Thursday, 29 September 2011

Diagonal Twills

Deptford, where my studio based, is an amazingly vibrant part of London, with new architectural landmarks jostling for space among the mission churches and charity shops. When I moved to the studio here about eight years ago, the Laban Dance Centre had just opened. Looking out onto the Creek, the steeply banked lawns are a favourite summer lunch spot where you can watch the dance students going through their paces while eating your sandwiches.

For the last few months on my cycle to the studio I have been watching another landmark building going up. It is a huge monolith, entirely clad in perforated brass sheeting. I'm not sure how I feel about it - it needs to bed in for a while, but there is something very appealing about the diagonals which step across the surface - like a giant twill weave. I took this photo on my phone a couple of months ago as they were adding the final panels.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Poster Boys

Yesterday Peter and I went to the McKnight Kauffer show at the Estorick Collection up in Cannonbury. Although I didn't know much about McKnight Kauffer, a lot of the pieces were very familiar. He was probably best known for his posters - for London Underground, Derry and Toms, and this - my favourite - for the Daily Herald. The poster is huge - well over 6 feet tall, and the composition is so strong. I love all that yellow, with the really graphic feeling of the movement in the birds. Perfect.

Upstairs in the permanent collection is a room full of etchings by Giorgio Morandi. Although I love Morandi's still life paintings I haven't seen the etchings before. They are so sensitive and beautifully observed. It is incredible how he conveys light and shadow with the weight and density of line - they feel very poetic. The Estorick is well worth a visit - it is a real treasure.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Much Bigger Picture

A couple of beautiful public art murals...

Long long before I trained in weave, I did a History degree at the University of Birmingham. Last week I popped into my old faculty, where this beautiful Peter Lanyon mural is installed in the foyer. Lanyon was one of the second generation of the St Ives painters, and was a also a passionate glider pilot. Many of his landscapes incorporate abstracted arial views of the Cornish coast - I love the sense of place.

This is a new commission by Tod Hanson in the new overground station at Haggerston. It references the 17th century astronomer Edmond Halley who was a local resident, and explores his concept that the Earth was hollow and composed of a series of concentric rotating rings each with their own magnetic poles. I really like the graphic quality of the pattern.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Bigger Picture

Just the before we left for New York last month, a lovely man called Juriaan Booij spent an afternoon in my studio filming for the V&A / Crafts Council exhibition 'Power of Making'. The footage has been edited and spliced to show details of a number of different making processes. It's a fascinating study in the rhythms, textures and materials of making. I am really intrigued by the film made in Moorfield Hospital of the process of constructing glass eyes - truely extraordinary.