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Saturday, 30 April 2016

Credit Where Due

Are you watching Thicker Than Water on More 4? I love this Swedish series from the Walter Presents selection. It's a gripping story with great mix of characters, I love the teenagers, location, photography and music; it concludes next Thursday but you can watch it all here on 4 on Demand. I love the opening sequence with the credits and the music throughout which goes from jaunty with a banjo to very dark and suits the series perfectly. I wanted to know who the music was by but it's not credited on any of the sites about the programme - how mad is that!! So I kept looking at the opening sequence to write it down, when I paused the screen it showed a still advert so I had to keep re running it until I had it all down and found out it is by a group called Flaskkvartetten - Fleshquartet in English. It turns out they did the music for Wallander too and that's available but Thicker Than Water doesn't seem to be yet.
This reminded me of Pia Jane Bijkerk's campaign poster for crediting image makers on the net.
Poster by Pia Jane Bijkerk

If I cant find who to credit an image to for Pinterest then I wont pin it. It really annoys me that the creators can be so easily dismissed. It happens all the time on TV - have you noticed how they shrink the credits to a corner to run a trailer and there's no chance of catching who the costume designer was. It's so unfair to all the talent and effort that went into the making. I know there's alot of image re-use without credit which is why Pia started the campaign, but it surprises me because I would have thought it normal to want to credit artists rather than just thieve - surely!!!   Really recommend that series - enjoy!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Stuff Matters

I finally started reading Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik. Having heard him speak at Making Futures conference last year I had his book on my to read list and bought it here. One fantastic thing about it is that it's written in easy to understand English - not always so amongst academics. I've just read about the structure of metals and it is SO fascinating presumably because it's written by someone who is fascinated by how materials behave. 

I hadn't bothered to stop and think where we might be without the discovery of metals - back in the stone age using flint, wood and bone - so I'll just take a moment to honour the ancestors who discovered metal ore which lead to my massive collection of tin and aluminium treasures.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Cobalt blue, Jade green, etc.

 I love putting the colour mixes together.  The great thing about colours is what they do to each other.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Upcyclisted Directory

I'm very happy to be included in Upcyclist's DirectoryUpcyclisted.  Antonia wrote one of the best books on upcycling that I've seen. Each time I look through it I see something I didn't notice before so I'll never be finished with looking at it. I particularly love the furniture by Italian company Manoteca, one of the 48 featured artists in her book.

The play with proportions in this dressing table called Ephemera makes it stand out against most furniture I've seen, this is daring but not loud which I find really aesthetically pleasing.

And I love this ingenious work table called Windoor that folds away. Isn't great when you see something and love every decision the artist made and wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, 22 February 2016

All the Fun of the Fair and More

In the world of visual art it's often Folk Art that moves me more than other genres. I was so thrilled to discover Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre in Devon. Since I'm split between Devon and London I've so missed the buzz and culture of London when in the west country, (I made a studio here to be near my old mum since her stroke) then happily via the blogosphere I found Dingles on The British Bible of Taste - Thank you! which in turn I had found following a link from Jo Waterhouse's fantastic, witty blog Toot as in Foot
Devon is huge and luckily Dingles is only a 40 minute drive from here - I only recently learned to drive, not so easy in middle age but very necessary in the countryside - so, great to let rip on the dodgems on arrival!

This is a collection of vintage, working rides; carousel, ghost train, waltzers etc housed in one of two large farm sheds. Also there are a collection of working one armed bandits, a hall of mirrors and penny arcade games - take 1p, 2p and 10p pieces.

We had fun on all the rides and the dodgems twice but really the second barn was my favourite, housing a huge collection of absolutely stunning fairground art - I thought I'd died and gone to heaven here, it really is like somewhere that only exists in your dreams.

Behind the Chariot Racer I spotted this workbench, I love to see work areas, here there is clearly a dedicated team restoring and maintaining the rides and artwork.

There is so much to feast your eyes on here, these photos are a tiny percentage, there is tons to see including penny arcade machines from different eras. There is also alot to hear with the old fairground organs playing traditional music, I shall definitely be going back to Dingles many times!

Amongst my favourite artwork were some large screens of boxers painted in the 1920's; apparently you could challenge the boxer and get in the ring with him, can't imagine that happening today.
Dingles is a good day out with a nice cafe and shop, good selection of postcards (not always the case is it!?) and an illustrated guide for £4, also disabled access so I will be taking my mum in her wheelchair to see the artwork, don't think I'll get her on a ride but you never know!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Lilac, Gold and Red

One of the things I love about big cities is the endless supply of visual feasts and contrasts in colour, forms, style, scale and age. Autumn and winter sunshine always enhance the views.

Tokyo is the place more full of contrasts than anywhere I've ever been with tiny old, wooden buildings next to new, high blocks, bright signs, traditional costume, millions of potted plants next to air conditioner outlets - I could go on. I've been there twice and both times barely slept in the fortnight because my eyes were overstuffed from the daily feasts.

The drinks machines punctuate and light up the city by night. I went in autumn and took a trip out of town where the red and orange maples are similarly overwhelming. One day I would love to go back in spring to see the blossom.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Is there life on Mars?

Brixton Pound

There can't be an artist in the world who has not in some way been affected by David Bowie; stunning innovator and originator.  If I had to choose my favourite era it's Ziggy Stardust and that one legged lurex outfit - what a Man!  
I also love this little played song appropriately called "My Death", a beautiful take on a Jaques Brel song.  Have a listen to this and admire the breadth of the man.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Christmas Tree Decorations

I usually use branches to make a festive tree and I've managed to accumulate decorations over the years so that I have a curious collection by now. The oldest is a little antique Santa and the most modern a 3D printed mesh bauble with a reindeer inside.

This bauble was given to me by the artist Lucy Casson, it's one of two from a collection she found in a charity shop years ago. We were both exhibiting on the recycling scene (before the word upcycling was used) around the year 2000 and she knew I'd appreciate the making. The above is made from washing liquid nozzles, plastic beads and a ring of spikes from a dismantled plastic flower - ingenius!

And strangely the maker - or someone - had labelled it 'Floral Spikes 1974', how curious, it's like an anthropologists label from Pitt Rivers Museum.

This is the other one, a green lady from foil wrappers with a button for a collar and small buttons for hands and feet.

This knitted tree is a real favourite. I bought it from Emmaus charity shop in Portslade on the outskirts of Brighton some years ago.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

New Collection?

Ever walked into a shop and the only staff present is a cat? It seems I've started a photo collection....

Don't look at me like that and yes we are open.....

Yeah have a look around, but you're not getting anything wrapped in this tissue paper...
You can often see this market cat at Cornercopia in the Granville Arcade (always hated the new name Brixton Village!) Brixton Market.

Friday, 11 December 2015

The Survivor Sofa Story

I'm very much looking forward to this on Monday;

A documentary about pioneering design and recycling on Monday 14th December at 10pm on the Community Channel but if you're busy you can watch it here. It features my friends the lovely Urban Uphostery. See the trailer here.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Fat Cucumbers

Just because they look great....

This cucumber batch have not been digitally enhanced! Doesn't it make you want to get out some paints and crayons and draw them. Brixton market never fails to be a feast for the eyes.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Case Study

 I bought this suitcase from a charity shop recently.  I haven't fallen for those styled stacks you see as I always thought it would be annoying to have to keep unstacking them every time you were looking for something. I just liked this object. I think I'll keep fabric in it.

It has some really nice labels on it and a tartan type paper lining. I always found those authentic travel labels so lovely, though Waterloo to Staines is not that exotic! You used to see suitcases like that in old films that they never show on TV anymore, why don't they show Jean Harlow or Marx Brothers movies?, I love the dresses from the 30's best - such lovely draping and fabrics. Ever seen anyone pack a case properly in the movies? No it's practically non-existent, they throw things in all crumpled in a frenzy then squash the lid down with a tail hanging out.

I'd like to know this case's stories; it seems to be hiding the fact it's been to Singapore. When I was a teenager I bought the tin below in a junk shop.

And more recently I couldn't resist this little one, it's a money box for skinny coins.

I love the colours and graphics on this and the little key works.

 I bought it at Spitalfields Antique Market ( see 2 posts ago) for £10.

And here's Otis with suitcase all ready for social cleansing (!) before eviction day last year.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Open Studios

I'm very excited to be taking part in these Open Studios next weekend - see you there!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Spitalfields Antique Market

 I knew about this Thursday market for years before I visited - sometimes I need to avoid temptation - but it's a great day out as you can meet a pal there for lunch and the market is there all day. I managed to come away with just 2 purchases - both for my work; glass drops and little tin moulds.

Last time I came here I bought a little tin suitcase money box which I'll show you in another post soon, you definitely find your favourite stalls here where the dealer has a good eye.

I noticed this impressive carved skull because my friend the artist Gloria Carlos works with ornamenting animal skulls.  I don't do dead things in the home myself - look at the stuffed ducklings on the top stall, my heart sort of skipped a beat when I saw them.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Deco Mag and Breakfast

Many Thanks to Deco Mag for the feature on my work here.

You can sign up for their regular newsletter and stay in touch with all things eco and interior.

All Day Breakfast

Coffee and Croissant theme chandelier, I think it might be one of my favourites.

Monday, 5 October 2015

'Money for Nothing' on BBC

A chance glance at Rupert Blanchard's blog alerted me to this series of programmes; Money for Nothing on BBC iplayer. Hurry it's your last chance for the first one of fifteen episodes as that's available until 7th Oct 16.30pm, then each consecutive episode expires a day after the previous.

Sarah Moore intercepts things about to be dumped, gets artisans to revamp them and sells them on. Happily it's all done seriously well, not dabbling dilettante upcycling that there is so much of now, no this series uses some of our favourite talented artisans like Rupert Blanchard and The Rag and Bone Man. I don't like everything that gets done but some are great and having seen 3 episodes so far you really get the point about our wastefulness and neglect of potential use.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Art Auction

photos from Cancer Research UK website

I was lucky enough to be invited to an art auction at Christies last night. I've never been to a proper auction, only a more relaxed one at Pilchuck Glass School during a summer session, so I was really curious to see what these DNA form sculptures would go for. I hadn't seen this art trail in London but these sculptures were out and about before sale. All funds go Cancer Research UK at The Crick Institute due to open fully next year. So a great cause as this will be the largest facility in the world pursuing effective treatment for some awful diseases.
Two of these sculptures were by Ai Weiwei so I thought they would go for massive prices since he is a huge figure in the art world. They went for £32,000 and £30,000, I wondered if these were bargains. Of course if they were bought as investments and get resold I wonder if that profit can go to The Crick Institute?
Ai Weiwei has a major exhibition at the RA currently, I admire him as a political heavyweight but looking at his conceptual sculpture I couldn't respond to it without reading all the blurb.

It's definitely exciting to go to a big auction and watch the bidding, at Christies we were told to dress smart, the champagne was flowing and the canapes were top notch as you'd expect.

On the left: sculpture by Kindra Crick recreating the drawings of the workings out of the structure of DNA by her grandfather.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Making Futures

I just took part in the Making Futures conference in Plymouth organised by Plymouth College of Art and Design. The full title was Making Futures: craft and the (re)turn of the maker in a post-global sustainably aware society. What a treat it was to be around so many clever people who are thinking of solutions to our problems all the time and experimenting with materials and ideas to change our thinking about waste and beyond. The speakers were excellent and thankfully most presenters didn't speak in such strong academic language as their writing so I could understand alot more than I thought. It's not every day you meet a Professor of Materials and Society; listen to Mark Miodownik being interviewed here on his work and mixing up scientists with artists. With 80 delegate presenters there was alot going on here, if you're interested in participating they are every 2 years - this was the 4th - so you can keep your eye on Making Futures 2017 and the birth of it's sister conference next year Making Learning about education. The texts from the conference will be available on the Making Futures site early next year - do take a look at the previous one here.
Big Thanks to Devon Guild of Craftsmen for my bursary to take part!

Friday, 28 August 2015

LED Filament Bulbs

I was thrilled to find these LED filament bulbs at B&Q. Having always had one eye on the development of low energy bulbs waiting for those big clumsy white plastic ones to get replaced by more refined designs it's great news that LED bulbs have been getting better and better and are more easily available. This filament style are great for my chandeliers, are a warm tone with an A++ energy efficiency rating. They were about £5 or £7, can't remember exactly, but these are 4 watts and 2.2 watts so a great saving in electricity usage. I hope they'll make the candle style with a twist in the glass one day, it scatters light nicely.

Jelly Bowl Lantern with rusts, amber and pinks, 4 watt bulb (similar to 40 watts incandescant) 470 lumens.

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