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Mister Finch at the YSP

August 13, 2018

Hello readers, how are you all ? doing well I hope. I wanted to mention that I’ve just become aware of a change on my site, in that my last few posts weren’t allowing you to comment on them. Many thanks to keen reader Deidre from Australia for pointing it out to me. Hopefully all back to ‘normal’ again now and you can share your musings and chat away to your hearts delight once again lol.

I have missed your thoughts and did even start to wonder if you were all on holiday at the same time lol.

Returning from a sunny holiday in North Yorkshire myself, I stopped off at the  Yorkshire Sculpture Park and by chance there was an exhibition on the work of Mister Finch. I thought it apt to re-post this article I put together back in 2013, with some added photos from the exhibition at the end. Enjoy.

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Mister Finch lives in Leeds. Finch is actually his surname but everyone calls him mister Finch so he named his business just that. He is almost completely self taught in his sewing and creating skills and when he’s not making things (which isn’t often), he likes nothing better than to watch an old movie or read a book.

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He has a collection of dead insects, which provide inspiration as well as being first hand research material for some of his more insect based forms.

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He has a flair for hares, and it doesn’t stop there. These wall mounted heads are quite wonderful.

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He says ” My main inspirations come from nature and often I return to certain ideas again and again. Flowers, insects and birds really fascinate me with their amazing life cycles and extraordinary nests and behaviour. British folklore is also so beautifully rich in fabulous stories and warnings and never ceases to be at the heart of what I make.”

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There’s a quiet peacefulness about the sleeping, curled up animals and even if you’re not the worlds biggest fan of moths, you must admit that their furry, velvety textures and florally wings capture the essence of the creatures perfectly.

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” Humanising animals with shoes and clothes is something I’ve always done and I imagine them to come alive at night. Getting dressed and helping an elderly shoemaker or the tired housewife. Making things has always been incredibly important to me and is often an amazing release to get it out of my system. It’s a joy to hunt for things for my work…the lost, found and forgotten all have places in what I make. Most of my pieces use recycled materials, not only as an ethical statement, but I believe they add more authenticity and charm. A story sewn in, woven in. Velvet curtains from an old hotel, a threadbare wedding dress and a vintage apron become birds and beasts, looking for new owners and adventures to have. ”

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Mr Finch’s creations sell on Facebook when he has some available or there’s more info on his Site.

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Storytelling creatures for people who are also a little lost, found and forgotten… aren’t we all ?

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Here’s a few shots from the Y.S.P show itself.

The exhibition has been an amazing success as everything appeared to have sold. The attention to detail and clever use of fabrics help bring these magical creatures to life.

You can see the layers in this swan, it just looked like the real thing.

The exhibition at YSP is on until September 23rd so do pop over and have a look at this beautiful work for yourself.

If you found this interesting, you may also like my post on Vraid Lee and Michael Sowa. The animals also reminded of ‘The Science of Sleep’ a film with Gael García Bernal and Hartley Hare from ‘Pipkins’ from my childhood memories. Of course don’t forget to leave some thoughts by way of a comment too…. now that you can again lol.






Ann Wynn Reeves Mid century Ceramic design

August 6, 2018

Little has been documented about today’s designer Ann Wynn Reeves (born 1929). However, I do know that in 1954, she married the famous ceramist Kenneth Clark and also created motifs to decorate his household ranges of tiles. This was carried out by means of silk screen printing.

As well as tiles, Clark made single hand-thrown domestic ware items, and in the 1960s designed for the Denby and Bristol Potteries, including the “Mooncurve” range for the latter. He virtually single-handedly reinvented the form and function of tiles for modern times. He elevated the humble glazed wall tile from a low cost practical wall covering to something that could be used creatively in public or private spaces to entertain and inspire.  I’m fairly certain that Ann’s wonderful array of artwork was also instrumental in making that happen.

Themes that seem popular include food and drink, nature (birds, fish and insects) and natural forms.

The colours varied from time to time so you could mix and match reoccurring ideas to create border designs, add variation to a wall or build up a whole narrative of imagery and ideas. I like the detail in her fish and skeletal leaf prints.


Tiles could even be mirrored (as in the case of the tree design above) to allow the tree to ‘grow’ up the wall with different features, leaves, insects etc which could appear higher up.

Musical instruments…. not sure where you’d put these.

Children’s nursery stories, images from nature all made successful designs.

Some tile designs even transferred onto plates and wall plaques.

Interesting to see how the same design appeared totally different on ceramics by just changing the colours.

Even the Post Office Tower gets featured.

I believe Ann’s later work was signed Ann Clark. A wonderful designer. If anyone knows anymore information to help fill in the gaps, then please do let me know.


Fishink Random Mix

July 30, 2018

Since about 2008, I’ve been collecting images from the internet that have caught my eye. Way back then, I wasn’t so diligent in keeping records as to where images came from, or who had painted, photographed, illustrated or indeed created the artwork in the image. So I apologise in advance for their lack of referencing, but to be honest, it was purely about seeing groups of imagery together, that for whatever reason, I enjoyed.

As I have managed to amass quite a few of these ‘collaged sheets’, I thought I would share them with you, in the hope that they may also provide some inspiration to you the readers, from their shape, colour, texture or out and out randomness : )

Do let me know your thoughts and which images catch your eye for whatever reason. Also I’d like to mention my Instagram page for Fishink Blog. The link is ( or you can click on the button on the right of my site. I am building up the collection every week, so if you lovely folk would like to follow me, or leave a comment or see more of my illustration artwork, then please pop on over and check it out today. I’ll look forward to sharing more of my own drawings and ceramics with you.



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.