We were delighted to receive a set of chapbooks from Desdemona McCannon, produced as part of her 'Women In Print' project.
Each celebrates the work of a woman who has inspired the designer of these risograph printed publications.
The set we have features Enid Mark (by Desdemona McCannon), Sheila Robinson (by Chloe Cheese), Pearl Binder (by Alice Pattullo), Barbara Jones (by Rosemary Shirley), Peggy Angus (Carolyn Trant) and Olive Cook (by Lotte Beatrix).
We asked Desdemona to tell us more about the project...
"Over the last few years I have started a collection of books by 20thc women designers I admire - people like Barbara Jones, Enid Marx, Pearl Binder, Peggy Angus, Lettice Sandford, Dorothy Hartley - who alongside being 'jobbing artists' also wrote (and illustrated) books about folk culture, craft skills and 'popular' art'. Initially I was interested in the ways their research and writing was folded back into their creative practice, but as the collection grew, I became more and more fascinated by the idea of 'print culture'- the ways that publishers and art directors, printers and booksellers as well as authors and artists are entangled in a huge web of connections. I became hooked on the idea that, as Elisabeth Eisenstein says, print itself can be 'an agent of change'.
The main catalyst for setting up Women in Print was seeing a photo in a book, I forget which one, of Tirzah Ravilious on a step ladder with a paintbrush in her hand, in the process of putting paint on a wall, with Eric Ravilious standing by looking down, and the caption underneath saying 'Eric Ravilious painting a mural'. I realised that there was a silence around these women in the way histories were being told, a huge blind spot when it came to celebrating their achievements.
So the point of the Women in Print network is to focus attention on women who deserve to be better known, and their contribution to 'print culture'- as writers, academics, artists, art directors, publishers, journalists, printmakers and illustrators. This happens through an ad hoc series of events, enjoyable study days with speakers and discussions. Alongside this there is a growing set of tribute chapbooks. Anyone can contribute to the series. If they know of a woman they would like to celebrate, I send them the template and they send the (two colour) artwork and text back. I print them up on the risograph machine at Manchester School of Art with the help of students at the college, and we sell them and give them out at the Women in Print events, in the spirit of radical pamphleteers! Lots of really interesting artists, writers and academics have contributed to the series already... Alice Patullo did a beautiful one for Pearl Binder, and Carolyn Trant made one about Peggy Angus who she knew well. Chloe Cheese made one about her mother Sheila Robinson too. I would love for there to be a whole shelf of them one day.
Over the last 18 months there have been three fascinating days of talks about the different ways that women contributed to print culture in the 20thc, the first at Compton Verney in Warwickshire, the second at MMU Special Collections in Manchester, and the third at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne to accompany the Peggy Angus exhibition there. Speakers have ranged from Professors to recent graduates, researchers into design history and daughters of the designers themselves. The days attract a mixed audience too, which has been wonderful. Artists, academics, people interested in craft, ex librarians, collectors, and the odd husband quietly trying to sleep in the corner. There have been biographical talks about individual women- people like Peggy Angus and Pearl Binder, Susan Clough Ellis and Sheila Robinson, but also fascinating insights into publishing and visual culture of the period, for example Natalie Kay Thatcher recently gave a blinding talk about the Perry Colour Books at the Towner event.
There are more Women in Print days coming up- one in Boscastle next April looking at 'witchcraft in the popular press 1920- 1990' - inspired by a visit to the wonderful library at the museum of witchcraft there. Several people have already offered to give talks about Doreen Valiente, Ruth Manning Sanders, Margaret Murray and Ithell Colqhoun. The call for papers is still open, with further information available online, and so I'm looking forward to seeing what comes in.
It's really heartening that Chloe Cheese has recently written a book about her mother's work, and that Ann Ullman is writing about her mother Tirzah Ravilous too... there are some other projects in a similar vein in the pipeline too. It feels like an exciting time, a chance to have another go at writing the history of the period, and points to the continued potency of print in shaping the cultural landscape. What I find most most enjoyable is the enthusiasm and generosity of all the people involved- that a shared love of print has enabled these connections too."
Desdemona McCannon was born in Liverpool and studied English Literature at Bristol University before going on to train as an illustrator in Liverpool and Brighton. She is interested in investigating popular and vernacular art forms through organising events, curating exhibitions, writing articles, editing the Journal of Illustration and making work. She is currently a senior lecturer at Manchester School of Art. Find out more
Posted by Angie Lewin on December 9th, 2014
On Friday night we popped along to The Scottish Gallery for the opening of Architecture of the Enlightenment, their latest exhibition of works by Ed Kluz which explores the unique topography and architecture of Edinburgh’s New Town.
Built during the late 18th and early 19th centuries as a counterpart to the overcrowded and squalid living conditions of the medieval city which clustered around the castle, the New town expressed the highest values of the Enlightenment age. An ordered grid system of streets and public squares, punctuated by grand circuses and crescents emulating the cities of classical antiquity.
The exhibition features a series of new paper collage & mixed media works.
Ed Kluz is an artist, illustrator and printmaker. His work explores contemporary perceptions of the past through the reimagining of historic landscapes, buildings and objects. The spirit of early Romanticism, the Picturesque movement and antiquarian topographical engravings underpin his approach to image making. He has a particular interest in the eccentric, uncanny and overlooked – follies, lost country houses and ruins provide a constant source of inspiration.
Find out more about Architecture of the Enlightenment which runs until 24th December 2014 at The Scottish Gallery, 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh EH3 6HZ. The catalogue for the exhibition is available as a PDF.
Ed has to date produced two fabrics for St Jude's, with further designs due in 2015.
You might also enjoy this short film that we made about Ed's work, filmed and edited by Alun Callender.
Posted by Simon Lewin on November 30th, 2014
Just published by Merrell is Jonny Hannah's wonderful 'Greetings from Darktown - An Illustrator's Miscellany', the first book devoted to the work of this popular illustrator, printmaker and painter.
Born and bred in Scotland, Jonny Hannah now lives by the sea in Southampton, but he also resides in Darktown – a mysterious coastal town, not found on any map, peopled by pin-up girls, jazz artists and tattooed sailors. Darktown is home to the Unquiet Grave junk emporium; the Mermaid Café, where folk legend Woody Guthrie still plays each week; McVouty’s vintage clothes shop; and a pier with a condemned helter skelter. Joining Hannah on his trip to downtown Darktown are the writers Philip Hoare and Peter Chrisp, who explore the eclectic influences on Hannah’s work, and Sheena Calvert, who introduces a special typographic catalogue of hand-drawn lettering. As he tours Darktown, Hannah presents his prints and paintings in thematic chapters reflecting his passions, and bids farewell to his alter ego, Rocket Man, who inhabits the darkest corners of pop culture.
In April 2015 we'll be hosting an exhibition of Jonny's work in Edinburgh which will incorporate prints, paintings, music and spoken word. Sign up for our gallery newsletter for details.
And later in 2014 we'll be launching Jonny's first wallpaper for St Jude's, the follow up to his fabric The Captain's Pattern.
Posted by Simon Lewin on October 4th, 2014
We're delighted to announce the forthcoming launch of the second edition of Random Spectacular - a collaborative exploration of the visual arts, literature, music, travel and much more.
Contributors include Mark Hearld, Angie Lewin, Emily Sutton, Ed Kluz, Ralph Steadman, Jonny Hannah, Christopher Brown and many more.
All profits from this issue will again be donated to Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres who St. Jude's have been pleased to support over the years. We raised over £6,500 with the first issue of Random Spectacular and hope to beat that with issue no. 2.
Find out about how you can express an interest in purchasing a copy.
Posted by Simon Lewin on July 27th, 2014
From 4th-14th July 2014 Ed Kluz is exhibiting a series of new works with our friends at Pentreath & Hall, shown alongside a selection of original works and prints by Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden.
Ed is fascinated by the objects of our cultural heritage. He seeks out the eccentric, the lost and the overlooked. Follies, curiosities, vanished buildings and folklore inspire artworks which explore themes of renewal and reinvention.
Amongst the new works being exhibited are (from top to bottom below) The Rushton Triangular Lodge (scraperboard - £975), Blickling Hall (linocut - unframed £225 - edition of 18), King Henry's Hunting Lodge, Dogmersfield Park, Hampshire (scraperboard - £875), Kew Palace (scraperboard - £745).
From 4th to 14th July at Pentreath & Hall, 17 Rugby Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3QT. Telephone 020 7430 2526. Open 11am–6pm Mon–Sat.
Posted by Simon Lewin on July 3rd, 2014
This August Hanna Tuulikki's heartfelt re-weaving of Gaelic song will be performed live on the Isle of Canna.
Away with the Birds will be performed by a female vocal ensemble in the beautiful harbour of the Isle of Canna, where the music reverberates with the bird-calls and the ebb of the tide.
Hanna Tuulikki is a Glasgow-based artist and composer. Away with the Birds is her most ambitious work to date. Selecting Gaelic song from historical archives, she has sought out extracts and fragments which imitate birdsong and rewoven them into an extraordinary soundscape. Each of the five movements represents a different habitat and bird community – wader, sea-bird, wildfowl, corvid, and cuckoo.
Posted by Simon Lewin on June 9th, 2014
Our friend Tommy Perman has recently collaborated with 59 Productions on their commission for Sydney Opera House's VIVID festival. Tommy explains:
"A couple of months ago I received an email with the subject: 'Illustrator Task (From Hell?)' from my old friend Leo (co-founder of 59 Productions). The task was to produce a technical drawing detailing all of the tiles of the sails on the Sydney Opera House. 59 would use this drawing as part of their pre-production process for an impressive commission they'd won to light up the famous landmark with colourful visuals for the annual VIVID festival.
I replied to Leo saying "this doesn't look too arduous". I'm used to drawing intensely detailed images but I perhaps underestimated just how many tiles there are on the roof of the Sydney Opera House! But like the brave soul that I am, I plotted on, hunched over a hot graphics tablet for many hours longer than is medically advisable. To retain some sanity while drawing I decided to colour in each tile as I went – I told 59 to just disregard these colours though as all they needed was the position of the tiles. After days at the screen I finished the drawing and sent it off, happy that I'd played a small part in such a cool project.
I have a fairly busy life at the moment and I'd pretty much forgotten all about this job until the other Friday evening, my friend Mark (also of 59 Productions) posted a link to a Daily Mail slideshow of the opening night of the VIVID festival. I was flicking through the images thinking "these are stunning, it's ace that I was involved..." I'd almost reached the end of the slideshow and was wondering how great it'd be to see some of my own work on such a large canvas. And then I came across a photo of the Opera House illuminated with my brightly coloured drawing. I don't think I've felt that kind of jaw-dropping awe since my girlfriend told me she was pregnant!
Apparently 59 loved the colours in my drawing and decided it would become part of the final piece. I'm truly honoured to have my work shown in such a high profile way."
Tommy Perman is an artist, designer and musician based in Edinburgh. A founding member of the artist collective/experimental pop band FOUND, Tommy now concentrates on his own work as artist, illustrator and graphic designer.
Posted by Simon Lewin on June 2nd, 2014
Our friend and collaborator Christopher Brown has been busy over at Wild At Heart's Pimlico store, hand painting a number of iconic Chelsea characters in their windows.
These images are also available as a series of hand coloured prints and a little folded leaflet.
I'm not sure how long the display will be on show - perhaps give Wild At Heart a quick call before travelling.
And you can find a selection of Chris' limited edition linocut prints over at St Jude's.
Posted by Angie Lewin on May 29th, 2014
Saturday 10th May 2014 sees the opening unveiling of the restored mural at Greenside School in West London.
The school earns the star on its Grade II* listing for Gorden Cullen’s mural, painted in 1952.
Erno Goldfinger designed the school and commission Cullen to paint the mural which features a range of subjects including Dover Castle, the de Havilland Comet and the Britannia 7000 locomotive.
Having been covered up for years, the Friends of Greenside Mural raised funds to restore the mural and hope to continue with restoration of the original terrazzo floor in the foyer.
The unveiling event will include a fair featuring a number of publishers, illustrators, print specialists and related exhibitors.
The event takes place on Saturday 10th May from 11am until 5pm at Greenside School, Westville Road, London W12 9PT. For further details about the project, visit the Greenside Mural Facebook page.
Posted by Simon Lewin on May 6th, 2014
Saturday 10th May sees the opening of 'Telling Tales', an exhibition of new work by Clive Hicks-Jenkins.
Clive was born in 1951 in Newport, South Wales. From his early twenties until his mid thirties, he was an actor, choreographer, director and stage designer, creating productions with leading companies. He moved back to Wales permanently in the late 1980’s to concentrate on his work as an artist. His work has been selected for several prestigious institutions, including the Royal Academy.
For his new exhibition at Oriel Tegfryn, the artist has made new works of the saints Hervé and Kevin, and has been revisiting his Mari Lwyd theme. In 2012 Mid Wales Chamber Orchestra commissioned composer Mark Bowden and Aberystwyth-born poet Damian Walford Davies, to make a chamber-work with a spoken libretto, taking inspiration from the artist's 2001 series of large black and white Mari Lwyd drawings known collectively as The Mare's Tale. Last year Clive Hicks-Jenkins designed and directed the first Mid Wales Chamber Orchestra performance of The Mare's Tale, and Oriel Tegfryn will be showing paintings he's subsequently produced, inspired by its music and libretto.
Clive has also recently been inspired by the theme of Stravinsky’s The Soldier's Tale, in which Joseph the soldier unwittingly makes a pact he'll come to regret. Last year Clive Hicks-Jenkins was commissioned to make an animated-film to accompany a performance of The Soldier's Tale at the Hay Festival, and his new paintings further exploring the story are at the heart of this, his first solo exhibition at Oriel Tegfryn.
The exhibition runs from 10th-29th May 2014 at Oriel Tegfryn, Cadnant Road, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, LL59 5EW. Telephone 01248 715128. Find out more
We're delighted that Clive is contributing to the second issue of Random Spectacular, to be published June 2014. Find out more about the publication by subscribing to our newsletter.
Posted by Simon Lewin on May 3rd, 2014