The beautiful man

The beautiful man

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Lost Camera

Slight disaster and serendipity also. I realise that I need to buy a bag with a zip how boring but as I managed to lose my trusty camera today on the train when my bag fell over its a bit stable door after horse has bolted but.... Anyway i think the chap sitting behind me potentially thought he needed a camera as when i looked on the train coming back from MMU you would definitely see something fall through. To much detail sorry, so i had to take the images I needed for my MA work with my phone. Up to now I haven't felt the quality was as good as promised but on today's testing I am prepared to say i was wrong. See what you think.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

11 Rooms, Manchester Art Gallery, 14.07.11

As part of the Manchester International Festival Guest curators Hans Ulrich Obrist co-director of the Serpentine Gallery and Klaus Biesenbach  had invited 11 artists to curate 11 rooms within Manchester Art Gallery. I hadn't read any reviews but happened to see the posters on the way to MMU, as i have been exploring curating in my MA I felt I should have a look. the space was packed and there were queues for many of the rooms, you couldn't see what was inside until you went into the space, which was an interesting process to grab the viewers attention, it was a bit like the haunted house at the fun fair a sense of tension and anticipation. My first room was John Baldessari, an aim to resurrect the idea of having a cadaver to view within a gallery, bureaucracy meant it didn't happen so all the notes circle the room which was in itself captivating.

Review from The Telegraph
In an unexpectedly powerful piece Spanish provocateur Santiago Sierra asked veterans of the wars in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq to stand in an empty gallery facing into a corner without responding or reacting to our presence. They will stand for a few hours each, one at a time, for the run of the show. Because we cannot see the face of the soldier, sailor or airman it is hard to know how to behave in the gallery. He is there but not there, relegated to a corner so that we don’t have to deal with him, and yet it feels wrong to ignore him completely. Many veterans would tell you that this state of non-existence accurately symbolises society’s way of treating men and women who have fought for their country. But there is a further twist. Are they being made to stand in the corner as a form of punishment?
Is it because of something they did? Or something their country asked them to do? Superb. 

In some respects it felt like having the crits with the Fine Art students I wasn't totally sure of the language I was engaged in, the works did affect me, in some rooms it felt like one was becoming a voyeur especially the Marina Abramovic and Joan Jonas pieces. This Guardian review  gives a brilliant incite into the exhibition.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Notes from a Millinery Museum

I have just spent the day doing some research work at Hat Works, Stockport which is always inciteful. As I walked around the museum hunting for a style of hat stretcher I wondered what it was that as a milliner I was looking for in a millinery museum? Remembering back to my first visit to Hat Works when I began making hats 10 years ago, everything held a frisson of surprise and newness, so many things to try to comprehend and be inspired by. When I visit now I tend to look closer and my selection is more concentrated, trying to understand techniques or looking for inspiration to develop an historic technique further and in an appropriate manner for contemporary millinery.

So a question to pose for all of you? What would your ideal millinery museum do for you? What do you want to see inside it? What millinery exhibitions you have seen have inspired you and why? What doesn't work? This is actually the most important..... Please let me know as it would be very useful to assess what a millinery exhibition should encompass.

The Trimming Station
Deidre Hawkins hat

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Brief Respite in Hat Works

I spent the day at Hat Works, Stockport today doing some research work and looking at helping out in a voluntary capacity. So I learned how to get onto the database and where the research facilities were. then a sheath of queries in hand off i went. It was truly fascinating, like being a millinery detective, so much more I need to learn. First off looking at the origination of The Piccadilly Managers Panama- from an advert in the 1950's, then the aging of a hat from a whistler painting, then where to look to make hats of the 1860's and before. Some answers and more suggestions as to where to look next.

Whilst there I got to see my colleague Sue Carter's hats in the Whats Hot collection space. Her hats inspired by chocolates and desserts are quite wonderful, they are not there for much longer so f you can pay a trip to Hat Works.

Next to where Sue's hats are displayed are some pieces from one of last years' Hat Designer Finalists Julia Walker. there are three of her Steam Punk inspired hats which are intricate and very fitting to the theme. There are also a dramatic Ascot piece and a selection of hats for a wedding which all have a certain interesting look. She will be featuring a full collection next Easter in Whats Hot, definitely someone to look out for.

Hat Works

Monday, 11 July 2011

Keep it Under Your Hat-Great Yorkshire Show

Winning Milliners
Well a trip to the Great Yorkshire Show is always a treat even when its not open yet, and being allowed into the Members Pavilion (even if no one was there and there were no refreshments) even more so. Present were a medley of hat wearing milliners all eagerly awaiting the judging of the inaugural "Keep it Under Your Hat' calendar competition devised to raise money for the brain tumor charity, The PPR Foundation They have a target of a million pounds to raise, which they hope to get a little closer to with the sale of their calendar made up of photos from the 12 hat finalists on show at the Yorkshire Show for the week.

The theme for the competition was Hollywood Glamour of the 1940's and 50's and the hats certainly fitted the brief with some stunning pieces that must have made it difficult for the judges. Wondeful that 9 of the milliners were present and 7 of those were from Yorkshire, 6 with connections to Leeds College of Art! So it was a real Hat Trick for the college when the three winners were all from the college. Sue Carter was overall winner with her stunning caramel brown parisisal, exquisitely rolled edges and that wonderful effortlessness of a good hat, the title too was perfectly chosen 'Miss Otis', a well deserved first prize. Sue's student Karen from the evening classes at Leeds was awarded third prize and yours truly was second. wow! very suprised and much appreciated...

Judging must have been very tricky as there were some delicious hats, Beth Hirst's classic toque with ribbon, looked elegant and truly wearable, Jane Hammill's white cloche and silver fretwork, a must for all Hollywood starlets and Abbie Campbell's pink cut work piece last scene at London Fashion Week was sultry and cheeky and something to covet as was the turquoise one Abbie wore today. New milliner on the block Rosie from Liverpool had a inspirational new fabric that she creates and based her piece on the mushroom Dior shape of the 40's I would have loved this hat.

Beth, Jane and Abbie
The judges press call

centre-Carole Denford of The Hat Mag
It was a lovely few hours at the Yorkshire Show and great to see millinery promoted in a different setting. So if you are lucky enough to be in the Members Enclosure for the next three days have a look or better still book your 2012 Hat Calendar. Hopefully it will inspire you to enter next year. x

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Oops just realised that......

Just looking through the blog I realised that I hadn't put up images from the whole space so here goes. Feedback as ever is most welcome the more constructive criticism the better.....

lots of opinions and a slightly fogged me!

So testing time concluded on Friday with a presentation from past MMU MA graduates about the paths that they had taken, which was highly illuminating if not daunting that fingers crossed 4,000 words and 12 weeks later I too will have completed my MA how did two years disappear and still not totally sure what I am doing. I suppose more fool me for thinking that that could be the goal of an MA - to sort your brain out- wrong it just adds a few more layers of confusion though all very interesting.

I ended my crit week with one delivered by the Fina Art tutor and Fine Art Curator at the Whitworth and it was highly illuminating as they had such a different approach and way of looking at all the work in comparison to the other tutors i had engaged with during the process from a mix of disciplines.

So they loved the glove: which for this crit i had left pretty much on its own with the needlewoman cut fabric.

Most people got the range of narratives I was exploring and they concluded that what was key was for me to consolidate which was what I knew, I just needed to see if what I was creating had any resonance with others. Interesting that most prefer not to have the text and that they want to solve the conundrum of the work. Which as I am often the opposite I realise that a lot of that comes from the length of time one is immersed in  a world. So lots to think of and experiments to conclude, more importantly a week off soon to crack on with the writing.......

glove in situ

needle guillotine

different sequence ideas- i think i will scrap this work.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Silent Crit

Another mad dash into Manchester to complete work setting up before crits began at 10am. That ominous sick feeling was present, even though I had  plan to put work up and get the projector. My first crit group was to be led by Joe McCulloch the Head of Design at MMU, I had already decided to go for a silent crit - this is where you do not introduce your work but allow the rest of the group to discuss their reaction, its quite daunting but enables you to actually see if your work is saying what you hoped it will!

So this was the array of work that i presented under my theme 'How do they make it so cheap?' I had completed some other pieces yesterday, though still have a lot more bubbling in my brain, my task is to keep it under control!

So the comments-"this makes me feel claustrophobic, uncomfortable and there is an undercurrent of darkness, questioning the work of makers, possibly those in the Far East'

'An interesting narrative, but I wasn't sure what. Made me ask lots of questions'

'There seem to be a lot of issues being discussed possible as undercurrents to the main theme, so there seems to be a narrative on sweat shops, the value of work/craft, craft as a feminist activity'

So they seemed to have read the work as the starting point that I had begun my research, phew. It was very hard not to speak and not to justify my work, and be self-deprecating about it. it was very useful. Next one Monday.