Sunday, 18 August 2019

Malono Blahnik at the Wallace Collection

Synonymous with the fictional character Carrie Bradshaw in the early noughties TV series Sex and the City, the iconic shoes of Manolo Blahnik have gained cult status over the years. If you want to ogle the amazing sculptural creations of this famous designer pop along to the current Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik exhibition at the Wallace Collection in Marylebone. 

The exhibition showcases a delightful selection of shoes dispersed amongst the glamour and decadence of the 18th Century collection of art and artefacts. You get a guide that highlights which shoes are in each room but if you dispense with the map it feels like a grown-up treasure hunt!

If you are in the neighbourhood it is a lovely way to spend an hour. It is a free exhibition and is open until Sunday 1st September.

These shoes are beautiful objects of art but I'm not sure how comfortable they would be to wear!

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Weavers of the Clouds at the Fashion and Textiles Museum

I recently visited the Fashion and Textiles museum for their Weavers in the Clouds: Textile Arts of Peru exhibition. In the 1990's I created a man's waistcoat for one of my art college projects based upon the absolutely gorgeous hand-embroidered and woven Peruvian textiles. In those days the only examples I could find of these delicious designs were found in books from the library and maybe the odd example in the V&A museum. This exhibition is a feast for the eyes if you love colour, pattern, design, texture, embellishment, embroidery and weaving!

I would highly recommend a visit if you get a chance. The exhibition runs until the 8th of September at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, London.

Have you been to see an inspirational exhibition recently?

Friday, 16 August 2019

The inspirational Dorothea Tanning

Way back in March I attended a six-session evening workshop at the Tate Modern to coincide with the surrealist artist Dorothea Tanning's solo exhibition. I only had limited knowledge of her work before visiting the exhibition and I was really impressed by the sheer volume and such a wide variety of media she explored during her career. The focus of the workshop was soft-sculpture inspired by the many 3D sculptural pieces Tanning had created and experimented with.

As part of the cost of the Tate workshop, you gained free, unlimited entry to the exhibition which was a real joy to be able to experience the gallery after-hours when it was quiet and empty.
The tutor who ran the workshop gave us templates to use to create body parts. I selected to hand-sew legs and the lower torso. Once they had been carefully hand-stitched together they were filled with rice or couscous to give them some weight.

Here are some photographs of Dorothea Tanning's interesting soft sculpture work below.

The following photos are my small soft sculptures inspired by Tanning's amazing large scale 3D pieces.

The scale of my sculptural pieces is about the size of your hand, so quite delicate in contrast with Tanning's work. Whilst attending the Tate workshop I met a wonderful artist called Alannah Currie, also known as Miss Pokeno. She had organised an amazing week-long collective exhibition in response to Tanning's work. It was at her Doyce Street Studios and showcased the work of feminist artists in the form of paintings, sculpture, furniture, photography and dance.

I attended the Friday evening event with some friends and were treated to Hibiscus cocktails and a live dance performance which was very 'London'. It was a truly memorable evening which has still left me thinking about the work of Dorothea Tanning and the new artists she has inspired!

Have you visited anywhere or read a book recently that has made you think and reflect?

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Hand-made Linen Napkins

A good friend of mine got married in Ireland recently but I was unable to make it due to work commitments. To make up for my lack of presence on the special day, I decided to put that little bit of extra effort into making a gift that would (hopefully) be treasured.

I wanted to make something with a beautiful piece of vintage ivory Irish linen I had in my stash and I thought it would make some great napkins. I selected some beautiful organic cotton ribbons in the colours of the wedding as a decoration on each napkin. I then hand-embroidered the names of the bride and groom and the date of their wedding with some embroidery threads.

The construction of the napkins was quite simple. I sewed the ribbons on with rows of machine stitching using co-ordinating threads. I then used the micro-hemming technique I learnt during the couture finishing techniques workshop at the Fashion and Textile museum in 2017.

Finally, I selected a font using my computer and printed out the exact size of the lettering I wanted on the napkins. Luckily the ivory linen was quite transparent so I could easily trace through the lettering using a Frixon pen to transfer the lettering to the napkins (the pen disappears with heat when you iron it). I then spent a couple of hours enjoying the careful process of hand-embroidering the lettering. A truly satisfying project.

My friend and her husband contacted me today and they said they really love them. Yeah!
Have you made a gift for somebody recently?

Monday, 29 July 2019

Adventures in St. Ives

I spent a glorious few days in St. Ives last week. Amazing weather, fantastic scenery and delicious food. It is what all holidays should be made of!
Here are a few photos of the gorgeous Cornish coast and a few quick Plein air sketches and watercolour studies.

I read a really interesting book during the train journey and on the beach, 'The Salt Path' by Raynor Winn. It was recommended by Kate from the Foldline and it is set all around the South West coast which felt rather apt as I was passing through many on the train and wanted to absorb the sights and sounds of this coastline through somebody else's eyes too. I would highly recommend the book as a break from the usual rom-com light summer read!

I also visited fellow Yorkshire lass, Barbara Hepworth's sculpture garden and studio which is somewhere I have wanted to visit for sooooooo long! It did not disappoint and my tip to you, if you are visiting during the peak holiday season, is to go either as soon as it opens (10am) or in the last hour of the day (4-5pm). I did this both times and pretty much had the whole garden to myself (and my friend Charlotte) on both occasions.

I most certainly want to return to this charming and beautiful part of the world again!