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
Saturday 15th November 2014 sees the opening of 'Town and Country', Emily Sutton's major solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
The exhibition will feature a wide range of one-off watercolours, limited edition prints and a flock of hand painted and embroidered birds.
Based in York, Emily has worked with many distinguished clients around the world, illustrating books for the Victoria & Albert Museum, Faber and Faber, Random House, Penguin and Walker Books and undertaking commissions for brands such as Hermes, Fortnum & Mason and Betty’s of Harrogate.
We're delighted to include Emily's designs within the St Jude's range of fabrics - her Curiosity Shop fabric won the 'Best British Pattern' category in the Elle Decoration British Design Awards in 2011.
'Town and Country' coincides with the publication of Transferware Treasures, a limited edition hand-bound foldout book of the artist’s watercolours of Victorian transferware, published by Fleece Press.
Find out more about the exhibition in the short film below and via the Yorkshire Sculpture Park website. The exhibition runs until 22nd February 2015.
Posted by Simon Lewin on November 5th, 2014
We're looking forward to seeing Brita Granström's latest exhibition in Newcastle which runs until 31st October 2014.
For this exhibition, The Night Swimmer, Brita draws upon her Swedish roots to blur the boundary between observation and imagination, reality and dream. In a narrative sequence that opens with playful domestic studies and bedroom interiors she leads us at dusk, by way of farmyard and orchard, to a lake where women struggle with storm-blown washing, and a dark jetty awaits the night swimmer.
Brita’s paintings leave room for interpretation and imagination, allowing us to make up our own Midsummer night’s dream; however serene or haunting.
The exhibition runs until 31st October 2014 at University Gallery, Northumbria University, Sandyford Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST. Visit their website for further details.
Brita Granström and Mick Manning also collaborated on a contribution to our fundraising journal Random Spectacular No. 2.
Posted by Simon Lewin on September 21st, 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
Our friends Jennings Fine Art are hosting an exhibition of British Art produced between 1914 and 1939 at The Art Workers Guild in Bloomsbury from Monday 16th until Saturday 21st June 2014.
The exhibition features work by a number of artists including Eric Ravilious, A S Hartrick, Paul Nash and William Larkins.
The exhibition also features a newly editioned linocut print by Marthe Armitage, commissioned for the exhibition. 'Tiger Moth' was originally cut as a wallpaper repeat but is available from the exhibition in an edition of 25 copies.
Aftermath - British Art 1914-1939 runs from Monday 16th June to Saturday 21st June 2014 at The Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT. Open 10am until 4pm.
Further details are available from email@example.com
William Larkins - Work or Roadmen - etching, 1925
Paul Nash - The Sluice - lithograph, 1920
A.S. Hartrick - On Munitions: Dangerous Work (Packing TNT) - lithograph, 1917
Marthe Armitage - Tiger Moth - linocut, 2014
Posted by Simon Lewin on June 15th, 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
Painter Tom Mabon has an exhibition of new work entitled Common Ground opening on 7th June 2014 at the Roger Billcliffe Gallery in Glasgow.
Born in Kirkcaldy, Fife and trained at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen, Tom has lived on the Black Isle since 1985. His paintings document the many seasons he has witnessed. He's won many awards since graduating including the Royal Glasgow Institute Armour Award in 2012 and a major prize at the 7th Cleveland International Drawing Biennale in 1985.
Posted by Simon Lewin on June 6th, 2014
Having spent a couple of weeks living in Spitalfields for the recent St Jude's In the City exhibition, now we're back north it's a shame we won't be able to visit some of these secret gardens of Spitalfields which will open to the public on Saturday 7th June 2014 as part of the National Gardens Scheme.
As Spitalfields Life founder The Gentle Author points out:
"If you did not know of the existence of these gardens, you might think Spitalfields was an entirely urban place with barely a leaf in sight, but in fact every terrace conceals a string of verdant little gardens and yards filled with plants and trees that defy the dusty streets beyond."
Posted by Angie Lewin on June 4th, 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