Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Out of the Ordinary....

It's a hard life being an artist/maker/craftsperson....

It's the summer break from Uni, and whilst we don't get an official summer project (other than dissertation research, yuk).

But what a few of us decided to do was make sure we still made regular visits to galleries and shows. I know just how easy it is to let the time slip away and before you know it, its time to go back to Uni and have been out of touch with what's going on.

A couple of years ago, there was an exhibition at the V&A that I wanted to get to, but never did. I found out last week that it's at Sheffield this summer, at the Millennium Galleries, so four of us went up today, and I have had a great day (thank you Debs, Nic and Sarah).

It's called "Out of The Ordinary: Spectacular Craft" - and their words "brings together the work of eight contemporary artists who place craft at the heart of their practice".

As we're on a Crafts course, this was a really relevant exhibition for us to see. And I was not disappointed. And I hope to get back again over the summer.

In Context studies, we have discussed the changing definitions and roles of "Craft" over the years, as well as looking at museums and exhibition methods and display, labelling, etc.

Aside from some really interesting work, I was intrigued at the method of display they have used in the exhibition. I would definitely say that it was shown as "art" and not "craft" (some rather subtle lighting for example, and all very minimalistic).

I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition, but I also very liked the Millennium Galleries, the Ruskin Gallery has a lovely piece by Keiko Mukaide, a glass artist who's work I love. I can't seem to get a picture to upload, but this link might work: Nature Water.

Go take a look.

In fact, I liked Sheffield on the whole - I didn't realise just how much work has been done in the city centre, it's still a work in progress, but felt much more like a cosmopolitan, European city than that steel city up north. Mind you, today's blistering heat might have had something to do with that "Holiday" feel....

We also had a walk through the Winter Gardens, where we had lunch, and saw the Hepworth/Moore/Nicholson exhibition at the Graves Gallery above the Central Library.

There's so much more to see. I'll certainly be going back to Sheffield.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Nasa Image for the Day....

Scroll down to the bottom of my blog screen, and you should see a new addition, as titled above.

Thought I would add it and see what interesting and fascinating images appear - should provide some inspiration...!

Friday, 19 June 2009

First, last.... but definitely not least.

Titled that as its the last post I have written, but will appear top of the list....

It was Les, of Flame Born Beads, who kindly threw open the doors of her studio on a very very wet Sunday recently, let us play with her glass and torch, and that was where I met some lovely new friends from the Frit Happens! Forum. Many of which I already felt I knew after two years and couple of thousand posts! And it was lovely to see Shelley and Sandra again, and to meet Fabienne.

I wanted to show you some of the lovely work that these talented peeps from the forum produce. I've picked images at random, cos I like 'em - you'll just have to visit their websites if you want to find out if they're for sale! A lot of people have Etsy shops as well, but there's only so many links a person can post in one day!

Again, a big thank you to Les for arranging this day, now take a look at some lovely glass...

Pixie Willow Designs

Whilst I had either met, or messaged other people off the forum, I hadn't "spoken" to Lorna before. I had been admiring her work though, as I had been following a show and tell thread in which Lorna had been rather prolific. And rightly so! Lorna's fine stringer work is fantastic, and you really don't appreciate it until you see her beads in the flesh.

Lorna generously shared some of her methods with us on the open studio day. It was way above my head, having struggled to get a glob of glass to even stay on a mandrel, but a joy to watch all the same.

Here is Lorna's website.

Cheekey Cherub Designs

Originally uploaded by Kaz ~ CheekyCherubDesigns
I first met Kaz last year at the International Festival of Glass at Stourbridge. She and Diane (Dilunah) had a stand on the saturday glass market (oh, now that WAS a feast for the eyes!).

The stall was full of glass goodies, too many to choose from!

Not only is Kaz a very talented bead maker, she is also a lovely patient lady who showed me how to make my first beads, and was kind enough to take the time to show Ashley too - I think its a brave decision to agree to teach an 11 year old boy how to play with hot glass in a flame! Here's Kaz's website for you to drool over.

Dilunah Glass Designs

I love Raku
Originally uploaded by dilunah
I also met Diane, who will tell you she only took a lesson in lamp-working to "get it out of her system".

She was, and still is a glass fuser like myself, with a bit of a penchant for blue and bubbles!

You can see more of Diane's on her website.

We've already said this, Diane doesn't show her work often enough on the forum, I couldn't decide which photo to show of her work there were so many yummy ones!

Lush Lampwork

New Rolling Stones
Originally uploaded by LushLampwork
When I went to the recent open studio day, where me and Ashley got a chance to have a play at a torch, I met some very lovely and extremely talented bead makers and glass artists.

I wanted to post some pictures of some of the work they do.

This is from Lush Lampwork,take a look at her website here to see some more fabulous work

Julie's work is exquisite, I am proud to own two pieces of jewellery from her, and I love them both. As well as a talented bead maker, Julie puts together some really lovely work.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

We popped our bead cherries!

first beads
Originally uploaded by Flame Born Beads
As mentioned, myself and Ashley went to an open studio on Sunday, thanks to Les of Flame Born Beads.

Here's our first attempts - Ashley's is the top left bead with the mad red bumps, and mine are the other two.

We haven't seen them yet in the flesh, as they were still annealing in the kiln when we left, but they don't look too bad for first ever try.

Especially Ashley's, very promising for an 11 year old who's never done any glass work before!

Monday, 8 June 2009

O-oh, another TWO bite the dust....

Most of you know that I love all things glass. You will also know that I joined the FRIT HAPPENS forum because of it, and I regularly drool over the lovely lamp worked beads that are shown on there by some very talented people.

I fuse glass, which involves cutting it up whilst it's cold, sticking it in a kiln, letting it do its "thing" then getting it back out 12 hours or so later with either an "oooh-aaahhh, haven't the kiln faeries been kind today" or "damn, that didn't work".

Lamp-working involves working with molten glass in a flame (they used to use oil lamps with bellows back in the olden days), so much more instant, although often still at the mercy of those pesky kiln faeries. I'd never done this, but a lot off the forum will know that I have wanted to have a go for a long time. They also tell me that once I start, that will be it, no turning back (one fuser started it as a way of making additions for her fused pieces, now hooked!)

Yesterday, one of the ladies from the glass forum had an open studio day, and it was a fabulous opportunity to meet some of the members that I have spoken to online for around two years.

And I got an opportunity to play with glass in the torch. And yes, I liked it!

However, not only did *I* like it, Ashley had a go too.... oooops, he's hooked! In fact, I think he's probably more excited about having another go than I am! (well, that probably isn't strictly true, it is just that I know that I have to hold off for a bit until Uni is out the way, I haven't got space for a torch right now, so it's something I have to put on the back burner for a while.... if I can!)

From what I saw, Ashley made a fab first bead, we have to wait til they're annealed and sent over to us to see how they turned out.

I will post pics as soon as I can!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

They say we all have a few minutes of fame....

.... in our lifetime. Am I about to get mine?

Derby Evening Telegraph

This was in yesterday's paper.

And they have suggested that, because the award is being presented by Dr Stewart Adams, famously credited with the discovery and development of Ibuprofen, they'll be taking photos of us with him. Because my work was particularly relevant to Dr Adam's work, it's likely that the local press will want those pictures.

The PR people also advise that there is interest from several other magazines, so I'll update when I know more.

Oh, and I forgot to say.... they told us that for the presentation, which is tomorrow (Wednesday), they'd like us to give a "little talk". On stage. Might be 50 people. I don't like presentations to my small class group of 15...... YIKES!