Saturday, August 29, 2009

Put pen to peel

Try it. Stupidly satisfying and time consuming...and addictive

1 Working Space

Her work is based on the theme of the human individual. An exploration of diversity within similarity. As far as I take her work, it glances at construction and interpretation of identity. She clearly combines Post Modern ideas of a single person's visual appearance.

This body of art is in the classical portrait medium of oil paint. For me, it does serve to question the value of a portrait. What is the value of a portrait today in light of new and ever more accessible technologies? Why is this art type still present and why is it necessary?

Shelley Hughes was one of four artists at the MA Fine Art Exhibition I visited in Lancaster at the Peter Scott Gallery during my A-levels (Sept 2006).

The four artists took four lines of enquiry, combining four different disciplines, but, within one working space. They each unavoidably connected with ideas at tangents from their own, enhancing and broadening their practices until a kind of coherence emerged.

One single working space=effective and productive for the subconscious sharing of research and information.
Technical, but true.

Barcelona 3rd-10th June, 2009

Worth sharing


Car boot

If this looks a little junky, it will because it's taken at a car boot. Student. Desperate measures. My sister and I decided to try our luck at selling some of the hundred items of clothing we had discarded over the years. Most were next to perfect, so it seemed silly to leave them cluttering up the house. Off we went with our bags, earrings, shoes, coats went down well the first time, although it got rained off within the hour, I made £53 and my sister, £48.

After this, it's safe to say we got pretty inspired (most of this you won't see from the image), but our stall expanded across quite a distance. We bagged up all our jewellery into cute little customised sequined transparent bags, with a small tempter description and price label. We made use of everything and anything we were selling to advertise our stock. Then we went all for it, separating clothes into day-wear, evening-wear, retro etc boxes. We let loose on expanses of white card with chunky colourful marker pens. The response was so much better the second time around... I won't mention figures, everyone will think I'm rich.

What I essentially realised, was that even the smallest attempt to employ a design mind, in this case, really helped attract, inform and make money! Immediately people knew prices, what we were selling and where we were. The various signs made the whole process user friendly and inviting. Even adding a simple couple of decorative hand-drawn flowers round the words 'vintage'...brought the buyers flocking. It was if, because of these illustrations, people were instantly convinced -be it impulse buy or not.

Immense fun, keeps your artistic side in check, and ideal for making some quick cash. A summer must-do (if you can get the weather). I'm going back tomorrow!


Appalling pictures, but the general idea's there. They were taken in a bit of a mad rush at the Thinktank at Millenium Point, Birmingham, whilst a few dozen children swamped my space!
...I should have come to expect this really. I realise the place is designed for kids, but it's actually quite fascinating, exploring our past, present and future.

Anyone and everyone is invited to make a comment card, which are then slipped into a letterbox, where the best range are displayed in a glass casing. The above were a couple from the particular weeks selection. It is interesting to consider the age of the individual (in the bottom left corner) in relation to what they have to say.

Fun, we love an opinion.

When in Prague...

Courtesy of my lovely flatmate, Lauren, who took a trip to Prague recently.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cool sandwich, Cool dad

This could be the answer for fretful parents – cool-looking food to tempt even the fussiest of young palates. Everything from Spongebob to Sid the clumsy Ice Age sloth. The innovative idea of father of two Mark Northeast. He was desperate to get his four-year-old son Oscar to eat up his lunch and played around with his sandwiches to make appealing designs.

'He always took forever to eat his lunch so one day I cut his sandwich into the shape of a space rocket and two vegetables into boosters, said Mr Northeast, 36. 'He then wolfed it down in five minutes flat.' He put a photo up on Facebook and pretty soon people were asking what was coming up next.

'I got more and more engrossed in what I could do with sandwiches. I wanted to be able to open the fridge and say what can I do with this – cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots and bread.' Now Mr Northeast, a web designer from Littlehampton, West Sussex, is hoping to sign a book deal and his website

My only concern would be to what extent my food had been 'played with', which scares me a little. But I'm guessing kids of 4 and 5 don't worry about these kinds of things. What harm can it do really. Getting creative with food is something adults practice with cooking, so why not encourage the younger ones to spice up the excitement of eating a boring old ham sandwich!

Basia Zarzycka

Anyone that knows me personally is aware of my deep and passionate love of anything that is...a heel. They have to be just right; the right point, the right heel, the right feel. Well, these are just the ultimate from London based, BASIA ZARZYCKA. She is inspired by the carnivals in Venice, Baroque and Rococo paintings, among many many others.
I am only aware of her spectacularly unique designs because a very stylish friend bought me a gorgeous calendar with a huge picture for me to enjoy every month of the year. It was impossible for me to even pick a favourite, so I behaved myself and didn't turn the page early.

Her beautifully decorated shoes are elegant and timeless as fashion accessories. Each pair is hand crafted and 100% exclusive. Zarzycka has created unique pieces of art, using her inspirations to add enchantment and fairytale into her work. She has a clear love for detail, which is expertly applied to each and every pair of shoes.
(Above) Floral Garden Beaded Court Shoes £1695,00

A Romantic colourful pair of fantasy court shoes embellished with sculpted bead flowers and fauna,in an asymmetrical design, using bohemian glass beads Swarovski crystals.

Her signature bridal collection is embellished with tiny silk flowers, silk petals and leaves, ribbon work, pearls, Swarovski crystals and fashion jewellery. These have been meticulously applied by hand. Judith Miller book called ‘Shoes’ feature Basia Zarzycka shoes and her own private collection of antique footwear.

A quote from the website which I particularly remember:
'A kaleidoscope of colours and texture. A luxury rainbow jewel box of fantasy and indulgence"

Lichfield Cathedral

There isn't much I could tell you about this, that wouldn't be more accurate than coming direct from Lichfield Cathedral's own dedicated website. Not being a massive one for History, it was more the stunning craftsmanship and architectural splendor that enthused me. I took a visit to Staffordshire on the train recently whilst my boyfriend was visiting. He studies Civil Engineering, and so the trip was beneficial for the both of us.

There is a lengthy timeline of events that involves this place of worship. Parts of it survived the Civil War, and at present, there are vast restoration projects underway. The detail of the building, were ones that cannot be done justice through photographs. I wanted to step right up to the almost microscopic carvings, and follow the texture of the stone work...but felt a little guilty doing so when the closest person was standing an intentional 3ft gap away.

The choir were singing as we walked round, which was no act or deliberate attempt to show-off, it was a genuine insight into the rituals of this cathedral. As we would expect, the interior was beautiful, absolutely every nook and cranny was packed with character and symbolism.

Admission was free, although the visitor was urged to make a donation on entry or exit. I am christened, but not religious and think of my beliefs as more spiritual. I did spare a thought before I entered, that I may feel slightly uncomfortable or out of place. But inside it was quite different, nothing felt forced. The atmosphere was as you would hope, peaceful and quiet, with individuals acting with respect and dignity.

I will never comprehend quite how they built such masterpieces. How did they erect such a massive structure, how did they manage with such little aid/machinery? This is the base of all my questions, and I guess it is something we all come to wonder. I hope we go on protecting and savouring every last bit of these marvels. They represent our country and our history.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

'Dancing Diggers'

You see this all over the place now, but I saw a local Birmingham group who had named themselves, very appropriately, the 'Dancing Diggers', back in 2007. They performed to mark the opening of a local craft centre called Boxtree's, on the outskirts of Solihull, only about 5 miles from me. It was a pleasure to watch, despite the sighs and yawns it gathered from others, but then again I am strangely fascinated by machinery and construction. It has always been an interest to me, one I have integrated into artistic projects and used to direct me in design work. Perhaps it has something to do with my father who is a precision engineer. Seeing his continuous quoting of incredibly-sized, mammoth CAD drawing's, has left it's imprint in me for sure.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Bug backpack

I could definitely take a liking to this...

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Mixed media illustration

KATE SLATER is a freelance illustrator based just outside London. Kate's work centres primarily around collage, paper cut-outs and wire, which she uses to create suspended, relief illustrations. Look at these...

Magnetic measuring spoons

colourful measuring spoons by 'Joseph Joseph' with a dual purpose - fridge magnets!
The teaspoon and tablespoon measures each contain a 1/2-measure fill line and magnets within the handle make it easy to attach to a fridge or any metal surface. Not only are they always within reach, but they also make ideal memo holders.
Ingenious. A complete 'IwishI'dthoughtofthatfirst'.

Hatton Crafts, Warwickshire

Set in converted 19th Century converted farm buildings the shopping village features 25 craft and speciality shops, an antiques centre and a clothes factory outlet. I have made regular visits there since I was a child with my parents and 6 siblings, more so with the sole intention of rides on Tristan the runaway tractor, falconry displays, farmyard tea-time, panning for gold and fun on the bouncy castles! Instead, the reason for my driving back there yesterday, was to eye up the costume rings in the antique centre, and stop off at the various craft shops.

Along my way, I was quite taken by the complete one-offs of 3 Dimensional Design Artist, Alan Wright.

Ian gained a first class honours degree at the Central St. Martins School of Art, London, and later became a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and a Freeman of the City of London. Working with silver, gold, bronze and titanium Alan often uses images inspired by the natural world and merges two or more media. His work has been sold at Liberty and Garrards, London as well as pieces supplied to Kewait and the Sultan of Brunei.

An enormous amount of time, energy and effort goes into each unique hand-crafted item of jewellery. To see this man working in his studio, surrounded by what seems like millions of little intricate tools, makes you appreciate just where the £40+ price tags stem from. His skills don't stop here either, he had small framed pictures put together too, boasting sculpted molten metal. There was a complete set of about 6 or 7 moon/ellipse stages.

He glanced up and smiled as I entered his studio and made some light conversation, although I was slightly conscious I may be distracting him. Alan was so contented doing what he was doing. Creating problems, solving problems, and he is there doing just that 7 days a week from 9 to 5. A true artist, and one that you can meet and greet. Quite rare.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

IKEA Project

YONOH's latest project, a lamp made out of IKEA parts for Surtido. The concept behind it is intriguing, basically that IKEA is actually a supplier of raw materials, rather than of finished products. They challenged 35 designers to go to IKEA and to come up with new products that used existing IKEA parts. Everything used in their products had to come from IKEA, including screws, seats, screens, etc.

Sandra Bautista (left) and Mar Llinés.


This is a pretty awesome project by GAD CHARNY. His Mutants exhibition takes plastic kids toys and transforms them into hybrid mutants. If you in any way happen to be in Tel Aviv, stop by the Artists' House Gallery, from now until 17th August.

Follow the Leader

ANTJE DRESCHER'S trio of illustrations for Follow the Leader are some of my favourite yet. They are both clever and sweet. I love the girl cutting out life size paper doll clothes for herself. Antje is a German illustrator, and since her website is in German, I can't tell you too much about her work, other than that she's done some really great illustrations! Check out her portfolio here.

A revisit to my childhood

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

What could be better than a magic cupboard that turns small toys into living creatures? Omri's big brother has no birthday present for him, so he gives Omri an old medicine cabinet he's found. Although their mother supplies a key, the cabinet still doesn't seem like much of a present. But when an exhausted Omri dumps a plastic toy Indian into the cabinet just before falling asleep, the magic begins. Turn the key once and the toy comes alive; turn it a second time and it's an action figure again.

I studied this as a child in about Year 5 and I just re-read it last week because a distance memory of it sprung to mind one day. I suppose my motivation was also a light read to jump start my near dead reading habits. It did exactly what I wanted. The narrative achieved its purpose of giving me enough conflict/suspense to keep turning the pages. I know that it is definitely below my reading abilities and feel a bit guilty for reading a children's book. However, it served the purpose and has interested me in reading again (and again!?). Since it was such a quick read I get the immediate gratification of saying I've read an entire book.

It's a fantasy by an author with a great imagination. I love it for the vocabulary (wielded, lithely, haughtily) and equally, for the well-defined characters. I also liked the book as a commentary on real life. I enjoyed seeing the growth in the main character as he learned to be a responsible person. The contrast with his best friend helped to remind me how different children are from adults. I am definitely brushing over the cons of this story, such as the extreme stereotypes within it, but then again, it's not my intention to study it all over again.

I'm going to indulge in watching the 1995 film version this week. I'll add a brief break down of that at some point.