Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair


This weekend I have been working for Ingrid Wagner at The Great Northern in Manchester. It has been a great experience selling to a large audience and also being able to work with an established textile artist. I learnt a lot about Ingrid's practice and also about her selling and marketing strategies. The show gave me a chance to mix with wider Art & Craft circles and gain an insight into how the industry operates. At 10 hours a day it was hard work but great fun - I especially liked chatting to the customers and with other stall holders. I have even managed to sell Ingrid's product to myself - I am planning to start 'Big Knitting' a bed throw in the new year! 

Check it out:

Other artists I met and whose work interested me were:

Uses delicately cut textiles to create three-dimensional canvasses. The layers are brightly coloured and create an intriguing optical illusion of digital/glass work.

Maxine's mixture of screen printing, embroidery and machine stitch is great. I love the texture she creates and am drawn to the tweeness of her domestic imagery.

Again, it's the manipulation of fabrics and textures that I like. Her layering of stitch, appliqué plus the heating of fabric and occasional felting create vibrant, mixed media images. Liliane even gave me a sample of her work to keep -->

Sarah had a number of other works too but this book from her project I Know Where I Am Going particularly interested me. The threading and dangling of paper is fabulously tactile and again, she deals with words and text which is something I too, am interested in.
SUZI MCLAUGHLIN (also at the fair) works with paper in similar ways, making multi-layered sculptures.

Catherine's wallpaper was lovely. 'Stamps' (above left) is a really interesting pattern, working with an object that wouldn't be immediately identifiable with interior design! The photographic print features cascades of vintage stamps from around the world.

What are you like?

A post on Emily Reid's Visual Communications blogspot - http://emilyreid90.blogspot.com/2010/10/who-do-you-think-you-are.html- led me to this exhibition which I feel represents a huge part of what I would like to incorporate in my practice. 'What are you like?' at Manchester City Gallery invites the public to list their favourite things and take part  in the exhibit. I love this interaction and I am really interested to see and read what the responses were!

Check it out!---

This image is what drew me to Emily's post- I love the aspect of words combined with images and arranged to make the tree. So simple but so effective! I love the playfulness of Child's Charlie and Lola illustrations and am amused by Lola's strong, assertive character.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


I love this man's work! His attitude towards creating and enjoying art is lovely! It's playful, exciting and I wish I'd known about him in time for his recent exhibit in London Hayward Gallery!



I have just got back from a weekend in Liverpool going around the Biennial exhibits. 

An interesting venue was 52 Renshaw Street. The warehouse atmosphere - still barren in many places was particularly eerie and Rosa Barba's Free Post Mersey Tunnels reinforced this feeling:

There were some quite disturbing images and videos which along with the atmosphere, made me feel quite uncomfortable.

I however, particularly liked the playfulness of NS Harsha's Sky Gazers 2010; the mirrored ceiling was great and achieved its aims of 'integrating the audience into the image' (The guide, pg.18). I really like the concept which is expanded on in the guide:

 'By entering a space constellated by a multitude of star-gazers, one is invited to second their meditative and lyric observation of an imaginary sky. In so doing, the 'I' becomes the 'we' and the expression of individual wishes and desires is transformed into a communal act.'

I also liked Lee Mingwei's The Mending project which to me, was aesthetically pleasing -colourful, playful and intriguing. The concept of inviting the viewer to contribute to the work excites me and is something which I am too, extremely interested in. 

"The conceptual core of the project becomes the conversation between the participant and the artist as he repairs the garment."  - The Seattleites Diary 18th November 2009.

The presence of strings and fabrics also pleased me and I enjoyed the interactive feel. 

At FACT, Kaarina Kaikkonen's Hanging on to each other was interesting.
I personally like the title - suggesting a unified society and the notion of care. Again, what interested me, was the use of other people's belongings and the community involvement with individuals around Liverpool. However, I found the notion of using the clothes to suggest a connection to the 'maternal act of doing laundry' (Guide) a bit disappointing. Obviously, I do not wish to argue with (what is suggested to be) the intention of the artist, but I myself would have liked less explanation and for the piece to allow one's own interpretations. 

This rises an interesting debate for me: the debate of whether to control the viewers response to my art or to create and explain with more ambiguity. As a viewer of art pieces, I hypercritically appreciate the freedom to explore what it means to me rather than what it means to the author. However, as an artist, I find it difficult to give up control.

The MAIN piece I liked in the Biennial was Eva Kot'átková's Stories from the Living Room (TATE Liverpool). I absolutely loved the intimacy of this project- mostly keen on the audios, video and notebooks which contained stories of both the old and the young in Liverpool. It was shocking how it related to my own work: of recording children speaking and telling stories and also using their drawings along with scraps of my own childhood. 

The use of the kids from Faith Primary School in Liverpool was great. Their reciting of the older people's stories were fabulous, I could have watched for hours. As one of the staff on duty told us, some of the children were eerily good at making the story seem their own but even I felt the ones who didn't recite so well were just, if not more enjoyable.

"I won a fish from the fair but on the way home, I dropped the tank and it smashed everywhere"

"When I was young..."