Skip to content
Advertisements

Ed Kluz The Lost House Revisited

September 22, 2017

Apologies to everyone looking for a post last Monday, I escaped off to Porto in Portugal for a couple of days well needed break and will be sharing more about my discoveries there in the weeks to come. In the meantime… I can hardly believe that it has been five years since I last had the opportunity to feature the wonderful work of Ed Kluz, (you can find that post here). Merrell Publishers have just brought out a new book “The Lost House Revisited ” celebrating the paper collage work that Ed creates based on stately homes and in particular those once-celebrated grand houses that were abandoned to ruin, burned or deliberately destroyed.

With around 200 illustrations over 192 pages, it’s an exciting volume of Ed’s work. Featuring his collages, paintings and scraper board illustrations.

Ed has a fine eye for detail, coupled with a nostalgic nod to the artists he admires like Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious and creates beautiful striking illustrations awash with drama and a sense of the theatrical.

He studies old engravings, plans and descriptions in order to build a full mental picture of a house; comparing the act of creating a collage to that of model-making, with each architectural element meticulously cut from paper and pasted, layer upon layer, on a background of inks. Ed’s lost houses conjure up the vanished buildings in all their pomp, existing not in the re-created landscape, but rather illuminated by theatrical lighting… and impressive they are too.

There are close ups for some of Ed’s work, revealing the intricate layering and complex structure that each piece enjoys.

The release of this volume coincides with solo exhibitions at the John Martin Gallery, London (4-28 October 2017) and at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (from 11 November 2017 until the 25th Feb 2018).

My thanks to Merrell for allowing me to photograph some of their impressive new volume, and to Ed for capturing the essence and history of these wonderful historic homes and bringing them back to glory, in a new illustrated format.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Advertisements

Lisa Larson Even more Ceramics

September 11, 2017

Lisa Larson has already appeared twice on Fishinkblog, here and here. I love the quirky ideas she creates in her work and the shapes she makes too.

Lisa says “I’ve got such a curious nature! I’m constantly wondering how things will turn out. If I see a child on the bus who catches my attention, I want to rush immediately to my studio to see if I can capture the child’s character. If I can get it tight and remember the feeling.” According to Wikipedia, Lisa Larson (b. 1931) attended the school of the Society of Crafts and Design in Gothenburg and subsequently worked in the Gustavsberg factory. Scant information about a Swedish artist whose works are found in Swedish homes on a massive and more or less unparalleled scale. Chubby children, luscious women, angels, cocky pugs, kind lions, tough politicians, aloof cats and Pippi Longstocking.

Lisa Larson received a thorough education at the design school in Gothenburg. During the her five years there, discipline was tight and the message was clear: high artistic quality and no commercialism! During the last year, the rector of the school sent Larson’s diploma work (it would never have occurred to her!) to a competition between Nordic schools. One of the jurors was Stig Lindberg, then chief designer at Gustavsberg, and soon the Larsons received a letter in which Lindberg suggested that she come to work for him as designed for a trial year. “We said we would go and see. We stayed for 26 years.”

1954–1980 are golden years at Gustavsberg. Lisa Larson’s creativity never seems to wane, and sales successes follow one another. Although the management is happy enough, it does not show in her pay packet. The pay is low, lower than that of her male colleagues, and she does not get any royalties.

“I couldn’t afford to buy my own work. We had just enough to get factory seconds. Today, I own barely ten percent of all the items that went into production.” But the atmosphere was receptive and working spirit was high. Larson had assistants and unlimited technical resources. For her, the demand that products need to be durable and suitable for mass production was merely exciting and a challenge. One day she saw a jar thrown on a wheel by an assistant. She went to it and began twisting and turning the chubby piece of wet clay. Suddenly the image of a lion flashed in her mind, and she carved a lion’s face with a kind and tranquil expression on the jar. Another big seller was born. I’ve been a fan of Lisa’s work for so long that I’ve just invested in a family of these contented chaps !

More designs.

Another memorable story begins with a big meeting, a brainstorming session that in the democratic spirit of the 1970s involved all personnel in the company. The reason for the session was that Gustavsberg had just received a patent for a new durable material: melamine. The mood was listless, none of the shy staff had the temerity to take advantage of the opportunity to speak freely. Lisa Larson felt she had to break the silence. This was 1972, the oil crisis was looming, and Finance Minister Gunnar Sträng appeared often on television with his finger raised, warning against the pursuit of luxury and over-consumption. ”Why don’t we make a piggy bank in the shape of the Finance Minister?” Everybody fell silent, but Larson remembers the marketing people pepping up. And so it would be. Larson asked her children to give a shout whenever they saw the minister on TV, but every time she came running the minister had already turned his back. So she did it from memory. Larson would have preferred a piggy bank that does not open, but would have to be smashed first. The final product, however, which remains popular to this day, does have a hole in it. And a good thing too.

“I later found out that the minister was showered with these piggy banks as presents. One day I passed him on Kungsgatan, and realised how tall and impressive he was. And I had made him so fat! Perhaps it wasn’t really fun for him…” Another time she was commissioned to create a piece depicting Pippi Longstocking. What with so many things about the unruly child that had to be included in the piece, it was a tough assignment. The final result was a sculpted Pippi that shows her in a moment of reverie. Even Astrid Lindgren was delighted, and she said: “You will have to make another figure soon. I’m writing about a small boy living on a farm in Småland…”

Here are some more of her tranquil figures.

I love how her cats look a little disgruntled at being picked up.. how true to life lol

Other animals.

One part of Lisa Larson’s professional life was dedicated to the technical challenges of mass production. She had assistants who developed her sketches into products. The other part of her creative life was lived – and for the most part still is – in her studio. The possibility to alternate between the two is a luxury for Larson, and she does not set one above the other. In the studio, however, she comes has contact with clay, its weight, its ever shifting qualities and fragility. The studio gives greater latitude to her creativity. And the inspiration and the models are clear. “I am fascinated by folk art. From all over the world,” she says. “Particularly Africa, where they have no conflict between expression and decoration.”

Although Lisa Larson’s output is endlessly variable, her ceramic Noah’s ark nevertheless has an consistent feel, an emotional mood typical to her work. Everything radiates a kind of inner peace, a gentle satisfaction. The reason why people love Lisa Larson’s art is that it contains a generosity towards the world. It embraces everything that is alive and unpretentious, children and animals. The forms are organic and the textures inviting to touch.

Lisa Larson is immensely popular in Japan. Many Japanese tourists who come to Sweden ask where they can buy things designed by her. They cannot. “After the Kobe disaster, I got lots of letters from people who told me how much it had meant to them to find my figurines unharmed in their otherwise destroyed homes. How it had consoled them. It was so touching!”

Her grumpy cats, lions and tigers still remain a firm favourite with me.

Thanks to the auction site Bukowskis for the info used in this post. Long may Lisa’s work continue to delight and inspire not only myself, but millions of others. You can read a little more about the studio Lisa works at here.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Daphne Padden Revisited

September 4, 2017

It was way back in 2010 that I first wrote about the advertising work of Daphne Padden. Through that post, Rosemary got in touch who has been organising an exhibition of Daphne’s fine art work. This is currently available to purchase through the Lincoln Joyce Gallery. She very kindly agreed to let me use the images and info on that site to share with you as an update on Daphne’s later work.

Daphne Padden was educated at Rosebery Grammar School in Epsom and attended the Epsom & Ewell School of Art. After college she became a freelance designer, producing posters and publicity material for the British Transport Commission, the Post Office Savings Bank, the British Diabetic Society, ROSPA, P&O, Trust House Forte and British European Airways. In 1976 she took up painting “for Art’s sake” working in watercolour where her delicate touch in both line and colour gave all her paintings a whimsical feel. Whether it is her studies of wildlife or landscape, the viewers’ eye is always drawn to the natural balance and extraordinary detail that Daphne achieves.

The Padden family originated in County Mayo in Ireland who in the mid 19th Century moved to Wolverhampton in the Midlands working in the iron industries. John Padden from County Mayo came to Wolverhampton where he had 7 children including James Padden , Daphne’s grandfather. James married a local girl Florence Crook from Wednesbury and they had two boys and a girl Percy, Sidney and Lilian Mary.

Daphne’s father was Percy Padden who studied at Wolverhampton College of Art and became an Art Master. He was discharged from the Army as unfit after enlisting in October 1917. Discharged on 27th December 1917 in London where he remained, trained at the Royal College of Art and he went on to become one of the foremost poster designers of the early 20th Century. Percy worked for the Post Office producing sumptuous works advertising cruises on Mail Boats.

In the First Wold War the family was subject to a scare when Percy’s cousin Thomas Bernard Padden who had joined up, was posted and formed part of the expeditionary force into France. Thomas was gassed and reported “missing” in April 1918. It was his wife Maud Padden (nee Browning) who wrote to the military to say he was alive as she had had a card from him to that effect. He survived the war but died shortly after in 1925 having had two children Gwendoline and Clifford.

A Padden marriage in 1917 caused a rift in the family due to religious differences, very prevalent in those days. This left part of their family estranged and isolated. It may have been unconnected or due to a clerical error but in late 1917 Percy listed his religion as Church of England in his Army papers, clearly an error as the family was Catholic. This was certainly not known to his cousin John Padden and his family who were isolated by the rest of the Padden family for his marriage to a Protestant, Leah Bradley.  Percy married Marie Kate Bateman in Lambeth in 1924.

Daphne was born in Lambeth. She studied art and design under her father at Epsom and Ewell School of Art. Working for British Transport Commission, the Post Office Savings Bank, the British Diabetic Society, ROSPA, P&O, Trust House Forte and British European Airways.She was one of our gallery artists.

Daphne was always a very gracious lady, she undervalued her work and was always modest about her achievements which were considerable. She did not drive and always traveled distances by bus.

Little more is known about Daphne but she was elected a member of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers in 1984. Her work is exhibited in galleries throughout the South East and London. I hope this helps in showing her and her work in their correct place in art history.

She has a wonderful sense of style and a great command of both watercolour techniques and landscapes. It’s wonderful to see such a change in style, from her work bold, blocked colour layouts for adverts in the fifties and sixties.

You might be surprised to discover that some of these pieces are miniatures, measuring just a couple of inches.

You can pick up an original here from as little as £80 ! Thanks again to Rosemary for letting us all appreciate Daphne’s stunning paintings, and for also fitting another piece into the jigsaw of her life and work.

More links to Daphne’s advertising work on Allison’s Flickr set here and over at Quad Royal here.  Enjoy.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Ceramic Birds and Sunbirds

August 28, 2017

Happy Bank Holiday weekend to those of my readers in old Blighty and a great start to the week for everyone else.

At least three of my favourite ceramic designers included birds in their collections. To be honest their work still has a passion and delight for me, some fifty plus years after it was designed. Look at these colourful chaps created by Aldo Londi for Bitossi.

I equally admire the very stylised work of John Clappison for Hornsea Pottery. Imagine shaking these salt and pepper, rooster and hen pots, to add salt to your eggs in the morning !

A few beautifully textured and rounded pieces by Stig Lindberg.

Some wonderfully contained and free-formed pieces from Robert Jefferson and Lisa Larson.

Or these slightly more up to date and simplistic beauties from Makoto Kagoshima.

Which ones are  your favourites ? I’ve been inspired by the bird idea for quite some time now, so decided to get some ideas together and make some of my own. These are the very rough early drafts.

Based on a combination of my textures, suns and bird drawings. I’m calling these Sunbirds !

And I like the idea of making some tile / wall plaques too, using my pattern background as a a form of decoration.

Watch out for more as my ideas develop. All thoughts and comments appreciated as usual.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Sculpture Exhibition in Chester Cathedral

August 22, 2017

Last weekend I was lucky enough to visit an amazing free exhibition taking place at Chester Cathedral.

Named ‘ARK’ it’s a world class modern and contemporary sculpture exhibition, which runs until 15 October 2017. It is the largest sculpture exhibition to be held in the north west of England and features 90, three dimensional works by over 50 internationally renowned sculptors including Damien Hirst, Sir Antony Gormley, Lynn Chadwick, Barbara Hepworth, Sarah Lucas, David Mach, Kenneth Armitage and Peter Randall-Page, amongst others.

This exhibition uses the magnificent interior of the cathedral as a backdrop to extraordinary works of art as well as the beautiful and ancient spaces surrounding it. Several sculptors will are showing brand new works of art whilst some pieces will emerge for public view from private collections. It is the first time these pieces have ever been seen together.

There were times when it certainly sparkled…

and times when the work was quite dark and ominous.

Setting them all in the cathedral was a stroke of pure genius as it’s an amazing venue in which to view art.

The decoration is tremendous and is everywhere you look, but oddly isn’t overwhelming.

The cloisters held some wonderful roaming beasts.

Alongside a few of their more permanent pieces.

All manner of shapes, textures, materials and sizes of work.

Literally something for everyone…. and it’s all free !

This amazing life-size shire horse by Sarah Lucas certainly captured the kids attention.

More pieces in the cathedral grounds, even captured Boo’s attention.. well momentarily… It’s behind you !

She was more interested in exploring this spaceship, perhaps it’s her preferred mode of transport.

My favourite pieces had to be these two goats by Terence Coventry and the beautifully tranquil stone statue by Anthony Abrahams.

Well worth a visit to Chester if you can get there and don’t forget to leave a donation to the cathedral’s upkeep in their collection pot.

Which one is your favourite and why ?

 

Save

Jacqueline Groag A life of Textiles

August 14, 2017

Born Hilde Pick in Prague in 1903 (she changed her name when she met her husband, a fellow Czech named Jacques Groag, at a Viennese masked ball in the 1930s), she grew up in an affluent Jewish family.

Her childhood was marred by ill-health and, as a result, she was largely home-schooled. She was also quite a solitary child who  spent time alone drawing.  Later in life, she said she had a theory that everyone has a particular age that they remain at inside, regardless of their real age; hers, she maintained, was eight. It gave her gave her a unique style that, while naïve and simple, was anything but childish.

Groag studied in Vienna in the 1920s, focusing on textiles and pattern design. She studied textile design in Vienna and flowered under the tutelage of Franz Cizek who then recommended her to Joseph Hoffmann, Head of the Werkstätte and she became one of his students. By 1930 she was already designing textiles for couturiers such as Chanel, Worth and Schiaparelli. Following a first prize for a poster design for the Salzburg Festival in the 1920s Groag won an award for a lace design at the Paris Exposition Coloniale Internationale (1931), a gold medal at the 1933 Milan Trienniale and another gold medal for textiles at the 1937 Paris Expo. It was Cizek who suggested she concentrate on surface design and who encouraged his students to set aside the formal teaching they’d had in favour of a less-structured approach. Her work, which often used a grid, where squares were filled with drawings, figures and motifs, might have been dismissed by some as ‘decorative arts’ but she was unperturbed.

Groag began making designs for the Wiener Werkstatte collective of artist-designers, who came together with the aim of creating strong, credible design across the artistic disciplines. Working at a difficult but exciting time, she sold designs to the Werkstatte while still a student, as well as winning prizes for her work, including one design for a poster to promote the Salzburg Festival. These were prestigious accolades and distinguished her from her classmates and contemporaries. Like Hoffman, she did not agree with the values of the International Modernist movement, which eschewed decoration as frivolous and unnecessary.

She married the modernist architect Jacques Groag in 1939 but with the rising Nazi threat the couple had to leave Vienna. They moved to Britain and Jacqueline soon found work. Her playful designs with strong lines and vivid colours proved to be a welcome change from the stereotyped floral patterns current at the time.

By 1955 Jacqueline was established as a designer for the British textile industry. Her client list is long and varied and ranges from British Rail to Associated American Artists. As well as for David Whitehead & Sons, Groag designed textiles for future RDIs Sir Misha Black at the Design Research Unit and Alistair Morton at Edinburgh Weavers. Her designs were applied to wallpapers, to carpets for Bond-Worth, to interiors for the airline BOAC, greetings cards for Hallmark, for Johnson Matthey ceramic dinnerware and for plastic laminates. A number of her designs were featured in the Britain Can Make It exhibition and her influence was evident at the Festival of Britain 1951, where her designs were also exhibited.

When she was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) in 1984 the RDI Master Dr William Brown reported that they had been trying to arrange for Jacqueline to join the Faculty for many years ‘but illness and other circumstances had served to make her election elusive until now’. He added that throughout her long and busy career the quality of her work had never faltered.

Jacqueline Groag died at the age of 82 on 13 January 1986. Her work instills in me, a strong sense of calm, any thoughts readers ?

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Peter Lubach Ceramics for contemplation

August 8, 2017

When I first discovered the wonderful ceramics of Peter Lubach through his Instagram account, they initially left me in a silent awe. Memories of Tony Hart’s ‘Morph’ Plasticine character and Michael Sowa came rushing to my mind, but they are much more spellbinding than that.

The more  new figures you encounter, the more you want to explore and dip your toe into their world ! Peter has been a printmaker and Illustrator for the last 20 years…

,

but it is his ceramics, I wish to explore here today.

Leaving my most favourite of all until the end. This wonderful Lion, (bottom image) made me think back to 1960’s artists like Roger Duvoisin, I love the added detail on the mane and tail and it’s slightly inquisitive look. I would also love to have him sitting on my studio shelf too !

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save