Skip to content
Advertisements

Parkgatefest 2018

May 23, 2018

With two sets of ceramics now passed under the watchful eye of the kiln fire-godesses (and survived intact), I can now start to think about where and how to sell my growing ceramic menagerie. I’ve teamed up with a good school friend Sarah, who is also a ceramist and works under the name of Sllipblog and we are taking a stall at the fairly new Parkgatefest on the 2nd and 3rd of June over at Parkgate on the Wirral.

Getting here using sat nav, the postcode for you to enter is CH64 6RD, ParkgateFest is situated off Boathouse Lane, in Parkgate, this is easily accessed from the A540. The site is on the land adjacent to Marsh Nurseries.

I’ll be taking a mixture of flat wall hanging ceramics like these birds…

As well as some birds that are a little more 3D lol

My friend Sarah over at Sllipblog, creates a beautiful range of sheep, shepherdesses and guardian angels, like these…

wonderful textures, designs and no two the same.

If the weather stays as amazing as it has been it should be a fantastic weekend. Last year was Parkgatefests first year and they had over 5000 people through their gates ! Let’s hope it’s as busy this year too ! Do pop the dates in your diary, spread the word and say hello to us on the stand if you get there too. If you’re interested in buying any of the items above, then drop me a line before they appear in the show. I’ve a few items already here on Etsy and more to join them soon. This little chap was one of the first to leave the ceramic creations and is now on it’s way to Northumberland.. Yay!

Hope you’re all enjoying this warm spell : )

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Advertisements

Vintage Book Covers

May 21, 2018

It’s been a while since I shared some classic book covers.

I can’t tell you why but they always make me feel warm inside, I hope they have the same effect for you : )

Here’s a little science to get the visual party started.

A little food to go on the side table.

Throw in a little mystery and intrigue.

Making sure it’s well packaged.

Remember there’s a lot to learn out there.

Even if it’s from our children.

Before alas and all too soon… the party’s over.

Do any of these covers prompt a memory for anyone ? Hope you enjoyed today’s visual feast !

Save

Save

Enid Marx A design pioneer

May 14, 2018

Enid Dorothy Crystal Marx was born in London on 20th October 1902. She first went to school in Hampstead, then at the age of 12 she boarded at Roedean in West Sussex where she benefited from an excellent art teacher. In 1921 she entered the Central School of Arts & Crafts to study drawing, pottery and printed textile design. After a year she went to the Royal College of Art (RCA), where she studied under Paul Nash, among others, with fellow students, and future RDIs (Royal Designer for Industry), Edward Bawden and Barnett Freedman. The assessor failed her diploma piece as being too abstract but sixty years later the RCA appointed Marx an Honorary Fellow in 1982 and Senior Fellow in 1987.

Gallimaufry, the College magazine, included Marx in its ‘Hall of Fame’ for 1925 because ‘among all the misses who flirt with Art, she alone woos it seriously’. Nash recognized her originality as a pattern maker and he encouraged her to become an early member of the Society of Wood Engravers and the Society of Artists.

Marx spent a year in the studio of Phyllis Barron and Dorothy Larcher as their apprentice. She learned how to mix dyes and the craft of hand-block printing on textiles. In 1926 she set up her own studio printing her usually abstract and geometric designs on various materials. These soon became extremely fashionable and sought-after.  A reviewer of the 1928 Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society’s exhibition, for the RSA Journal, said that ‘Enid Marx is an able designer; her printed linen…might be taken as a good example of a good collection’. Two years later a review of her first one-women show at the Little Gallery elicited an appreciation of her designs, ‘somehow she manages to combine forms that are essentially in the modern spirit with large harmonies that have the most agreeable traditional suavity’.

Just a small selection of the repeat patterns that Enid created.

Marx showed her work at many exhibitions including Zwemmer’s ‘Room and Book’ and ‘Artists of Today’ shows, as well as the 1935 Paris Expo. Christian Barman RDI of London Transport commissioned Marx to design seating fabrics for their trains and buses (1935). They formed a mutual admiration society, Barman praised her work and Marx wrote his obituary for Design magazine (1980). Other commissions included lining fabrics for luggage designed by John Waterer RDI.

Curwen Press commissioned a number of her repeat patterns on paper to bind their publications. Book covers and wood engravings were commissioned by a number of publishers, including Chatto & Windus, Hogarth Press, Faber & Faber and Penguin, as well as being featured in various publications such as Artwork, The Studio and The Woodcut Annual. She also wrote and illustrated a number of children’s books and, with her lifelong companion, the historian Margaret Lambert, she published pioneering works on folk art – a subject close to her heart. English Popular and Traditional Art, published in 1946, was Marx believed ‘the first time there had been an overall survey, and the notion that there was indeed such a thing as English popular art’. Her bequest of the Marx-Lambert collection of 19th century ephemera, to join their holdings of British folk art has ensured that Compton Verney holds the largest collection of popular art in Britain.

With Paul Nash and Eric Ravilious, Marx taught wood engraving at the Ruskin School, Oxford (1931-33) and she spent a term, as cover for an absent tutor, at Gravesend School of Art. She took her students, including the future RDI Sir Peter Blake, to see a considerable collection of ships’ figureheads. Blake hints that this might have been the start of his own enthusiasm for popular art. At the age of 63 Marx took up full-time teaching at Croydon College of Arts as Head of the Department of Dress, Textiles and Ceramics (1965-70). ‘I was rotten at admin…but the students were poppets’, she wrote. ‘I think they only wanted me for my RDI!’ She continued to help and advise students until she was well into her nineties.

During the Second World War Marx was one of the artists invited by Sir Kenneth Clark to participate in his ‘Recording Britain’ scheme to record the country’s natural beauty and architectural heritage under threat from German bombing and other destructive forces. To her surprise her children’s book, Bulgy the Barrage Balloon, was an instant success. As well as writing and illustrating several more books Marx also produced little chapbooks, printed on off-cuts to amuse the young during air raids.

After the war Marx was invited to join one of the teams sent, by the British government, to Germany to report on how the Germans set about training designers. Margaret Lambert wrote up their findings in a report for the Board of Trade and its publication subsequently helped Robin Darwin form many of his ideas for reshaping the RCA when he became Principal. Marx went on a similar fact finding visit to the Scandinavian countries and reported that, in spite of the war, they had managed to achieve work of quality and innovation.

Towards the end of the war Sir Gordon Russell RDI invited Marx to join the Design Panel of the Utility Committee. Her textile designs were produced by Alastair Morton RDI at Morton Sundour and exhibited at Britain Can Make It (1946). Morton and Marx shared a close and creative relationship for the rest of their lives. These utility fabrics also featured in the RSA’s Design at Work exhibition (1948) and she wrote the section on ‘Furnishing Fabrics’ in the accompanying booklet. For the Festival of Britain (1951) Marx helped RDIs Milner Gray, Reco Capey and Keith Murray select the furniture, furnishings and equipment for the Festival’s Royal Pavilion.

The invitation to design commemorative stamps for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 provided Marx with the opportunity to work in a different medium. ‘Our stamps’, she said, ‘are, or should be regarded as, our Queen and country’s visiting card’. Marx described working on the stamps as one of her greatest pleasures. She received a further commission from the Post Office to design the Christmas stamps for 1976, her designs for these were taken from the ‘Opus Anglicanum’ embroideries.

Appointed a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) in 1944 in recognition of her excellence as a ‘pattern maker’, the only member of the Faculty to be given this attribute, Marx felt that she was now accepted as a professional, ‘before I was like most women artists, just considered an amateur’. She regularly attended Faculty meetings and took an active role as a jury member for the RSA’s Industrial Design Bursaries competitions. Marx urged the RSA to be more proactive and influential in design education, she regularly encouraged them to extend their archives and raise their profile and she used the correspondence section of the RSA Journal to express her concerns about the British manufacturing industry, design and craftmanship. In her appreciation of the life of the Finnish textile designer Dora Jung HonRDI, for the RSA Journal in 1981, Marx wrote that Jung’s ‘weaving forms a beautifully illuminated page in the record of Finnish art and design’.

A small, dark determined woman of considerable stamina Marx campaigned ceaselessly for the continuation of the direct, unaffected, but human design values that her generation had established before the war. Enid Marx died in London, at the age of 95, on 18th May 1998.

Many thanks to the University of Brighton Design Archives for the information for this post.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Green Walk Arts and Crafts Weekend Manchester

May 7, 2018

I was sooo lucky to attend this fab event at the weekend.

Now in it’s twelfth year the  Green Walk Open House Weekend is a unique, community run event, championing the array of local artist, craftspeople and designers that live locally. About ten houses at the bottom of this leafy cul-de-sac all open their doors to the public, to wander through a couple of rooms looking at the array of artists work on display. There’s a little green at the bottom of the road where singers sing, people lounge on deck chairs and children run and play.

It’s the nearest thing I’ve experienced to really living in an artists community and it was a wonderful day.

Showing you around some of the exhibitors, I’ve started with the delightful, mid-century inspired range of designs and fabrics by Prints and Press owner Alison.

They would certainly help bring a ray of sunshine into any room.

Ceramics by Anna at Wonk Creations, who had this beautiful space looking out onto the sun-filled garden of one house.  Little characters on legs, moody yet refreshing blue and green plates and bowls and a selection of more illustrated work by her friend Ann Tarpey, were all available to buy.

I’m familiar with the black and white work of Anna Violet who lives on my dog walking circuit in Chorltonville. I’d not, however, been introduced to her beautiful children’s illustrations depicting scenes from Aesops Fables. Brilliant characters.

I also loved this watery coloured painting of Chorlton Ees, another fav walking spot of mine.

Wonderful to meet the very talented sculptor and ceramist Philip Hardaker, and take in the hours and hours of work that go into his intricate panels, mirrors and framed hangings. Stunning work that needs to be seen up close to appreciate how much time is involved in each piece.

Philip takes casts from objects, sculpts pieces himself and creates photo decals to adhere to the ceramics pieces he assembles. Each piece is 100% unique and personal, hr takes on community projects, personal commissions and even welcomes visitors to his workshop near Stoke-on-Trent, with prior arrangement.

A fish inspired one, just for me lol.

You do see some amazing things  wandering around artistic homes. Look at this Shrine, it had religious icons, superheros and all kinds of amassed artefacts and bits and bobs that people adore, admire or just like to have around. The cat was admiring the artwork too. One home owner used to work on the TV show Coronation street, hence some of these colourful portraits of the early stars.

Some lovely illustrations by Linda Griersonirish.

Another familiar face was that of Ella who runs workshops and has a shop in the Northern Quarters’ Manchester Craft and Design Centre. Ella has been busy designing a whole range of spoons, bowls and Manchester Bees. They looked amazing catching the sunlight too.

Finally I got to meet ceramist Barbara Chadwick. I say finally because Barbara is part of the Northern Potters group, and I bought one of her birds a couple of years ago from a show in Didsbury. The show is actually on again in a couple of weeks time, called Pots at the Parsonage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barbara’s work has a charm of it’s own. Raku fired and crackle glazes really add beauty and texture to her wee feathered friends.

Even some newer wall mounted ones for those of us who have run out of surface space lol.

Thanks to the organisers, home owners and artists for letting us all into their lovely homes and to view such amazing work. I hope everyone had a great two days.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Andrew Ludick More Ceramics

April 30, 2018

I’ve spoken before about the wonderful ceramics by Andrew Ludick and I know his work delights you too as the post I created is constantly searched for. One of my readers recently asked a question about Andrew’s ceramic techniques and that prompted me to get in touch with him and bring us all up to date with his work.

How long have you been making ceramics now and did you do something else artistic prior to this ?

I have been making ceramics for about 12 years. Before that I did painting and drawing mostly, selling work through galleries and trying to make a living that way, I still do lots of drawing in sketchbooks and some painting but mostly as preliminary design work for ceramics.

Here’s some of Andrew’s sketchbook drawings he kindly photographed for us.

What first inspired you to start making ceramics for yourself ?

I think I was inspired by ceramic work made by some of the more poplular painters, like Picasso, Miro, and Gaugaun. I thought it was really interesting how it could be viewed as another medium for painting, much like printmaking is. Also work by South American people of Peru and many works by African artists.

I see you are interested in the work of other painters (Paul Klee), are you inspired by any other ceramists and if so, who ?
One of my big influences is the Irish Ceramicist John Ffrench.  His style is very individual, he was influenced a lot by ceramics from India as well as modern ceramics from Italy.  He really stood out among Irish pottery throughout history at a time when many people were being influenced by English, and Asian pottery styles, he was making work very differently and being influenced by ceramics from around the Mediterranean as well as India and Italy.  He really stayed true to himself and I imagine that was a hard thing to do when everyone else was moving in the Bernard Leech direction.  A really great book was just published on him and I highly recommend it. It is titled The Life and Work of John Ffrench: Irish Ceramic Artist.

At times your work reminds me a little of papier mache. What made you decide to hand build your pots and plates rather than use the potters wheel ?

I like the pace of hand-building, its much slower than throwing and I feel like I have more time to think and interact with whats happening with the piece as I create it. I think the pace of hand-building also matches that of drawing and painting, I have time to stop and make decisions, get up, walk around and stare for a while or even cover it in plastic and come back to it a week later and see it with new eyes. I also can do that while I’m decorating the piece. Sometimes I can make a form and wrap it in plastic and come back to it a month or more later when I’ve finally figured out how to decorate it.

The reader who prompted me to contact Andrew asked ” I have a question about the thin lines you draw on your pottery. I can see you use a pencil to draw them, but how do you paint such thin lines? “.  Andrew replied “I draw my lines in with a needle tool when the clay is leather hard, then I bisque fire it. After the bisque firing I mix a bit of black stain pigment with water and brush over the lines and then rub any excess into the lines. Then cover with a clear glaze and fire. ”

Here’s a short video of Andrew making a bowl.

I love the splashes of bold colour and spidery black lines that you use. Do you sketch ideas for your work beforehand or does the shape or decoration process determine what the finished piece will become ?

I think both of these things happen. Sometimes I will create a decoration or pattern or something while I’m working in my sketchbook and then try and create a form that matches up or compliments it somehow. Sometimes I will make a form and have no idea what I’m going to paint or draw on it, so I make some sketches with that in mind or I look at some old sketchbooks to see if anything I’ve already created might work. Recently I’ve started drawing ideas onto the leather hard clay very lightly with a pencil just to give me an idea if something would work. If I find a decoration or something that really works with a form then I will reproduce that piece a few times but just change it slightly each time. So sometimes the first form and design can look quite different from one made later on. It’s really nice to see work evolve like that in a natural linear progression.

Where did the inspiration for the Fish plates come from ?
I think I had made a few round bowls that had sea urchins, star fish and other things in them.  Then one of them I made a flounder like fish in.  At the time I was also making these long bean dishes so I took that shape and fit the fish into it.  After making it a few times I started to make the shape more fish like and let the fins and tails become more pronounced.

What plans do you have for your work going forward, new shapes, places to exhibit and display your work in ?

I sort of have a backlog of shapes and designs that I want to work on, they are all sitting and waiting in my sketchbooks to be created. I started working in a red earthenware which is a nice change. The clay that I use at the moment is white earthenware so it is very versatile in what colours work on it and the black line drawings show up beautifully like on paper. With the red it has its limitations, which I like, as to what colours you can use, and it is very nice to work with in hand-building. I am also starting to work larger and larger. Pieces that I had made in the past in smaller sizes I am remaking in much larger sizes which give them a bigger presence.

Here’s how Andrew builds up some of his pot shapes.

The decoration and shape of the ceramic share equal importance to the look of the finished piece.

Many thanks Andrew for answering my questions today, it’s been great having you back on Fishinkblog.

You can see more of his work or contact him to purchase something here.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

www.fishink.etsy.com New Ceramics

April 27, 2018

I have finally been able to pick up my newly fired ceramics… Yay!

The glazes have come out a wee bit stronger and darker than I’d imagined, and I had hoped some of them would have been a little nearer to the unglazed colours as I liked their subtlety. But that said, I’m pretty pleased with them. This was the unglazed stage.

Whats more, I’ve reopened my Fishink Etsy Shop to sell them from. Please feel free to pop over, have a browse and spread the word to your friends and family, I’ll be adding more over the coming weeks so if you don’t see anything to your taste, do call back.

Everything is made by hand and exclusively a ‘one-off ‘, i.e. no two items will be the same. They are based on my quirky drawings and creative creatures and I hope you like them.

Do let me know your thoughts.

Save

Issey Miyake

April 23, 2018

Another creative’s work I admired from my college days, was that of the Japanese fashion/textile designer Issey Miyake.

Along with other strong oriental designers like Rei Kawakubo working for Comme Des Garcons and Yohji Yamamoto also designing in the Eighties, Issey’s beautiful sense of line and form, grace and design struck a real chord with me.

I even entered a textile competition designing a collection of fabrics with him as the inspiration !

Issey Miyake was born on April 22, 1938 in Hiroshima, Japan. (Happy Birthday for yesterday !)

He studied graphic design at the Tama Art University in Tokyo, graduating in 1964. After graduation, he worked in Paris and New York City. Returning to Tokyo in 1970, he founded the Miyake Design Studio, a high-end producer of women’s fashion.

From the outset, Miyake’s creative process has been based upon the concept of “one piece of cloth.” His process explores the fundamental relationship between the body, the cloth that covers it, and the space and room that is created between these elements, divesting itself of the labels of “East” or “West”

The outlandish model and singer Grace Jones made an excellent collaborative choice, to show off Miyake’s amazing creations to the fashion world.

He’s the master if creating unusual shapes on the body.

After the ISSEY MIYAKE A-ŪN exhibition in 1988, Miyake began to experiment further with pleats, in the hopes of expanding the possibilities of the medium. When William Forsythe came to Miyake asking him to create clothing for his new production The Loss of Small Detail for the Frankfurt Ballet (first performed in 1991) Miyake was inspired and attempted to create pleated clothing that would move, using a new lightweight knitted material and introducing a new technique called “garment pleating.” Traditional pleated clothing is made by pleating fabric, then cutting and sewing the individual garments. Here, an oversized piece of cloth was cut and sewn in the shape of the desired garment and then sandwiched between two layers of washi paper and fed into a heat-press. Unlike its predecessors, these pleats remained permanently in the fabric’s “memory” and never had to be returned for re-pleating.

This experiment lead to further changes and adjustments and in 1993, the line PLEATS PLEASE ISSEY MIYAKE was born. The label offered clothing as a product that was easy to to wear, care for and to travel with; PLEATS PLEASE ISSEY MIYAKE was the perfect, elegant, yet practical and affordable solution for the needs of a modern woman, translating effortlessly from work to play to suit her diverse needs.

It is impossible to tell the story of Miyake’s work without mentioning the unique collaboration with photographer Irving Penn that lasted for over 10 years, beginning in 1986. Penn’s photographs, which number around 250 and were styled by Midori Kitamura (current president of Miyake Design Studio), burst with energy and surprise, and were compiled into 7 books. This body of work represents not only an archive documenting a unique artistic collaboration but also of the spiritual connection between two creators, separated by two continents but which resonate and transcend the realm of fashion photography.

In 1998, Miyake began to develop A-POC (A Piece Of Cloth) with Dai Fujiwara. A-POC was not only able to create clothing with a high degree of variation, but was also able to control the amount created through the process of casting, where each thread receives computerized instructions. A-POC was revolutionary in that it began with a single thread and resulted in fabric, texture and a fully finished set of clothing in a single process. It led the way, along with the concept of engineering design, to a new methodology of clothing design.

 

More recently he has worked with brands like Adidas to create backpacks and sport bags.

Today, Miyake is working on the next phase and new projects. He and longtime Issey Miyake Collection production chiefs Sachiko Yamamoto and Manabu Kikuchi have assembled a select team of experienced and young staff members from within the Studio known as the “Reality Lab”. The Reality Lab ‘s focus is on new designs that are intimately connected to society. Many of these projects come out of the extensive research undertaken in preparation for the XXIst – Century Man, an exhibition directed by Miyake at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT in 2008. The work at the Reality Lab includes a focus upon the development of environmentally-friendly materials that recycle and recreate new and better things from pre-existing ones.

Such a creative mind and spirit.

Thanks to Wikipedia and the Issey Miyake official site for the written information used in this post.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save