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Happy Halloween. Do you like our pumpkin lantern ?
These two clever peeps spent just over four hours creating this masterpiece while I cooked up the insides for soup. Just a regular night!
Ollie is really good at sculpture – clay, bronze, pumpkins… And he loves cartooning and you can see where this crazy hybrid of activities has taken him with the autumn fruits!
I enjoyed the whole Smile exhibition but must admit that seeing Julie Arkell’s work in the flesh was the motivating factor for going.
Her work fits perfectly into the brief for the exhibition because it is delightful, whimsical, nostalgic and amusing. It made me smile, coo, ahh and giggle.
Julie Arkell is one of Britain’s most recognisable folk artists. She works in paper mache and mixed-media .
Her construction process is completely handmade, beginning with manipulating the paper mache into figures and then dressing them by knitting and sewing bespoke garments.
Her work is the meeting point of domestic craft traditions and sculpture.
The ‘people’ she makes have references to bunnies, people, children and dolls but are none or all of those things at once.
I think this is what gives her work a storybook quality. That and the narrative which is hinted at through the embroidery on the clothing and the title of the work itself.
The clothing is reminiscent of an earlier age where petticoats and hobnail boots were standard. Julie likes to re-use items from the past such as lace trimmings and brooches which reinforces the historical quality of the characters.
I have always loved to make things using accessible materials like paper, glue, cardboard, fabric and wool, which relate to my papier-mache pieces. I am able to make pieces that express my feelings, thoughts and ideas, bringing past and present together. Julie Arkell, Flow Gallery.
I really loved this one A LOT. I love the expressions on their faces made through very little marking but a lot of expression through shape. I can just imagine these two sisters gossiping and comparing notes on things.
I adore the way their hair has been made and piled upon their heads and pinched in with ribbon.
I’m amazed by how much character comes thorough with such a lightness of touch. Carefully poised dots and lines, rouging and a clever wittiness with the printed text all combines to create a character that you can ‘read’ almost instantly.
There is something endearing about anything that is miniature and this outfit is no exception.
Collecting things is an important part of my work. I look for postcards, plastic dolls (that I take apart and rearrange) old books, aprons, fabric, buttons, jewellery, used toys and much more that captures my attention. I’m constantly writing down words and phrases and thinking up stories for the world I make. Julie Arkell at CAA
I think her work perfectly suited this particular exhibition and I admit that I would like to don an apron and a pair of knitted ears and go and live in her fairytale world where it looks like relationships matter and its playtime all the time.
Yesterday I went into Staffordshire town center to catch the end of the Smile exhibition.
This is a Ruthin Craft Centre touring exhibition. I think it’s going to King’s Lynn next but you can look here to find out.
And the theme of the exhibition was simply ‘Smile”.
The exhibition showcases the work of thirteen contemporary applied artists all working in different fields.
The exhibition “looks at how makers have explored the quintessentially British love of everyday humour. Many of the works suggest memories of childhood and long-ago holidays or explore the comedy in ordinary life.”
- Janet Bolton
- And it did just that. It was a small exhibition but it had me smiling and exclaiming and cooing and feeling light-hearted and whimsical.
- Who couldn’t fail to smile at this simple, cute, crazy idea?
And I really enjoy Linda Millar’s embroidery because I love the celebration of life that these convey.
They do work to make me smile and feel happy, apart from being eye catching patterns and colours and well crafted.
“All the people in my work smile because mostly they are genuinely happy and contented and busy being about their business.”
And finally here’s a little Julie Arkell, but it’s just a taster.
There was much more than this but I have made a post for tomorrow which is dedicated to just her work.
I really love painting this pink PIP studio teacup because it has pattern in all the right places. I’m always on the lookout for cups with some decoration inside them as it helps break up what would otherwise be a large space of grey/white painting.
However, big, big fan aside, the rendering of the PIP bird always makes me smile because it is a little…non-plussed…dazed…is it alright to say a little camp?
I love to use masking fluid for the pattern on the saucer. It keeps those little white flowers a pure white with a pink wash over the top once it’s dried.
I paint that characterful little guy as truthfully as I can but try to tone his idiosyncrasies down just a tad.
He still looks puzzled though!
I have given myself a little project to paint some of the (many) teacups that I have collected over the years. They have filled up a cupboard but never really worked hard for their purchase pennies. I have a theory that I can buy such things if I make good use of them in a still life and therefore they ‘pay’ their way and aren’t just an excuse to buy more. Well it is an excuse to buy more! But now I’ve set to painting them I can feel a little better about it.
I’ve nearly finished the pretty pink Pip Studio teacup – show you tomorrow.
I happened upon these beautiful book covers by Jillian Tamaki.
They are from a new range called Penguin Threads.
And they are of course all beautiful embroideries designed to be book jackets.
I love how Jillian uses different kinds of stitches to represent the texture of the real life object. Emma’s hair looks like a real plait, Black Beauty’s mane is so realistic it could have been sewn with horse hair and the leaves on the Secret Garden cover are gorgeously shiny and plump.
I know they are released in the USA now but I hope we get them in the UK because they are works of art in themselves never mind all three stories being keepers too.
Remember the French Journal Belle Rose fabrics that I posted about last week. Well they have inspired not only a bout of collaging creativity but a whole pile of delicious mess all over the studio floor. You know it’s good when it’s everywhere!
Here are some close-ups of the two A2 sized collages that I made. One was a pink theme and another blue.
The French Journal Belle Rose fabric has lots of images of birds and flowers laid over old postcards and snippets of writing, geometric designs and beautiful paintings.
I have two drawers, two boxes, a basket and an old portfolio full to bursting with lovely papers, snippets of wrapping too nice to throw away, fancy packaging labels from things we’ve eaten, chinese newspaper…you get the picture.
I have paintings which didn’t work out in their entirety which I cut up, like these quails eggs above.
And some images I scanned from my sketchbooks onto cartridge paper to keep the hand painted feel to them.
It was really relaxing to make an assemblage like this because I usually work on a very different way.
And you know what they say about a change being as good as a holiday. This has been a creative mini-break!
Doesn’t a dose of unexpected Autumn sunshine make for a souper weekend.
That and a bowl of home-made mushroom soup and a slice of freshly baked Artisan bread.
And when you get to take lunch in the garden in the Autumn sunshine and enjoy the said soup, well then there’s not mushroom left to do much else.
Except maybe tidy up the garden (who said it was a good day’s work?) and plant 140 bulbs.
It wasn’t all hard work though because I did it alongside my fungi!
This was the best way I could think of to say something about my difficult week.
It began unexpectedly with an email that caught me blind-sided.
It challenged some things I hold dear and made me question some things that I had done without giving them much thought. But it seems that there is no compromise to be found even where I have admitted errors.
An ultimatum was laid down that I couldn’t adhere to, to not blog and promote myself in that way. Blogging has become very much part of who I am as an artist and I gain such encouragement from those of you who stop by to comment. The upshot is that I have lost representation by one of my galleries.
I feel really sad about it but happy with the choice I made from the two options.
I am trying to ease into this new state and find opportunity.
I do feel unexpectedly optimistic and ready to take the journey in a different direction. I just didn’t choose the timing but maybe that’s the best way.
“Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final”. Rainer Maria Rilke
(image credits: bigcheesebadges.com, amara173.blogspot.com, pattyrossi.blogspot.com, amara173.blogspot.com, stylefrizz.com, highabovethestreet.com, katherinecenter.wordpress.com)
I was recently perusing the virtual shelves of Fancy Moon when I found this most amazing fabric.
It is French Journal Belle Rose by London Portfolio for Michael Miller.
And when I bought it there were three colour ways to choose from. But let me show you some close-ups because every square inch is packed full of inspiration.
It’s a fabric of many layers of images…
… with elements of scrap booking, vintage empheria and hand painted images…
… with both a modern approach and a vintage feel to it.
I love the patchwork background of old script, modern geometric designs and snippets of musical scores.
And the painted birds are beautiful and I love how much organised ‘clash’ and movement and stillness is created. It is more than a fabric, it is a work of art.
Needless to say I can’t bring myself to cut into it for the cushion covers that were destined to be!