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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.

Abram Games

June 11, 2018

Abram Games (29 July 1914 – 27 August 1996) was a British graphic designer. The style of his work – refined but vigorous compared to the work of contemporaries – has earned him a place in the pantheon of the best of 20th-century graphic designers. In acknowledging his power as a propagandist, he claimed, “I wind the spring and the public, in looking at the poster, will have that spring released in its mind.” Because of the length of his career – over six decades – his work is essentially a record of the era’s social history. Some of Britain’s most iconic images include those by Games.

Abraham Gamse was born in Whitechapel, London on 29 July, the day after World War I began in 1914, he was the son of Joseph Gamse, a Latvian photographer, and Sarah, nee Rosenberg, a seamstress born on the border of Russia and Poland. His father, who had emigrated to Britain in 1904, anglicised the family name to Games when Abram was 12. Games left Hackney Downs School at the age of 16 and, in 1930, went to Saint Martin’s School of Art in London.

Disillusioned by the teaching at Saint Martin’s and worried about the expense of studying there, Games left after two terms. However, Games was determined to establish himself as a poster artist so while working as a “studio boy” for the commercial design firm Askew-Young in London between 1932 and 1936, he attended night classes in life drawing. He was fired from this position due to his jumping over four chairs as a prank. In 1934, his entry was second in the Health Council Competition and, in 1935, won a poster competition for the London County Council. From 1936 to 1940, he worked on his own as a freelance poster artist. An article on him in the influential journal Art and Industry in 1937 led to several high-profile commissions for Games, from the General Post Office, London Transport, Royal Dutch Shell and others.























At the start of World War Two, Games was conscripted into the British Army. He served until 1941 when he was approached by the Public Relations Department of the War Office who were looking for a graphic designer to produce a recruitment poster for the Royal Armoured Corps. From 1942 Games’s service as the Official War Artist for posters resulted in 100 or so posters. Games was allowed a great deal of artistic freedom which enabled him to produce many striking images, often with surrealist elements. Among his first designs was the Auxiliary Territorial Service recruitment poster that became known as the blonde bombshell, (below top left).

Games had wanted to challenge the rather drab image of the ATS but the authorities feared that the glamorous image he had produced would encourage young women to join the ATS for the “wrong reasons” and the poster was quickly withdrawn. The design Games replaced it with was criticised by Winston Churchill as being too “Soviet”.

Other notable posters included Your Talk May Kill Your Comrades (1942) in which a spiral symbolising gossip originates from a soldiers mouth to become a bayonet attacking three of his comrades. Games used the photographic techniques he had learnt from his father in that and other posters such as He Talked…They Died (1943) part of the Careless Talk campaign. In addition to his poster work, Games completed a number of commissions for the War Artists’ Advisory Committee.


Later in the War, Churchill ordered a poster Games had produced to be taken off the wall of the Poster Design in Wartime Britain exhibition at Harrods in 1943. The Army Bureau of Current Affairs, ABCA, had commissioned Games and Frank Newbould to produce posters for a series entitled Your Britain – Fight for It Now.

While Newbould produced rural images similar to the pre-war travel posters he had created for several railway companies, Games presented a set of three Modernist buildings that had been built to address poverty, disease and deprivation. The poster that annoyed Churchill most featured the Berthold Lubetkin designed Finsbury Health Centre superseding a ruined building with a child suffering from rickets. Churchill considered this nothing short of a libel on the conditions in British cities and ordered the poster to be removed. Ernest Bevin, the war-time Minister of Labour, had another poster in the series removed from the Poster Design in Wartime Britain exhibition organised by the Association of International Artists.

In 1946, Games resumed his freelance practice and worked for clients such Royal Dutch Shell, the Financial Times, Guinness, British Airways, London Transport and El Al. He designed stamps for Britain, Ireland, Israel, Jersey and Portugal. Also, he designed the logo for the JFS school. There were also book jackets for Penguin Books and logos for the 1951 Festival of Britain (winning the 1948 competition) and for the 1965 Queen’s Award to Industry.

Among his pioneering contributions was, in 1954, the first moving on-screen symbol of BBC Television. He also produced murals. Between 1946 and 1953, Games was a visiting lecturer in graphic design at London’s Royal College of Art and in 1958, was awarded the OBE for services to graphic design. In 1959, he was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI). He also designed the tile motif of a swan on the Victoria line platforms at Stockwell tube station in the late 1960s.



Games had been among the first in Britain to see evidence of the atrocities committed at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, when photographs taken there by British troops arrived at the War Office in 1945. The same year he produced a poster, Give Clothing for Liberated Jewry, and would often work to support Jewish and Israeli organisations. Games, who was Jewish, spent some time in Israel in the 1950s where, among other activities, he designed stamps for the Israeli Post Office, including for the 1953 Conquest of the Desert exhibition and taught a course in postage-stamp design. He also designed covers for The Jewish Chronicle and prayer book prints for the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain. In 1960 Games designed the poster known as Freedom from Hunger for the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

Games was also an industrial designer of sorts. Activities in this discipline included the design of the 1947 Cona vacuum coffee maker (produced from 1949, reworked in 1959 and still in production) and inventions such as a circular vacuum cleaner and an early 1960s portable handheld duplicating machine by Gestetner, which was not put into production due to the demise of mimeography.

In arriving at a poster design, Games would render up to 30 small preliminary sketches and then combine two or three into the final one. He would also call on a large number of photographic images as source material. Abram quickly and methodically filled a layout pad with two to three dozen ideas for a poster. Invariably two elements would be combined to produce a third image. Once he had selected a design from the thumbnails, he circled it with a pencil. He wasted no time covering large areas and avoided detail. ‘I never work large because posters seen from a distance are small. If ideas don’t work an inch high, they will never work.’ he said.

Showing his rough ideas to his wife, children and friends, he would ask ‘What does this mean to you?’ If they looked blank, he threw his efforts into a large dustbin and started again. When the final artwork for the poster was finished, he painted ‘A. Games’ in a corner. It hung on his studio wall for one week, inviting criticism from colleagues, family and friends. Only when satisfied, he would add a full stop after his signature. Purportedly, if a client rejected a proposed design (which seldom occurred), Games would resign and suggest that the client commission someone else.


In 2013, the National Army Museum, London, acquired a collection of his posters, each signed by Games and in mint condition. Many thanks to Wikipedia for the information for this post.








Parkgatefest 2018

June 4, 2018

Hello everyone on this sunny Monday morning. I’m just freshly returned from a weekend at Parkgatefest, which was a fabulous event, although sadly not in terms of sales. My friend Sarah who I was exhibiting with and who runs Sllipblog, had designed and created such an amazing stand for us to display our ceramics on, she’s got a real eye for design and detail, it looked like this.

Her work is beautiful and a mix of sheep, guardian angels and shepherdesses. If something catches your eye, she sells direct through her Instagram site here. I’d imagine she’ll soon be taking orders for Christmas angels as well as the guardian angels she makes all year round.

They are stunning, don’t you think.

Such expression in her lovely characters too.

My half of the stall looked like this. I’m also selling some pieces through Etsy and Instagram, please ask for prices if you see anything you like.

I had a range of original artwork too and the cat, dog and bird cards which did prove a popular choice.

There was a range of other craft stalls like these great bags created in Burma for design company Mowgs.

Pretty, functional and recycled plastic… great values.

The tribute bands were really great, including among others Queen, Take That, Tom Jones and the amazing Temptations. Steam, football tricks, rides for the kids and a wealth of choice of great food and drink and all for a day ticket of £10.. (kids get in free) I’ll definitely be going again.

Sunday was the best weather and was glorious all day. Hope you enjoyed your weekend. Do let me know your thoughts on the ceramics too.




Monday Mix 7

May 28, 2018

Happy Bank Holiday to everyone this affects, apprently it’s going to be a hot and thundery one… hold onto your hats !

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 with you.

Don’t forget I’ll be exhibiting at Parkgate Fest next weekend so do pop over to the Wirral and say hi. Here’s a selection of the brooches and wall plaques I’ll have on display for sale.

Have a great Monday and please feel free to comment and pass my blog onto your friends. It all helps : ) Thank you



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 : )







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 !