Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Creative Wednesday - Grid Collage

Just a brief show-and-tell today. This is a collage I did a few months ago, but never got round to showing in this blog. (Although it was on Flickr, so apologies to those of  you who have seen it already.)

I like the idea of things in boxes, so keeping to a square grid for a collage seemed like a good idea. I also like the idea of random collections of things, so it's a way of providing an orderly framework for otherwise unrelated images and objects. I embroidered and machine stitched between the pictures & drawn squares. (During the course of this endeavour, I discovered that doing chain stitch on a thick piece of paper is a laborious task that any sensible person should avoid.) Thinking about the stitching has just made me realise that it's a bit like a patchwork quilt, too.

I have also been experimenting with photo collages, also in a grid pattern. Maybe I'm being unimaginative, but I think I like this rigid framework.

Monday, 27 September 2010

The Happy House - Lucie Smailes

Wow! I went to see the house and art of Lucie Smailes yesterday. Her house was open as part of the St Werburghs Art Trail in Bristol. (Bristol has several art trails, where artists in a particular area open their houses to the public, and display their art.) I have met Lucie a few times now, and I knew she has wonderful taste in vintage kitsch, and colourful 1950s clothes, but I hadn't seen her art in real life, only in photos.
I knew I was going to like it, (assemblages with dolls and vintage stuff - Hellooo!) but I had no idea quite how wonderful it would be. Mr Kitsch and I walked into her front room, converted into an art gallery for the occasion, and just stood there with our mouths open. Then, 'Look at that!', 'Did you see this?', 'Look at this amazing thing!'

The amazing thing above was a cabinet from an amusement arcade, with the mannequin head going round and round on a turntable, brushing noisily against the opticians lenses suspended around it.
Many of the pieces had lights incorporated into them, like these two. I wish my photos could do them justice, but I only had a phone to take pictures with, and I think I was shaking with excitement!

It wasn't just the art that was wonderful - Lucie's house is a shrine to colourful and kitsch ornaments of the 1950s, and I loved every inch of it. 
One final and rather wonderful discovery was that Lucie had featured in and help to style photos for one of my favourite kitsch books - 'Kitsch Deluxe'
 No longer available new it appears, but well worth seeking out if you like kitsch interiors.
Do take a look at Lucie's website for much better photos of her wonderful art.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Creative Wednesday - Crazy Dolls

As you've seen rather a lot of my crazy dolls recently, I thought I'd show you someone else's crazy dolls. These pictures are from a splendid book I bought a few weeks ago, called 'How to Make Soft Toys and Dolls'. It was published in 1977, as you can probably guess from these pictures.

I love the happy gals in the picture above, and the worried look of this unlikely trio of pets. A cat, a rabbit and ... a beaver? That mealtime is not going to end well, I'd say.
These big cushions based on children's drawings are delightful.
This gingerbread man might want to consider cosmetic dentistry...
OK, this one is a bit weird - a fried egg and vegetable mobile....
But not as weird as the naked beardy man in the bath.....

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Last word

Our exhibition ended on Saturday, with another day full of lovely visitors and kind comments. Big thanks to everyone who came and wished us well. You can see a video tour of the gallery on the Smith & Jones blog

We had to take everything down and pack up on Saturday evening, so as to leave the gallery ready for the next exhibitors, so we were absolutely shattered. It's taken a few days to even start to get back to normal. Hopefully I will get up to date with blogs, etsy, flickr and everything else very soon.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Creative Wednesday - Pictures at an exhibition

No prizes for guessing what I'm going to show this week - a few photos from The Smith and Jones Museum of Folk Art, our exhibition at Room 212 in Bristol.
Mr Kitsch's side of the room looks fantastic, and he is already having a very successful week, having sold several paintings. It's amazing that he has only been painting for a year and this is his first exhibition. I'm so proud and pleased for him. You can read more on his blog.
One of my ideas for the show was to put together my own version of 'Field for the British Isles',the Antony Gormley sculpture installation. My version is made of scores of British costume dolls, all decked out in their Welsh hats, kilts, busbies, and beefeater costumes. I love seeing them all together with their crazy eyes!

We've had some great feedback, and it certainly seems to be eye-catching!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Creative Wednesday - Only 4 days to go!!!

There are only four days to go until our exhibition. Our preview evening is on Sunday between 6.30-8.30pm. If you're in the Bristol area, please do come along and say hello.
Today we went and had another look at the gallery space. It's slightly bigger than both of us remembered, which is good, as in our minds we had started to visualise something smaller than a phone box. Now I have to worry about having enough stuff.

My business cards and postcards arrived today, which makes me feel a little bit more professional. However, there are a lot of things I don't have sorted yet. Like how to display some of my work which won't go on the wall. In an ideal world, I might have a plinth ot two, but sadly, I am not a plinth owner. Hmm... I will have to improvise.

I do have some pictures to go on the wall, like my slightly barmy Barbie collage. It's about A2 size and covered in girly stickers, jewels and sequins.
I'm sorry I haven't had time to do much blogging lately. It's an inevitable irony that when you're busy, and have lots to report, you have the least time for blogging. Hopefully I'll get back to it in a week or two, when I'll have nothing interesting to say!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Creative Wednesday - More weird dolls

A little late today, as I have been sorting out and photographing some of my work that I want to include in the 'Folk Art' exhibition. I hadn't looked at these two crochet dolls since I made them last year. In fact, I'd nearly forgotten about this second one.
It was quite nice to rediscover it, and find a few aspects that I rather like. On the whole, I don't like my work once I've made it. I'm never satisfied with how things turn out. Also, and this will sound weird, the things I enjoy creating are not really the things I enjoy looking at. I suppose in a fine art context, this would make more sense. A lot of artists create work for the gallery, which they would not want to live with. I don't suppose Damien Hirst thought 'Hmm, that shark would really brighten up the corner of my lounge.' But I'm not making that kind of art, and I keep wondering if I should be focussing on stuff I like more. 

One of the few exceptions is this yellow doll, which I do like. It has become a sort of mascot for me, which is why I used it in the publicity material for the exhibition. Sorry if you're a bit fed up with seeing it now....