Sunday, 29 April 2012


On Thursday spent the day at the study centre at the V&A to handle some of their vast Pugin archive Its always exciting to be confronted by archival boxes and the anticipation was worth it as there was some wonderful items to look at. It was all part of the support structure offered by Caroline of Camac Design around the wallpaper competition that year 2 nuca textile students are undertaking. I became specially engaged in a small book of designs for furniture after looking at an ecclesiastical catalogue in the British Galleries before i went in the study centre. I think that I am interested in creating designs for a box-like structure that could not be made – gothic tardis – and then thought about the idea of minimal gothic. But most of the time I became really aware of the idea of heritage and felt really manipulated in that if I thought what does the monarchy look like? or englishness created in the technicolor films mainly with Stewart Granger or Richard todd in them – it would look a bit like the boxes of Pugin material – all those bold designs of roses and entwined rope.  

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


an excellent teaching day at Camberwell  - working on the MA Book Art course - a full day running two workshops which led to some good results – one very practical and the other more esoteric
the results of trying to create an equation for finish in a piece of work - madness but worth trying.
managed to check out the current show at the Poetry Library entitled Poetry of Unknown Words by Susan Johanknecht and Katharine Meynell. 
recently i’ve been watching some interesting films – here are some to check out
Dogtooth – Giorgos Lanthimos - odd, disturbing and the most violent 2 seconds of any film ever! Red Beard – Akira Kurosawa - excellent textures and rain - The Seventh Continent - Michael Haneke – Micheal Landy could learn a few things from this film

Sunday, 22 April 2012


It is said that a man dies twice, once in body and again when his name is spoken for the last time. It was obvious whilst attending a party to celebrate the life of Nigel Lofthouse yesterday that Nigel will take a long time to die. The memory of Nigel and his ability to squeeze life was in everybody’s thoughts and conversation. He enthusiastically embraced every project I worked with him on and I witnessed his ability to make all better. I can recall conversations in his studio at Yew Tree about bringing up boys that 
gave me direction – it will all be given and it will be ok.

Saturday, 21 April 2012


spent the day on Thursday watching/listening to the MA students at nuca delivering PechaKucha’s around their practice – its a really dynamic and positive delivery structure that focuses their presentation skills, stopping waffle and always runs to time.
at lunch I bumped into Martin Rogers of the RGAP (Research Group for Artists Publications) who was giving a presentation later in the day which i managed to attend – there was some really interesting ideas about publishing and extending the idea of the book into events and building audiences in his presentation.
meanwhile I spent the week creating a bookwork in a small edition that explores the space and structure of the page within the idea or image of the book. 

Friday, 13 April 2012


i’ve spent the last three weeks working on a project for the ideas factory at nuca. the bride and bull project with crockery designers Maxwell and Williams (get it!!) will be revealed soon.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


a road trip north to view sculpture – first stop Yorkshire sculpture park – a truly magnificent experience with old favourites like Goldsworthy and Nash spaced a good walk away from the car park doing their thing with wood and stone and landscape. Old school plonk art was well represented by a marvellous family set by Hepworth, some thoughtful Moore’s
others worth a mention are James Turrell’s Deer Shelter Sky Space, Helen Escobedo’s ghostly bales, Ursula Von Rydingsvard ‘s wooden piece in the orangery – the smell is transcendent and the large scale moiré optical effect experienced with Basket #7 by Winter/Hörbelt
Indoors the Miro show had his slightly too cartoony jokey sculptures interspersed with the more successful etchings, his motifs work and seem to present possibilities in 2D but seem too frivolous in 3 – the prints feel like they come from another time – its rare to see large scale rich well produced printmaking – it seemed to be all i saw when a student in the 80s.
Alec Finley’s Propagator, a greenhouse containing plant pots from which sprout mesostic poems based on the names of flora at the park was good but the work can also be found in an artists book – herbarium – only £10.00 .
Sophie Ernst has a beautiful yet poignant show dealing with the idea of home – Ernst interviews people forced to leave their homes and builds an architectural model of the houses they describe. She then projects onto this sculpture video footage of the person's hands as they describe their memory of that building.
after an overnight stay in wakefield the first stop the next day was the Hepworth gallery what a gloriously brutal space, both the overall design and the stunning detail - all of which seem to disappear when looking at the work in the spaces. my favourite room in the collection was showing Hepworth in context with some good examples of the work of Nicholson, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Epstein.
the stand out work was a show by Heather and Ivan Morison which draws on the life and work of 20th century British novelist Anna Kavan, the gallery is full of exquisite objects that are beautifully conceived.

i was interested in Hepworth’s way of blocking out of history – or rather tidying it up by painting all the windows of the building next to it black – somewhat ominous.
finally onto Caro at Chatsworth the okay examples of his work were sited in the magnificent space - my favourite overhear comment was ‘but this one’s just bits of metal’ – i see a bookwork coming on..........

and then there was the solid northern smoking architecture.

Saturday, 7 April 2012


winter term and a long and busy two weeks at nuca working on a shop display involving a bride a bull and lots of plates - meanwhile i’ve been invited to work on the library of lost books for Birmingham library – i’m looking forward to receiving the book to work with/on. finally managed to spend a few minutes organising some of the photographs from the visit to paris and thinking about the image of cloth.