Blog by Clarke Reynolds

Here’s a guest blog from Clarke Reynolds, a visually impaired artist who has been working with the museum’s collection as part of our collaboration with charity Outside In.

Wow, what a day!

I believe we made history using the Stanhope Press that printed out the original  London Underground posters back in the day. Myself, a visually impaired artist, Clarke Reynolds and a professional Printmaker, Typographer Tom Boulton printed out Braille.

Yes, you heard it here first! Braille – a tactile typeface used to help blind people read…

But if you took Braille out of its context and looked at the pattern, it’s a beautiful graphic design and, for an artist who can’t see, I still appreciate good design.

The way the dots in a simple domino pattern create graphic shapes especially when you write sentences – as the negative space is as important as the positive..

So as an artist, I had this idea of producing it in print and this course has allowed me to fulfil this ambition with the help of Tom, who fully embraced my ideas, making a box of dots and blanks plus cheat sheets as you have to mirror the Braille and you can imagine how hard that is with letters that are different – try it with the same shape as a circle..

I feel really blessed to be producing work on a press that has so much history, with all the guild members printing books and posters ..To be allowed to follow in their footsteps is a great honour and I hope I’ve done the ethos of the guild proud.

So we achieved history, I think, by printing out A-Z in Braille using black ink on yellow paper, as this is a high contrast for visually impaired people. For me as an artist, the process was exciting, pushing the boundaries of typography and what Braille can be. In the future I want to take Braille beyond what you normally touch and see, allowing people who can see  to appreciate the design. Teaching Braille through pattern recognition not just about tactility -they also can learn Braille just like I have through my art.

Why we’re ditching Black Friday for Museum Shop Sunday

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, we look ahead to Museum Shop Sunday – a local, ethical way to do your Christmas shopping. Here are the best reasons to ditch the Highstreet this year in favour of independent stores (including the museum’s beautiful Cart Lodge shop + café!)

1. You will find something unique and handmade
Independent shops are treasure troves filled with one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones. The museum’s Cart Lodge Shop is expertly curated by Jen Ogilvie (pictured), who handpicks items by local, independent makers. Local shops are perfect at this time of year when we’re all on the hunt for unique gifts that the recipient doesn’t already have!

2. You will receive good advice from a friendly face
You can’t beat the personal touch of a local owner who knows their products inside out, and our lovely staff and volunteers are always happy to help with your purchase. It’s also worth remembering that local shops stock an inventory based on their own customer’s choices rather than national trends, so they are really finding what you want to buy rather than what they want to sell to you.

3. You will support the museum
Our shop keeps the museum alive! All profits go straight back into running the museum, so you are helping a charity when you shop with us. Even by buying a cup of coffee you are putting money back into the museum and this supports us in everything we do, from maintaining our collection to cleaning the museum.

4. Your spending will boost the local economy
Research on spending by local authorities shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business. This is simply because the makers who are in our shop will then put that money back into the local community, thus circulating the money and enabling the community to thrive. From jewellery to dinner plates, we have work from a number of local makers, like Sussex ceramicist Lucy Ogden (below).

5. You can get a good deal
Shopping local needn’t mean spending more money. There are often deals to be had, for instance at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft you can become a member of the museum from as little as £20, which entitles you to free museum entry and 10% off in the shop. Even better, if you generously give your time to the museum as a volunteer you will receive a 20% discount in the shop!

6. It’s good for the planet
Buying from a local shop that works with independent suppliers reduces the use of fossil fuels as goods are not transported across the country. In fact, our Natural Dye seeds are harvested in the museum’s garden and sold in the shop so have a zero carbon footprint!

Once again, we will be taking part in this year’s Museum Shop Sunday where you can buy beautiful and original books, cards and handmade gifts in a ‘feel-good’ shopping alternative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There will be tastings from the café, a free canvas shopping bag with all purchases over £50, 20% discount off our new range of merchandise designed in collaboration with Cambridge Imprint and a Creative Christmas Craft workshop for families.

Do all your Christmas shopping whilst supporting your local artists and makers. You do not need to pay museum entry fees to come into the Cart Lodge shop + café, and we are open 6 days a week (Tues – Sun).

Looking to the Past to Inspire the Future

Two Feminist Wikipedia Edit-a-thons will improve coverage of forgotten craftswomen while looking to inspire the next generation of makers

A Digital Feminist Mission

Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft will host two Feminist Wikipedia Edit-a-thons on Saturday 1 June and Saturday 12 October.

Wikipedia has become the world’s encyclopedia, but less than 10% of its editors are women. This lack of inclusive participation has led to an alarming gap of content in the world’s most popular online research tool and female artists are not well documented in its pages.  Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft aim to help put that right by running two sessions with expert Wikipedians. Participants are invited to come along and get free training in Wikipedia editing and then work with us and our experts to put information about 20th century craftswomen into the public domain.

The edit-a-thons will include tutorials for the beginner Wikipedian, ongoing editing support, reference materials and refreshments. People of all gender identities and expressions are invited to participate.

Many of the craftswomen featured in the museum’s exhibition Women’s Work are lesser-known figures of the arts and crafts movement, yet their impact was hugely significant. Potters Denise Wren and Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie, as well as weavers Alice Hindson and Elizabeth Peacock all contributed significantly to the narrative of the movement, yet do not have the status or recognition of their male counterparts. During these two events – which bookend the exhibition – the museum aims to create new entries for craftswomen who are not represented on the site as well as building on pages that already exist but are incomplete.

Throughout the exhibition, which runs until 13 October, visitors will also be invited to contribute the names of forgotten craftswomen to a Roll of Honour in the museum’s gallery. Visitor’s nominations will guide the selection process for the craftswomen’s Wikipedia entries worked on during the edit-a-thons.

Looking to the future

Following the first edit-a-thon, Tuesday 4 June sees the launch of a public residency at the museum. The Weaving Residency in association with Cockpit Arts will showcase the work of weaver Alice Timmis, who specialises in Jacquard woven fabrics, hand-woven bespoke cloth and embroideries. Alice will be working on a large George Maxwell loom, part of the museum’s permanent collection. The marriage of the historic loom and Alice’s contemporary style celebrates the resurgence of interest in this traditional craft. Visitors are invited to come along to see the maker at work and learn about slow fashion and ethical production.

We Are 5!

5thbirthdayflier-emailOn 20 September, it will be exactly five years since Sir Nicholas Serota ceremonially opened Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft after a £2.3m re-development. The project was funded  by the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as many generous donations by charitable trusts, foundations and individuals.

The reopening heralded an exciting phase for the museum; with a major refurbishment by Adam Richards Architects, a dedicated learning space with an engaging programme of events for adults and children, a new shop and cafe, purpose built collection store, a research room and new displays.

We have overseen so many exciting projects exhibitions, public programmes and events over the last five years, and we are inviting everyone to come and help us celebrate. On Saturday 22 September, we are throwing open the museum doors for free for a day of music and craft activities. Most exciting of all is the final appearance of Morag Myerscough’s Belonging Bandstand, which will be given pride of place on the village and will feature bands and events throughout the day.

We can’t wait to see old and new faces – check the timings below, then come and join in the fun!


  • Handspinning : Demonstration & hands-on opportunity.
  • Weaving : Demonstrations (and possibly also hands-on opportunity).
  • Stitching : Add your own colourful stitches to a special project.
  • Papermaking (morning only) : Have a go at making cotton rag paper dyed with colours from the museum’s dye garden & take home one or more beautiful sheets of coloured and petal filled paper.
  • Mark Making with Botanical Inks & Handmade Brushes :
    – Sessions at : 11.00 – 11.45am 12.30 – 1.15pm 2.00 – 2.45pm 3.30 – 4.15pm
  • Indigo Dyeing : Dye and take home a cotton tote bag, silk hanky or silk scarf in beautiful indigo blue, using shibori patterning techniques (tickets from the museum shop : tote bag: £5, silk hanky £2, silk scarf £7.50)


Wood Engraving Printing : Keith Petit will be on the Stanhope Press printing a newly commissioned museum wood engraving.


Letterpress Printing : Help to print a letterpress A3 limited edition poster on a Farley Press designed by Tom Bolton (aka Typetom). Tom will also have a pop-up shop.

Secret Collection Store Tours : With the museum’s curator Donna Steele. Wait for a tap on your shoulder.

12.45-1.15pm : Platapus
1.30-2pm :        Derrick Hughes & Ian Chisholm
2.15-2.45 :        The Woodville
3.00-3.15 :         Spoken Word
3.30-4pm :        The Astrelles
4.15-5pm :        The Astrelles
5.15-5.45pm :   Ashley Knowles and Georgie Fuller


Make Belonging


What does the word ‘belonging’ mean to you? Where do you feel you belong, and what values and issues do you and your community hold dear?

In the spirit of Corita Kent: Get With The Action and Morag Myerscough’s fantastic Belonging project, we are inviting Instagram users everywhere to create their own messages of hope and belonging – not only will your posts be featured here on our website, but they may also be printed and displayed in the museum alongside our visitor chalkboard messages. You can even print off your posts and use them as posters in your local community activities

All you have to do is take a photo of what ‘belonging’ means to you and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #MakeBelonging. Do you feel like you belong the most when you’re in your kitchen, with your friends, or out in the community talking about things that matter most to you? Be as creative as possible; whatever your interpretation, we’d love to see it!


Belonging comes to Sussex

Morag Myerscough Belonging“Begin, look, connect and create, work and play, celebrate!”
– Barbara Loste, (Learning from the Heart, 1992)

Look out for award-winning contemporary designer Morag Myerscough’s new work Belonging, touring around Sussex throughout the summer. Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival and Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Belonging celebrates the spirit of seminal 1960s Los Angeles artist Corita Kent whose work brought together a belief in the strength of creativity, togetherness, love and social justice. It will be Myerscough’s first-ever mobile installation: a bright, bold, touring bandstand programmed in conjunction with communities across Sussex.

Myerscough will run workshops based on assignments taken from Corita’s inspirational book Learning from the Heart (a blueprint for creative exploration and community empowerment, published posthumously in 1992), to produce creative visual responses to the theme of ‘belonging’. Each group will then work with Morag to create a series of placards that will adorn the crown of the specially-commissioned bandstand. Fully portable, the structure will be hard to miss as it is taken on a countywide tour of festivals and community events, programmed for the enjoyment of local residents and visitors. One workshop participant from the Crawley community felt that:

[The workshop process] left me with a great sense of acceptance of where I am and who I interact with but, more importantly, a huge and warm feeling of Belonging!”

Launching at the Children’s Parade on the opening weekend of the Brighton Festival, the Belonging Bandstand will tour to Your Place venues in Brighton and on to the South of England Show at Ardingly, Crawley Festival, Newhaven, Ditchling and Coastal Currents Arts Festival in Hastings, taking on a different local character with each new iteration as the placard formation of the crown is changed to show off the communities’ own designs, and as the bandstand is programmed with local performers.

Myerscough is internationally renowned for her dazzling, colourful, typographical designs, and discovered a kindred spirit in Corita’s work and spirit:

I feel a deep connection to Corita’s approach as she is about being REAL. Corita insists that ‘creativity is based on close observation of the ordinary’. I know I often have to dig deep and start appreciating the small things around me, what are the things that really make you happy, it does not have to be about fame and fortune but about love, friendship and working together to make things better. Corita taught her students how to keep ‘their eyes and minds open’ which is so essential to continue doing relevant work at any age that can connect to the world around us and make a difference.”

The project has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England. Steph Fuller, Director of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, commented:

I’m delighted that we have received such generous support from Arts Council, England. Together with artist Morag Myerscough, our co-commissioning partners Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival and our partners out in the community, we will now be able to bring an amazing artistic project to Brighton and Sussex, growing our audiences and giving more people opportunities to take part in arts and culture.“

Beth Burgess, Brighton Festival Executive Producer, added:

We are thrilled at the prospect of supporting Morag to undertake this project and to once again partner with Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, which we believe will enhance the visual art and participation offer of the Festival and our surrounding communities.”

Iain Nicol, CEO of South of England Agricultural Society who run the South of England Show, expressed the organisation’s enthusiasm in hosting the Belonging Bandstand:

We are really excited to be hosting the Morag Myerscough bandstand at the South of England Show on 7 – 9 June this year. Her work with community building and the theme of ‘belonging’ reflects our work as a charity, bringing town and country folk together to enjoy a unique showcase of agriculture, horticulture, equestrianism and the countryside. Her bandstand will be the centre-piece of our Family Zone where people gather to enjoy great music, food and entertainment”.

The project accompanies the exhibition Get With The Action: Corita Kent, showing at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft from 5 May – 14 October 2018. Corita was an American artist, a famously charismatic educator and a Roman Catholic nun based in Los Angeles during the 1960s. As an advocate for social justice, she believed in the democratisation of art, producing screen-printed posters and banners incorporating advertising slogans, song lyrics, biblical references and commercial design into her Warhol-inspired work.

The exhibition will feature a commission reflecting on the concept of belonging in the museum’s Wunderkammer by Myerscough and Luke Morgan. A second edition of the duo’s Sign Machine (2016) will also be installed in the introduction space.

Belonging Bandstand Tour Dates
(Further details and dates to be announced)

5/6 May: Brighton Festival, opening weekend at the Children’s Parade
19/20 May: Brighton Festival, Your Place, Hangleton
26/27 May: Brighton Festival, Your Place, East Brighton
7-9 June: South of England Show
2-7 July: Crawley Festival
25-27 August: Newhaven
September (tbc): Coastal Currents Arts Festival, Hastings/St Leonards
22 September: Ditchling (as part of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft’s 5th birthday