Sumi Perera, Clothes Encounters (detail of one page)
We had a great talk on artists’ books from Katherine Anteney at Cowprint last month. We were given a brief history from the 19th Century to present day which was so interesting and useful. Katherine showed us lots of examples from William Blake and Pierre Bonnard to Ed Ruscha and Dieter Roth to Ben Denver and Sumi Perera - and many others.
Need to investigate these further - so many interesting book artists out there.
Dieter Roth, Daily Mirror book, 1961. Miniature book with cut newspapers, 2.3 x 2 x 1.9cm
Actually did some printmaking at the weekend. Was getting rather despondent and anxious about my lack of progress on the current project as apart from a couple of half-finished pop-ups, I’m getting absolutely nowhere. So I decided I’m going to make a book about the fact that I can’t get going on this project... sort of an artists’ book about not being able to make art. See where that takes me.
More pictures from the Bursledon Brickworks. Now that it’s open for the Summer I’m trying to get over there once a week for research. Still feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all; so much of interest, lots of hints of ideas swilling around in my head but can’t see to grasp anything concrete yet.
There are three interesting exhibitions on at Southampton City Art Gallery at the moment. The first is a display of twelve drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection, part of the UK-wide initiative to mark the 500th anniversary of his death. Southampton is one of twelve galleries and museums exhibiting works from the collection.
It's always good to see drawings, no matter what they're of - and da Vinci certainly provides variety. Portraits, anatomical studies, animals, children, plants, mechanical engineering and civil engineering - it's all there, with copious notes in some cases, showing the quickness and curiosity of the man. He was into EVERYTHING.
This wasn't in the exhibiton - can't find one that was.
That's one of the most interesting things about him, along with his amazing draughtmanship. What I like best about him though is that he rarely finished anything. He left a myriad of projects uncompleted and must have been the most frustrating person to work with. I can just imagine the officials' reactions at the local council when they saw him coming with his plans for a canal system: 'here comes that crazy old man again!' But still, crazy or not, he and his work have endured the centuries and his genius is still esteemed today. Thank goodness these lovely works have been taken out of their dark drawers for the nation to see, albeit temporarily. Which reminds me that I was surprised to learn that the drawings have been in the hands of the British royal family since around 1690so he's always been held in high regard it seems.
My printmaking output over the last few months has been utterly woeful. I've started several things but just can't seem to make any progress. Having knitted my way through the dark days of December, January and February, it really is time to put those needles down and get on with some artwork. I'm hoping a new project and subject matter will help so Bursledon Brickworks it is. It's a fantastic place (see my post back in August last year) with so many creative possibilities. Did my first drawing / photo taking session a couple of weeks ago and was gripped by the wall of brick moulds near the kiln area. No idea where this project will go ut feel it's ripe for printmaking and pop-ups.
Had a few days in bed with a really nasty cold week before last. My cats are always very pleased to keep me company in these situations, provided there's no coughing. Coughing is an offence to them - they take it as a personal insult. Made a few sketches of them which was most enjoyable. They move more than you'd think. Also, they're both tortoiseshell so quite difficult to get the shading right. Tabby cats are particularly good to draw as they have their own contour lines. Most helpful of them. I really must put the knitting down and get back to some drawing / printmaking.
Finished my fourth knitting project at the weekend - not a hat this time. This stitch sampler shawl was very satisfying to make and surpringly quick given the size (something like 22,000 stitches - because I have to Count Things). I've decided that knitting is a bit like playing a musical instrument. Not just the muscle memory aspect but also the changes in rhythm and pattern. When playing the cello, we used to call sections of fast and complicated fingering 'finger knitting'. Maybe that's what I'm thinking about.
The knitting goes on. Having a go at cable - this is a bit full on as it's all cable and I'm knitting with two yarns at the same time to make it thicker. Quite hard work. I may end up having the most eccentric yoga mat bag in town...
Six makers - a bladesmith, an embroiderer, a product designer, a cabinet maker, a silversmith and a ceramicist - dressed up in Victorian garb and stuffed into an old house for a month to make items items in the Arts and Crafts style. Using only the tools, processes and materials of the time and trying to recapture Morris's ethos of finding joy and community in work... this is my kind of reality TV. What's not to like? A thoroughly enjoyable series.
Episode one is no longer available but catch two, three and four here.