The beautiful man

The beautiful man

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Pumped up Kicks

A fantastic new exhibition opened on Thursday at Leeds Met Gallery, Broadcasting Place, Leeds. Developed by the Young Curators a group of young people between the age of 16 and 23 brought together to develop the exhibition.

The group formed in depths of Winter last November under the watchful guidance of artist Amelia Crouch. They began their journey by visiting a range of fine art exhibitions within Leeds, Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle as they began to formulate what a well curated exhibition looked like and an understanding of the beguiling world of Fine Art and Artists.
The work began with the concept of OverWorlds and UnderWorlds which is Yorkshire's contribution to the Artists Taking the Lead Cultural Olympiad Programme. The group focused on the underworlds side of this theme looking at the (mis)interpretation of youth culture and the recent attacks on students in Leeds and the Summer Riots. The work on display selected by the group from an open call to artists, ranges from installations that consider the rebellious nature of youth to prints that relate more overtly to the political situation today. Artists represented include Mike Ainsworth, Louise Burrows, Juan delGado, Emma Gamble, Benjamin Simons and Guy Tarrant. the exhibition runs until March 24th and is well worth a visit.

Emma Gamble courtesy of

The Book of Bees

This is truly brilliant. I love bees and I love books the artist has combined the two in exquisite design bravo.

Alec Finlay's work had already inspired me about 18 months ago when in the midst of my MA, his propagator work featured at YSP is quietly stunning, so to see his new project hanging inside the corridor was quite exciting. He will be doing talks in the Summer.
Propagator - Alec Finlay

The Camellia House, YSP

When I am rich.........How wonderful to be able to have a glass house like this to muse within, it is a place of tranquility and beauty. Reminds me of the arboretum in the park in Barcelona. And as my camellias languish under the Northern wind in my garden I can appreciate someone else s.

YSP Inspiration No 2

herringbone matting

a metal gazebo slowly eroding with the elements

Sculpture made to be eroding with the elements

Rabbits Ears
So much to charge the imagination.

More delights at YSP

If you have never visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park it is a definite must if you are traveling up or down the M1, glorious vistas, great walks, stunning sculpture, a fantastic coffee shop and cafe and inspiring things to purchase in the shop! What's not to like? More importantly its very calming and always provides some new inspiration or food for thought. Saturday's visit was no exception........

A great bonnet design? Fantastic drawing beginnings with the shadows and texture, just need to find out who the artist is as there wasn't a label.

Sneaky Peek of the new Miro exhibition at YSP

A lovely morning spent wandering around the sculpture park with my beloved, partially in search of a latte and bacon sandwich. I realise I love being behind the scenes; seeing the process to get to the final show is far more interesting to me than the perfection of the curators dream when unveiled. I happened upon the Jaume Plensa exhibition mid install last year and was intrigued and the same with the Miro now.
You know that the dodgy red and white traffic cones won't be there at the private view next week, yet they add a certain Britishness or quirkiness to the sculpture mid set up, as it awaits its wire fence.

Love the yellow ubiquitous plastic trug!

more cones.......

over the wall two more lurk.
I look forward to going back when it opens.

Sunday, 4 March 2012


Strange how life events have a serendipity. In my teaching this week I have been looking at contextual studies and the history behind the Arts & Crafts Movement and Pre-Raphaelites. So again in Sheffield to discover a gallery devoted to the work of Mr Ruskin and his firm belief that all humanity can be inspired by looking and exploring objects of nature, art and culture was wonderful.

Ruskin's feather drawing - quite exquisite

A no from QEST

Exploring ways to fund the setting up of a millinery forum/archive/support network I had applied to QEST,  sadly I didn't make it to the next stage. So back to the drawing board to look at new ways to begin and a thank you to all the wonderful colleagues and friends who wrote some wonderful testimony to support my bid, it was much appreciated.

The Family in British Art

The Millennium Galleries present exhibition is all around images of the family addressing a myriad of issues from inheritance, identity to what we consider as home. There is an eclectic mix of artists and I enjoyed the curation of the work. Many favourite pieces so here is a snapshot of those that inspired me to write notes.
Mary Kelly Postpartum Documents 1978
John Singer Sargent - The Vickers Sisters

 The sister in white looked particularly like the milliner Claire Spooner

Martin Parr - Last Resort Series

"We are surrounded by pictures of propaganda. Even a family album is carefully edited so that any dysfunction is nor shown. I am only interested in showing the world as it is." M Parr
How do we judge these children? Are we right to do so?

House of Thorns - Alice Maher (image from the artist's website
I particularly liked the Alice Maher piece, an artist whose work I hadn't seen before whom I wish to explore further.

Reduce Re-Use Recycle

I had my first visit to the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield today which was most inspiring. 

Johnny White-Barking up the Right Tree (2000)

I was particularly inspired by the work of Maria Hanson who under the project 'What's in my Stuff'. She has been exploring the materials that make up our mobile phones and finding some fascinating facts. 56 tonnes of gold have been used in making phones to the value of £1.9billion. Questioning how our personal phones hold so much value to us for the information they contain, how can this be transferred into us appreciating that the components are just as precious. Considering our demands for smart phones and the materials that are needed resulting in illegal mining and deaths, a timely reminder.

Maria Hanson necklace

Friday, 2 March 2012

Milliner of the Day

What a lovely surprise to see one's work posted on someone else' blog and for it to be admired. As designers, milliners, artists etc. we work so much in isolation and all of us appreciate a moment of recognition or support. So thank you to Anna Mott the fabulous promoter of millinery in Australia with her RaceFashionTV for including me on her wonderful blog hatshaveit. Though quite strange to see the selection of ones' work by someone else especially as a snapshot of a millinery career, felts from exhibition work for Musee du Chapeau, commissions for clients through to college work, so many hats, so many boxes of hats. milliner of the day

my favourite hat

time to begin again.........

Sinamay - The marmite of Millinery materials?

I had an interesting experience teaching this week, when introducing a group to the delights and techniques of working with sinamay. Many friends and fellow milliners know that its not my material of choice but I fully accept its versatility and possibilities, it doesn't have to look like everyone else' race hat in the 90's with a large self coloured bow!
image courtesy of
I had begun gently anticipating the response from certain members of the group as the material does come with its own set of preconceptions. So soft or unstiffened sinamay, my sinamay of choice thanks to the wonderful teaching of Waltraud Reiner in 2005 at Zandra Rhodes museum London, which in the many years I have been teaching hasn't had a bad response. Always a first time for everything as they say.

student work 2008
My enthusiasms didn't quite engage all the group, which can leave one perplexed, but then a challenge is always good, it makes one rethink how you teach and one's own interpretation of the material. Sinamay has its failings and yet if it is seen purely as a material in the way of esparterie or Paris net or to experiment with shape and form then its flexibility and weightlessness make it an exciting proposition. So we shall see how next week's lesson goes. Interesting to find out others' perceptions of sinamay are. Is it a marmite material?

Philip Treacy Gondola Sinamay hat