Monday, 24 October 2016

Ai Weiwei at Downing College, Cambridge

Ai Weiwei - Tree outside the Heong Gallery
Ai Weiwei's "Cubes & Trees" were at Downing College in Cambridge recently.  If you didn't get to see them here's a taster...

Ai Weiwei's Cubes in the Heong Gallery

Each cube is a metre square and they are made up of Crystal Cube 2014 (Cystal), Ton of Tea 2008 (compressed Pu'er tea), Cube in Ebony 2009 (Zitan wood) & Treasure Box 2014 (Huali wood).
Ai Weiwei - Ton of Tea (detail)

Ai Weiwei - Treasure Box (detail)

The cubes show Ai Weiwei's preference for simple forms and at the same time his repect for the properties of different materials and traditional craftsmanship.

Ai Weiwei - Trees outside Downing College Chapel

Ai Weiwei's dramatic trees are sculpted from parts of different types of dead trees, some hundreds of years old.  The nuts and bolts used to hold them together are visible, emphasising that they are constructed.  They are tree-like yet rather strange.

Ai Weiwei is an outspoken Chinese artist who has been critical of the Chinese Government particularly on issues relating to the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake.  Here schools collapsed as a result of the use of substandard building materials and little effort was made to determine how many students were killed.  Ai Weiwei and his team compliled a list of more than 5000 names and his related artwork was included in the RA Exhibition in 2015.  His criticism of the Government resulted in the confiscation of his passport between April 2011 and July 2015.  He is currently working in Berlin and Lesbos where his work has focussed on the plight of refugees.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Flowerpower Yarnbomb Blooms in Cambridge

Flowerpower Yarnbomb, Jesus Green Tennis Courts, Cambridge

Recently on a trip to Cambridge, I came across this wonderful yarnbomb on Jesus Green.  Those of you who follow my blog will know that I love a good yarnstorm and this was very inspiring.  It was designed and organised by Clare Collier, yarnbomber, and Sarah Clark from The Sheep Shop, Cambridge with pattern assistance from Liz Marley and Just Add Crochet and made by members of the local community and those further afield.

Knitted and crocheted Rhapsody clematis flowers and leaves

You will see a thousand knitted and crocheted Rhapsody clematis flowers and leaves extend across 9 metres of the Jesus Green tennis courts' fence.  Most of the flowers are purple, but 1 in 5 are blue.  This is to highlight the fact that 1 in 5 women will suffer sexual abuse or rape during their lifetime.  It also promotes the work of the Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre, a specialist sexual violence charity who provide support to survivors of sexual violence in Cambridgeshire.

Most flowers are purple but 1:5 are blue

The use of flowers was inspired by Naomi Lawrence, a former Cambridge yarnbomber and street artist now living across the pond in New York, who uses flowers in her work.

The display will be up till the end of October after which the flowers will be taken down, made into brooches and sold to fundraise for the Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre or you can donate now, here.

At least for a time you can listen to Leigh Chambers from Cambridge 105 Drive radio interview Sarah Clark and Clare Collier here.  Although a difficult & distressing subject, this is a great way to raise awareness, involve the community, fundraise and to let survivors know they are not alone.  Do go see it if you're in Cambridge.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Nora Fok's "New Threads" at the Harley Gallery

Nora Fok - Tomato Earrings 2012 (knitted nylon & Linlon)

If you haven't seen Nora Fok's "New Threads" exhibition at the Harley Gallery recently here's a little something to cheer you up!  Nora is one of Britain's leading jewellers.  Her work is very sculptural and the pieces in this exhibition were created using nylon, flax and 3D printing.  Nora has invented "Linlon" thread which is a mixed nylon and linen thread.  Her work explores the interaction between art and science.  The proceses Nora uses include weaving, knitting, crochet & knotting.

Nora Fok - White Linen Globe 2016 neckpiece (knitted Linlon with 3D printed links), Earth Sea 2016 wristpiece (knitted Linlon with pearl links)
Nora Fok neckpieces - Seed Pod Variations 2012 (crocheted knitted looped linen/Linlon tied with flax seeds), Choker Weave 2014 (woven linen thread), Wearable Seed Bank 2012 (woven linen with flax seeds & polypropylene)
Nora Fok - 3D printed spiral weave wrist & neckpieces (3D printed polymer & thread)
Nora Fok - I Heart Pentagon 2016 Neckpiece, Hexagon & Pentagon 2016 Wristpieces (3D printed polymer units with tied knotted dyed nylon)
Nora Fok - Coral Colony: A Thriving Community 2016 - Crocheted linen
+ polyester threads on polypropylene
Nora Fok - Coral Colony: A Dying Community 2016 - Crocheted natural linen
+ polyester threads on polypropylene with glass beads

The Harley Gallery is situated on the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire.  There is ample car parking and a cafe close by. Nora Fok's "New Threads" is on until 23 October 2016.

Note: It is also handy for Hope & Elvis, where Louise Presley curates a fantastic range ot textile and mixed media workshops, run by leading artists and makers.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Doodling with Lisa Stickley at Hope & Elvis

Lisa Stickley

From time to time there's a workshop that you just don't want to miss.  Actually this happens a lot at Hope & Elvis who always have a fab selection of workshops on offer.  On this occasion, it was "Doodling on Cloth" taken by the talented Lisa Stickley.  Lisa trained as a textile designer and has collaborated with many high brow and high street names and is not only a designer but author and illustrator too!
Lisa's Work

Lisa's Cards

It's always lovely to do a workshop at Hope & Elvis as there are loads of interesting things to see around the place...

Mr Crab

Mr Fish

I chose Mr Crab & Mr Fish to show you because of all the fab Fantasy Fish I've been dealing with this summer.  But there are also fantastic things to rummage through to choose what you want to work with...

Lovely things to work with

and fabric too...
Vintage & modern fabrics

And then it's time to make a start - printing, crayoning, collaging, stitching and so on using Lisa's inspiration, stamps, thermofax screens and transfer papers and all the lovely Hope & Elvis vintage papers and fabrics - yummy...

Fabric, paper, photos, prints, stitching, crayoning

Bits and pieces collage

Chair stamps with transfers on a vintage letter

A print of one of Lisa's illustrations from her new book, "Handstand" on a vintage letter

There's still lots of work to do on these pieces but I've had a great time getting this far!  Thanks both to Lisa, & Hope & Elvis!