouth (but who work in the city often) will also get involved too.

To take part in the Creative Census you or your business/charity/organisation just need to work in the creative sector (e.g. photographer, illustrator, designer, craft, architect, songwriter, fashion designer, etc. – see the website for the full list) and be based and/or work in the city – from a volunteer all the way through to a large agency or organisation.

Deadline to take part is midnight Sunday (31st).

It takes a few minutes to complete and will go to help us build (for the first time) a snapshot of statistics and information that we hope can really show how Portsmouth and Southsea are on the national creative map. Check the photos below for just a few of the great Portsmouth & Southsea creatives who have already taken part.

To take part simply visit the website:

Creative Census Portsmouth – Measuring the creative temperature of the city of Portsmouth

Jon Adams Performance Piece ‘Games with the Water Horse’ at New Theatre Royal

Portsmouth artist Jon Adams is a ‘lab associate’ at New Theatre Royal, which will be hosting his latest performance piece Games with the Water Horse on the evening of Saturday 30th January. Jon works across platforms using sound, drawing, written word, photographic manipulation, installation and more through ‘art in public’. His work references his Asperger’s and dyslexia weaving in fragments of autobiography, science and hidden metaphor.

Building on Jon’s experiences, learning and encouragement from Sir Peter Brook and cast of ‘Valley of Astonishment’, Games with the Water Horse is a performance instillation piece. At its heart, it is an exploration of consciousness, life story, art forms, and neurodiverse thinking. The piece involves Jon standing within a circle reading 60 ‘minutes of an hour’ which are scattered once read. These minutes interweave and explore 6 personal stories over multiple dates and times but which are all intimately connected. The performance journey calls on Japanese metaphor and imagery. There is an overarching imagery of water that pervades the piece, the title, for example, refers to the hippocampus, mythical water beasts but also the section of the brain responsible for memory and PTSD.

A two-part performance; the first half will see Jon perform his readings and the second-half will involve a ‘memory man’ Q&A with the audience. Before the performance the audience will be asked to remember a minute number they are interested in and Jon will recount the story behind the number.

Games with the Water Horse premiered at Venice Biennale 2015 and showcased at Turner Contemporary November 2015 during their ‘Risk’ season. Tickets are only £10 and available at the box office and online:

Jon Adams Performance Piece 'Games with the Water Horse' at New Theatre Royal

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Fog Lights!

I love fog, even more so at night time because all the street lights are on and it’s like this weird eerie zombie town. People appear out of no where and even cars creep up on you before you notice them in the deathly silence of the fog. I watched, or should I say waited, as the the Hovercraft came over from The Isle of Wight. I could hear the roar of the engines for five minutes till I could actually see the craft as it pulled on to shore. Spooky.

My little point and shoot isn’t much cop in low light fog but there are a few more over on my Flickr

Local Photographer – Eamon Lane

A recent arrival to Portsmouth, Eamon Lane has been out and about the city recently shooting photos on the street and at local events such as Love Your Bike. Below are a few examples of Eamon’s photography, visit I Love Slugs to see more.

Two for a Fiver mate…

I’m really digging this Tea Towel they have for sale down Clarence Pier. Great little illustrations of some of our more recognisable landmarks and modes of travel. A great addition to any kitchen.


Aerial Photographs of Portsmouth

Webb Aviation have hundreds of aerial photographs to purchase from all over the country. Click the link to see the Portsmouth Aerial Gallery and view photos from over Gosport looking across Gunwharf, all the way down to the Hayling Ferry.

aerial photograph by

aerial photograph by

Local Photographer – Diana Goss

A familiar and friendly face around Albert Road, Diana Goss is a freelance creative portrait photographer with her own studio and whilst based in Southsea is often found all over Portsmouth as well as Bournemouth and Brighton too. Specialising in both Fashion and Boudoir work (see, and going by her website ( and Flickr obviously enjoys any type of people portraiture both in the studio and outside at such events as Goodwood Revival, music shows, weddings and even equine work. Not only that but you most likely have seen a few of her common props around town, a 1960’s Bentley, a 1955 Oldsmobile in red with red leather seats and a 1960’s red Pontiac!

Some of Diana’s work is available in Albert Road in Matt Sills’s Wallspace gallery (you may have also picked up a few free prints during the last Albert Road day) and if you’re interested in any commission work such as model shoots and portfolios, event photography or are interested in modelling for one of Diana’s photography projects give Diana a shout via email.

This is a cross processed film shot Diana took of the Wallspace Gallery with her namesake camera, a Lomo Diana and below that are a few more examples of her work:

XPRO Gallery

Portsmouth on Film – Episode 1

Jonathan & Matthew Ring recently released a book of archive Portsmouth photography that was taken by their grandparents over the years (find out more about the book HERE). As well as photographs they also found a load of footage filmed around the city and have just released their first episode of their Portsmouth on Film.

This episode has some great footage from the early 90s, including some from the Tour de France.


The now defunct Brickwoods Brewery was Portsmouth’s largest local brewer before it’s final demise in 1983. Many old pubs (and many houses that are converted old pubs) still have tiles and signs with the old brewery’s name on so in a way, it still lives on, just in the city’s background. Keep your eyes peeled. You can find out more about the company here too.

I came across these amazing beermats via Google, some interesting designs. Notice the sun motif…


Southsea Typeface

When ever possible I like to do the odd piece that’s just for me, just for fun. This came about off the back of something I was doing for work. Messing around with pens and pencils, then putting it through the computer. Maybe I’ll tackle Strong Island at the weekend! Oh, and for those that know him it’s Borneos birthday this Friday. KST then on to Albert Road. Be sure to check my flickr photostream to see the carnage.

Click the read more link to see a whole variety of colours.


It’s going to be a Strong Movember – Join The Team

Righto chaps, keep that mighty moustache on the grow in support of Movember for The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. For 30 days of November you can help support and raise awareness through selflessly parading your top lip for charity.

You can sign up yourself, as I’m sure many of you already have, or you can join the Strong Island team and seek out sponsorship as a team. Through the Strong Island Movember page you can ask people to join the group, make donations, upload photos and post updates via the MoSpace page, Facebook and Twitter.

Head over to our MoSpace if you would like to get involved and grow a Strong Moustache to help raise awareness, or simply head over to and sign up to personally raise money.

The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers – prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

Poster: Tristan Savage

Matt Saxey’s Bike Ride Photos

Head on over to Matts Flickr and check out a few more photos from last Sunday’s ride. Great photos that really help capture the event.



Strong Island Clothing Co.