Cover Artists

Every edition of ROSA features the work of a contemporary Sussex artist or maker on its cover, with an in-depth interview inside.

Katharine Swailes and Caron Penney

Textile artists Katharine Swailes and Caron Penney, who make hand-woven tapestries to be framed or wall-hung, are explaining to me what ‘weft-faced’ means, it being the name of their business and studio: Atelier Weft-faced. “Weft-faced is the front, which looks – well should look – perfect.” Penney and Swailes are dressed identically in buttoned-up blue work shirts, dark blue jeans and round rimmed glasses. Their irongrey hair short and undyed, their nails short and clean, their skin bare of make-up, they present themselves – visually, at least – as two halves of a whole.

Read on

Jason Mosseri

All around me are turned spokes and fine spindles on shelves and curved wood on hooks, smooth planks in ash or beech, elm chair seats, chisels, hammers and bookshelves bursting with books on carpentry, meditation, woodland management, art. This wonkily roofed, homespun studio feels like an alchemist’s workshop, where spells might be concocted, and magic performed. It is crammed yet ordered, and leaning against the edge of the worktable – tattooed from neck to ankle, wearing faded red shorts and a pink T-shirt, yellow and red WORZL flip flops, with curly brown hair and spectacles – is the 52-year-old magician himself… Read on

Geraldine Swayne

I meet Geraldine Swayne one early July morning at the doorway to her studio, at the top of a flight of wooden steps. Hers is one of fifty units in The Yard, on Waterworks Lane, a collection of Victorian red brick buildings, outsized beach huts and old stables which is home to an oddball collection of artists, artisans and craftspeople, from cake-makers to dog groomers. It’s very Hastings. She’s wearing a black boiler suit, grey tortoiseshell reading glasses and a welcoming smile… Read on

Jo Sweeting

Before we meet to talk, sculptor Jo Sweeting tells me her favourite book is Bird Cottage by Eva Meijer. Bird Cottage tells the story of Gwendolen Howard, a young woman who moves to Ditchling in Sussex after a failed romance, gives up on people, and fills her house with birds. She is interviewed by the ornithological societies and even approached by the BBC, but nobody believes what she is saying – that sparrows are individuals, that robins and tits (which fly in through her windows and sit on her shoulder) suffer loss and sorrow, joy and fear. ‘Len’ writes two books about her observations, but they are considered unscientific. She dies, unsung… Read on

Lisa Creagh

Artist Lisa Creagh is taking a break from her mad, mad life in New York, visiting family in San Franscisco for the week. She’s soon to turn 30, and is in the midst of an existential crisis. Should she stay in her adopted home city, where she creates artworks in her rented studio, curates regular group shows in a pioneering gallery on 5th Avenue, and hand-prints her photographs in the community colour-darkroom next door? Or should she go back to England, where most of her family live, where she was brought up? It seems increasingly parochial back home, when she visits. It’s been five years, now. Her accent has changed. Her mindset has changed. Will it soon become too late for her to be able to settle back in?… Read on

Lisa Jones

“I was on a walk in Suffolk, and I saw a sign pointing me to ‘The Spong’.”

I’m sitting with a cup of tea in the studio which ceramic artist Lisa Jones shares with eight other makers, at Great Walstead School, just outside Lindfield. She’s been given an open-ended residency there, in return for a bit of teaching. She’s telling me the story behind one of her sculptural ceramic artworks, which looks akin to the innersole of a shoe, folded up over itself. Though very elegantly so, and in an interesting shade of grey… Read on

The Baron Gilvan

“I don’t paint topographical landscapes. I won’t just paint Cuckmere Haven.”

Chris Gilvan-Cartwright is in his studio, showing me a sixfoot-tall abstracted-landscape diptych. The studio takes up half of a converted barn, in Firle, and the diptych takes up half the back wall. He’s wearing a flowery shirt, a trilby, and shorts. It’s hot outside. There’s a lot of gesturing. His enthusiasm is infectious… Read on

Fergus Hare

Snapshots of everyday lives, deftly painted in acrylics, on linen. No sense of the who, or the where, or the when. Welcome to the ambiguous, deliciously wistful world of Fergus Hare… Read on