Sunday, 19 May 2013

Craft & Design Selected Awards

I am honored to have been presented with Silver in the Craft & Design Selected Awards for Glass! 
After first winning it in 2010, my work has changed dramatically since then. I really wasn't expecting to get through to the finalists again, let alone win Silver. So as you can imagine, I am so excited to have gotten so far!

Thank you so much to all of you who voted during the public voting! Out of over 1,100 artists I made it through to the finalists who were then sent off to specialist judges for each category.  

Stephen Prendergast was the judge for the glass category said some lovely things about my work:

The category winners comprise of some really fantastic artists which are all well deserved, so do take a look at who else made it through. A massive congratulations to all of them!

I shall be featured in the Sep/Oct issue of Craft & Design magazine this year, so keep your eyes peeled for that. I shall no doubt be posting it online once it's published. :)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

My Button Project

This summer I will be joining hundreds of other artists turning their talents towards unique button-making. 
A stunning exhibition of contemporary handmade buttons will go on show alongside the silk costume collection at Macclesfield’s Heritage Centre this June.  Running from 14th June – 8th August, The Button Project exhibition will be launched at Barnaby, the town’s summer festival of art and fun, and will showcase work by artists and makers from across the UK, and even beyond.

I've always wanted to have a go at making some glass buttons but never seem to find the time to play around with designs. So when the call for applicants came out, I thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity to give it a try. 
Using lampworking techniques was probably the obvious way to go, so I decided to go with blown and coldworked glass instead. Just to keep you on your toes!
Something contemporary. Minimalist with precise detail. A design that connected to my blown pieces that wasn't necessarily a typical rounded shape but still keeping within the 3cm size restriction. 

This is what I came up with:

What do you think?
I'm so intrigued to see all the other beads displayed together!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

British Craft Trade Fair. Harrogate, April 2013

This was my 4th year exhibiting at BCTF, so you'd have thought I'd have gotten over the terror of the event date A little bit more confident than normal, but still stressing adequately in the last week running up to it. There is just so much to think about! Especially when you have decided to change your display, yet again (I always seem to look back on past displays and cringe). 
A lovely sunny day for setting up in Harrogate.

For all those who have never had the experience of exhibiting at a show such as the British Craft Trade Fair, I can only outline how much time, effort and resources go into preparing for it, let alone what it takes to execute it all. 
So hats off to all the other designer makers with their wonderful stands who make it such a great event to take part in (and of course the organisers), and a special thanks to Mummy and Daddy Duck for all their help!

No amount of planning in advance seems to make the next exhibition go smoother.  This year I had decided to  spend quite a bit of time on my catalogue. I made all my pieces, got them photographed (blog entry about that to follow), edited the photographs, designed the layout, and sent them off to print. All was going to plan until a call to check the progress of the printing (I was expecting them to have been shipped the previous day) resulted in finding out that they hadn't been sent to print yet?! I quickly entered panic mode. I couldn't have spent all that time on them only to not have them for the show! In short, they arrived in the nick of time and all worked out well.  PHEW!

So after stuffing my little Fiesta to the brim, off we went for set up...

3 days at the show.
The show went really well. I had a good number of orders, made lots of new contacts, was pleased with my stand (until next year!) and caught up with some of the other exhibitors. I would say I'm all unpacked and back to normal now, but I don't want to lie to you! 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

London. February 2013

This week's trip was a couple of days in London. 

The main reason for our visit was to see Cirque du Soleil's 'Kooza'. After our previous attempt to see it resulting in its cancellation due to technical problems, needless to say I was itching to see it!

It was worth the wait!

Just spectacular on every level! The acts, costumes, make-up, staging, and music were all amazing! I had seen this show years ago on DVD, but nothing compares to the live performance - We sat there with our jaws dropped throughout. Although I do find myself distracted at times with my curiosity and amazement at how the staging was constructed, how hard the acts have trained, how the concepts were thought up, how much material was needed to create the vast sheets billowing at the sides of the stage, etc etc...

I have a love for the theatre (after studying it at school), and even more so for circus performances such as this. When I can tear myself away from glass making, I engross myself in pole dancing, poi, stilt-walking, and other circus-related activities. So I can certainly appreciate and admire the skill involved in putting a show like this together, if only on a basic level. 

Queue the day dreaming of running away with them one day...

So it now strikes me...Why have I not thought to take influence from this fascination and transfer it to my glass work? Probably not in the literal sense by glassblowing whilst hanging upside-down from a trapeze, but by taking aspects such as balance, colour, and strength. 
-Something to work on.

After seeing Kooza, Totem (what an amazing birthday viewing that was!), and Alegria, I can't wait to see the next show that comes this way!

Rain Room
Up and out first thing in the morning, after 4 previously failed attempts, we were determined to see 'Rain Room' at the Barbican, by Random International. We joined the queue an hour and a half before it opened, and after about a 2 hour wait (a perfect opportunity to do some knitting!) we were let in. 
Now this was my kind of art! The first thing that hits you is the sound coming from around the curve, through the darkness. It completely changes the atmosphere. The ceiling is covered in panels that throw down heavy rain. Stand at the edge watching as others pass through the downpour before you start to creep through yourself. Sensors detect your movements creating your own invisible umbrella. Then moving further in, the veil of water closes behind you, sealing you in. It's  quite magical and very calming.

It is certainly something you have to experience in person to fully appreciate, but for a better idea, there are some videos of the exhibition here. There have also been some dance performances running on a few dates in Rain Room which would have been really interesting to see. 

Rain Room

Our next stop was London Glassblowing studio. However we accidentally stumbled upon Borough Market, so it would have been rude not to have a look around! There was just too many delicious things to choose from!

Tearing ourselves away from the food, we continued on to London Glassblowing. Somehow I'd never visited before (?!), so it was great to finally see it. The Coalesce exhibition was on with some fantastic work. My favourite pieces were definitely those of Bruce Marks. -beautiful colours and form. Of course, Peter Layton's work was wonderful to see up close, but that's a given! It was lovely to meet him briefly. 

Bruce Marks

Louis Thompson

I spied these pieces (above) by Louis Thompson which I was intrigued by. I don't know what it is about them that's so appealing? Louis and Bruce were both making in the studio, so we watch for a bit as they worked their magic.  

The Shard
To top it all off, the sun was shining for most of the trip, so we got a glorious view of the new Shard building up close. I rather like it, and after watching a documentary on how it was constructed, I am also seriously impressed!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Nottingham Contemporary

My friend and fellow artist Rachel (a.k.a Pink Couch) suggest the jolly good idea of us taking a trip up to Nottingham to see what was going on at Nottingham Contemporary gallery last week. 
There was also a lace exhibition going on at the castle which would have fit in perfectly with some new work I'm doing, but us being us, we didn't realise that the castle closed early during the winter months, so we missed that one - D'oh! 

The Contemporary is a great space (can't believe I've never been there before!) and presented us with two exhibitions from Piero Gilardi and John Newling. 
I'm not the most knowledgeable when it comes to conceptual art, so I'm sure there was something I was missing when it came to Newling's work on the 'social and economic systems of society'. Although did find his framed pieces with dried cabbage leaves intriguing - with their appearance meant to change through the duration of the exhibition. His use of gold leaf made them quite attractive. (It didn't occur to me at this point to take a photo!)

Piero Gilardis foam stones and leaves

I had more of an appreciation for Piero Gilardi's work from the 60's with the technical skill involved in transforming synthetic foam into such realistic representations of natural forms. All hand-carved and painted. Our urge to jump on the art works welcomely relieved by the separate piece made for our squishing curiosities. :)

The outside of the Contemporary - I got some lace inspiration from the trip!