Posts tagged ‘art’

January 17, 2014

Matt Sewell Print.

As we continue the journey of making our new flat feel like home, we’ve started creating and buying art and craft pieces that feel like ‘us’. My proudly made letterpress work hangs in the sitting room, together with a new print from Matt Sewell.

I had the very good fortune to meet Matt at a book launch and signing in Colours May Vary  last year, where he signed a copy of Our Garden Birds for me to give to my mum for Christmas. With the benefit of hindsight, I should have bought one for myself as it was definitely a gift I handed over begrudgingly!

Anyway, back then, I was painfully coveting one of his giclée bird prints for our home. Since we’ve moved into this flat we’ve both become avid bird watchers. I’m going to write about this a bit more in the coming weeks but suffice to say, I’m a little surprised by how important these little birds have become to us over such a short period of time.

This month, the prints were back in stock and in a rare ‘sod it’ moment, I went ahead and bought a blue tit print. We have many little blue tits dancing on the branches outside our home and so it felt like a very fitting choice. Needless to say, my collector’s mentality now wants a row of prints along the wall but for the moment this little guy will do very nicely indeed.

Matt Sewell print

Have you bought or made any new things for your home this month? I’d love to know…

Advertisements
March 5, 2013

Yinka Shinobare MBE: FABRIC-ATION

Last week I had the great fortune to be invited to a special preview evening at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in advance of the opening of a major new exhibition, FABRIC-ATION, from Yinka Shinobare MBE.

I have to admit that I’d not heard of London born, Nigerian raised Shinobare before, but I did know one piece of his work – Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle – because it was on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, and is now on permanent display in Greenwich. It’s his movement towards the creation of works both for public spaces and for the open air that makes it a perfect time for this exhibition at YSP, and the commissioning of two new pieces of sculpture, which are part of this exhibition and titled Wind Sculptures, underlines this. I loved the fact that he asked the general public what they’d like to see on the Fourth Plinth, and that Nelson now is a recurring theme through his work.

In the hours spent at YSP viewing this exhibition, and listening to the curator, I’ve gone from knowing nothing of Shinobare to being a firm fan. The entire collection is suffused with a sense of playfulness and yet the subjects chosen are those of the most serious, from climate change to class inequalities and the historic pursuits of the aristocracy. Revolution Kids, half-human, half-animal sculptures carrying replicas of Gaddafi’s golden gun and Blackberry phones, are Shinobare’s response to the London riots, and convey perfectly the way in which he manages to mix the serious with the playful to create work that is really engaging, and almost comical, yet with a serious underbelly that occasionally has a rather more sinister feeling to it.  Food Faeries (about the globalisation of the food market)  is a pair of headless sculptures of winged children carrying fruit that really made me shudder a little.

Revolution Kid (Fox Boy) Copyright: Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Revolution Kid (Fox Boy) Copyright: Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Colonialism, race, globalisation and identity are also recurring themes, and Shinobare uses ‘authentic African’ batik fabric – which was first mass produced in Holland and sold into West Africa in the 19th Century – as a way of confounding expectations.

Alongside the thoughts of identity come those of ‘aliens’ – which made me think of refugees and human ‘aliens’, and here Shinobare again turns the idea of alien life on its head, with the inclusion of flying machines more akin to Leonardo’s inventions than what we expect from science fiction.

Alien Man on Flying Machine (2011) Copyright: Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Alien Man on Flying Machine (2011)
Copyright: Yorkshire Sculpture Park

A really diverse range of work is on display from the period 2002 to 2013,  including film, photography, painting and collage as well as sculpture, which demonstrates Shinobare’s desire to be impossible to categorise. It feels like a wonderful opportunity to really learn a great deal about his work over the past decade.

I truly loved this exhibition and I think that everyone would find something about it to enjoy, whether that is the boldness of the satire, the contrast between the seriousness of the subjects and the fun of the interpretation, or even just the bright colourful nature of each piece of art.

The exhibition is at the beautiful Yorkshire Sculpture Park until 1st September 2013 and I will definitely be returning for another viewing of this remarkable artist’s work.

June 27, 2011

Quernus Crafts

This is a slightly different post to my usual writing, because today I’d like to introduce you all to Coco Chanel…in polymer clay form.

Coco Cat

Coco Chanel is a commission of mine from the incomparable Kirsten Miller of Quernus Crafts. There’s more detail here about her and how she was made: Quernus Crafts: Coco Chanel Cat (b.8 April 2011). I do love the story of Coco Chanel, although I know she wasn’t an altogether pleasant character, she is fascinating to read about and I think that Kirsten has captured her attitude perfectly. I only wish I could afford that outfit myself!

Some of you may remember that I previously asked her to make me a Captain Robert Falcon Scott cat for my lovely sister in law, and here he is:

Scott of the Antarctic

There are a few more photos of him here: Quernus Crafts: Scott of the Antarctic Cat (b.18 February 2011). Scott Cat is very much loved and is now proudly exploring the sitting room of Sam’s new home.

I love looking through the website to see what new commissions people have requested, they’re so unique and personal to each individual. The combination of over-active imaginations and Kirsten’s  talent seems to mean that nothing is impossible! For those of you who don’t want an individual commission, she also makes the most adorable mice, cats and other assorted characters, particularly for celebrations. The Christmas mice are my favourites. The detail on these figures is even more astonishing when you see them for real. Which probably explains why I seem to have developed something of an obsession with presenting Kirsten with new challenges and we’ve agreed on a couple of new commissions – one to celebrate the launch of this very blog, and another secret one for Christmas which I am HUGELY excited about…

If you get the chance, Kirsten is going to be at the Made- It Craft Fair this Saturday, 2nd July in St Margaret’s Hall, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 5LQ. If you can’t get along to that, then do visit her website Quernus Crafts to have a look at all the wonderful characters she has created, and maybe buy one for yourself!

May 22, 2011

The Hepworth Opening Weekend.

Today we braved the blustery weather and went to the opening weekend of the Hepworth in Wakefield, a major brand new gallery space to showcase the work of Wakefield born sculptress Barbara Hepworth. It’s an incredible building; dramatic, dark, imposing and beautifully situated  on the River Calder. Although the building looks pared back and almost severe, the welcome inside couldn’t have been more warm and friendly.

It has to be said that we nearly didn’t make it inside as the outdoor play area is really rather brilliant and the kids insisted on trying that out for a while before we even got through the door. What a great idea to have a play area. I do love how galleries, museums and stately homes are now encouraging the whole family to spend time together experiencing art, sculpture, design and history, as it means I get to spend time indulging in my fondness for art and the kids get to have fun too!

There are several gallery rooms holding a permanent collection of works, plasters and working models by Barbara Hepworth, pieces by some of her contemporaries, and the Wakefield Art collection. Between now and October 9th 2011, there is also a temporary exhibition of the work of Eva Rothschild entitled Hot Touch.

We got a great bag of craft materials to make our own homage to Eva.

Our instructions.

We had  a child paced (ie: very speedy) tour around the gallery, during which we were all very well behaved. Hepworth’s sculptures are just so tactile, I have to look at them clasping my hands together to stop myself from stroking them! Although it was a quick walk around, I was able to view some beautiful pieces of work, some of which I’ve already had the pleasure of seeing in St Ives, and I’m looking forward to another viewing at a more leisurely pace.

We then had a bit of badge making and a cup of tea, before heading home to make our own sculpture, and here it is!

Ta Da!

We are already blessed to live so close to Temple Newsam and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and the Hepworth will definitely be added to the list of regularly visited places. At the time of writing, the kids are safely in bed and I am just going to take a look through their Summer 2011 programme of events and activities to see what we might try next…