We've been working up on Speyside for a while and have managed to find some time to enjoy the landscape.
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
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.
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.
So it's been great to read of artist David Cass' time spent working in this unique landscape.
We're great fans of David's work. I remember being particularly impressed by his degree show at Edinburgh College of Art from where he graduated in 2010, receiving the Royal Scottish Academy’s John Kinross Scholarship to Florence.
As Guy Peploe of The Scottish Gallery explains...
“David Cass has an innate understanding of matière; a sensitivity to material, it’s texture, tone, pigment, weight and beyond this its context, history and emotional resonance. He works with found objects and by an act of appropriation and minimal intervention – perhaps merely turning the front of a drawer through ninety degrees – he creates works of art with quiet authority."
A large part of the work David is creating during his time at Cortijada Los Gázquez will be exhibited in an upcoming show, during the summer of 2015, with The Scottish Gallery. His new works are taking his exploration of water (and the sea), a step further - these new works on paper (informed by his recent photographic and film works) illustrate both real and imagined scenes of flooding, inundation and destruction. His landscape exploration has developed, and he's taking time to learn new methods of response - film, photography, writing and sound.
You can view more of David's work over at his website.
We recently made an overnight stop in Newcastle upon Tyne - to see Brita Granström’s paintings at the University Gallery.
On the ground floor are her lively illustrations for The Beatles - a book on which she has collaborated with her husband Mick Manning.
Upstairs is an extensive exhibition of Brita's bold paintings - often the result of working in the great outdoors, whatever the weather.
Many of the paintings depict her native Sweden where she includes family and friends in the landscape - fishing, swimming, hanging washing to dry. Others include black hollyhocks, cow parsley or the orange stems of pollarded willows and views to calm interiors.
The exhibition runs until 31st October 2014 at University Gallery, Northumbria University, Sandyford Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST.
All of the works being exhibited can be viewed in a PDF file via the gallery's website.
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.
Classical music label Delphian recently won Gramophone magazine's Label of the Year 2014 award.
Specialist online store Presto explains...
"A Robert Mapplethorpe photograph and the playing style of Busoni’s favourite clarinettist - just two of the inspirations behind these six recent British works for saxophone and piano, which are linked by the composers’ relationship to popular music, whether oblique, overt, or antagonistic.
From the pounding muscularity of Graham Fitkin to the blues-drenched melancholy of Mark-Anthony Turnage, Edinburgh duo Sue McKenzie and Ingrid Sawers bring stylistic authority and idiomatic flair to everything they play on this, their debut recording.
Sue McKenzie is a past winner of the British Clarinet and Saxophone Society Young Performers Competition. As one of Scotland's leading contemporary saxophonists she has given UK and Scottish premieres of many new works for saxophone, including those from Gavin Bryars, Graham Fitkin and Amy Quate. Susan is also the leader of the Scottish Saxophone Ensemble and was an Assistant Director of the World Saxophone Congress in 2012.
Ingrid Sawers is in demand as one of Scotland's finest accompanists and chamber musicians, performing in venues including the Usher Hall, Glamis Castle and Scone Palace, as well as widely throughout the UK and abroad."
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.
We had worked with the photographer Cristian Barnett before and he offered he making of a short film in return for a donation to the Movember fundraising programme (supporting the work of this global men’s health charity).