Hello and a very belated happy new year! It’s nearly 3 months now since I updated last, and a lot has been happening….mainly on the 2d work, two of which are here, just up there…I’ve spent the last month or so concentrating on this side of my development, and I feel at the moment as if I could happily spend another year solidly on printmaking and painting! Although I am fairly pleased with my progress so far, the printmaking especially has had me tearing my hair out. It’s a completely new skill for me, and I had forgotten how frustrating it is to want to do something and not to be able to do it perfectly, all at once…it took me back to the days at Hastings college where I did my art foundation course, when I first learned how to throw pots. Some days then made me so angry the clay ended up being thrown at the wall! So, the frustrations of the last couple of weeks have helped me (in the end!) to readjust my expectations, and I’m less unrealistic about my progress now. And actually I am enjoying learning something new – it’s excersising a part of my brain that has been underused for a very long time…
The main problems for me at the moment seem to be in making good compositions, and working out how to make these into a nice, coherent image from several plates when I am doing lino cuts. I found the thinking backwards that printmaking requires almost impossible to get my head around at first, but as my printmaking mentor, Sarah Young, said – just doing them helps to work this out. Working in two dimensions, not three, is very new to me and I am realising that it takes an awful lot of concentration to get it right. I did this one, below, of four of my broken cups that sit on the studio windowsill, just to see what a nice big space around the image would do (as my creative mentor, Kate, keeps telling me, to let the image breathe a bit, and not to hem it in with all the detail and borders etc that I have been doing) – and I really like it.
I went to spend a day with Sarah Young about a month ago (www.sarahyoung.co.uk), who was enormously helpful, and very kind and patient! She took me through her processes with lino, and showed me some of her lino blocks, which was absolutely fascinating. I had a brilliant day with her, and her partner Jon, who helped me make three prints from a four block image that I had done at home, at Inkspot Press in Brighton, which is where they do all their printing. I left with pages and pages of notes, and lots of ideas. I stayed over at my parents’ house in Eastbourne, which is coincidentally home to a gallery that I’ve wanted to visit for ages – it being the main gallery of my absolute top favourite printmaker, Robert Tavener. Emma and Richard Mason, of Emma Mason gallery (www.emmamason.co.uk), have written a biography of Tavener with loads of images of his prints in it, and they have a large collection of his prints at the gallery. So my mum and I went there first thing in the morning, and Richard Mason very kindly showed me lots of lino blocks that Tavener cut, and gave me a very generous amount of his time talking to me about Tavener and printmaking in general. And then my mum bought an absolutely beautiful Tavener lithograph, which was very exciting!
My 2d work is mainly focused on still lives of my ceramics and those of other contemporary studio ceramicists that I like – I’m hoping to end up with a nice collection of images of ceramics being produced at the moment, so it will be a kind of record of what is going on in the craft today. So far I have done several with my own pots, and recently did the one above with Ken Eardley’s jugs in it, also a lino cut of a cup and a jug made by Sue Binns….which is the thing that made me very cross this week, as I just couldn’t get the composition right. I’m going to do some more work on it, and if it ends up looking OK, I’ll post it on here…
Meanwhile, I had a few holes in my collection of new one off ceramics to make up, so I spent a couple of weeks in early January making these. I sold a few at the Christmas fairs I attended…which made me very happy, as I wasn’t sure how they would go down with the customers! I did the fairs ‘Lustre’ at the Lakeside arts centre in Nottingham, and ‘Made’ in Brighton. I had quite low expectations at both fairs, as it was the first time my new work was put on display, but I was very happy with the sales at both – which was a relief.
The next big event on the horizon is my first solo exhibiton, which is opening on Thursday 8th March at Ainscough Contemporary Art in Drayton Gardens, Chelsea, London (www.acag.co.uk). Which you and your guests are more than welcome to attend! All of my new work is going there, including some of the 2d work. I had a photographer come to take studio shots of the new work before it goes, just in case any of it gets sold…so that I will have something to remember them by (I sold one of my favourite platters to a customer in my studio just before Christmas and I almost didn’t let him have it, I was very sad to see it go!) Here are some of the images that Iwan Essery (www.iwanessery.com) took:
I have another show at another really lovely gallery in early September – I will be one of two makers showing work at the Yew Tree gallery in Morvah, Cornwall (www.yewtreegallery.com). The exhibiton is called ‘Pastorale’, which fits in perfectly with all the trees I’ve been doing on the ceramics… Plus, I’ll be at the contemporary craft fair at Bovey Tracey in Devon (www.craftsatboveytracey.co.uk), between the 15th and 17th June this year…which I am really looking forward to, as it’s my favourite one to do for lots of reasons…not least the annual barn dance put on by the organisers for the makers!
So, coming up for my creative development time is – a lot more lino cutting, until I get it right, and then onwards, as I think it’s got potential to become as much a part of my creative output as the ceramics are now. I’m also going to make more platters on the Edward Thomas and other poets theme, plus other one off ceramics such as jugs and vases, and work towards the shows coming up this year. I’ll put more details about other shows and exhibitions as they come up…and more photos of new work as it happens. There is an ET platter in the pipeline, to be decorated next week….thanks for looking!