Here are just a few of the things that really got my creative juices going on a quick trip to London to kick start my new year:
First off I went to the V&A to revel in the collection and also to catch the Disobedient Objects exhibition. It was a small show but filled with quiet and evocative objects. There were historical objects but an overwhelming sense of individuals all around the world continuing to protest in whatever way they could. Sad but truly inspirational.
This exquisite suffragette tea-cup and saucer symbolises the importance of the tea-rooms the Suffragettes ran in their shops and at fund raising bazaars. They were a crucial part of the campaign, creating an ‘acceptable’ place where women could get political under the very noses of polite society!
I was drawn towards the textile pieces made by women in Chile desperate to get the stories of their live under Pinochet’s dictatorship out to the world. They sometimes hid letters in the backing of these arpilleras which were then sold abroad giving the women a voice and some vital income. “For a time the authorities were blind to their subversive nature, dismissing arpillera-making as folk art.” Just like the suffragettes the women could come together to sew but also talk to each other and share their stories in relative safety.
The brilliant – and ongoing campaign to increase awareness of all things feminist around the world. Anonymous activists take on the names of dead women artists, writing campaigning and making activist art to high-light the inequalities of the day. http://www.guerrillagirls.com/posters/getnaked.shtml
Then off to the South Bank and Tate Modern. Patchwork of the Century in the South Bank Centre was a piece made for the Festival of Britain. It was designed by Lillian M Dring for the Women of the Century exhibition. 100 patches representing an event or achievement between 1851-1950 were sewn by 80 members of Twickenham women’s organisations. It’s such a beautiful thing with such interesting detail and it’s made from recycled materials too.
Tate Modern’s exhibition of Louise Bourgeois’ works on paper was my highlight, such dark and exquisite drypoint prints, huge dramatic drawings and inventive collage and textiles too. She’s just an extraordinary talent.
This year I’ve been kept rather busy by my kids who are amazingly and exhaustingly 1 & 3 years old!
But I have still been able to keep my creativity levels high by working at the wonderful New Art Gallery Walsall and on several schools projects, such as the ceramic mural for Henry Chadwick Primary School in Rugeley.
I worked alongside artist Celia Houghton and every pupil in the school made a clay tile for the mural, celebrating the school’s 100 year anniversary.
Then of course there’s been the crafting with the kids, and making gifts for birthdays and christmas.
And now with Maud starting Nursery there’s been a vast array of opportunities for costumes and dressing up too – ‘Such Fun’!
So here’s looking forward to whatever creative opportunities come my way in 2015 – Happy New Year!
I am currently part of ‘The City Artcade’, an exhibition of contemporary art installations in 4 shop windows in Lichfield’s town centre, organised with thanks by Celia Houghton, Lichfield’s Arts Development Officer and ‘Untitled Arts Collective‘.
My installation includes a series of works displayed on and around a fabulous late 1960’s bookcase, kindly given by my mother-in-law. My immediate reaction on seeing the proposed space was that it looked like a stage and I could immediately see my pieces crawling on and over the furniture of a room set.
I’m really pleased with the installation in this quirky space, it’s great to be a part of the exhibition and really good to be showing my work again. I’ve had some great comments from people walking past, who weren’t expecting to see anything like this in a shopping arcade and have been intrigued and delighted by the different artists’ work.
There are also a variety of arts workshops running in the shops during the summer and my daughter had a great time adding to the sticky tape wall drawings organised by artists Jerry Trill, Henrietta Ellis and Hannah Spencer
Over the last 2 years my creative out-put has mainly focused on the ‘creation’ of my two wonderful children. Now they’re both here I’m starting to think about making and exhibiting my sculptural work again, but I have been able to keep my creativity going during this time by making all sorts of things, for and with my daughter and here are just a few examples.
The tree is for the kids’ new shared room, inspired by my love of American Folk Art and the brilliant things you can find on Pinterest too.
Olive the owl was for Maud’s 1st birthday and the cloth baby was to help her with Frank’s arrival. The idea was to make it deliberately gender neutral, so she can work out who she wants it to be herself!
The felt fruit was for her christmas present. I started out with the idea of making a few apples but I got quite addicted to the felt which is so satisfying to sew and I ultimately made pears, satsumas, a banana and a bunch of grapes!
The ‘tag-hog’ is the first thing I’ve made for Frank so far. I remember Maud loved to chew on the labels of her toys so I thought the ribbons on this would make for a much more satisfying chomp!
From Chatsworth House to a Lace exhibition at Birmingham Art Gallery & Museum, here are some of the things that have inspired my work this summer.
This was a wonderful trip to Chatsworth house to see Anthony Caro’s sculptures in the grounds. The combination of huge metal sculptures with the elegance of the house in the background and the beautiful meadow planting was just stunning.
The wonderfully fecund forms of this lace making cushion at Birmingham Museum & art gallery, the bagpipe from this sculpture at V&A Museum and this incredible willow sculpture at Chatsworth triggered all sorts of ideas for new work.
I had the time to really explore the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery on this trip and I was really struck by the wrappings on this mummy, just like the traditional ‘log cabin‘ pattern in american patchwork quilting.
So this is my Zephyr my latest piece of work, finally completed after having my daughter last year.
This piece is very much a continuation of my original artist’s statement:
A sense of ‘the uncanny’ is at the core of my work;
in particular the direct translation from Freud’s essay
‘das unheimliche’- ‘the unhomely’.
By using, such culturally loaded, materials and techniques
as ceramics and sewing, my aim is to subtly disturb our notions
of home,family, femininity, craft and English tradition.
Zephyr is however more than a little influenced by the incredible mass and tangle of feelings that come from pregnancy, birth and new motherhood.
As always my work is deeply personal whilst trying to deal with some wider issues and I also relish the intriging and personal interpretations people bring to the work when it’s been exhibited, so let me know what you think!
Wow what a brilliant exhibition, the man’s a genius and how lucky to be able to choose from The British Museum’s collection, that must have been a dream come true.
What was so great about the exhibition was how perfectly his work mixed with the artefacts and sometimes you had to look again to work out which ones he’d actually made. The thing about Grayson Perry’s work that I love, and always strive for in my own work, is how beautifully made it all is, he may offend some people with the content but you could never just dismiss it because it’s so apparent that it’s created with such love and skill.
I must admit that what made this Christmas trip so wonderful for me however was that this was my daughter’s first ever exhibition and being of discerning taste already of course, she loved it. Not a bad way to start her education!