31 January 2011

Jolly ceramics

From here & there, housed in the V&A's study collection.

Trees in winter

Faces of ancient Egypt

Seated male scribe, 2450 BC. It's in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo - and in the video compilation on Matilda's Anthropology Blog.

More faces - and heated discussion about the racial composition of early Egyptian society - here. (I haven't read much of the discussion - it's the visuals I'm interested in - but did see the words "clearly demonstrates", which should always be read as a warning that the "facts" they refer to have been carefully chosen.)

30 January 2011

Blown glass

These "apartments" are part of the Craft Council's touring exhibition, "Breath Taking: Revealing a New Wave in British Glass Blowing". An informative illustrated pdf is available online at http://breath-taking.org.uk/assets/gallery-guide.pdf.

More glass artists can be seen at glassartistsgallery.com.au


Wonderful photo of archaeological remains on Salisbury Plain, from the English Heritage website. Reminds me of the welts raised by ritual scarring
done for beauty; here, on a woman from the Congo.

Teddies a-go-go

Doll's house

Designed by Jessie M. King (1876-1949) in 1912 as part of a nursery, to be shown at an exhibition in Paris - you can just about see it at the right in the photo below.
"It has the organic but restrained curves typical of the new Glasgow style of architecture."

29 January 2011

A titillation of teapots

At the V&A's ceramic studies gallery.

Upside down maps

It's only centuries of convention that makes this map look wrong. Why should North always be at the top? Why should England always be in the middle? If you live in other countries, it makes more sense to have maps tailored to your own world view. See more examples of "upside down maps" on this site.

When the map below was handed out at Euston Station one week, some years ago, there was uproar - "this is all wrong!" said many people; "I can't figure out where I am" said others. Just because South is at the top.
But I think it makes perfect sense - you come out of Euston Station (bottom right) and where you're going is ahead of you - no need to turn the map around unless you need to walk north ...

Exhibition in a box

Ever rush past something, intending to photograph it later - but when you did return, it had disappeared? That happened in the V&A shop when I saw the "Exhibition in a Box" by Tom Martin. Fortunately it's on the shop's website, so I borrowed these luscious images
Each Box is unique, signed and numbered, and contains 20 mini prints.

Tom Martin studied printmaking at Anglia Polytechnic University and worked for several years at the renowned Curwen Studio near Cambridge editioning artist’s original prints. He experiments with various techniques ranging from printmaking, painting, paper engineering (incorporating moving paper automata) and creating box/book works.


The wool came from our trip to Wales a couple of years ago, from the Erwood Station Craft Centre, in fact. (Happy memories.) This top, seen readymade somewhere, consists of two squares with a boat neck and ribbing around the arms and at bottom. Fortunately I wrote some "instructions" for this easy piece of knitting and pinned it to the front before putting it away. Maybe it will get finished before too long ... cosy winter evenings in front of the telly ...


Isn't the internet wonderful - connecting, via the blog, with people in islands off the coast of Africa and in the middle of Australia!

27 January 2011

A certain take on collage

This is the work of John Stezaker - see (lots) more here. It's a bit Surrealist, and "an elegant juxtaposition", yes? That phrase came from the Saatchi Gallery's write-up, which also says: "John Stezaker’s work re-examines the various relationships to the photographic image: as documentation of truth, purveyor of memory, and symbol of modern culture."

Be that as it may, the photo started some thoughts/imaginings about CQ's upcoming Pictorial Consequences challenge... which is very like this one, reported earlier.

Stezaker's show at the Whitechapel Gallery runs till 18 March. "With over 90 works from the 1970s to today, the artist reveals the subversive force of images, reflecting on how visual language can create new meaning."

Picture book museum

The library (in Japan) serves three preschools, and has open days so that other people can visit, see Tadao Ando's architecture, and enjoy the international collection.

The founder had only one instruction for the architect: he wanted to see the book covers.


Photos from thedarkvictory.blogspot.com - one of those blogs that are all photos, no text. It seems the top image is by William Keck (1908-1995) and the bottom by Guy Bourdin - though judging from Bourdin's photography for Vogue and elsewhere, it hardly seems possible.

And then there's this famous image by Paul Strand (1916) -

Art I like - Ellsworth Kelly

Brushstrokes Cut into Forty-Nine Squares and Arranged by Chance. 1951
This piece is 14" square and is part of On Line: Drawing through the twentieth century, an exhibition at MoMA which you can see here.

Thames Valley CQ meeting

Going to Bracknell by train on Saturday gave me some more time to develop ideas for "sky birds". I'd crumpled up sections of each strip of tracing paper, and then traced flying bird silhouettes on non-crumpled parts. Rushing to catch the train meant my needles and thread were left behind, so I couldn't sew these "pages" together - but having them loose means that I'm still thinking of other ways to present this -
At the meeting our morning speaker was Gabrielle Forshaw, who has done beautiful and interesting work related to museum collections, working with textiles, paper, or beeswax. "I frequently employ textile and clothing which has had a previous life," she says, "seeing it as a palimpsest where nothing is lost and memories of life remain as imprints within the fibres' integrity, continuing to shape and define the piece as I re-work its surface."
Here's more of her work - and a book of photos of her work. Making a book like this is something she suggested we all do, to get some "distance". Gabrielle's themes of memories and "small journeys" really resonated with me.
After a chatty lunch, we were introduced to silk paper making. My results, not-quite-a-box, are here, and a more detailed account of the workshop is on Sandy's blog. I liked the fact that you could simply tease out the fibres of the cocoon strippings and wet them, pat them down, and the sericin left on them will glue them together -- how simple and easy is that! I've ordered some fibres for making more (and better?) boxes.

More inspiration for "sky birds"

This is by Scottish artist Douglas Robertson - but I can't find it on his website. It came from the artpropelled blog, which is not to be missed.

Also the current posts on Douglas Robertson's blog are building up to become a book - January is "national small stones writing month". (If only I'd known earlier....)

26 January 2011

Another misty bus ride

When I went upstairs on the 171 bus and found the front seat empty and the window fogged over, out came the camera! This sequence takes us from Holborn to Elephant and Castle (click on it for a slightly larger view) -
Some actual photos, starting with Waterloo Bridge -

Model Engineering Exhibition

Much fun to be had at this show at Alexandra Palace -
Radio controlled traffic systems -
Mecanno masters -
Something for children of all ages, and the child in all of us -
We did love these models of old boats -
and admired the skill and dedication of people who made the replicas, down to the finest detail, often making the parts from scratch. An unexpectedly enjoyable day out!


All to be found at the Model Engineering Exhibition - useful to someone...

Last week at college (and elsewhere)

My plan to use the blog as part of my reflective journal for college seems to be falling by the wayside. To do so requires (a) keeping current and (b) recording the ruminations. After a busy week last week I hope - no, intend - to get back on track.

My college week started with the collaborative seminar - and after that, another look at the Evolving English exhibition at the British Library (and dinner at the nice little African restaurant in Drummond Street).

Wednesday started with a visit to the karaoke-and-costume exhibition at Peckham Space, which celebrates Peckham's heros. John Galliano and Michael Caine, for instance, both attended Wilson Road grammar school - where we have our book arts classes.
Boris Karloff "great master of horror" came from Peckham too; along with trying on wigs and other bits of costumes, some of us had to try the Frankenstein mask -
After the visit, a box-making workshop, and then the "research lecture" - given by Martin Newth, director of the photography course at Camberwell, putting his own projects into the context of the history of photography (or vice versa). Some names from my notes: Vilem Flusser, Frances Frith, Atget, John Stapp's deceleration project, Stuart Brisley's "dust" (an online photo that degrades every time it's looked at), Fox Talbot, Lucio Fontana, Dr John Murray in India, Paul Virilio's Bunker Archaeology (full text here), Muybridge's panoramas, David Bates. Newth's current project has to do with the pillboxes/bunkers, residue of threatened invasions - who knew there are so many dotted round the country! I'm very drawn to Newth's "8 Hours" series and to "Rush Hour" - which use long exposures to remove people from the scene.

(Writing that last sentence has given me much cause for reflection.)

On Thursday I managed to leave my camera at home and thus have no images of the textile printing session. I used two more screens of the roads-that-make-monsters and did some more printing on the deconstructed jacket and on some flat fabric - using neon colours and puff-binder.
This piece hasn't been ironed yet, so the puff isn't visible; the fabric is interfacing found on sale in the college shop. You can see from the faint print that the screen could be used only once before needing to be washed out - in a situation like that you need several screens on the go so that one can dry while the other is in use.

After class, to the RA to see the Art Fashion Identity show (excellently interesting; finishes 30 Jan) - via the exhibition of Cathie Pilkington's work at Marlborough
(love that horse - looks like something from Joseph Beuys's childhood...) - and then a film on Gerhard Richter at the National Portrait Gallery. Thus endeth the Tues-Thurs college "week" - Friday is at-work day; Saturday was the TVCQ meeting, of which more later, and Sunday we found ourselves looking around not one but two shows; more of those later too, I hope.

25 January 2011

Box making

At the 1pm Wednesday get-together last week, Renee had us making boxes - measuring, cutting -
using gummed tape -
I didn't have cutting mat, scalpel, etc etc so said I'd make one when I got home. Which I did, and not even the lack of gummed tape stopped me - I used strips of thin cotton fabric instead, and tried to put on a hinged lid -
Yes it looks just a little clumsy and clunky!
At the Thames Valley CQ group meeting on Saturday, we made silk paper ... and I wondered if it could make a box ...
It's awfully flimsy, and the divider will need some stitching to stay in place (and careful handling) - the cover needs a bit of help too!

These boxes are meant to hold the pill-nests I've been making. They need a little (just a little!) more work...