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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Barbican and Jean Paul Gaultier

Last chance to see Jean Paul Gaultier at the Barbican, this exhibition ends on the 25th of August. I'm so late to get to things otherwise I would have put this here sooner.































I didn't realise I was a fan but I loved alot of this. The variations on sailor stuff for men and women are so flattering to each, gorgeous shapes and lines; fat espadrilles on the men and big buttoned trousers and 30's shapes on the women. He really had fun with that. I also loved the stuff inspired by Mongolian costume: amazing.




















I'm not at all a fashionista but I love creative revolutionaries. I think JPG loves men and women. I see so much fashion that I think despises women - I'm so sick of seeing women dressed up like men in bad drag - unflattering oversized everything, perched, pruned and pinched with sticky looking hair and eye lashes. This show was full of subtle, elegant detail - oh the old punks are the best!!!
































Everytime I go to the Barbican centre I love it and wonder why I don't go more often. The residential bit always made me think of Star Trek from my childhood when they land in a strange place with no people - I am yet to see a human on a balcony here - or how I imagined Tokyo would be before I went there. I like the strange atmosphere. I went for morning coffee before the exhibition opened so it was very quiet, the centre opens at 9am, the gallery at 10. Membership looks like good value if you go to more then 3 exhibitions there a year.

































I was taken to the front restaurant called the foodhall on the waterside there for a birthday lunch treat once - good choice, it's a great place to sit and eat and meet pals. I love the decor; lots of lights made from large jars, understated furniture and I really appreciated the unpainted columns left rough and ready - looked like a last minute idea to not paint them over as their texture and marks are so complimentary.

































There - I think this ended up being an hommage to the Barbican Centre post - hope I sold it to you!

Sunday, 17 August 2014










My work is included in the directory of this online eco magazine Deco. You can subscribe to their newsletter and if you do that soon you'll no doubt get their preview of Design week; a selection of eco conscious design. I cant believe how quickly it's coming around again. I took part in Tent last year but this year I shall be a happy spectator and am looking forward to getting to Design Junction and Designers Block. The details of what's on are here. It's 18th-23rd Sept.
I used to avoid Design Week - too many silly chairs and superfluous stuff but I surrendered because amongst that I see a tiny handful of stuff that excites me.
This year Designers Block is in a building I always wanted to get into, Sessions House on Clerkenwell Green. It's opposite Craft Central's Corner Shop so when I was exhibiting there I looked onto this grand building.  You can start registering for tickets now.


































And sorry for the huge gap in blogging - summer and straddling south London and Devon have something to do with that.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Vincent and Banksy


































I think Vincent Van Gogh may have liked these hydrangeas; the intense purpley blue. They are are at the front of a house he spent time in. Did you know he lived on the edge of Brixton for a while? Yes, so the creativity of the area dates way back, he was there from 1873 -1874. I went into this house recently when an artist made an installation of the house based on it's history - more here - sorry this event is over now, but nevertheless interesting and you can pay homage at 87 Hackford Road, SW9.


































So I really enjoyed walking up the stairs that Vincent did, holding the handrail he must have too.
I went to the Banksy exhibition at Sotheby's - and here is his homage to Vincent in this exhibition. Isn't it interesting that he ended up so Bankable, maybe he should update his name! I'm so curious how this has affected his stance and the sharp political insight of his early work.

















And how do you know what's a genuine Banksy now? well obviously Southwark think this is one. It's quite painful watching everything become a commodity. As our community in Brixton is destroyed by Lambeth Council and our building will be boarded up this year (criminal!) I wonder that they will later want to capitalise on OUR history and the great old days when pioneers lived where others didn't want to, where residences were called 'hard to let' and where artists thrived creatively. 
And poor Vincent never saw the real appreciation of his work in his lifetime.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Summer Sea and Fair


































I'm very happy that my chandeliers have been selling well at Two Kats and a Cow Gallery in Brighton. I've been working fast to restock. There's something about the light by the sea that enhances everything. I've been working alot with greens and turquoises. I prefer slightly muted colours, I think they look better with aluminium because it's not shiny. If you're getting your sun and sea in Brighton do visit this gallery - it's on the beach between the 2 piers.

Meanwhile....

























...I have not been to the sea but to a country fair. I loved some of the old village games. The above of course is really timely (am enjoying odd binges of the World Cup) but I loved the quality of the painting. Is this considered folk art? I'm not sure the exact definition - maybe I'll find out more when I get to the British Folk Art exhibition at Tate Britain next week. I think of my work as urban folk art. I cant tell you how much the division between fine art and craft annoys me. Since I've been looking for a studio (really tough) I found that 2 of the major providers in London only consider fine artists. It makes my search doubly hard.













Zooming in on the background this reminds me of the 3D spectators I bought in a market near this fair, that I featured here on my blog. I love the passion in their creation - beats fine art anyday!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Oncycling

Has anyone used the term 'oncycling' yet or can I claim it as my own?
I found what I will call 'oncycled' boxes today. Luckily these little things make my heart sing. I find these truly great sculpture. What was a box has been made into a new box and has reprinted new logo on the outside.





























































These are things of great beauty but also very strong boxes. I love that the base is a bit skewed and not a perfect oblong. In our increasingly shiny over designed world I appreciate this kind of thing even more.




















These boxes have great texture. I found them in Brixton Village (I hate calling it that as it will always be Granville Arcade to me - and see this fantastic footage of it in 1961!) one of Brixton's market arcades, but how appropriate for me to have them for packing the materials of my upcycling endeavours ready for move day when that comes. Maybe I should re-label one with my logo for a 3rd life from biscuits to palm juice to chandeliers.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Squeezed Out

Well it's been hard to be attentive to posting whilst trying to work and facing eviction soon from my home and work place of 30 years. I will pay homage to an amazing building, home and community here another time especially as I realised how much my work has been influenced by this environment. 

 
I like watching the great tits nesting in our courtyard, I hope they won't be affected by gentrification and get squeezed out like us. But if they do it's probably easier for them to re-home themselves than us. These guys use this urn every spring and you hear the chicks go wild when the parent goes in with food.
                                                                                                          
I adore London, it's home for many decades but I really despair that it will become like Manhattan or Hong Kong: corporate and sterile. Soon there will be no affordable workspace for artists anywhere, no industrial yards, no curious unkempt corners, it will all be capitalised. 

So I enjoy the light filtering through our stairwells and courtyards whilst I can. I will miss it terribly. We did fight very hard to stay and after 3 visits to court and meeting some grown ups I hope never to have to deal with again I hope I never have cause to attend court ever again.

Making chandeliers makes me feel normal, I pick up the pliers join a few things and all feels right with the world or better; I must be lucky to have found something like that. There are so many rewards, like having my work hang over a Ron Arad table, even reflected in it. This article almost slipped by me but a friend saved it. The lovely house that I made this for was featured in the Times recently.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Cityscape painting





















I bought this painting in a charity shop in south London a few months ago. I'm always amazed to still find stuff that's gone trendy - and this has it's scuffing and little tears that makes it bona fide shabby chic. I actually looked at it for ages before I decided to get it. It's so hard justifying bringing more junk in - especially since I face eviction which at worst could be in less than 4 weeks time but hopefully will be further into the future.
Anyway, one of the things that helped me decide to get it was a bod hovering behind me clearly waiting to see if I was going to decline. I kept hold of it as I wondered if I'd regret not getting it and watch them walk out with it. So, cheekily I taunted them a bit by keeping my decision slow and then got it - at only £5.99 I don't why it took so long. Nothing like a bit of competition I suppose. I would love to know where it is, looks Russiany/eastern Europeish, do let me know if you recognise it.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

To See




















I've been making a real effort not to miss exhibitions and had a binge of viewing on Friday. Here is Phyllida Barlow's installation at Tate Britain - amazing, she really knows what she's doing. Utterly uncompromising original stuff.




















So that was a good start, then on to 'Boro' at Somerset House, also free. Not allowed to take photos, but these are patched and stitched abstract textile pieces in cotton from Japan. See here.

Then I went on to the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons in Lincolns Inn Fields. I had known about this place for years but not yet been. This is full of jars of specimens, normal and mutated for study etc. There was a 4 legged chick and a 2 tailed lizard and creatures with too many legs. I didn't really like all the preserved foetus's etc,(funny that) but the bones really fascinated me; some with huge growths and awful diseases or just clever mending. Funnily enough I went with a GP who'd never known of it's existence until now. Google it's images to see if it's for you and maybe don't go just before lunch!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Assistant




















My assistant joins me at teatime and as usual places himself at the hub of things.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Brighton Exhibition

























I hung 5 chandeliers at this lovely gallery on Brighton beach. It's run by 2 talented painters; Katty McMurray and Kathryn Matthews. Everything seems enhanced by light reflected from the sea, but then I grew up looking out to see so it may be a childhood thing but this is a lovely location for a gallery full of very seductive things. So do get on down to '2 Kats and a Cow Gallery' for this lovely mixed show, and maybe chips on the beach to follow.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Whole Package






















How did we manage before bubble wrap? what a great invention, and accidental as it was first intended for wallpaper, then the inventors thought it could be insulating but finally realised it was a great packaging material.  I found this great page when looking up the history of bubble wrap.. as you do. How have I not spent my googling hours looking up the history of boxes and packing tape too? but they cover all that and more. Their page on bubble wrap has several videos, one where you really cant see how it's made but has a very board looking machine operator and some mad music (with accordion!) one Chinese one that does show you the machines making it and one of cats jumping on it and popping the bubbles. All well worth a watch!

Latest Finds



























I found this crate a few months ago, it's debris from Brixton's gentrification. I wondered why such a great box had been thrown out, especially as I know how much crates cost if you need them custom made. I looked up the name on it and the firm make plasterwork so someone round the corner has an elaborate plaster ceiling rose. I'm going to make it into a cupboard sometime with a shelf and some doors.
Shortly after finding this I found another gentrified box in the same street.

Well it's perfect shelving already, especially for bits and pieces in my studio. Again I wonder why it was put out for collection and they didn't have a use for it or the imagination for that.
I used to find nice old furniture in skips (in the good old days) but now with this posh packaging I shall make my own for the 'post shabby chic era'

Monday, 10 February 2014

February





































I missed posting anything in January, not sure why, but I have been busy working with bright colours in the darker months.  This is thanks my customer Robinsons Goldsmiths who's shop in Bangor, Northern Ireland re-opens any minute now.  You can see pictures here. Cobalt blue in glass is a fantastic colour - it seems to magically invigorate all the other colours you pair it with. I love it with pink or yellow, here I worked with green and turquoise. This kind of thing fascinates me, I could spend my life marveling at what colour does.



















I've been taking photos around the studio, partly for someone's book, (more of that when it happens) and partly just as sketches as it changes all the time. Leaving it this year is going to be very tough but I'm determined to find a nice new space to work in by chuck out time.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Merry

























I hear there is a raging debate in the States as to whether Santa Claus was black or white, well maybe he was black AND white.....
Merry Festivities Blogland folk, have a fabulous 2014, whatever you celebrate the light will start to return after tomorrow.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

More Finds




















I went to Kempton antiques market recently, a nice crisp sunny cold morning to go hunting for junk but I found everything so expensive, like retail prices. Next time I'll go at closing time when the prices come down. Anyway I was giving up hope of finding any surprising, inspiring treasure when I came across a box of Meccano for £10. I looked up Meccano and they still make it but it's gone the way of Lego: over-designed with little room for imagination. I mourn the loss of a nation of boys making trucks and cranes with working pulleys etc. from scratch!













Also in the box was this screwdriver. I think they still make this style but isn't the practical simplicity beautiful. I have been marveling at it's economy of design. One rod bent around and with one end flattened - ticks all my boxes.

Dresser Find Update





















I ended up painting the inside of the glass door cupboard I got recently to lighten it up. I gave it 2 coats proper coverage to avoid any hints of that fake shabby scratchy style....have you seen B&Q do floor covering with a trompe l'oeuil floorboard of worn paint? Amazing, look at it here. It still perplexes me that the styles of arty folk of 30 years ago that were considered leftfield and quirky are now mainstream taste and the things we scavenged because no-one wanted them and because we art students had no money are now highly desirable and expensive items.





































































I added a narrow shelf at the top for all my tiny glasses. And if you love the LED rabbit light...it was £5.99 at 20 Storey in Market Row in Brixton market. This is a really nice shop and better than the shop at the Design Museum which I found massively disappointing. I've done all my Xmas shopping in Brixton, fantastic to get all that done without leaving SW9.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Finds
















It's been a good few days for finds. These glasses are from Brixton's Saturday market, they were 50pence each. I love the hand engraved stars, especially the mini elegant one which will go in my little collection of the few I don't use. The stem is so fine anyway I'd be worried it could break in transit.



















I also found, but then paid for a piece of furniture being thrown away. I saw this cabinet at the back entrance of a charity shop.

























It's the top half of a dresser that they said was broken. It's not, the 2 parts just come apart. I looked at the bottom half and decided to offer a donation for both and pay delivery. So in all I paid £40 - that's a good deal better than the haberdashers cabinets I'd been lusting over online! Fashionable stuff is a ridiculous price so I don't participate in that scrum.
When it comes to old stuff and re-using I really aim to have something that really was otherwise being thrown away.



















Someone has given it a fake shabby chic dose of paint - not my style - but I'm yet to decide how I'll finish it. It is nuts that it was being thrown away from a charity shop - those of us already alert to minimising waste are clearly in a minority, there's plenty of education necessary to redefine 'waste'. Think of the fantastic flea markets you could have with all the stuff charity shops don't want.
Anyway I'm thrilled with my finds and I have very little storage where things are out of view so this is a real novelty.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Living Etc

































Living Etc interiors magazine had borrowed one of my chandeliers for a christmas decorating feature, It's well and truly festooned! They didn't hang the finishing glass on the bottom, so for me the proportions are wrong. It's the only part I unhook and wrap seperately for traveling so maybe they were in  hurry unwrapping and didn't spot it.


























I'll leave you to add the end glass  in your mind's eye. I love the colour scheme of rather faded grandeur, dusty pinks and silvery greys.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Cooling































It's cooled to autumn - my favourite season - and so apart from beautifully coloured leaves it's also time to start admiring cats keeping warm. This is a friends cat, Treacle who lives in the countryside. As I started spending more time there I was going to post more photos but got unnerved by the dastardly local council bods trying to evict us who used this information in their social cleansing campaign, implying I may want to leave the area anyway - how weird, I don't. I am still in South London! and we don't go back to court til April.
Grayson Perry has been very interesting in his Reith lectures: talking about artists as the shock troops of gentrification. It's true, we move into an area people didn't much want to live in, clean up the dirt, make it buzzy and interesting and then the developers move in - he therefore suggested you should pay artists to live in these places for free. Yes! It's so saddening, when will planners and developers start counting us in as an asset instead of squeezing us out? Have a listen here on BBC iplayer.












I had bravely, or stupidly, walked through a field with a bull in it on the way to fondle an egg from under this bird and have tea with freshly baked cake using her eggs.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

R.I.P. Felix Dexter














Unbelievably sad news that we have lost the brilliant comedian and actor Felix Dexter. And at such a young age and yet another great person taken early by cancer. Every now and again we lose a public figure that was such an important part of our landscape and culture (John Peel, Charlie Gillett..) that it makes me really really furious. If you watch his characters for Bellamy's People on You Tube you can marvel at how they did those sketches without laughing. Also The Real McCoy. Genius. BBC news article is here. Sad news indeed.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Wireless



































Isn't modern life fantastic - you can work whilst watching the Great British Bake Off on iplayer. I could feel guilty but I got loads done. I'm probably always at least 5 years behind on technology. I'm always amongst the last to get gadgets and stuff like mobile phone, website, blog, digital camera, laptop etc. I wouldn't know what to do with a smart phone or an ipad. In another few years I'll probably discover instagram and facebook etc by the time they're old hat. These things seem like magic to me, I still marvel at what's possible in photoshop. Funny though, alot of these digital things want to mimic analogue stuff like old type that's not aligned and old polaroids.   
















These are keys from an old type writer I took apart. I really like the proportion of a metal arm the size of your finger with a tiny little apostrophe or letter perched on the end. I loved how the typewriter was assembled, these just had a rigid wire hook through a hole that I could unhook nice and easily to remove them - don't you love this analogue stuff?! I'm hoping these will end up on a chandelier but I'm not sure how yet.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Tent London 2013


















So London Design week ended last night after a hectic few days, though there are still lots of shows on around town. Thanks to all you lovely visitors who came to say hello. I didn't get to have a thorough look in the other halls at Tent, but one of my favourite things were these pots by Tortus.





















I like their simplicity and especially the matt glazes.






















I bought the little lemon cylinder vase below, it has a pinky red interior. Alot of the colours were subtle but appetising.
































Top tip: Companies from other countries may want to sell their show-ware on the last day so as not to have to carry it all back home. Tortus' work can be bought at Flow gallery in London and no doubt they'll have found other stockists since this show.
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