Category Archives: London Life

Be Smart About Art First Friday

Accountability and artists; ‘Be Smart About Art’ gallery visit and talk

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.

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 :)

Here’s to February’s event at the Anise Gallery in Shad Thames!

#bsaaff Be Smart About Art First Fridays
Anise Gallery, 13a Shad Thames, London, SE1 2PU
Feb. 7, 2014, 6:30  - 8:30 p.m
Members go free | Visitors £15

Gallery founder Jacquelyn Jubert will give a short talk on the current exhibition ‘Berlin Voids’and Susan Mumford (BSAA) gives her 3 top networking tips each month.

Galette des Rois

Galette des Rois; cake goes a long way to beat the January blues!

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 :)

Galette des Rois

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).

It’s a flat puff pastry cake filled with either apple or frangipane, with a charm baked into it. Traditionally it’s sliced into however many people are eating it, plus one extra;  the part du Bon Dieu (God’s slice), the part de la Vierge (the Virgin Mary’s slice) or the part du pauvre (poor man’s slice) depending on your persuasions.

Finding the charm in a Galette des Rois

This year the charm was a little china rabbit.

Queen for the day thanks to Galette des Rois!

The friend who found it is French – was it Paul playing favourites? :)

By the way, Paul are offering a 20% off full price Daumier tickets* for the duration of the exhibition at the Royal Academy! Either pick up a leaflet in one of their shops or enter the code ‘PAUL’ when buying a ticket online. This is the first exhibition since the 60s of his work in the UK and it looks ace -

A staunch believer in the Republican cause, a freethinker and chronicler of everyday life in turbulent 19th century Paris, Honoré Daumier lived during a pivotal time in France’s history. ‘Visions of Paris’ sets out to explore his legacy through 130 works, many of which have never been seen in the UK before, with a concentration on paintings, drawings, watercolours and sculptures

*This isn’t a sponsored post or anything by the way, just two things of note  - Cake and Art – that will hopefully cheer up what can be a miserable month!

Candy Chang's Before I Die on Borough High Street

‘Before I Die’ blackboard on Borough High St

Candy Chang's Before I Die on Borough High Street

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…

Candy Chang's Before I Die on Borough High Street

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.

Gail Romanes fingertip sized baskets

Creative basketry summer show at City Lit

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.

Gail Romanes fingertip sized baskets

These little finger-tip size vessels by Gail Romanes cried out for fingers to get stuck in!

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)

Creative basketry at City Lit

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.

Jo McCallum's notebook

All in all, I was really impressed! If you fancy a go, check out the Creative Basketry courses running at City Lit in London.