Writer, artist and musician Rob St. John (who contributed to our Random Spectacular No. 2 journal) has announced details of his latest project, Surface Tension.
In summer 2014, Ben Fenton, project manager of the ‘Fixing Broken Rivers’ campaign run by London freshwater conservation charity Thames 21, got in touch with Rob. Ben had an unusual commission in mind: could Rob design a project drawing from both art and science to creatively explore and document pollution along London’s River Lea?
Almost a year later, and the project – Surface Tension – is finished, resulting in an album of new music and field recordings taken along the Lea; a book of writing and photographs documenting the Lea Valley and the creative processes in Surface Tension; and an exhibition of film photographs from the project at Stour Space, Hackney Wick, London (E3 2PA) throughout April 2015.
In late summer, Rob walked most of the length of the Lea – one of Britain’s most polluted rivers – wearing holes into the soles of his shoes as he made field recordings with binaural microphones (which look like cheap headphones, but capture a 360 degree soundscape around your head), underwater hydrophones and contact mics. At the same time, he took film photographs on both a vintage 120 camera and a 35mm pinhole camera made from a Lesney toy matchbox (the Lesney factory was on the river at Hackney Wick).
Rob’s work has always had a foot in both art and science: working with sound, photography and natural processes in ways that are both experimental and accessible. In 2011 he released a critically acclaimed LP ‘Weald’; in 2013 the Water of Life collaboration with Tommy Perman; in 2014 the Bastard Mountain LP; and in 2015 Surface Tension and a sound installation Concrete Antenna at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop.
Surface Tension is released in April on limited edition CD, housed in a beautiful book of Rob’s photographs and writing, designed by Tommy Perman.
Posted by Simon Lewin on March 4th, 2015
I was delighted to be asked by Country Living magazine to create a mug to celebrate their 30th anniversary.
This limited edition mug has been handmade and hand decorated by Burleigh at Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent.
The mug features on the cover of the magazine's April 2015 issue and inside you'll find a feature on our home and studio in the Scottish Highlands, photographed by Cristian Barnett who I've had the pleasure of working with before on two short films, including this one looking at the making of my Nature Table wallpaper.
You can find out more about the Country Living mug from their General Store.
Posted by Angie Lewin on February 28th, 2015
We're pleased to announce our next St Jude's exhibition in Edinburgh.
The Darktown Billets-Doux will see Jonny Hannah bring a selection of paintings, prints and other flotsam and jetsam to the city.
We'll also be launching Jonny's new wallpaper for St Jude's.
The exhibition will run from 10th-14th April 2015 in the heart of Edinburgh. For an invitation to the opening event, please sign up to our e-mail newsletter.
Posted by Simon Lewin on February 1st, 2015
It was a bracing day in Edinburgh today. But still managed our (more or less) daily walk up to the top of Blackford Hill.
Posted by Simon Lewin on January 29th, 2015
We're off to North Uist for the first time later this year. Was rummaging in a second hand bookshop and came across this, with a cover featuring designer Ashley Havinden's 'Ashley Script' typeface which is still available digitally.
Posted by Simon Lewin on January 26th, 2015
We've been working up on Speyside for a while and have managed to find some time to enjoy the landscape.
Posted by Simon Lewin on January 22nd, 2015
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
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.
Posted by Angie Lewin on November 3rd, 2014
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.
Posted by Angie Lewin on October 26th, 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