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Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery

July 23, 2018

Perhaps it’s not coincidence that I settled in Manchester with two of my favourite galleries on the doorstep. I popped into town the other weekend to visit one of them Manchester Art Gallery and see it’s fab Nordic Craft and Design exhibition on the top floor. It’s on display for a whole year (til 7th July 2019) so you’ve plenty of time to get to see it and it’s wonderfully curated, displayed and free to get in !

Let’s start with some stylish glassware.

It wouldn’t be a true Nordic exhibition without a glimpse of the Moomins.

This amazing dress was worn by Bjork for one of her concerts, I also admired the beautiful Ribbon Chair by Katie Walker.

I really enjoyed seeing some retro fabrics from the 60’s and 70’s.

Unusual bag with etched wood and fabric, depicting a forest scene.

Two famous shaped chairs that proved to be exceedingly popular (and probably well copied) worldwide.

Amazing detail in these embroidered gloves from the late eighteen hundreds.

Not seen these wonderful glass birds by Oiva Toikka before, they even had a few for sale in the giftshop.

Even some impressive lights to feast your eyes on.

Another new ceramic artist for me was Mari Simmulson. Born in 1911 and died in 2000. She was one of the leading designers for Gustavsberg and Upsala-Ekeby in the 1940s-1960s

More interesting textiles and new names to research.

A few snippets of other exhibitions on at the gallery at the moment.

Also a great new addition are some wonderful paintings on the cafe walls.

Especially these two by Nash.

Well worth having a browse in the gift shop too. I try to buy something to contribute back to the gallery.

This has just given me more desire to plan a Scandinavian trip away. Anyone want a well behaved visitor ? : )

So pleased I saw this exhibition.










G-Force Eighties Clothing Company in Nottingham

July 16, 2018

Anyone who remembers names like Cocky’s Shed and Culture Vulture in Hockley, Nottingham, was probably (like me) around there in the mid eighties when different forms of street fashion were establishing. I was chatting recently to a friend from my Trent Poly days about living in Nottingham and the name ‘G-Force’ came up, as we remembered the boutique clothing shop with it’s strong, bold knitwear.

Funnily enough we had both bought our own G-Force knits, to wear and be ‘in with the in-crowd’ of the time.

Although to be honest I didn’t always have the guts to wear it as often as I would have liked. This was my jumper.

Their label and logo with great details, heavy zip and characteristic stitching on the seams.

G-force was often worn by bands like the Stereo MC’s, the performance artists Stomp, celebrities like Cher and Eric Cantona. I started googling the name to see what was available and the name of it’s founder Robin Kerr appeared. As luck would have it, Robin not only had an accessible email address but is now a Senior Lecturer in Fashion at non other than the Manchester School of Art ..small world again eh !! I got in touch with him to ask a little more about this iconic brand… he replied to say he would answer any questions I might have but when I sent them over, sadly I didn’t hear back.

Another small piece of 80’s and 90’s culture. Who else remembers these ?





Reginald Montague Lander Midcentury Posters Part 2

July 9, 2018

Welcome to part 2 of my posts about the wonderful mid-century posters and illustrations of Reg Lander. He worked predominantly using gouache and watercolour and had many distinct styles. A very painterly rendition of Conway to start us off.

There’s not been a great deal of change as this photographic view of Corfe Castle in Dorset (below), clearly shows.

Sadly as there isn’t a great deal of information online about Reg, I don’t know if he worked from real life, sketches or from photographs. I’m guessing a mixture of all three.

I love these rural views. The texture and colours work so well together.

Slightly strange yellow and orange, cloudy borders, I must say.

A beautiful harbour rendition above and a very different style of work below, almost like a grey-green version of a Seurat painting lol.

If the images I found online hadn’t been attributed to Reg, I doubt I would have believed that they were all the work of one person. Great to see how adaptable he was as an artist.

One of my favourite styles is this truly midcentury 50’s and 60’s one below.

He must have created hundreds of posters during his lifetime.

Quite a prolific and hopefully affluent artist.

Look at these beautiful scenes.

More uplifting scenes to make you smile here.

These remind me of the work of Harry Stevens and Daphne Padden.

If anyone has any more information about Reg Landers I’d love to hear it. Which of his work makes you smile the most ?




Reginald Montague Lander Mid Century Poster Artist

July 2, 2018

Reginald Montague Lander was born in London in 1913 and lived until he was 67.

Educated at Clapham Central School and studied art at Hammersmith School of Art.

He produced a wealth of work in the 60’s and 70’s for travel companies. Look at these beauties !

A close up to appreciate the detail in his work.

He became the chief designer and studio manager at Ralph Mott Studio from 1930-9, and worked for Government Ministries and the British Transport Commission.

He produced a huge number of posters for GWR, LNER, British Railways and the Post Office, right up to the late 1970s.

He worked in a few different styles, painterly, graphic, architectural and even quite cartoon-like.

Tune in next Monday for a second post of Reg’s amazing work.





Tom Duxbury Contemporary Illustration of times gone by

June 25, 2018

Tom Duxbury has been an artist since the age of four when he first remembers painting the sky, sea and the land in a school art lesson. Growing up in Yorkshire not far from Bingley, he feels those early years, surrounded by the northern hills, have never wandered far from where his true heart lies. Although nowadays he’s based in Chesterfield and works in Sheffield, his work still often tells stories of rural landscapes.

He studied in Leeds College of Art taking a foundation year there and enjoyed it much more than the illustration degree he did at Brighton. Afterwards he headed back to the Yorkshire hills to reconnect with the landscapes he loves so much. Tom works using lino-cutting techniques to create his illustrations.

Doing initial preparatory sketches to decide where the colours will lie and to perfect his curves, pathways and illustration layout.

By his mid twenties Tom had already created book covers for Vintage Classics, drawn chapter headings for A Little History of Science,  and illustrated a book for Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet Laureate.

Tom’s graphic, strong style is characteristic of linocutting — a printmaking technique using sculpted linoleum that was associated with the modern Vorticist movement at the beginning of the 20th century.

“My first problem was falling in love with a process that was so dated,” Tom says. “The sculptural process of lino printing is so integral to my image-making technique, because you can express so much in it. Because you’re carving, it just feels like you’re putting all your emotion into it.”

Below (top left) is his homage to E.Nesbit’s The Railway Children and the others covers are for James Herriot’s famous books about the Yorkshire Vet and countryside, like ‘All Creatures Great and Small’.

More info about Tom here on “The City Talking” blog. Great work Tom !


MMU Degree Show 2018 Part 2

June 18, 2018

Hi and welcome back to part 2 of my blogpost about the Manchester School of Art Degree Show 2018. For you local peeps it’s open until 20th June so you’ve still got a couple of days to pop along and see it. For those readers who live a little further afield, I’ve taken some images to share with you.

Let’s begin with some wire-work from Rosemary Brown.

Joe Bazalgette Zanetti revealed the time consuming process of making a mould for a glass vase. I did think about those sixties vases from Whitefriars when I saw all the colours lined up. Great work Joe. Bailey Shooter showed us that shards and segments could equally be as beautiful as the whole form.

Francesca has gathered sand from 16 places in Italy, near to where she’s from and used it in her ceramics, to add texture and distinction to each piece.

Silver pieces from Maisie Smith, a beautifully designed table with inlaid wood by Anna Evseeva and some contemporary retro  cabinets from Samuel Ellis.

Sarah Lyons takes reference and influence from old rural wheat weaving forms like the Irish St Brigid’s Cross (above left). She’s made some wonderful pieces based on this one idea alone.

Moving onto the Illustration department. Some fresh quirky work from Olivia Axson.

Folk tale illustrations from Nafeesa Khaliq.

Fresh, vibrant lines from Sarah Wilson and Hannah Williams.

Laurie Campbell explores myths and legends.

Maisy Summer Lewin-Sanderson reveals some fabulous cutout singers and musicians, inspired by the Night and Day Cafe.

Ravilious style retro print from Amy Needham.

Lines and angles everywhere.

Finally to this years favourite choice for me, sumptous food illustrations from Alexandra Boocock.

Good enough to eat !

I hope you’ve enjoyed my trip to this years MMU Degree Show, which was your favourite.














MMU Degree Show 2018 Part 1

June 15, 2018

I went to the Manchester Metropolitan University Degree show this week and caught up with a few creative graduates work. In case you are interested the show is on until June the 20th. Opening times: Mon – Fri 10am – 6pm, Sat/Sun – 10am – 4pm at Manchester School of Art (Benzie, Grosvenor and Chatham Buildings, Cavendish Street, M15 6BR) and 99 Oxford Road (Old Manchester Met SU, M1 7EL). Starting off on the Textiles in Practice Course, and the painterly work of Amy Pham.

Some beautifully delicate floral work by Gemma Barton, painted onto Muslin and Organza and layered to create depth.

Some aquatic prints from Alice Veevers.

Bold and beautiful, 1950’s weaves by Francesca Shimmin.

Textural exploration and visits to the jungle with Hannah Coates.

Fun and quirky, Hot, hot, hot Prints by Elizabeth Hinds.

Extraordinary tactile objects in foam and plastic from Hannah Marke-Crooke.

Elizabeth Birch brings an array of busy and buzz with colour and disjointed lines.

More to see in Monday’s Part 2.