Ceramic Studio

The Ceramic Studio workshop run by ceramicist Anna Thomson at the De la Warr Pavillion this season gave 24 participants the opportunity to learn about slip-decorating techniques including inlay, trailing, marbling, stencilling and sgraffito.

In response to the large ceramic wall murals by Renee So in the main gallery, participants cut and slip-decorated clay tiles to create a mini mural or a series of relating tiles for themselves. A colour palette was chosen to reflect the colours and tones from Rene So’s work. The stages clay goes through from initial forming through to finished glazed ceramics were explained and all the tiles made were fired and glazed at Anna’s studio.

The work produced really explored the techniques with fabulous results and all gained an insight into the skill and work involved for Renee So to produce her large ceramic murals.

A big thank you to volunteers and young creatives who helped with the delivery of this workshop.

Find out more about Renee So’s exhibition here.

Renee So, Ancient and Modern, 2019. De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, with West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. Image by Rob Harris.


Musical Matinee Club: White Christmas

I never feel particularly Christmassy in the first week of December, but now that I’ve sung and danced my heart out with the audience of “White Christmas”, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

For this Musical Matinee Club screening each audience member received a red neckerchief with a piece of feather trim attached to dress up. The auditorium was awash with festivity from the start.

As we sang “ I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, with every Christmas card I write..”, we held our Christmas cards aloft, we waved our fans while the Haynes sisters sang “Sisters”, we saluted the General every time he was mentioned on screen, and we made a huge, wonderful snowy mess!
Each audience member was given a bag filled with cotton wool balls, and every time we heard the word “snow”, we threw one ball. The film features a song where they sing “snow” 31 times – you can imagine the mayhem that ensued!

The dance break (to Jingle Bell Rock) was extremely lively, worthy of top marks, in my humble opinion, but our judge on this occasion was a hard marker and gave us a 8 (after some negotiation!).

I remain inspired by so many wonderfully playful spirits in the audience, and the commitment of the staff and volunteers, putting in 100% to make this screening a truly fun-filled afternoon out to remember.

Roll on 6th February for High Society!

Musical Matinee Club: Funny Face

Funny Face is an extremely colourful film, so at this relaxed, enhanced screening, we brought as many colours from the screen into the auditorium.

During the song, “Think Pink”, we waved a length of pink toilet paper, we wore green toilet paper on our heads, while Audrey Hepburn sang “How Long Has This Been Going On”, and we wore blue tissue around our waists and heads, as we sang, “On How To Be Lovely”.

There’s a lot of talk about how they thing Audrey Hepburn’s face is perfectly “funny”, so we made our own faces a little bit funnier too, by wearing a red nose, and making it squeak every time we heard the word “funny”. Some people enjoyed the squeakers so much they squeaked them the whole way through!

The film features a trip to Paris where Fred Astaire photographs Audrey Hepburn in beautiful clothes, in glorious Parisian settings as they fall in love. During the song “Bonjour Paris”, we gave ourselves a workout, holding up a “Bonjour” sign with one hand, and an onion (to represent Paris) in the other.

S’wonderful! S’marvellous! To be spending time, singing, dancing, laughing and having a jolly good afternoon out together with friends old and new!

By Suzy Harvey

South East Creatives: The Success Stories – 18 Hours

Creating mesmerising and memorable experiences for the whole community

With a passion for diversity and community, 18 Hours delivers events, education and activities that engage and resonate
A host of vibrant local festivals and events are planned and produced by Mandy Curtis and the team at local organisation 18 Hours. Events include Hastings Storytelling Festival, Streets of Rother, Little Gate Big Festival and many more.

The Journey

With twenty years’ experience in events, education and research, Mandy ran the Development Centre and Global Fusion festival at Pestalozzi Village before going on to deliver local festivals including Coastal Currents with producer and writer John Knowles. After taking time out to do a PHD, she set up 18 Hours in 2013. Marketing expert Naomi Robinson joined Mandy, initially as a volunteer, and since then the team has grown to six. Running a portfolio of around ten festivals, each member of the team has a different specialism, but all get involved in many aspects of the events.

‘We have an amazingly versatile team with everyone helping each other out to deliver what matters most to all of us – creating a fantastic experience for our audiences.’ Mandy Curtis, 18 Hours

Storytelling and more

Since 2008, 18 Hours have produced Hastings Storytelling Festival which celebrates the art of storytelling through magical, moving, joyous and often raucous spoken word, dance, puppetry and digital performances. Sir Quentin Blake is the Festival’s Patron and four Children’s Laureates have appeared. Events have ranged from puppet shows in local schools to crazy nights of cabaret, performance and adult stories at the Velvet Curtain events.

But festival planning and production is just one strand of 18 Hours’ activity. The organisation also works with schools to embed the principles of global citizenship in the classroom, with modules ranging from environmental sustainability to British values. They also manage research projects in diversity, community and the Creative Industries for clients including Rother District Council and Hastings Borough Council.

A not-for-profit organisation, 18 Hours relies primarily on funding and some sponsorship. With decisions often made annually, forward planning, particularly around cash-flow, can be challenging.
Also, with the increasing number of festival and events in the area, 18 hours would welcome more co-ordination and network support opportunities.

But the greatest challenge the team faces currently is a lack of storage space.

‘Over the years we’ve amassed a huge amount of equipment and props, that have gradually taken over the office,’ says Naomi. ‘So, although we love being in the buzzy environment of Rock House with other creative and digital small businesses, we’ve outgrown the space.’

‘For small creative businesses like ours, finding affordable workspace is an issue,’ says Mandy ‘The area is crying out for more reasonably-priced options, preferably with capped rents.’


One issue which has been resolved this year is transport. Mandy was using her car to ferry equipment and props to and from events and continually having to make multiple trips. Now, thanks to a match funding grant from the South East Creatives programme, the team have a bought a Peugeot Partner van.

‘Getting the van has been transformational. Just being able to load up and go saves us so much time and effort.’ Naomi Robinson, 18 Hours

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, South East Creatives aims to give small businesses in the creative, cultural and digital sector a boost through a programme of grants and business support through workshops, training, mentoring and events.
‘Getting the grant was pretty straightforward,’ says Mandy. ‘The local South-East Creatives co-ordinator Marina Norris supported us through the application process, we got the go-ahead within a month of applying and then had three months to spend the money. This coincided with our busiest time of year so put us under pressure slightly to find the right van quickly. But we’re so pleased now we’ve got it and we especially love the fantastic signwriting on it which was done by Sign Tek in Eastbourne.’

Future plans

In the same way that 18 Hours took their Streets of Battle festival concept and applied it to Streets of Bexhill, the team are now exploring opportunities to expand their existing festivals franchise into new areas. The team is also managing two exciting new projects in 2020, but details are still currently ‘under the hat’.


See more South East Creatives success stories.

18 hours team with van
Dick Danger Dives into a Bucket at Streets of Bexhill. Picture by Kim Hall
Circo Rum Baba with their show L’Hotel at Hastings Storytelling Festival. Picture by John Cole
Thingumajig Theatre and Vocal Explosion Massive at St Leonards Festival with the show Ghost Caribou. Picture by Kim Hall

Tapestry Taster – Learning to weave with DLWP

Barbara Flint talks us through our Tapestry workshop

The workshop was a wonderful opportunity to experiment and discover a new craft technique.

The tutor, Philip Sanderson, from West Dean College, was an extremely knowledgeable and experienced tapestry weaver and a fantastic teacher. He included a very interesting introduction to the history and work of the West Dean Tapestry Studio and followed it by giving us a clear
step-by-step guide to a few of the basic techniques of tapestry weaving, from making simple blocks of colour to creating diagonals, dots or ‘beads’, stripes and other linear patterns.

The time flew by as we all concentrated on trying to produce professional looking samples in a calm and relaxing atmosphere, resulting in a small example to take home. The techniques of tapestry weaving are sophisticated and become ever more complex the more complicated the design, however this felt like a very comprehensive introduction and I for one, am inspired to make a loom and keep on weaving!



By Barbara Flint

Play Circle at DLWP – Monday 11 November

We launched Play Circle at DLWP this month, a new session for learning and play with little ones…

It’s a cold crisp Autumn morning, the ground floor gallery is flooded with golden sunlight and artist Renee So’s ceramic and textile works look stunning. On the bare wooden floor we have marked out a circle with brightly coloured lengths of cloth. The circle is geometry’s most democratic shape. Everybody joining the circle is included. Everybody joining the circle is equal. Welcome to Play Circle – DLWP’s new series of monthly creative sessions enabling toddlers to do what comes naturally to them: PLAY!

Storyteller Kevin Graal, our facilitator for this first Play Circle, says:

We don’t need to teach toddlers how to walk. They do it by themselves. When they take their first steps, we just need to encourage them and make sure they’re safe. In the same way, we don’t need to teach toddlers how to play. We just need to – ever so subtly – facilitate it. That’s why we’re introducing Play Circle at DLWP. We want to create a space in which toddlers and their adults can play together freely – without preconceived outcomes – but with light-touch guidance and inspiration from creative practitioners. We want to show that as well as the proven links between play and the development of cognitive and social skills, play also has its own intrinsic value as a way of finding out about the world and everything in it – including ourselves.

As the Roman poet Ovid said more than 2000 years ago:

“In our play we reveal what kind of people we are.”

Play Circle takes place on the 2nd Monday of every month with a session at 10.15am for members of the general public and a further session – expanding the play circle – for toddlers from a local early years setting. Sessions will be facilitated either by storyteller Kevin Graal or dance artist Anne Colvin together with experienced DLWP volunteers.

Musical Matinee Club returns with Singin’ In The Rain!

Musical Matinee Club’s fabulous hostess Suzy Harvey recaps the glorious return of the disability and dementia-friendly film series

It’s official. I LOVE the Musical Matinee Club!

After a break of about two years, 160 of us came in out of the actual rain, and gathered in the auditorium to watch Singin’ In The Rain. It was a delight to see so many faces of folk who used to come, and to welcome so many new audience members.

I dressed myself as part Gene Kelly, part Debbie Reynolds, and we all sported our very own plastic rain macs (made from yellow bin bags)!

We each had a goody bag of props to use during the film, lovingly loaded by our incredible volunteers. Each time the actors tap danced on the screen, we tapped some spoons together to create the sound effects. We wore feathers in our hair, threw streamers in celebration, waved lengths of toilet paper in the air, sang out loud and danced along throughout.

Mid-film, during our dance break, we danced to Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head and It’s Raining Men and a wonderful audience member gave us a very encouraging critique and a score of 9 out of 10.

It was such a delight to be back, in the company of such committed staff and volunteers, and playful, open-hearted audience members.

Roll on 26th November for Funny Face!

Tourism marketing partnership launches new website

1066 Country Marketing, the private/public sector organisation which promotes 1066 Country to visitors, has launched its new website.

The launch took place in Battle on Hastings Day, Monday 14th October, and was attended by over 60 partners. The date marks the anniversary of the battle in 1066 that gave us our name, and makes us so well known nationally and internationally.

Stewart Drew, the chair of 1066 Country Marketing, explained:

“Our new website www.visit1066country.com marks the end of a long process which saw the introduction of a new strategy, refreshed communications, and a new way of marketing to our key target audiences. We have been assisted in this by Sussex-based Blue Sail and local company Playne Design. This work prepares us for the next ten years, ensuring that we concentrate on our most important markets.

“The website gives us the opportunity to more effectively promote the region, the individual destinations within it, and new contemporary themes such as culture, music and active sports.

“We’ve had some really good feedback on the new website already, and I would like to pay tribute to everyone who has helped us, including our own in-house team.

“Tourism is really big business locally, worth well over £600m to the local economy annually, and supporting over 14 000 jobs, so it is vital that we continue to invest in marketing 1066 Country.

“If any tourism or leisure business would like to find out more about our work and showcase their business to potential visitors regionally, nationally and internationally please contact us at 1066membership@hastings.gov.uk

Dr Richard Sykes, Chair DLWP Charitable Trust, 2003 – 2008

We are deeply saddened at the passing of our patron and former Chair of Trustees Dr Richard Sykes.

Richard was Chair of the De La Warr Pavilion Charitable Trust from 2003 – 2008, leading the Board during the refurbishment project of 2003 – 2005. He loved his frequent visits to the Pavilion and was passionate about its role in the Bexhill community to whom he keenly listened – he was always happy to relay to us the views of the taxi driver who had met him from the station! He applauded the fact that our bandstand was co-designed with local schoolchildren and was a great admirer of its architect Niall McLaughlin, whom he went on to commission for a personal project. A contemporary art collector with his wife Penny, Richard supported young, emerging artists and enjoyed being at the centre of a debate with “bright young minds” over good food and wine. Richard will be remembered as a larger-than-life character, a charismatic leader who could see through and sum up a situation with a memorable turn of phrase and a loyal friend and supporter of the Pavilion. We will miss his generous company and extraordinary wisdom.

“Richard was instrumental in the delivery of the comprehensive refurbishment in the early 2000s, alongside Alan Haydon and Emma Morris, navigating a challenging funding climate, and showing extraordinary determination to see the project through to completion. The result of which was one of the first iconic cultural centres in the south east. Richard continued to support and advocate for the Pavilion right up until his passing. He was a friend, mentor and inspiration to us all’
– Stewart Drew, CEO & Director De La Warr Pavilion.

Dr Anthony Leonard, Executive Director of Rother District Council added “Without Richard’s drive, energy and foresight; working with the Pavilion team and key agencies such as the Arts Council and Heritage Lottery, the Pavilion would not be where it is today. Rother is eternally grateful for the commitment and leadership that Richard showed. He will be remembered as a key influencer in the history of this Grade 1 listed building and standing in the community”


Photo: Richard Sykes and Penny Mason celebrating DLWP’s 80th anniversary on 12 December, 2015
Photo credit : Sin Bozkurt


Taking traditional darning to another level…

As a De La Warr Pavilion volunteer, I didn’t anticipate that I would be getting involved when I arrived at the workshop. I expected to be working in a supporting role. However, I soon realised that I was to be included in the learning experience and it didn’t take me long to adjust and become absorbed in the afternoon’s activity.

Having watched my grandmother sew a very, very long time ago, darning was a technique I only half-remembered. It was really nice to learn how to darn properly and to discover that there are many different and varied effects that can be achieved within the process.

Celia Pym, our tutor from the Royal College of Art, was an absolute expert and very inspiring. She organised the session very well with a clear introduction explaining what we would be doing and distributed explanatory diagrams and books for inspiration. She touched on the history of the craft and provided all the materials except for the garments which we had brought from home. Celia brought along a contagious enthusiasm for the craft. The way darning can extend the life of well-loved clothes, not only in a practical way, and also how it can create beautiful and sophisticated objects in the process. The very act of working on a piece of clothing in this way personalises it, making it harder to throw away. It can even turn it into an exceptional art object.

Celia demonstrated how we could solve the problems created by moths in jumpers, cardigans and socks and the wear and tear on cuff edges. She showed us how to use thicker thread on jackets and fine delicate thread on cashmere to great effect, subtle or bold, with either matching or contrasting coloured wools. Intriguingly, we could turn the random nature of the holes into something creative.

The process was calming and relaxing and it gave us all an opportunity to talk and share things in common whilst producing some very varied results that were lovely to compare at the end of the day. I felt so involved by the end of it that I just had to complete my sample at home later and it left me feeling that I could embrace those random moth holes rather than fear them and, in future, find creative ways to keep my old favourites going!

All the best,