Taking a creative road trip around the Kent coast

Maxine Clarke is co-founder of Camper Bay and writes about why she thinks a road trip, preferably in a classic VW camper, is the perfect way to explore the coast to meet some of Kent’s eclectic artist community.

twister1Based in an old train carriage on the Dungeness estate on the remote western edge of Kent, Paddy Hamilton has been inspired by the beauty and wildness of this unique landscape. He has also found echoes here of the African plains where he grew up. Pieces include oil paintings on linen, drawings and lino-cut relief prints of beach views and structures, vehicles and found objects. Dungeness Open Studios are exactly that – open year round.

Hythe is  home to my business and with its beautiful bay,  Fisherman’s Beach and lots of green spaces it’s a great place to live.  It has a quirky high street full of independent boutiques and creative businesses including artist Andy Tuohy‘s studioAndy’s distinctive illustrative designs evoke vintage travel posters, often focusing on very British subjects including beach huts,coastal landscapes and seaside landmarks. You can see his fondness for the Kent coast in some of his most iconic pieces including his new specially commissioned work for Turner Contemporary.

turner-contemporary-margate-andy-tuohyJust five miles from Hythe, Folkestone’s Creative Quarter, at the heart of the town’s regeneration, has been home to Shane Record since 2005. Continually inspired by his hometown, Shane finds no end of painting subjects from the sea and South Downs to the harbour, the Leas and surrounding Kentish towns and villages. His vibrant canvases and prints highlight the effects of light and movement on everyday views.

Travel north from Folkestone and you can stop in Dover to visit the new gallery located in the clock tower on the seafront or take a break for fish and chips at the Coastguard in beautiful St Margaret’s Bay before arriving in Broadstairs. This town is a wonderful mix of Victorian architecture, hidden cobbled squares, sandy beaches and a renowned ice cream parlour.  Artist Cath Deeson  and her family live there and much of her work is inspired by the Kent coast. She rediscovered the joys of lino-cutting later in her career and now creates quirky limited edition coastal scenes and typographic prints, cards and bags. Cath’s work can be bought online or at her husband’s restaurant in Canterbury whilst enjoying delicious locally-sourced British tucker.

P1000232From Broadstairs it’s a short drive to Whitstable and Reculver Towers is a perfect picnic spot en route. Whitstable is home to textile artist Jan Lewis who made the break from a graphic design career in London to indulge her passion for vibrant colour and texture by the sea. Jan’s specialities are beautiful felt creations, often commissioned by people who want to wear something truly unique at special occasions and pieces for the home.

Jan also produces dichroic glass jewellery and her work can regularly be viewed at the Horsebridge Arts Centre in the town and at open studios. She also runs felt-making and machine embroidery workshops from her base, Raspberry Studio.

Whitstable Biennale starts this Saturday 31st May.

Broadstairs Folk Week with over 500 events, including workshops and craft tent is from 8th- 15th August.

The third Folkestone Triennial will take place from 30th August to 2nd November.

East Kent Artists Open Houses takes place over three week-ends in October/November.

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