The beautiful man

The beautiful man

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Hat Blocks

Due to dropping my son off at Stanstead airport I took a minor detour in my 420 mile journey to visit Luton and Boon & Lane Blockmakers extraordinaire.

Sadly I can't show pictures of the delights of the heavily dusty and wood shaven workspace but can share the new block. If you are ever in Luton, its a definite place to visit for all milliners, Steve and Alan are always welcoming just phone them beforehand.
Also went to Luton Museum to see what had changed and as its reminiscent of Bankfield Museum it feels right (very logical!)

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Collographic printing

The last session of my printing course at The Art House, Wakefield which was really enjoyable and I learned so much. Laura Slater the tutor was inspiring and generous with her sharing of ideas and techniques. Here are a few examples.

Fabrics of Memory

Tidying up fabrics and old clothes to be shipped to school to raise money with the 'bags to school' campaign, as we rummaged through the chest I came across fabric pieces I had forgotten about, and the realisation that if someone else found these that they would mean little, and whether they would amke there own stories from these or not. A salutary tale for a hoarder like myself.

Not a great picture but the red fabric is a dress I made from fabric we used for the Law Club float in Rag Week, 1983!! That hand made look was very in then! Worn to a do and  believe my friend Paula has a picyure of me in the dress in the snow in our basement flat in Clifton. None of that is documented, and there is no evidence within  the garment of those facts. It would more likely be read as a child's dressing up frock or a very amateur piece of fashion (it was). Sewn on my mum's hand singer machine, do the stitches give that away, or just bad quality workmanship?
This is a piece created in my first taught textiles sessions since school, 2 hours a week in Brighouse studying an OCN whilst my children were in the adult ed creche. Interesting that in the present education system I wouldn't have been able to do this. Again the piece has stories for me but for no one else. The machine embroidered mermaid in the centre was my first foray into this, and took a long time and a lot of broken needles and a temptation to throw the machine out of the window. Some of the fabrics were from my first visit to Bombay Stores when it was really cheap, I didn't have the glut of fabrics I now have maybe that was better,  clearer head space. Others from Fabworks when they were newly opened and had wonderful bags of random goodies. Buying a bag of lining fabrics and the boys dancing around in them, relishing the colours and texture. I remember the excitement of learning to stencil, applique and the exploration into new techniques. Also the immense value I got from my local libraries and the books on embroidery and textiles that they housed, another note on how that structure helped me develop a new pathway for work, as from this course I went to do my City & Guilds then teaching then hats, opportunities not available a mere 12 years later. 

Is any of this apparent in the fabric? No. Would anyone else be interested? Unlikely. The thoughts are my own, as just like photographs the punctume of the textiles is very personal and the memories vast incorporating all that was happening when the piece was made.

Finally these two pieces from my C&G that I cannot remember doing. I think that they were extensions of sampling, and strangely don't hold memories. Food for thought.

Two huge bags of memories sent to school.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Leeds City Gallery Exhibition

So the work for the V&A, Roundhay School and Leeds City Museum has come to a close with the preview evening at the museum with the Year 10 students and their parents. The Director of Museum Services congratulated everyone involved in the project and noted that this project illustrated perfectly one of the key reasons that the Museum was developed, as a means of inspiration for the community and for education at all levels. Also highlighted that the work exhibited was to a really high standard and the youngest exhibitors in the museum to date, which was fantastic. Such a tragedy that there is limited funding for these kinds of projects now but hopefully the knowledge gathered will be accessed by other schools and colleges.

The exhibition closes in April.

Musee du Chapeau

A little late as ever but I have finished the hat for France whether it gets there and stays there I wait with bated breath. It is not as I had hoped but I have developed some new thoughts and design ideas along the way which should lead to some other works. The ideas developing are that hats can be formed differently each time it is worn.

Rob Ryan

Less than 24 hours after the Sue Lawty another talk at Leeds College of Art this time from the renowned and inspirational Rob Ryan. There is often a sense given out that Rob Ryan has become too commercial/sold out etc etc this is not the case and this rare talk that he gave in Leeds really clarified this and the length of his journey as an artist to a point where his art could sustain him and his family effectively. For his first 15 years after graduating he managed with the usual mix of jobs to support his arts practice, this was enlightening for all practitioners and hopefully gave a glimpse of reality after the completion of an MA!

Rob Ryan sees himself as a fine artist his MA(RCA) was fine art specialising in print making, so it was a natural progression from screen printing to cutting out. All the work begins with drawings and words are ever present within all areas of his work, images of his sketchbooks showed this constant dialogue of ideas and visuals. Whilst at University his tutors told him that the words in his work were not key; his thoughts on this were "I  am not bothered its important to me so I will do it!" The concept of artists being pigeon holed into specific sectors was discussed often Mr Ryan is deemed a Graphic Designer this he felt was not the case and to him he i still a fine artist, so maybe we should all use that catch all title of Artist.
After the pieces are cut by hand usually by interns though this is a shared role, usually R.R. draws the pieces and then others cut them the work is then sprayed with Montana Gold spray paint. The works are time intensive with a piece 5.5ft long will take over 400 hours to make. The cuts are then either used as stand alone art pieces or through to screen prints and occasionally into laser cut cards and more commercial items. He has his work shop with screen print facilities and a small kiln around the corner form the Ryan Town hop on Columbia Road, he sees it as really exciting that the work created in the workshop during the week is then taken to the shop for sale at the weekend, that the quantities are small and you get the response from the customer. Very much inspired by Keith Haring in the 1980's where his work was created for all sectors of the market from fine art pieces to screen printed badges.

Discussed the range of collaborations that he has undertaken and the feeling that you need to have a go at lots of different things to get ideas out to as many people as possible and to see what will work. R.R. has done much publishing work of book covers and illustration work -The Gift- Carol Ann Duffy, yet found publishing companies often difficult, he is working on his own book at the moment which enables him to write and draw his own work. He talked about a large collaboration with Paul Smith where he wasn't paid for his design and the design was used extensively on a wide range of products, this could have created bitterness, but R.R. saw this as a beneficial process as it enabled his work to be seen extensively and the beginning of future working relationship which has been beneficial for both parties.
Rob Ryan with bag designed with Lulu Guiness
"Give me work to last me all my life"

"Shall we call in sick one day and travel to the sea and hold hands all day"