Choosing just one bird to inspire a print for the recent Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibition from the long list of sadly extinct exotic species was difficult. I chose the Double-banded Argus whose sole relic is a single feather at the Natural History Museum in Tring. It's now thought that this bird may never have existed at all, the unique feather being a mutation of that of a living species of argus.
This, to me, made the feather seem more precious and poignant so on a cold, frosty morning I travelled up from London to the museum to make some preparatory sketches for my wood engraving Drawing at the Museum. As I drew at a desk by the window surrounded by rows of cabinets of preserved birds, I was struck by the contrast with the lively blackbirds hopping from branch to branch in the winter trees in the grounds outside.
Posted by Angie Lewin on February 3rd, 2012
We're pleased to announce the availability of Rob Ryan's 2012 Valentine's print.
The text on this two colour screen print reads...
"All of the thoughts that I have held inside me ever since I was very small, silly fancies, grandiose ideas and embarrassing and happy and silly dreams that were always just mine and mine alone.
Could I share with you, and you alone, everything that lives inside my heart and my head that I have never shared with anyone but myself all of the years I have lived so far until now."
Purchase a copy of this limited edition print.
Posted by Simon Lewin on January 29th, 2012
Although most of my prints are linocuts and wood engraving which I draw, cut and print on my own press in the studio, certain images might develop which are better suited to lithography and screen printing.
An example would be Festival Mug (below) which has areas of shading and tone that would be hard to achieve with relief printing methods.
This is one of the prints that I've had the pleasure of working on at The Curwen Studio in Cambridgeshire. Founded in 1958 the studio has now worked with artists including John Piper, Edward Bawden, Graham Sutherland, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Michael Rothenstein and Paula Rego.
Yesterday BBC Radio 4 broadcast a programme about Stanley Jones (master lithographer of the Curwen Studio) that captured the special quality of this highly-regarded print studio.
Artist Susan Aldworth - whilst working on her own prints - interviewed Stanley, revealing his longstanding devotion to lithography and also perfectly describing the inspiring, challenging relationship between artist and skilled printer. It's making me impatient to be back there!
You can listen to the programme over at the BBC Radio 4 website.
Posted by Angie Lewin on January 18th, 2012
We recently commissioned Ed Kluz to create this collage/painting of a long lost landmark of the North Norfolk coast.
Randall's Folly (also known as Great Eye Folly) was originally built by Onesiphorous Randall in the 19th century but was seriously damaged by the great floods of 1953.
The novelist Sylvia Townsend Warner (1893-1978) rented the folly in Salthouse from 1950 to 1951.
She describes her first impressions of the folly in a letter to Alyse Gregory - written in 1950 (courtesy of Literary Norfolk)
"...I think Valentine will have told you about the Great Eye Folly. I have the oddest impressions of it, since we were only there for about fifteen minutes, and conversing all the time with its owners. But the first five of those minutes were enough to enchant me. It is the sort of house one tells oneself to sleep with, and sometimes I almost suppose that it is really one of my dream-houses, and no such solid little assertion of the rectangle breaks the long sky-line of salt-marsh and sea."
Find out more about the folly from the Salthouse History website.
Ed is currently working on a new fabric for us - the follow up to his Painswick design.
Posted by Simon Lewin on January 11th, 2012
Now living in New York, saxophonist and composer Ben Bryden is back in Scotland for an appearance in Edinburgh on Saturday night.
Ben has collaborated with poet Rab Wilson on 1957 Flying Scot, a book and CD set celebrating Glasgow's great heritage of building high quality racing and touring bicycles. The eponymous marque was once the dream and aspiration of many working class boys in Scotland. They were incredibly expensive, exotic and desirable objects in their day.
Rab's sonnets feature both in the book and read on one of the CDs. The second CD features music inspired by the work, composed and performed by Ben.
On Saturday 7th January 2012, Rab and Ben will launch the edition from 7pm at Ronde Cycle Café, 66-68 Hamilton Place, Edinburgh, EH3 5AZ.
Whilst in New York, Ben also collaborates with fellow tenor saxophonist Steven Delannoye on the Bright Noise project.
Posted by Simon Lewin on January 6th, 2012
We were sorry to hear that illustrator/cartoonist Ronald Searle, perhaps best known for his St. Trinian's girls' school creations, passed away on 30th December 2011 at the age of 91.
Here's one of his cover illustrations for The New Yorker.
Posted by Simon Lewin on January 3rd, 2012
Something I'd meant to write about before Christmas is this brilliant window display that Rob Ryan has created for Coutts Bank at 440 Strand - opposite Charing Cross station.
The window has been created to raise fund for Kids Company. There will be an auction of the stuffed elephant, doll's house and rocking horse that form part of the display. But you can also make a £5 donation to Kids Company by texting KIDS HELP to 70700.
Posted by Angie Lewin on December 30th, 2011
The structure of dandelion seedheads has always fascinated me. But I think Regine Ramseier’s installation captures their delicate nature in a wonderful way.
My total lack of German means I can only enjoy the photographs and I just wish I’d a chance to see this piece in reality. I wonder how long it lasted? View further images
Posted by Angie Lewin on December 12th, 2011
We head back south to Edinburgh on Friday for the opening of Emily Sutton's "People and Places" exhibition at The Scottish Gallery. Below are a few of our favourite images (we're now the proud owners of the first).
Mark Hearld has written a few words about the show which includes work based both in the UK and from trips to Europe...
"This collection of work sees Emily taking an up-close look at the high street in Italy and Portugal – a hat shop in Siena, a pair of stone lions in Lucca, a glove shop in Lisbon. Emily’s fascination with the visual particularity of each shop window or scene comes to life in a series of ink and watercolour drawings. Hand-lettered signage, architectural details, characters going about their daily lives are seen with a keen eye and expressed with a deft hand."
The exhibition runs at The Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ until 24th December 2011.
And all being well, you'll get a chance to see Deep Sea, our latest fabric by Emily - the follow up to her award winning Curiosity Shop.
Posted by Simon Lewin on November 30th, 2011
I took a trip to the British Museum last week for Grayson Perry's The Tomb of Unknown Craftsmen exhibition.
The show features various new works by Perry alongside objects made by unknown men and women throughout history from the British Museum’s collection.
The exhibition runs until 19th February 2012. Booking recommended.
Here are a few snaps from outside the exhibition itself.
Posted by Simon Lewin on November 23rd, 2011