Wealden Times Mid-Summer Fair

23 May 2018
by Nick Holker
Rolvenden Windmill

We're preparing for the Wealden Times Fair which is taking place on June 7th 8th and 9th at Hole Park, Rolvenden, just round the corner from the windmill in this painting of Andrew Redden's.

We'll be exhibiting much of Andrew's popular 'My England' series as well as prints of some of his paintings for the 100 years of the RAF exhibition.

We'll also have a selection of cards and board backed prints.

We look forward to seeing you there!

General Data Protection Regulations

23 May 2018
by Nick Holker
Rare Skills Gallery stand

On the eve of the new GDPR regulations coming into force, we would like to assure all of our customers that we take our responsibilities over personal data very seriously. Rest-assured we only use the information you provide us with to ensure that you receive what you have ordered. We will only contact you in relation to the fulfilment of your order. We will only send you our Quarterly Newsletter to keep you informed about any events, private views or special offers if you request it. We will not share your personal information and take care to ensure that it is kept safely and securely.You can read our full policy in the Contact Us section of the site.

Supermarine S6B

26 Apr 2018
by Nick Holker

The Supermarine S.6B, piloted by Flt. Lt. John Boothman, won the Schneider Trophy outright for Great Britain in 1931.

Designed by RJ Mitchell, the elegant racing seaplane was subsequently developed into the iconic Spitfire fighter.

Prints: Signed, mounted artist's proof in 50 x 50 cms wooden frame – Price £295 (collection in person only, I'm afraid)

Schneider Racers

20 Apr 2018
by Nick Holker
Schneider racers


1913 - 1931

Racing seaplanes were the cutting edge of technology in the 20s and 30s and pilots from the RAF High-Speed Flight were keenly involved in development, racing and record-setting. Although they didn't all race together, this Supermarine S.6, Macchi M52 and Short Bristow Crusader illustrate different design approaches to achieving maximum speed.

Original: Acrylic on canvas, size: 50 x 70 cms - £1200 excluding delivery

Prints: Signed, mounted artist's proof to order - from £175 excluding delivery

Please contact for details: nick.holker@rareskillsgallery.com

RAF Centenary- Nieuports

18 Apr 2018
by Nick Holker

Exhibit 1.



The nimble, French, Nieuport 17, shown here on patrol in Aeronautique Militaire livery, was the aircraft of choice for many British aces including the first to capture the public's admiration - Captain Albert Ball VC.

Original:Acrylic on canvas, size: 50 x 50 cms - £875

Prints:Signed, mounted artist's proof to order - from £175

I00 years of the RAF

03 Mar 2018
by Nick Holker
Join the RAF

An exhibition of work by well-known Kent artist, Andrew Redden

To mark the centenary of the formation of the RAF, Rare Skills Gallery is holding an exhibition of paintings, drawings and print works by Andrew Redden.

Each of the images in the collection portrays an aspect of the RAF's activity, whether in war or peace. While focussing on the sculptural elegance, design and engineering of some of the most significant aircraft in history, his work also reflects on the human endeavour and sacrifice.

Andrew grew up in Kent close to Biggin Hill airfield and the unique sound of vintage Rolls-Royce Merlin engines in the skies overhead is one of his earliest memories.

His father, who had been an engineering apprentice at Rolls-Royce Derby, and a navigator in the RAF in the '50s, regularly took him to air shows and provided him with the facts and figures to spark a life-long interest.

As a result, Andrew gained an appreciation of the shapes, sounds, smells, textures and engineering that combined to create such aviation icons as the Spitfire, Hurricane and Vulcan.

His images are both technically accurate and highly atmospheric, often evocative of the style and colour palette from the era of the subject.

The exhibition runs from Thursday 12th April to 30th June 2018.

If you would like to attend the open evening on Thursday 12th April, please email nick.holker@rareskillsgallery.com for an invitation and further details. Andrew will also be discussing this work at a 'Meet the artist' dinner at the Hotel du Vin in Tunbridge Wells on 22nd June.

Handbags with a little bit of theatre sewn in

15 Jan 2018
by Nick Holker

The Rare Skills Gallery in Forest Row celebrates the work of 20 plus artists and craft makers with exceptional talent and creativity. As a result, in addition to a wide variety of original paintings and prints, we have a wonderful collection of vibrant ceramics, art glass, textiles and decorated wooden bowls and boards. We are particularly pleased with the hand crafted leather bags, belts, wallets and purses that we offer.

One of our distinguished exhibitors is Victoria Baker who worked for many years as a costume designer and maker in the field of Theatre, Film and Dance. She made costumes for such well-known film actors as Glen Close, Julia Roberts, and John Malkovitch, as well as for productions in the West End and, even more challenging, fringe theatre.

For the past 15 years, Victoria has focussed her design and exceptional hand crafting skills on making beautiful and unusual handbags in high quality leathers and textiles.

Her extensive knowledge of historical garment construction has led to visual ideas on form and texture that feature in her recent designs for bags. As she says:

"Shape has always played an important part in theatrical costumes and this has influenced the design and techniques which I apply to my handbag making. But I have also had to learn a new set of skills like skiving, paring, burnishing and using a saddlery stitch etc. And I'm still learning!! "

Another influence stems from Victoria's work in Indian theatre and dance where bright fabrics and other media were used to create flashes of colour - a technique that is now seen in the linings of her bags.

Owners of Victoria's bags delight in the knowledge that they have bought an exclusive, stylish, yet practical handbag that has been lovingly crafted by a true master of their art. A seasonal discount is currently on offer making them even more attractive.

New additions to My England series

15 Jan 2018
by Nick Holker

There are three new additions to Andrew Redden's My England series for 2018. The first is a study of the interior of the Palm House at Kew.

The next is a near photographic painting of the magnificent Radcliffe Camera, part of the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

The Third is Cliveden, a spectacular house first built in the mid 17th century, but most famous for its association wth the Astor family and latterly the Profumo affair.

The original paintings of all three are available for sale and prints can be ordered in four different sizes ranging from 50 cms x 70 cms posters to A5 mounted prints.

Rare Skills @Trinitytheatre launch event

06 Apr 2017
by Nick Holker

From 10.00 a.m. on the 25th April to 12.30 p.m. on the 7th May we're holding an exhibition at the Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre in Tunbridge Wells. Entrance to the Exhibition is free.

We will be showing a wide variety of original paintings and prints from George Antoni, Claire Gill, Andrew Redden, RIGS, Graham Sendall and Sonya Tatham.

All of the work, which includes several previously un-exhibited pictures, is available for sale, and can be purchased through the box office. Local delivery can be arranged.

We're having an opening event on Tuesday 25th from 17.30 to 19.30, when we will be serving appropriate refreshments and nibbles and you will have an opportunity to meet some of the artists. Since numbers are limited by the capacity of the Gallery, if you'd like to join us, please contact us on info@rareskillsgallerycom or call the Rare Skills Gallery during office hours on 01342 457443.

During the fortnight, the exhibition is open all the time that the foyer is open, so, from 10.00 a.m until whenever the show starts on a given evening. From the 25th to the 29th the main performance in the theatre is Alan Ayckbourn's Private Fears in Public Places which starts at 19.30. So it could be the beginnings of a very cultural evening.

Spotlight on Rare Skills - Dennis Hales

30 Mar 2017
by Nick Holker
Dennis Hales woodturner

We first met Dennis Hales at one of the excellent Sussex Guild craft shows last year. Dennis described himself as making a 'guest appearance', since his workshop is actually in Norfolk. However, it easy to see why his presence is eagerly sought at all manner of quality craft events across the country including exhibiting at the Worshipful Company of Turners of the City of London, of which he is a member.

Dennis works with locally grown sycamore, holly, ash and maple - particularly clean white woods which offer him a natural canvas for a wide variety of finishes. He turns, carves and textures the surfaces and then uses airbrushing, hand-painting and marbling techniques and water soluble, modern analyne dyes or traditional dyes such as Vandyke crystals to give a blend of colours and shades which enhance the natural features of the wood.

After decorating and lacquering, some of his work is then treated to elaborate and highly-skilled gilding using 24 carat gold, copper and double weight silver leaf, before being returned to the lathe for further work to achieve an intricate, iridescent patina. A further two coats of lacquer effectively encapsulates the gilding to minimise any risk of tarnishing.

As a result, this extraordinary work achieves a sympathetic balance of form and finish.

We currently have about a dozen pieces of Dennis's work.. but they are very popular, so don't leave it too long to pay us a visit.