Sunday, 19 December 2010

FOR CAROLYN










Happy Christmas to everyone and here's to a creative 2011.









Wednesday, 15 December 2010

DECK THE HALLS

Every year I start to decorate for Christmas gradually, I like to enjoy the camp glamour for as long as I can. I will always start with table decorations and paper lanterns.
This cake stand I made gluing vintage plates and charity shop glasses together. I did not make these cakes though.
The lanterns get hung around the 10th, these are vintage and have been collected from charity shops for years. They remind me of the ones that never got hung when I was a child, Mum was into the new foil decorations and these looked too old fashioned.

Most years I make an advent calender for my offspring, this year each envelope holds a chocolate coin and a reminder of what is to come. To give it that wintry feel I hung the crocheted snowflake I made last year.

These go back a few years. I got sacking from the local health food store and Father Christmas would mysteriously fill them on Christmas eve and yes they will still get filled this year.

In a former life I painted objects made from birch ply, I made several of these wreaths to sell and put up the prototype every year.

I have a penchant for vintage decorations and this Father Christmas was given to me by a dear friend last year.
This little chap however is from my childhood, a proper 1960s Christmas object.

In the past I have taken part in Christmas sales and never quite had the confidence that pictures sell, although they did, so I would always make some Christmas items for my table. One year I made a load of stockings from old jumpers, no knitting required. I now hang it every year in the hope that Father Christmas might notice this one...?

Last but not least, a new tradition in our house is our macabre decoration. Rudolf now comes out every year. Surreal, humorous or just scary...you choose.
Happy preparations.










CROCHETED SNOWFLAKES

I feel at my most creative this time of year, I have always found myself making Christmasy things ever since I was a child, but now I find that I am in a complete making frenzy. I am working on new collagraphs, experimenting with enamel and ....whizzing around the house putting up twinkle. Looking at the work I am blogging today I can now see the seasonal influences.
These collagraphs have a wintry feel to them.
I wish I could attract more birds into my garden, these are blackbirds from Hampen.
This is very experimental. Copper and steel moths enamelled, the steel left bare to rust. I have more to do to this piece before I am completely satisfied.
But the red...am I thinking poinsettia here?
I am happier with this piece, less is more with the addition of colour. I am now finding that making enamel work is not as quick as it was when I first started, I am becoming harder on myself about the finish to the surface.
I am also getting a bit complicated about the forms I am using. Is it a book? Is it a sculpture? No it's an experiment!
Etching, pierce sawing, cutting, bending and a variety of enamelling techniques. My biggest thrill is that it collapses into a closed concertina book with ease, but the etched lace is in danger of snapping off.

So where are the crocheted snowflakes, have my textile followers been cheated? Although I will be locking myself in the shed for another few days, finishing off stuff and starting things that I can go back to after the Christmas break when the glitter has settled, I promise to post a Christmas blog with things I have made just for us at home.







Friday, 3 December 2010

CITY

I know we are all up to our ears with Christmas preparations, but I urge you to take an hour off and go to the RWA in Bristol and visit the exhibition 'City' in the New Gallery, www.rwa.org.uk.
The show is hosted by the Association for Contemporary Jewellery and is a selected contemporary exhibition of work made in response to the urban environment.

I have to say that it is a gem of an exhibition with beautifully made and thought provoking work.
A number of pieces are enameled, often stretching the medium to it's limits. The drawn elements in this brooch by Fionna Hesketh make for a textural finish to the enamel and I like the inclusion of the red thread.
There are enamelled panels by Sarah Braun, photographs do not do them justice. Delicate stenciled enamel describing the intricate metal work of Bristol Temple Meads Station.
Stacey Bentley is showing these delicate and vulnerable looking pieces which stem directly from
her sketch book work. I find it very inspiring to see the workings out of a project.

The exhibition is all about the Bristol urban environment and the work shown by Jessica Turrell maps her personal history in Bristol. This process using symbols to represent stages in her life connected to the places has produced a sensitive and simple necklace. Kirsty Summerling has made this experimental piece describing the effects of time and decay and exploring the unpredictability of the enamel surface.

In contrast this colourful enamel by Kathleen Reeves represents Bristol's nautical past. Ship shape and Bristol fashion. The message spelt out in international signal flags. Both witty and skillful, it is hard to make smooth, even enamel pieces and control the unpredictability.

Sally Medlicott made 100 small copper foil boxes, enamelled each individually and placed them to give the idea of a birds eye view of the built environment.

Each box is a small work of art, abstract compositions showing what enamel can do.
These are just a few of the exhibits, there are several more I like, but I only have so much time to devote to blogging, I could go on and on and on!! The show also contains more than enamelling, you are just witnessing my current obsession. It is not a big exhibition, but it is worth a visit.
























Friday, 19 November 2010

CHOUGHED AT NATURE IN ART

I heard yesterday that Nature in Art, Twigworth, Gloucestershire - www.nature-in-art.org.uk have extended their exhibition, Choughed by an extra week. This gives anyone who wants to see it until the 21st November. A bit last minute I know, but worth the effort.
I have to say for those who like all things Corvid it is a gem of a show, sculptures, prints and paintings are on display, I feel really honoured to be part of it. Here is a taster of what you will miss if you can't get there this weekend.
I have a collagraph, an etching,
and this enamel in the exhibition. But the show is just full of treasures, this reproduced drawing by Terence Coventry

together with the bronze inspired by the drawing. Both capture the argumentative nature of Choughs, the Cornish cousins of crows.

One of my favourite sculptors at the moment is Harriet Mead, I saw her work at the Society of Wildlife Artists exhibition at the Mall Gallery, London this summer and I am delighted to be able to take a closer look at her work in this exhibition. I am intrigued by the way artists use scrap and see images in them.

This sculpture is by Nathan Jones, there is great strength and character in this raven and I particularly like the rust and the red...something I am exploring in my own work.

There are several lovely prints on show, a number of Greg Pooles block prints. I like this lino print by Thelma Sykes, after seeing this I was inspired to be more creative with the use of orange in my own work.

I really like combining materials and this piece of ceramic sculpture works so well. Rook, by Simon Griffiths puts together, ceramics, wood and found barbed wire.
Bryan Hanlon has shown the less attractive side of the magpie, nature in tooth and claw. The way he has incorporated the metal shears together with the egg in it's beak gives this piece a narrative. This bronze is available to purchase, as are many of the other pieces in the exhibition.
If you cannot get to Nature in Art this weekend I urge you to visit it another time, there is always interesting work on show and the cafe does great cake.











Tuesday, 16 November 2010

RUST

At last I have found time to finish my latest enamels.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I wanted to experiment with combining the enamel with the rusting qualities of the steel.
I have not been disappointed, the rust adds a set of warm orange tones to the pieces,
giving the work that sought after shabby chic quality I like so much.
Scraping enamel away, layering and applying transfers, firing and refiring a piece
to distress the surface, suddenly my sketch book pages are turned into glass and metal!