Pia Östlund & London Craft Week

Alice went to hear Printmaker Pia Östlund talk during London Craft Week.

London Craft Week ran from 9th-13th May this year, and there was a plethora of exhibitions, talks and activities taking place all over London. You could design your own loafers with TOD's, make a Turkish Iznik tile at the Yunus Emre Institute, watch a demonstration by the Little Globe Company (they make little globes), and even visit a Georgian-inspired kitchen designed by HOWE and Plain English. There was so much making taking place.A number of events caught my eye, and I was sad to miss out on glassmaker Jochen Holz talking at about his exhibition Superficies at Flow Gallery; and Michael Ruh talking about his collaboration 'Edition' with Another Country - take a look at their beautiful 'Cob Decanter' (I have a thing for hand-blown glass, it is just so incredible).Another event I was intrigued by was Dan Cox and The Room Service, in which he spoke about the ceramics he has made for his new restaurant Crocadon (they are super, Paul Mossman made the ceramics, and Dan Cox created the glaze).  And I am now just so so very excited about the launch of The Room Service - essentially an online platform which sells the beautiful items you often spot in hotels and restaurants - and having gone home and hunted high and low for on the inter web, can never ever find. The Room Service may well have them, go and have a look.One event I really wanted to go to, was a talk and demonstration by printmaker Pia Östlund, all about her journey into the lost art of nature printing. It took place on Friday evening, and I got rather a lot of friendly disbelief (you are going to a nature printing workshop and not straight to the pub with us?!).However I stood firm, and at 6.30pm last Friday, found myself on the top floor of Daylesford on the Pimlico Road, surrounded by a number of ladies of a certain age, who had all been enjoying a day out in London, and who happen to be incredibly keen on printing.And I am just so pleased that I went along.Pia, who is Swedish, was wonderful. She was so warm and friendly, and after everyone had finally got the correct cup of tea, gotten over the confusion of what exactly the talk was to be about (nature printing, not flower pressing) and taken a seat - she began.Pia is a printmaker and graphic designer, and has spent 3 years developing her own version of nature printing. She had discovered a book in the Chelsea Physic Garden library containing prints using a process she did not recognise. Delving deeper, she made her way back to the Victorian era and to Bradbury Wilkinson and Company who had used this specific method of printing (having acquired it from Vienna). At that date it had been used extensively for the printing of plants - the Victorians were super keen on their ferns. However, other than this history and the book she had, there was very little further information on the actual printing process itself.So Pia set out to try and recreate this process. She spent two years working with lead, with numerous visits to lead factories. She even went on a trip with The British Pteridological Society, to collect ferns to work with. Eventually finding lead just too soft a material, she ventured to Vienna, where, amazingly, someone dug up some uncategorised copper plates in the Botanic Library - which turned out to be the very ones used to make the prints in the book from the Chelsea Physic Garden. So she turned to copper, and after a period trying out all sorts of processes using metals, has since been producing incredibly beautiful prints of foliage and flora.I really enjoyed Pia's talk, and fear I haven't really done it justice (she has written a book with Simon Prett if you want more detailed info). It was amazing to hear her talk about her journey into re-discovering this lost art of nature printing, her love for her work, the ups and the downs, and her perseverance with it.After the talk, and another cup of tea, we all had a go at a earlier form of printing, recreating the finest details of leaves in oil paint. It was incredibly satisfying, and so easy to do, once you have the right materials.It was such a fun evening, and I am so happy to have spent my Friday learning all about nature printing.Thank you Pia!Alice xxx

Collect 2018, Luxury British Craft

Alice went to Collect, to see all things handmade and collectable at the Saatchi Gallery.

I had a lovely time at Collect again this year. Held at the Saatchi Gallery, and organised by the Crafts Council, it calls itself 'The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects'. 40 galleries from 4 continents display the latest work by their 'makers'.  I really like this fair as there are all sorts of works, ranging from beautiful yet simple ceramics to entirely bizarre metalwork, handmade by contemporary makers.High end craft is quite a thing at the moment, we seem to be hankering after unique (often unattainably expensive) handmade works, in a rejection of the mass produced and machine-made, often cheaper stuff.There is also a very blurry line between what is 'craft' and what is 'art'. Some people define it by the materials used - textiles, ceramics and glass, versus pencil and paint; or the use of the object - craft often has a more practical use, art is to be displayed and admired. Possibly it is the way a maker or artist has learnt their skill, or maybe it is merely their intention when making a work, art is usually obliged to express something, craft is free of this prerequisite.But perhaps the rise of craft to a higher level - no longer is the skilled craftsman just replicating the templates of the designer, the craftsman is now also the designer - means that there does not need to be a distinction.Craft or art, or both, I very much like the objects on display at Collect. This year I went straight upstairs to see the exhibits in Collect Open, 'exploratory and risk' taking work by both established and emerging designers, chosen this year by Jay Osgerby, and was delighted with what I found.I will admit I was on a bit of a ceramics hunt, I have such a love for handmade ceramics, and this year I flitted through the rooms at a quicker pace, recognising some favourites from last year (ceramics by Valeria Nascimento and Domitilla Biondi's bas-reliefs carved into paper).However my absolute favourite display was Jilly Edwards' hand-woven tapestry. In a array of beautiful colours, she had chosen to display it on a plinth rather than the wall, to allow the viewer to engage with and explore the work further. Perhaps it was partly meeting Jilly that made this work even more special, but it really was captivating, I had to come back upstairs a second time to see it again.

Below I are my 5 top works by British makers at Collect, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Alice xxx

Jilly Edwards

It was so lovely to meet Jilly, and speak with her about her work. The way she weaves the different colours to create a painterly effect is absolutely amazing, and I love the arrangement of this work, with bright reds and yellows placed next to creamy whites and strong blacks.  She draws and paints her designs first, and then hand-weaves them. She also keeps every thread she uses, with the off-cuts being turned into incredibly satisfying small scale square tapestries. I loved this piece so much, the detail and the colour combinations, and it made me think about weaving in a completely new light.

Amy Douglas' works are super fun. She produces and re-configures 19th Century Staffordshire ceramics under the name 'The Art of Salmagundi'. Salmagundi is an old French and middle English word relating to a 'hodgepodge' of things - a mixture or variety of ingredients. Each of the Staffordshire figures she works with has a unique break or loss in the body, and Amy restores them with a twist, often using old folk tales and modern mythologies as inspiration. I love this work, and I love it's Title possibly even more.

Sue Doggett

I love the beautiful colours of this book cover. In Henry Holland's original drawings for the 'Hunting of the Snark', the ocean chart used by the 'sailors' was famously blank. Inspired by this, Sue Doggett has represented each of these 10 'sailors' by a directionless compass. The book is leather bound, using a three part construction. Natural goatskin has been dyed and painted with acrylic, and the boards and spine have been machine embroidered.  The paper doublures are hand-painted, and the end-papers are both painted and machine embroidered.

Lucie Rie

This tea set by Lucy Rie is part of the 'Masters of British Studio Pottery' display - co-created with the Fitzwilliam Museum - the aim of which is to recognise and celebrate the rise of collectable modern and contemporary ceramics.  I absolutely love Lucie Rie's work, she was primarily concerned with producing practical and functional wares, and her works feature 's'graffito' - inlaid lines - and thick textures applied with a course brush, coating very delicate pieces. This tea set is wonderful with it's washed finish in a white glaze and l love the curved shape to each piece and darker coloured edges. So beautiful!

Anna Barlow

I love this so much, a stack of incredibly real looking sweet treats made from earthenware and porcelain - the detail is amazing.  Anna Barlow combines different materials and techniques to create 'visual edibility' - capturing the way certain foods melt and ooze - with high-fired porcelain for the wafers and ice cream cones;  and opaque earthenware glaze for dripping ice cream.

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Rebecca Campbell, Artist

Sarah Capes spoke with artist Rebecca Campbell about her work.

Many moons ago, when I was an intern at Dulwich Picture Gallery, the exhibition Ragamala Paintings from India opened.  Since then, I have been fascinated not only by Indian art, but by the way in which it has inspired British artists and collectors since the 18th century. I even had plans to write a PhD on the subject, though that has taken something of a backseat in recent years.I was therefore very excited to meet Rebecca Campbell last week, a British artist whose style and subject matter is heavily influenced by her travels to India. Perusing the works on her website, I was immediately reminded of the Ragamalas. Her paintings possess a charmingly naive quality, focussing largely on animals, birds and plants in landscape settings. And yet, whilst there is this sense of naivety in their format and flatness, the detail in each specific element of her paintings is exquisite. A peacock's feathers, the leaves on a blossoming tree, or an elegantly placed butterfly; her works are characterised by an immensely pleasing harmony where everything seems to have its perfect place.Listening to Rebecca speak about India, it was clear how much of an impact the place has had on her. Having grown up in Ireland, where she was encouraged by her governess to explore the rural surroundings, make sketches and keep a diary of the things she saw, Rebecca’s interest in the natural world started at a young age. She studied History of Art at A-level and recalls particularly enjoying early Italian Renaissance and 17th century Dutch art. All of these early interests are certainly evident in her work. Though perhaps seemingly contradictory, the precision and sharpness of 17th Dutch painting is as present in Rebecca’s work as the primitive simplicity of religious depictions from early 15th century Italy. But it is the addition of her vivid colouring, the exotic landscapes and playful imagery taken from her time in India that makes Rebecca’s works so unique and captivating.Rebecca first travelled to India via Nepal, through to Varanasi and Calcutta, and then explored the south before travelling to New Delhi and Rajasthan. This was in her early twenties, after graduating from City and Guilds with First Class Honours in Illustrative Arts. Rebecca had felt that art school, though enjoyable, had given no indication of just how tough being an artist in London would initially be. She confessed to struggling to define her style at the beginning of her career, which meant that it was difficult for her to gain commissions at first. But she always felt inclined to a more painterly rather than illustrative approach.It was that first visit to India that truly defined Rebecca’s style. The people, the landscape, the architecture, and the array of colours – it is Rebecca’s memories of these things that fill her canvases. She begins by making endless sketches of an idea or a memory until she is ready to turn it into a full-scale painting. I think it is this painting from memory that gives her works an almost surreal quality; they amalgamate various real elements that the artist has experienced and seen, but not necessarily always collectively representing a true scene. Rather, an assortment of animals, birds, buildings and decorations united in a flat, frieze-like vision. Miniature painters in Mughal India would often also do this, particularly in landscapes and architectural paintings, combining real and imaginary elements to make one ideal vision.One of my favourite examples of this in Rebecca’s work is the Charm of Goldfinches. The main focus of the painting is a tree, curiously separated from the rest of the foliage within a fictional garden and enclosed by a decorative wall. There is so much space in the foreground, but somehow it does not feel empty. Looking closer, we can see three goldfinches sitting in the tree, with another flying towards them from the right. The best part of all is the little snail slithering across the foreground; though just one tiny detail, the painting somehow would not be the same without him. As I say, everything has its perfect place. The overall sense is one of a satisfying harmony within an idyllic, dreamlike garden. Another favourite of mine that also achieves this pleasing symmetry is Life at Lodi. The exotic animals, birds and plants are all perfectly situated before a Hindu temple in a surreal, Indian capriccio.Even when Rebecca’s paintings are not directly referencing India in their subject matter, their format often does. This is the case with the Charm of Goldfinches - nothing in the work really specifies a location, but the vibrant colours, the two-dimensional background and the curious addition of the snail in the foreground all recall the somewhat quirky visions of the Moghul painters. The perspective in works such as The Early Bird Catches the Worm is particularly reminiscent of Moghul Miniature paintings and Ragamalas; the curvilinear pathway surrounding the tree that has been pushed to the foreground, for instance, and the disproportionate sizing of the flowers in comparison to the tree, recall the compositional techniques in this type of Indian painting.The impact of that first visit to India for Rebecca cannot be understated and I was fascinated and heartened to hear and see how those influences continue to seep into so much of her work. In no way are her works attempting to recreate or emulate the art of the country, but they capture and offer us a taste of its essence. Their fundamental purpose seems to be to showcase beauty and simplicity in the everyday – to, as Rebecca told me herself, ‘celebrate life and colour and nature’.After her first trip to India, Rebecca had started to paint furniture and murals and was hand-painting items such as trays and waste paper bins for Saks Fifth Avenue. While this was a success, she recalls it being very time-consuming as she was often reluctant to employ help, preferring to work on her own. Rebecca also felt that although these designs were a useful way of showcasing her work and putting her name out there, she had a strong desire to make the painting itself the main focus of her work, not just as a decorative element. Since 2002, Rebecca has been exhibiting at Jonathan Cooper Gallery in Chelsea. It was Cooper who encouraged her to start focusing exclusively on painting in oils; an idea which she welcomed, continuing to work mostly in this medium since then. Rebecca does, however, accept commissions to work on large-scale murals and wall decorations for private clients. Examples of these can be seen on her website and Instagram page, and I highly recommend having a look. The sheer scale and attention to detail in these works is staggering; I was astonished when she told me she had completed one project like this in just three weeks.Rebecca’s most recent trip to India took her to New Delhi, after a couple asked her to make a portrait of their house and gardens there. She has also had similar commissions in France and the UK, producing stunning aerial views of various properties. These images in particular recall 17th century Dutch and English aerial paintings View of Llanerch Park, for instance. Rebecca’s works, however, incorporate the vibrant colouring and compositional devices of the Mughal painters, resulting in much more than a straightforward architectural likeness, but a lively, characterful portrait.Travel remains a hugely important part of Rebecca’s life and artistic practice. Based in South London, Rebecca maintains ties with India, particularly through her work for the charity Elephant Family.  In 2009, she was commissioned by the charity to paint a life-size model of a baby elephant for Elephant Parade, which was among over 200 others placed around London to raise awareness for the charity. The Wildlife Protection Society of India also commissioned another from her, situated in Green Park. They were subsequently sold at auction to raise money for the charities. She also participated in the Fabergé Big Egg Hunt in London, which raised a huge amount of money for Elephant Family. Rebecca painted a beautiful giant egg decorated with flowers and birds, which was situated in St James’s Park.I have always been of the opinion that when it comes to collecting art, you should buy what are drawn to and what you want to live with, not what you think you ought to buy. That is probably why I have a stack of prints piling up at home, all waiting patiently to be framed. For me, the enthrallment of Rebecca's work – that instinctive need to own and be surrounded by such beauty – was a very strong pull indeed. I started imagining every wall at home transformed into a pastoral haven or an exotic garden. Rebecca admitted to living and working in her own little bubble, opposing the lack of beauty in so much of today's art. She said her work makes people smile, which makes her feel lucky to be doing what she is doing.For me, her work is comforting and familiar, in a way that I find difficult to explain. Her work itself is happy, perhaps that is why. It was a pleasure to enter into the little bubble for a while, and to witness the visual manifestations of a mind so full of colourful memories. Rebecca kindly gave me some greeting cards of some of her paintings after our meeting, which, rather selfishly, I shan't be giving away, but which have made their way to the top of my 'to frame' pile.Rebecca’s next solo exhibition will be at Jonathan Cooper Gallery in September 2018.

Rebecca Campbell

Sarah Capes graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2011, where she completed her MA in the History of Art. She went on to The Courtauld to pursue a Masters in Curating that same year. Since then, she has worked in the London art world in various capacities, from museums and auction houses to conservation. For the last three years she has been working for a renowned Mayfair art dealer. Sarah was born in Vienna, grew up in New Zealand, the Caribbean, and the U.K. and now lives in Fulham.

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Alicia Gradon, Artist

Sarah Capes spoke with artist Alicia Gradon about her recent residency at Kingsbrae Gardens in Canada.

Last week I met with artist and writer Alicia Gradon. Alicia and her work have featured on the blog in the past, but I wanted to focus specifically on her experiences during her recent residency in July at Kingsbrae Garden, St Andrews by-the-sea, New Brunswick in Canada. Hearing Alicia speak about Kingsbrae was like listening to someone describing a botanical oasis; an expanse of perfectly manicured flora designed specifically to inspire and encourage artists, sculptors and all crafts. It conjured the idea of a horticultural Gesamtkunstwerk, where everything in the garden is itself a work of art and in turn compels artists to create, resulting in one enormous and constantly evolving artwork.This seems to have provided the ideal environment for Alicia, whose hyper-realistic drawings are a result of her observations of nature in an attempt to engage the viewer with the world around them. Interestingly, however, Alicia’s work prior to the residency focused largely on taking these observations and making them fantastical, with the aim of intermingling the real and the imaginary. Alicia’s work often evolves from her writings, which themselves centre on imaginary creatures, plants, and far-off lands. During the residency, however, Alicia began to recognise that elements of fantasy can exist in the real. The garden exuded to her a magical quality in its variety of flowers, trees and birds; but everything contained within it was, of course, real and tangible.After discussing her work with other artists carrying out their residencies there, Alicia decided to strip back the fantasy and use her surroundings as they are, to create visual manifestations of nature, that would in turn, force the viewer to reconnect and examine in detail elements from nature that they might be taking for granted. As a lover of early botanical illustrations and 17th century Dutch still lifes, I often question what it is that makes these sorts of observations so alluring. Why not go outside and look at the real thing? Talking with Alicia and looking at her drawings made me realise that the translation of the natural world into a two-dimensional image somehow offers more than doing that; it offers the chance to admire both the artist’s skill and the beauty of the object itself. What is impressive about Alicia’s work is that she renders this beauty entirely without colour. Her drawings are always in black and white. Alicia reflected that although beautiful and ethereal, colour can be a distraction and that by stripping it away, the viewer is able to focus purely on the form and structure of the subject.The birds that she draws are vividly coloured in reality – bright red cardinals and ‘electric’ blue blue jays – yet what Alicia presents us with are the intricacies of those creatures laid bare; their purest, most fundamental structures. This monochromatic approach is certainly effective. Alicia recalls a fellow artist during the residency observing her drawings of a cardinal and thanking Alicia for reminding her of a beauty that she had forgotten.Given the fickle and competitive nature of the contemporary art world, where many seek to achieve new heights by aiming to shock, it was refreshing to learn that there are still artists and initiatives that strongly centre on the idea of going ‘back to nature’. Hearing about Kingsbrae reminded me of the artists’ colonies that began appearing across Europe in the late 19th century. As urbanisation took hold of many cities and their surroundings during this time, artists began to seek inspiration from areas relatively untouched by modern culture. They were attracted to certain areas because of the specific light, the slower pace of the local life and the beauty of the landscape. Equally as important as the surroundings, however, was the intermingling of artists sharing their thoughts, theories and views on aesthetics. Van Gogh famously dreamt of starting his own colony in Arles, where this sort of philosophising and creativity could take place to create what he imagined would be ground breaking works of art. Though his dream was never realised, famous examples of such circles include the Barbizon School in France, where Rousseau and Millet featured; St Ives in Cornwall, where Hepworth worked; and Kirkudbright in Dumfires – a longstanding centre for the Glasgow school. Part of the reason that Van Gogh’s idea failed was because he was working with artists like Gauguin, who did not appreciate criticism and strove for autonomy rather than mutual creativity. But the opportunity to share thoughts, advise and inspire other artists is what is often so crucial in the development of an artist’s oeuvre.Alicia shared Kingsbrae with four other artists – out of over 100 applicants from across the globe – each working in different media, from rug hooking to photography. They were all older than her and further along in their careers, but through her conversations with them she learned that even though she was abandoning the fantastical element that has always defined her work, the drawings she produced during the residency still very much had her own ‘filter’ applied. Each angle, each line, each shade; the way in which an object is observed, is still so reminiscent of her typical work. Alicia’s work is, essentially, always ‘real’; even when she sets her drawings in fictional scenes or creates hybrid plants and creatures, each element of those inventions and amalgamations come from nature. Yet by deciding to return to the pure, fundamental root from which her creations grow, Alicia’s observations acquire a certain rawness, offering a completely organic result.Each weekend at Kingsbrae, the artists opened their studios to the public for five hours. This offered the opportunity for tourists, locals and other artists to visit and see a working artist’s studio. Although the area is certainly a tourist destination, Alicia describes it primarily as a hub for arts and crafts and mentioned the feel of an artists’ colony about it. She met an extraordinary variety of people, including local permanent artist in residence Geoff Slater, known for his large-scale paintings made with one continuous line. Geoff was also one of the ten panel members that decided on the final five artists for the residency, which, incidentally, was in its inaugural summer. Alicia told me that the attitude of everyone she encountered, particularly the locals, had an extremely positive and encouraging outlook regarding her work and her development as an artist, and that of other young artists working in the area. This sort of attitude was understandably refreshing, coming from London, where it can be incredibly difficult to get a foot in the door for aspiring young artists. The residency presented a variety of opportunities to Alicia; partly due to the people she encountered being so willing to want to help propel her art into the wider world. The residency has compelled her to apply for other residencies in Canada, the USA and Japan. Alicia also met other artists and writers in St Andrews keen to collaborate with her.Kingsbrae Gardens was opened in 1998, having been founded by local couple John and Lucinda Flemer. The garden is based around the family’s old estate, where Mrs Flemer still lives. Set in 27 acres, Mrs Flemer’s creation has become both a tourist highlight and a treasured sanctuary for locals. Most importantly, perhaps, is the array of career and training opportunities that the garden offers. When the garden opened, St Andrews was an area hit by the falling employment rates that plagued the nineties. But with the garden came work possibilities for artists, sculptors, gardeners, chefs, and many more. Alicia described Mrs Flemer as an extremely enthusiastic lover of art, keen to bring in artists from all over the world to share in the experience of Kingsbrae. I imagine her as an almost matriarchal figure, encouraging, supporting and caring for all those that enter the garden walls.Alicia hopes that Kingsbrae will continue to offer residencies after the success of her time there. The impact the experience had on her work and writing has been significant; something that would not necessarily have occurred otherwise. She spoke of having an enormous sense of how precious her time was there that month; she would begin working at 10am and continue into the early hours of the next morning – something she is not able to do in London due to a variety of distractions and obligations. Being surrounded by other artists and people with a similar mind-set was also unique to the experience and certainly affected her practice, causing her to reflect on and revaluate how her work is perceived.Meeting with Alicia and talking with her was like engaging with a stream of consciousness; everything she said about art and our perception of it flicked a little switch in my mind that got me thinking about a whole array of other theories and questions. What was perhaps most clear throughout, however, was how inseparable Alicia’s art is from her very being. She carries it around with her at all times – metaphorically speaking – and talks about art as if it is something she has never and could never be without. She is not compelled by the commercial potentials that being an artist might glean; she went to Kingsbrae to explore her own practice, to be inspired and challenged by her surroundings, and to produce, as I hope you will agree below, some truly magnificent works of art.Sarah Capes graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2011, where she completed her MA in the History of Art. She went on to The Courtauld to pursue a Masters in Curating that same year. Since then, she has worked in the London art world in various capacities, from museums and auction houses to conservation. For the last three years she has been working for a renowned Mayfair art dealer. Sarah was born in Vienna, grew up in New Zealand, the Caribbean, and the U.K. and now lives in Fulham.

Alicia Gradon

Art Exhibitions, May & June

There is lots of exciting art on show in London at the moment, and I thought I would share four exhibitions featuring British artists I will be visiting during May and June.Alice xxx

Christopher Brown

Michal Parkin Fine Art at the Art Workers' Guild

6 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, London

24th - 27th May 2017

I am a big fan of Christopher Brown's linocuts, and an archive of his work is currently being exhibited at the Art Workers' Guild.  Christopher studied at the Royal College of Art, where he met and later assisted Edward Bawden.  I love his fun, often quirky , and always amusing images in sharp black and white linocut.  There is so much to see in this exhibition and original prints to buy - and the Art Workers' Guild is a really fascinating place to visit.  Definitely pop in!

Jo Vollers

54 The Gallery

54 Shepherd Market, Mayfair, London

22nd - 27th May

Jo paints beautifully vibrant works in acrylic and oil, her paintings sit between figurative and abstraction - I absolutely love her use of colour.  She is exhibiting at 54 the Gallery until Saturday 27th May.

Nina Baxter

Royal Arts Prize at La Galleria Pall Mall

 5b Pall Mall Street, Royal Opera Arcade

30th May - 10th June

Nina Baxter paints the most incredible large scale, painstakingly detailed geometric abstract works in harmonious colours.  Nina's work will be on the show at La Galleria Pall Mall as part of the Royal Arts Prize, her works draw inspiration from landscape, architecture, photography and music.  Pop along to see her new works and get lost in these amazing interactions of shape and colour.

Minty Sainsbury

Minty Sainsbury will also be exhibiting as part of the Royal Arts Prize - her architectural drawings are really splendid 😍 🙏.

Jill Barklem

The Illustration Cupboard

 22 Bury Street, St James's, London

10th May - 3rd June

A little trip down memory lane, The Illustration Cupboard are currently displaying the original artwork by Jill Barklem for the Brambley Hedge books.  There are also many many beautiful illustrations in the this jam packed gallery, many from favourite childrens books, absolutely worth a visit.

SAKE, Art Show by Muddy Yard

Yesterday I had a sneak preview of Muddy Yard's new show SAKE.  Muddy Yard is an artist-led project space in south London - and their second group show includes new and very exciting works centred on the theme of 'purpose'.The main ideas behind the show are, 'What is the point to our every day existence without a purpose?'  And 'Is making art a self-prescribed purpose pill?'  Purpose is very important, it gives life meaning, and apparently it has been scientifically proven that you live longer if you have a purpose. So purpose is good, but behind the optimism of living a fulfilling purposeful life as an artist, there are darker questions - it is becoming increasingly harder to make art whilst living in London.  Many of these artists are at the beginning of their careers, forging a path for themselves, whilst also trying to sustain life in London.  Others are well-known in their field, but feeling the pressures of 'producing' a certain type of art to pay the bills.On show are some really fascinating works, each with it's own little story, I am particularly intrigued by Isabelle Southwood's piece, a planter containing the soil she wants to be buried in, Alex McNamee's video of unpurposeful work, and Holly Hendry's beautiful sculpture.  The making process that has gone into each is fascinating and there is a wide variety of mediums.  The band Pleasure Complex will also be playing a rolling set for part of the night.  There is lots of see, and lots to learn, and it is such a fun interesting space.This evening Muddy Yard, is opening it's doors to display these new artworks, and giving us a glimpse into how each of the artists understands their art to be the purpose of their life.The private view is being held this evening, 6pm til late. RSVP: alex@muddypr.com if you would like to attend.Alice xxx

Jamie Stiby Harris

The Other Art Fair London

I went to The Other Art Fair last week for the first time.  It was greatly enjoyable and there were lots of very affordable works of art by artists in all sorts of mediums.  I picked up a number of artist's business cards, my eyes always seem to wander to the brightly coloured ones, and decided that they were so pretty and fun, they deserved some hanging time of their own.  So I made a collage and stuck them onto the wall 😍.  Below you can see the names of the artists and what I thought about some of them (Sorry for the slightly erratic numbering!!)Alice xxx

1.

1. Michael Wallner, 2.Robynne Limoges, 3.Vicky Barranguet, 4.Emma Rose, 12.Rennie Pilgrem, 14. Lucia Moran Giracca

13. Sandy Dooley

Sandy paints with acrylic on canvas and I really love her use of colour - her studio is based in her garden in Kent, and the colours and themes of her paintings tend to follow the seasons, and she paints outdoors as much as she can which I think is wonderful 😃.

2.

5.Joanne Hummel-Newall, 6. Cecile Van Hanja, 7.Marit Geraldine Bostad, 8.Joanne Hummel-Newall, 9. Gillian Hyland, 20. Tammy Mackay

11.John Hainsworth

I really like John Hainsworth's very small scale paintings of unusual architectural forms in abstract landscapes all in muted tones.  They were all hung closely together and looked superb, he does large paintings too.

3.

15.Gillian Hyland, 16.Aliette Bretal, 17. Bridget Davies, 28.Cecile Van Hanja, 29.Minty Sainsbury, 30.Louise Fairchild, 31.Victoria Topping, 32. Geraldine Swayne

27.Fei Alexeli

I am a big fan of Fei Alexeli's work - both her collages, in which palm trees have made it into outer space, and her slightly otherworldly photography.

4.

18.Hermione Carline, 19. Valentina Loffredo, 20.Tim Fowler, 22.Stephen Anthony Davids, 23a.Nadia Attura, 23b.Augusti Viladesau, 24. Etienne Clement, 25. Tim Fowler

26.Minty Sainsbury

Minty's drawings were some of my favourite in the show.  She initially trained as an architect, and l absolutely love her detailed drawings of buildings and monuments.

Artists altogether 😊

And some photos from the show with Graeme Messer's works ✌️