Sunday, 30 January 2011

Sunflower Seeds

I went down to London last week and managed to get to the Tate Modern.  I spent quite a few happy hours wandering around and I always come away feeling reinvigorated and refreshed.
I wanted to post my photographs of the Sunflower Seeds by Ai Weiwei.  What can I say about them that hasn't already been written?  All i can say was although I understand why the public is unable to interact with the porcelain seeds ... all I wanted to do was run across them.  The stillness of the field of seeds seemed to bring out a mischievousness in me ... which is what i think the artist intended.  I wanted to run across them and feel them crush underneath my feet ... just as you would running along a beach feeling the crush of shells or coral between your toes. 

I read recently that The Tate Modern is going to auction a bagful of seeds at Sothebys next month.  However, they estimate that the bag will cost about £120,000 ... so I had better start saving!
I love the way he has illustrated his concept on his website

This was obviously a great brainstorming session.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Angela Davies

Love of Two Hearts
Vintage Brooch

Angela Davies is a friend of mine who i met on a Michael Brennan-Wood workshop at Ruthin Craft Centre last year. Her work is very delicate and sensitive, and using a mix of found materials and papers and fabrics she has manipulated herself, Angela creates beautiful artworks. 
On her webpage on the website Madebyhandonline she states:

"My inspiration for my creative practice is fueled by a passion and a desire to explore the environment around us, looking for the fleeting ephemeral traces of our footprints in society. Influences derive from time and memory, objects silently disappearing into their surroundings, revealing the beauty of surface decay.
I use old and discarded objects and obscure and decayed architecture as a starting point. I then combine and assemble the found objects along with distressed fabrics, paper manipulation and stitch to create a personal response in which I reflect not only on the tactile nature of the materials but also on the underlying meaning of using found materials to create new art from old.

I am particularly interested in searching for vintage envelopes and dressmaking items and exploring typography along side collage and drawing."

Lady of the Lake
Fern Hill

Monday, 24 January 2011

My Practice

I feel it is maybe time to share some of my own artwork with the world.  I have been reluctant up to this point as i am at a crossroads in my practice ... ie. trying to understand where i fit in.  I thought that maybe doing this little retrospective of the last year might throw some light on the matter.

ceramic, resin, found book, antique fittings
These set of photographs belong to a project that i did last summer.  At college we were let loose in the attics of a textile/fashion museum in Manchester called Platt Hall.  I discovered a beautiful collection of spectacles and cases and began to explore the whole notion of wearing spectacles and what it means to me.  I have been wearing spectacles for short sightedness since the age of seven ... but now as i hit middle age my eyesight has changed and i am struggling to read with my spectacles on.  The spectacle case became a metaphor for a bookcover, and trying to convey the message that the books have becomed trapped in the case and my spectacles no longer fit the purpose, working in ceramics, resin, old books, antique spectacles and cases, i created a collection to illustrate this juxtaposition and the confusion created by middle age.

paper, antique spectacles

Ceramics, found book, antique spectacles
Paper, found book, antique spectacles
antique spectacle case,old book, wax and thread


I have waited with anticipation for Adele's new album .. and it has not disappointed.  It is utterly timeless.  Obviously I immediately have my favourites including 'Don't you Remember' which has an evocative poignancy; 'Take it All' which connects to those wonderful country songs by divas from the past and the sublime 'Someone like You'.   I absolutely love her new video... 'rolling in the deep' ....

The crashing crockery is reminiscent of Anish Kapoor's exploding wax cannon which was at the Royal Academy last year.  The video is directed by Sam Brown and is not only beautiful to look at but full of interesting imagery.  

Friday, 21 January 2011

Lupen Grainne

Lupen Grainne  is a photographer from Northern California. Her beautiful photographs are very evocative and her website and blog are a visual treat.  The photographs seem to create nostalgic feelings for lazy summer days .... they have a dreamlike quality to them.  Of course, the reality is that i have never lived in those lazy summer days ... here in the UK they seem to be very fleeting ... and when they do occur they are very bright and intense.  I think they have a European feel ... they remind me of holidays in Italy ... the fading light in the late afternoon .... 

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Lisa Hannigan

Lisa Hannigan is the beautiful voice behind Damien Rice and has long been a favourite of mine. She left Damien and is now a solo artist.  I also love her videos which include pop up books and papercutting.  The first video - for the song 'Lille'  - contains pop up books by Jamie Hannigan and Maeve Clancy.  The second video - 'I Don't Know' - has Lisa sitting in a room cutting paper and creating a set - also by Maeve Clancy. Lisa's website is also a delight with the graphics showing knitting and embroidery by Lisa and her mother.

"I don't know"

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Hammermann Spoons

I found these on Etsy the other day and fell in love with them. I can't seem to find much information about the artist - `hammermann'- part from the fact he lives in Florida.  He uses silver plated and antique spoons to create these gorgeous keepsakes and plant markers ... lucky plants!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Eileen O'Rourke

I have discovered Eileen O'Rourke as she has recently graduated from the MMU MA Course.  Originally an Embroidery graduate her practice is mainly drawing ... they shine with sensitivity and delicacy.  Some of her drawings were made from hair and stitched on to stretched bedsheets.  Others were painstakingly pinpricked ... an art form that reflects her interest in embroidery.
Her artist's statement reads ...

"My work investigates the fundamentals of the process of drawing.
For over thirty years, the style of my drawings has been introspective mad doodles, which sometimes were refined but lacked evidence of any intellectual input or questioning.
During the course, the process of fundamentally investigating drawing exposed me to a whole array of questions: What am I doing? Whom am I doing it for? Why am I doing it? What audience is it aimed at?
My examination of 'Who am I'... 'Who are we'…turned into... 'What am I'; albeit a subtle change, I wanted to centre on something real, unquestionable, in fact an un-doubtable truth.
Answering the question of identity can be a hard road; a journey that passes many dead-ends in the form of philosophical thoughts that, by reasoning, have no resolution for an artist interested in identity.
As a twin, I have always had a vague interest for biological make-up of the human body but whilst struggling with this identity question, the biological aspect of self, or rather myself, became foremost and I researched twins and genetics. The ‘physical’ self seemed to be the only un-doubtable truth."

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