A dash of Mexico in Medway and a different view of Tracey Emin in Margate. My Kent Creative Coast week-end

On Saturday I drove to Gillingham Pier in Medway, a thirty minute drive from my home in Whitstable on the Kent coast, to get aboard Lightship 21 to catch up with Päivi and Gary, aka the Captain and Skipper. LV21 is a lightship that’s being transformed into a ‘floating cultural facility’ and has been the venue  for a variety  of creative happenings this week.

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Thanks to funding from Kent County Council masses of people have enjoyed participating in creative activities as part of Kent Coastal Week.  I met this lively band who had spent the day building their own guitars from cigarette boxes, for just £17.50. They made a very fine sound too.

 

 

I also enjoyed the art exhibition that had made excellent use of this unique  space but which required a certain level of fitness to climb up and down the ladders. If you visit leave your high heels at home!  My favourite work  included Isle of Sheppey artist, Laurie Harpum’s bird nest.

 

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I really liked the collages inspired by the north Kent marshes and created by Rochester’s Fiona Spirals too.
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As I left Gillingham Pier it started to rain and blue skies turned to grey but my next stop was Boundary Wharf in Rochester, awash with colour thanks to Medway Fine Printmakers;  Xtinia, Adam and Jane, who were celebrating Mexico’s Day of the Dead by providing a wonderful range of creative activities for adults and children.

I joined Jane to make this colourful decoration using a printer’s discarded tin, a hammer, chisel and nail varnish!

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As part of the Canterbury Festival Fringe, artists in Canterbury and Kent’s coastal towns have been opening their homes and on Sunday I visited Margate to meet some of the artists.

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First stop was to see artist Jon Bidston,  who moved to Margate from Whitstable about 3 years ago. The move has been good for him, his family and his art and I really enjoyed seeing his  work including this lovely collage of Tracey Emin and another of Margate’s seafront. I couldn’t resist buying  a limited edition of this wonderful collage of Whitstable High Street.

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I also called in to see Ruth McDonald and other Margate based artists at Jill Pantony’s  Hazelwood Studios  in Cliftonville. I finished my tour at Resort Studios which has cleverly built sheds inside a former furniture repository to house artists including Nick Morley and Rachel Ella Taylor and other creative businesses.

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If you’re thinking of visiting Kent or live in Kent and would like to find out about where you can enjoy creative activities and happenings and ideas about where to stay please join me and lots of lovely creative and tourism people every Monday evening from 8-9pm on Twitter  for the  virtual #createinkent Tweet up or sign up for my Kent’s Creative Coast e-news.

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