The beautiful man

The beautiful man

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Next Task

Piano tidy.
Books to read for the MA
Or dare I risk the workroom, just in case the pictures of shame. Haha!!!!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Light Relief

Finally got to do some sewing and managed to create some machine embroidery, balm for the soul. Had to make a birthday gift for a friend's daughter which was really pleasurable so may make some more for my nieces as gifts.

Book Treat

I was lucky to get an amazon gift voucher for my birthday so treated myself to some books for my work, as you do.
One is often tentative even after reading the reviews, as to the success of books that one hasn't had the joy of leafing through in a book shop. I already knew the Creating Sketchbooks from getting it out of the library and it hasn't disappointed just been a bit daunting when reading properly and seeing my colleague from the MA Sarah Burgess's sketches within, wow, even more daunted as to my drawing skills, maybe need some master classes.
Sarah Burgess-Images from moving vaparetto

The Drawing from Life is brilliant- quick 3 minute reading a really broad range of ideas and examples of how people use journals, so less daunting and encouraging as I begin the journal for the withdrawn book.

The final book does take some thinking and concentration though I realise that I  am not a natural book maker and have to be shown the process and follow a few times, the instructions from the book are fairly clear i just need a clear mind and desk. Which is where I better get back to.

Final pile of books are the ones to begin my context work with.

Task list

Task 1
Sometimes maybe the only way to get on with a task is to shame oneself to all first.

So this seems to be the least painful point of tidying up! I have just done my sewing box which was ok, I dare not photograph my workroom as that would really show my sluttishness!! Though my excuse is 'the leg'..... I need to tackle THE PIANO so that my family do consider elements of the house are for the family not just my dumping ground (haha) Wish me luck

Saturday, 24 July 2010


I began the week interviewing for the HNC course and sending out postcards to museums and shops hoping to create interest so making lots of labels for envelopes.  Tuesday I was labeled in hospital, name and number on each wrist then a band to state my allergies, a humbling process, took me back to the birth of my sons and their name labels, so small now in comparison to them.

Holed up in bed, having consumed two novels, well one was loosely a novel! I thought I would begin work on the withdrawn book project which has begun a real Sherlock Holmes feel to working out how to create a piece of art work and solving what the purpose of the book was to start with: more labels.

Lots of work to be done.

Then I had the yearly school labeling to be done, which was also a benchmark as suddenly only one of my children has uniform and this will be for just one more year. The nostalgic feelings brew, from the memories of the first days of school uniform and aiming to be the 'good enough mum' with the labels all in place to the chaos of getting school uniform just in time for school to start!!


Sandra Meech

As all my family were elsewhere employed I went to Bankfield on my birthday to see what was on, and had an illuminating hour. At the back of my head was the task to source an object that I can look at for my context work and address it viewed and written about in a wide array of ways. I have been contemplating costume (after exploring the V&A and the 18th century riding jacket), so looking at Bankfield an archetypal museum of the old school seemed to hold much potential. Considering that in the view of the store there is a Victorian blue and white flowered toilet basin, collections of irons alongside a 1950's fish & chip shop counter and numerous other miscellaneous items, objects to create  your own narrative with as they have no labels.

The small children museum room shows historically the movement of childhood, yet take items out and put them on their own in a white room or next to a vacant bed in a more fine art context and the narrative changes. The new room where the beautiful embroidered textiles were is now a story of the  Ackroyd family and their worsted mill, which was fascinating and I learnt  so much, again one sees that if the objects are given another narrative we see them very differently and how we empower the curator, accepting that objects are authentic. The curator creates their take on the story with the objects chosen.
worsted sample book

Plate from workers' canteen
The costume gallery also created questions for me as the range of shoes they have all make one ask questions. from the tiny child's shoes to the shoes of Japanese women who would have had their feet bound. Shoes are often used by artists on their own or in collections to raise questions. The only concern with the shoes is the fact that they are on the same footing as hats, though maybe that is a good thing, something to muse through.

It was the opening of a new quilt show too so it was really interesting as even though I am undertaking the MA Textiles I am not in the know of this world at the moment, also after seeing the work at the V&A quilts the comparison is intriguing.

There were three pieces by Sandra Meech whom I had attended a workshop with 3 years ago on the use of colour and transfer printing. The quilts that sung the loudest were the ones with minimal pattern like strong expressionist paintings. It was also lovely to see a piece by a quilter that I admired in the Victoria and Albert Museum whose name has now been removed from my brain and even a voracious search on their web site hasn't found her!! There is a really good blog by the curator of Quilts on the web site though. Anyway I put them in for perusal. xx
Inspiring, then further inspired by a quick trip to Dean Clough where they had an exhibition by Graphic Designer, Abram Games of posters from 1930's and 40's, beautiful. Then all going so well so thought a quick trip to B&Q to get some plants and my kitchen needs painting! My adorable step daughter had warned me against this course of action and she was right. Found the paint, paid for it didn't balance it quite right on till point had, paint fell,  paint all over my legs and shoes haha, I actually cried, not good.

Friday, 16 July 2010

College day

Tutorial to try and work out my context work and I hate to speak too soon but I maybe on a path that's good and fits with my work and the books that I just got out on Art & Artefact and Museum as Muse!!  Some of the time in the tutorial I felt a little out of my depth the tutor's knowledge is at a different level totally to mine, yet somehow the garbled stuff that I emitted made sense to then be developed into ideas onto looking at an object and how we create its context depending on where it is viewed or how it is viewed. So my first challenge is to look at what the object will be and then look to its range of potential contexts and the theoretical aspects to this. Sounds straightforward but then it has to be brought together in an all singing all dancing 20 minute presentation which will get me 20 credits for the Masters aaaagh.

Then had the outrage within the group that Hannah Lamb's work had been stolen from the space it was in for testing time, awful.

Having met the curator for the special collections at MMU at the V&A I realised that I was missing out on some great opportunities available to me because I hadn't the courage to just go in for fear of looking silly because I didn't have anything specific to look at. Which mirrors how those not used to going into museums and galleries feel, if you don't have the experience to model you are tentative. A wonderful hour and a half just browsing the artists books which has opened up a raft of ideas for working with the book from the withdrawn books project.


The Victoria and Albert Museum have a great range of short films on their site just indulged in Stephen Jones and the author Tracey Chevalier on quilts which was very good.

Was at the museum on Wednesday with Esther the curator at Leeds City Museum and Emma textiles teacher at Roundhay for Design For Life project day, really illuminating and quite sad too as they have no more funding to extend the project from their initial pilots which have worked so well with schools and community groups. Met some very interesting people and as ever I just love being in the V and A

example of bags made with designer Holly Cowan at Eltham School, London.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Photographic workshop

MMU - It was the last day of testing time and I had intended to attend the Master class talk in the morning by Emily Mennersdahl and then listen to the MA graduates in the afternoon. The morning talk was really interesting not least Emily's range of residencies and suddenly you see that you don't need to be boxed in to one format of work, Jacqueline Butler who runs the photography course invited Jane and I to be part of the workshop in the afternoon working with alternative photography processes, so we had a quick induction into the dark room and had a really enlightening workshop the results below.

There is so much potential with the process as you don't need a dark room for the sepia coloured pieces and the chemicals are fairly straightforward. Have the idea to take some of my historic hat images and create negatives and use these to form a book.......

On the book front we got talking to Jacquie and she mentioned that they had a library of withdrawn books and she was doing a research project on these where a selection of books that MMU library was going to pulp they have wrapped in brown paper and a group of students and staff have these books and are asked to use it to create something new with or from the book and record the process. Our excitement and interest was obvious and kindly Jacquie invited us to join the project. Here is my brown paper parcel.

I chose it because it was light weight and portrait also the number it was the only one left that had a 7 in.

Burnley Schools and stuff.

Before the 2nd session at a school in Burnely where I was making a banner each with key stage 1 and 2, i had a phone call from Leeds City Museum to meet with their curator for another potential education project! After a meeting at the museum subject to contracts and an exciting CPD day at the V&A I will be working with the new costume exhibition at Leeds City Museum and inspiring  a group of secondary school students to create headwear for the film costumes, very exciting.

Working with the primary children is liberating, terrifying, humbling, exhilarating and  quite hard work, I have learnt a lot. Not least that everything needs to be planned and that children at that age don't actually want options that are too great, I hope that some of it continues as it has been a revelation.

Textiles Symposium MMU

Wow what an extra ordinary afternoon which really made me begin to make sense of the ideas and work that has been wondering around in my head. The four speakers were outstanding:Jill Townsley, Philippa Prinsloo, Tabitha Kyoko Moses and Rozanne Hawksley,. They were up lifting, inspiring, made you want to laugh and cry and applaud their resolution to persevere and aim for what they aspired.........

I hate making hats!!


The reality is finally staring me in the face I don't actually enjoy making hats for customers and its ok for me to say this, (well not if the customer happens upon my blog!) I used to consider that it was a real failing of mine that I didn't think commercially and that I couldn't make and sell sinamay creations like so many of my millinery peers but the reality is I can't it isn't within me and its quite liberating to accept the fact. As I spent all weekend struggling with pink straw for a race hat trying to get the drama and scale, and losing site of its potential, Finally completed and the customer will wear it at York so some success at a very cut price rate!

Leeds vip night

Amidst marking and timetabling wandered round the Leeds College of Art show as even though one is in the building all year you actually don't get to see what the other courses do, so i find it really exciting and fascinating to see how courses develop. I didn't have a favourite exhibition this year there were to many close contenders and obviously millinery came out top!!! Lots of very good inspiring work, here are just a few.....

BA Graphic Design

funny that they all have food in!

BA Visual Communications

BA Interdisciplinary Art
There was some really strong pieces in this exhibition that resonated with my thoughts on what to do with my hat work.

BA Printed Textiles: I asked permission to take pics as one wasn't supposed to.  I wanted to capture some of the bird imagery.

BA Fine Art - In true neanderthal way I did feel that I needed text explanations for quite a few of these exhibits, which whilst exploring the whys and wherefores of signage and labeling in the MA made me smile wryly as however one may think one has some concept of visual language it often needs a helping hand. There were some exciting ideas.

BA Photography

BA Fashion

Finally thank you to my wonderful Millinery students for being such an amazing group of talented individuals who worked so well as a group and produced such a fabulous exhibition. Thank you for a lovely thank you gift also.