These photos of buildings found in Clerkenwell (Corporation Row) show typical ‘School Board’ stone signs, found from following the walk in Chapter 2 (Trailblazers for Democracy in Clerkwnwell Green) of the book Rebel Footprints. Part walking guide, part history of social rebellion and justice between 18- 1930s, each chapter focuses on a particular area in London, mapping history to landmarks, buildings and streets.
As more and more of London is being redeveloped, there is danger of these visible connections disappearing, which for me is heartbreaking. One of the reasons I’ve loved growing up in London is the ability to see, walk, even touch, its history.
This month’s Be Smart About Art First Friday (#bsaaff on Twitter) was a visit to the Bleach Box gallery in Portobello. Each month is in a different place, with the gallerist giving useful insights into how their particular exhibitions spaces work.
Outside 316 Portobello Rd
The front of Bleach Box Gallery
The January talk was by Richard Heep, photographer and founder of Bleach Box, and was an interesting look into the world of hand-printed colour photography. Colour can be such a subjective thing, and as Richard spoke about the usefulness of having a printing partner in the darkroom to kind of ‘cross check’ the process, it made me think…
Part of the fun of these events is to meet other practising artists and others involved professionally in the field in a social way, but it also serves a practical purpose. By talking about what you’re working on, what you’re currently fascinated by, you’re also creating a network of art partners, and that next time you see each other you can potentially ‘cross check’ each other’s practise.
Getting your intentions ‘out there’ and explaining what you’re up to can really clarify your thoughts about stuff, and having this kind of accountability (and support) can be a great motivator.
I have my own challenge for next month from BSAA member and painter / sculptor (Stephen Charlton): to talk for two minutes about my own sculptural practise without going erm… too much :)
Cake and Art – two ways guaranteed to cheer me up in Winter
This January I have found things a lot better by not making any resolutions. It’s not the resolutions themselves; it’s making them in January. After the fairylights and festivities of December are over, we hit Winter proper. If it were crisp blue skies and ice cold sunshine it wouldn’t be so bad, but in the UK at the moment it has been very, very wet and sunset is around 4pm… That to me equals hibernation time and taking it easy on yourself. Come February when Spring is at least visible on the horizon, then the resolutions can be made.
Until then, cake. Cake with friends. And more specifically cake where you find a prize and get to wear a crown! January cheered up already :)
The French tradition of Galette des Rois can be enjoyed throughout January at the Paul Patisserie, but it came into being in the 14th century to celebrate Epiphany (this year 6th Jan, but it moves – like Easter).
I love Candy Chang’s projects! Deceptively simple, fun and engaging, she uses empty buildings and public spaces to create interactive art pieces to share housing information, resources, thoughts and dreams…
This Before I Die chalkboard was on an old shoe shop frontage on Borough High St. It was part of the Merge Festival, an annual art, music and performance festival held in Bankside during September and October 2013.
I went to this show by accident, and am so glad I did. Far from being all wicker baskets and corn dollies, it had some really interesting forms made from all kinds of materials and the skill level was very impressive.
These little finger-tip size vessels by Gail Romanes cried out for fingers to get stuck in!
Creative basketry at City Lit
Creative basketry at City Lit
‘Paradise House’ Anita Vozik
Creative basketry at City Lit
‘Little differences’ Judy Lyle
‘Drawing with willow’ Susanna Longley
These anatomical – vaguely rude! – looking forms made from plastic appealed to me (I didn’t make a note of their maker’s name – if you recognise it, leave me a comment)
And of course, I’m a sucker for looking through anyone’s sketchbook – in this case, Jo McCallum (The Fabricated Frame) – and seeing studies of colour and weaving patterns.
All in all, I was really impressed! If you fancy a go, check out the Creative Basketry courses running at City Lit in London.
‘Unstable’ is a collection of abstract artwork from Battle of the Eyes – Savage Pencil (Chris Long) & Eyeball (Edwin Pouncey), Joel Biroco, Julian House and Cathy Ward. All are visual artists, but they are also polymaths, working as illustrators, musicians and even occultists and many have been published in the Strange Attractor Journal. All the artwork was beautiful, but the idea and process behind Portal To The Anscestors I-V: A Seance in Painting by Battle Of The Eyes’ is fascinating. It came as a direct result of finishing the Requiem Ark series of paintings which dealt with parental loss; this series was about making contact with departed ancestors.
Using original photographs from their personal archive, the artists photocopied, enlarged, and collaged them, taping the result to their studio wall. Initial charcoal marks were made on paper from the shadows cast (by the collage, but perhaps too by the ancestors’ spirits?) and these were then worked on with acrylic and oil pastel, and finally transferred to canvas using acrylic & oil.
The gallery is in the old stables at the back of Maggs Bros. Georgian townhouse on Berkeley Sq. An antiquarian booksellers, Maggs Bros Ltd has been dealing in rare books and manuscripts since 1853. The exhibition runs until the 8th of June 2012.
I’d been experimenting with movement in one of my sculpture projects, so I was happy to see a ‘Kinetic Drawing Workshop’ come up as part of Jotta’s 3rd birthday celebrations. I’d seen Xiao Fei Dyson’s work at Kinetica earlier in the year too, so I signed up straight away. It took place in Newburgh St, London and was a tiny class so we got a lot of attention! Xiao Fei was a great teacher; full of enthusiasm and eager to pass on that he’d discovered from his working practise.
We’d been asked to bring some battery powered toys to take apart and use but in fact this was probably too ambitious to do in the time given. What was more fun (and effective) was just wiring up a little motor, a battery and a pen to make *really* simple drawing machines. These would change their line and movement quite radically with even the tiniest of adjustments to weight and balance, ie. using matchsticks and tape or gluing extra bits & pieces to the machines.
I was reminded (again!) that it’s generally more constructive to keep things super simple and use the restrictions to push against instead over complicating things and getting in a tangle of frustration.
Beautiful and useful way of cataloguing Camden Arts Centre exhibitions in a consistent way. I don’t mind paying £1 for each one, and really like the idea that as you add them to the binder, you create a self-curated collection of shows. Something similar appealed to me about the presentation of OMA’s ‘what we are currently thinking about’ in the recent exhibition at The Barbican. The concepts were printed onto pads of paper fixed to the wall, and you were encouraged to tear sheets off from the ones that caught your interest. Maybe I’m just a bit of a magpie and like collecting the pretties :). Btw, the CAC bookshop is amazing.
Design by Dan Goggins (Practise) and Sara De Bondt
I managed to persuade a fellow visitor to pose his silhouette between the projected films and the screen of Laura Buckley‘s ‘Fata Morgana‘. He didn’t believe me that we were allowed to get inside it too, so long as we first removed our shoes. It was amazing; I could have stayed in there for hours :)
Makerhood held a free event called a ‘local makers forum‘ in Brixon’s Living Bar the other day.
Makerhood is an initiative to promote local making, creativity and skills – and build connections between local makers, the community and local businesses
Billed as an evening to ‘discuss opportunities, learn from market experts and meet other makers and local businesses’. I was there to illustrate the points made as the panel discussed various aspects of making, including the tricky business of promoting, selling and networking…