31 May 2011

Southend at the South Bank

In the shadow of The Shard, Southend brings beach huts - everything from sound installations to a library - The world's longest strip of bunting was made by the people of Southend-on-Sea -
And further along, the sandy "beach" -
All part of the celebration of the 1951 Festival of Britain.

29 May 2011

28 May 2011

Proofreader needed

Stroud Green Road, N4 - I go past this just about every day and haven't noticed "the missing L" - but here it is on the google map. (Next door, the shop - shuttered almost since time immemorial - is Topic Records - only the oldest independent record label in the world.)

Book du jour

While sorting through some of this week's screenprints I found the gaps made a kind of path -
a path that could be straight as well as crooked -When it came to using these sheets, I wanted to make a set of tiles (stepping stones?) that could be rearranged into various paths. These are 3.5" square, with the paper glued around fairly thin card. Thicker card would be more satisfying - and easier to rearrange.As well as being laid out they can be overlapped -
These are 1.25" square, made with leftover bits of paper -
Nor could I simply put the leftover leftovers into the bin. Something about the layering of the negative space appealed to me -

27 May 2011

This week at college

A strange week at college - nothing for us part-timers on Tuesday while the full-timers were having their Unit 1 assessment. They laid their work and reflective journals out on a table ... and went away, leaving the tutors to spend the day in the room doing the assessment. So, a strange week for them too...
Wednesday morning - screen printing - while waiting for new screens to be used for printing fabric for bags, I used the old screens to print some envelope interiors and more large sheets -
Back in the other building, the designer-makers had set up their interim show - lots of interesting objects to ponder -

Thursday's "slight delays" on the Victoria line had me using a different route, via Oval station (Northern line - shown black on tube maps). Love those arrows on the old-fashioned signs -Screenprinting involved Victoria line and Piccadilly line blues - and trying to mix the right green for the District line -
More of the large sheets (still no new screens, pending delivery of the emulsion) - the blank areas are bits of fabric or sheets of paper, going toward my stockpile -
By the end of the day I'd been to the college shop to buy some A4 paper of various sorts, and printed a few of those (one side only) -
Also this week I've been thinking about the process of drawing, researching rather randomly, and borrowing more books from the library - notably Edgelands, which has a little chapter on "desire paths" and lots more that can be found in this peripheral "landscape of inattention". Psychogeography, maybe.


These feet are rather static, but there are other places where soles/souls can be seen moving overhead - for instance, the glass gallery at the V&A and the Millennium Bridge. This could be another way to add photography to my journey lines...

A bit of cropping, and some playing around (literally - I have no idea why things happen) with Curves -
It's all too easy - and rather random - fortunately the element of randomness is part of my project ...

Using "Levels"

A little playing around in Photoshop with one of the photos in the previous post... First I changed the Mode to Greyscale, and then moved various sliders in Levels to see what would happen. Results: darker --
and lighter --
What next -- cropping? editing out some of the bright areas? distortion? My skills in Photoshop are currently limited to those three things.
hmm, maybe not... Just goes to show how important that foreground is.

And didn't it rain!

Are these the April Showers we missed last month, or a hint of storms to come throughout the summer? It's the sunspot maximum, which could affect weather ...

Throughout the day there were rumbles of thunder and fusillades of rain on the (leaky) glass roof of the studio. At closing time, the sky was still dark and there were intermittent patterings on the glass. Brian kindly supplied me with binbags to protect the work, and even found an umbrella. Waiting for the bus, I was so grateful for that umbrella!When the drops started jumping back into the air, I fumbled beneath the binbags for the camera - of course just at that moment my bus finally arrived -
Another queasy attempt -
I was surprised at how the photos caught those moments. Or have I reinterpreted the wetness of the wait in the light of what the photos show?

One thought for further developing my journey lines project is to incorporate photography, and this is on the road to the kind of photography I sort of have in mind.

26 May 2011

Small pleasures

Finding a paintbrush in the cutlery drainer - left by one of the other artists in the family - who also did the washing-up.

Maps that travel

These maps are travelling to Brighton - Carolina has organised a "£1 shop" of little books as part of the Brighton Festival.

25 May 2011

Inside the envelope

The idea of collaging with envelope interiors has led instead to printing on them -Coincidentally, a flower-drawing inside an envelope - by Margaret Mellis, from a 2009 exhibition (see more here; read about her life and work here) -

"In 1956 Margaret Mellis made her first ‘envelope’ flower drawing. On a small, torn, blue envelope she sketched - in pencil - two dying anemones in a glass jar. Looking at that delicate and fugitive drawing today, one wonders where Mellis’s intention lay. Was the use of the envelope deliberate or simply the answer to a practical need in which to capture a brief moment of a dying flower.

"In 1959 Mellis threw away most of what she referred to as her ‘scribbles’ but for whatever reason, kept that one drawing and only came upon it again in 1987. The importance of that envelope sketch, made thirty years earlier, is that it directly relates to Mellis’s later driftwood constructions in that the materials used in both are from ‘found’ objects. On re-discovering the drawing she said that the pencil lines and the shape of the envelope had fused together and become ‘significant’. Mellis saw its potential and over a ten year period from 1987 she made around 100 drawings, of which only 40 remain."

I first encountered these drawings in the mid-90s in a commercial gallery, and the memory has stayed with me - a nice twist on writing a shopping list on the back of the envelope!

A typology of little houses

These are by Nigel Peake., whose drawings and prints depict imagined sheds, forgotten homes, and maps for little adventures. An interview is here; see more images here. This one

makes me want to collage the inside of envelopes. Into a personal map, perhaps. (Yet another project!)

24 May 2011


Busy skies at 6 am.

A panoply of graters

Maybe that should be "an excess of graters"?

Gardner's collection

While freecycling some old balance scales, made by BJ Gardner of Spitalfields, I looked for info on the manufacturer and came across the shop called Gardners, which has been around for 140 years. Here's a drawing of Paul Gardner in his shop, which sells a lot of bags, by Lucinda Rogers -and here you can see photos of many of the items in his "hidden" collection. At the time that blog post was written, the landlord was raising the rent and the continuity of the business was under threat. Now I have to google some more (or go to 149 Commercial Street) to find out what happened next...
Meanwhile here's a video of Gardner in his shop.

Art I like - Lucy Ward

Coming across this image reminded me of relevant Australian Aboriginal "maps" are to my project of "journey lines". (Yet another path to explore.)When I read Tim Ingold's "Lines" I started to understand this kind of mapping, and how different nomadic views of places are from how we settled-people perceive the spaces between places. How do we thread our biographies with our landscapes? How has the line become a metaphor?

But back to Lucy Ward. More pictures are here, and this article tells us more about her art. Briefly, from the description of a 2009 exhibition:

For Lucy Ward, the concept of ‘footwalking’ is central to the cosmology that defines her life and her artwork. Like Aristotle, Ward’s is a philosophy of the peripatetic. As a young woman, she traversed her Ngarangarri and Winyiduwa clan estates by foot, learning the traditional ways of her people. As an artist, her works reflect this movement, both spiritually and aesthetically. Ward is a prodigious and prolific innovator, continually incorporating new ideas into her work with a sharp-eyed enthusiasm. But on a deeper level, this restless artistic movement can be seen as a metaphor for Ward’s nomadic philosophy. For in the paintings of Lucy Ward, each mark upon the canvas is like a fingerprint, betraying the trace of its creator’s movement. In painting her ancestral homelands – the ‘land of the honey dream’ – her marks reveal her ownership of the country, like footprints in a landscape that she has traversed by foot, understood instinctively and known intimately. But just like a footprint, they exist as the memory of presence, a nostalgic echo of past travels.

Aristotle and his followers were known as the Peripatetics for their habit of meeting in the Lyceum and walking whilst lecturing. They met in the colonnade because Aristotle was not a citizen of Athens, and could therefore, not own property. Similarly, in the wake of colonial incursion, Indigenous elders like Ward cannot live on their traditional lands, but return only occasionally to tend to the country of which they are the sacred custodians. Returning to her sacred sites, Ward sings out to the spirits, warning them of her arrival. Her song echoes through the stony ridges and it is as though she is a young woman again. It is this memory of the landscape that reveals itself in Ward’s paintings. Each mark connects Ward to her landscape, making her one with the Dreams, songs and topography of her land of honey. They are what Marcia Langton has described as “site markers of the remembering process and of identity itself” as they inhabit a temporality that is neither past, present nor future, but part of the sacred link that connects Ward to the timeless Ngarranggarni or Dreaming.

23 May 2011

Journal quilts 2011

The series is called "Small Words" - each quiltlet is 10" square and contains circles, buttons, and writing - usually just the word of the title, and sometimes you have to look hard to see it.
Here, in alphabetical order, is the first dozen (perhaps the only dozen!). I started the series by pulling out a selection of fabrics in black, white, grey, and red - including my own "journey lines" prints. Some rogue colours crept into some quiltlets - to keep it lively. All are finished with satin stitch edging over cords.
Already -
Did -
Done -
How -
Include -
Only -
Only (again) -
This -
Unless -
Until -
Very -
Yet -