Friday, 13 July 2018

Friday 15th July: "Indirect Sunlight" by Laura Aldridge & James Rigler at NOW Gallery













"Indirect Sunlight" by Laura Aldridge & James Rigler is the latest exhibition residency in the sunlit space at NOW Gallery.  The glass walled gallery is in perfect position for this show which features potting seeds as its interactive activity.  As a visitor you can make your own newspaper compost pocket to either take away to plant at home or leave amongst the sculptures to germinate on site.  Last night was the opening party with ceramic vessels full of nasturtiums to lay the foundations of greenery to take over for the duration of the exhibition.  I think that it's colour which is always at the heart of the artists chosen to exhibit here from Yinka Lori's geometric painted furniture to Molly Goddard's tulle dresses.  Following suit, Laura's textiles are layered in harmonic hues and ripple in the breeze blowing in from the Peninsula.  To compliment these tones are the slips and glazes on the ceramic planters and gourd bubble fountain by James.  His pastel shade and shallow lily-pad trays are clay canvases to be filled with the paper plant pots from visitor's creations.
Here are snaps from the opening with floral Pimms and canapes by Craft London.

Check out the schedule for gallery planting workshops with Urban Growth here

Friday 13th July: Kelly Anna at The Book Club












"She Stole The Show" is not only the name of Kelly Anna's new exhibition at The Book Club, but also an accurate description of her presence at the private view in a suit tailored from her own print.  This inspiring force of nature has dedicated her show to strong women to make a statement regarding the climate of self-doubt endemic in our current timelines.  She's painted beautiful athletic ladies from strong bold shapes and colours in her signature style as murals, complemented by large screen-prints and vinyl on the ping-pong table.   The project is in collaboration with the initiative "The Art Of Ping Pong" with a range of prints and merchandise including these glorious ping pong bats (with 10% going to Mind Charity)!   Head down to The Book Club for a match of table tennis or shoot a hoop with her customised basketball corner!    

Friday 13th July: Life Drawing with Julie Verhoeven







Thanks to Giorgio Armani and The Gentlewoman Magazine I got to experience an evening of life-drawing with the genius artist Julie Verhoeven.  I imagine that it's only the fine-art students of The Royal College and Central St.Martins who have access to this privilege so I was chuffed to bits at the opportunity.  The class assembled at the Georgio Armani store in Chelsea and got into a neon lit mini-bus for a road trip to the Royal Academy for the session.  Here we were greeted with our very own easel, paper and bundle of artists materials ready for action!  Julie led us through exercises such as quick one minute sketches or altering your pencil grip by sellotaping it to the long handle of a paintbrush!  After experimenting with these different techniques we then had two longer poses to chose our own style of mark-making and flair for capturing the models - including a star turn by musician Anna Calvi.  Its been a good twelve years since I attempted life drawing at art school so I was pretty useless (see top) but here is one of Anna Leader's colourful free-flow pages. 

See more here

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Tuesday 10th July: 1 Day Fabric Printing Workshop at 3rd Rail Printspace











Despite having studied fashion textile design and specialising in silk-screen-printing, I have forgotten everything in the fifteen year hiatus.  It was so lush to have the opportunity for a one day refresher course at the open-access studio of 3rd Rail in Peckham Levels.  The two tutors spent the day starting teaching us from scratch so that beginners could get an understanding from the very basics.

We had an introduction to the different kind of fibres, materials and compositions of fabrics in relation to techniques in how these can be chemically manipulated with printing techniques.  This ranged from disperse dyes to the difference in translucent to opaque inks.  We handled samples from fashion designers to get a feel for how to alter surface textures from bleaches such as devoree or layers like flocking.  The options are endless as to how you can mix and match these variables to create your own unique fabric.

We experimented with our artwork and were helped how to arrange it into a format to fit the dimensions to get the most out of having one screen.  The next step was to learn how to coat our screen with light-sensitive solution and then expose the images to imprint the design.  Once this was fixed and washed to reveal the print in the gauze, we mixed up our coloured inks from the white "medium" and droplets of pigment.  I knew that I wanted to achieve a gradient so I created a pastel pink that would bleed as a violet into a pastel blue. 

I was using a reinterpretation of one of my archive patterns "Wham Bam Tanagram, Famalam" which meant that I lay down the black outline first as a border for the colour blocks.  I learnt how to use my eye to match up the repeat to print a length of the fabric.  Once this was dry the next stage was to mix the colours in an ombre and pull through the opalescent second coat.  I learnt a valuable lesson by making the mistake of using my screen the wrong way round, which meant it didn't fit and resulted in the pattern being off-set.  Hopefully this means I won't do the same again and made the whole experience even more worthwhile!  

I came away with a piece of original textile design from just one day in the studio in addition to the knowledge and practise learnt.  I'm now planning to return for the intermediate workshop in August to follow onto the next stage and push the art-form even further! 

Find out more about how you can use the open-access studio or enrol on their workshops over on the website here and follow their news on Instagram here 

Monday, 25 June 2018

Monday 25th June: Central St Martins degree show TWO / NOVA Awards = BA Fashion Knitwear













Over the last few days of the Central Saint Martin's graduate shows, I have been profiling the students selected for their innovation as part of the MullenLowe Group NOVA awards.  The initiative is now in its eighth year having been set up to credit these exceptional students for their ingenuity.  The title "NOVA" denoting INNOVATION.  Here is Paolina Russo from BA Fashion Knitwear who is one of the final shortlist of 14 designers from the 1,300 graduating students!  It's clear to see why she has made it into this prestigious scheme for recognition to exceptional quality of work and vision.
I have been talking to one of the judges who described Paolina's work as "Ala├»a on Acid" for her trippy lenticular knits.  You can see in the sample she is holding (above) how she has created an optical illusion within the channels of her textile design.  In addition to these precision techniques from her knitwear specialism she also used crochet to meticulously piece together sneakers to construct patchwork garments.  Look at the detail of this bodice where she has tessellated the leather uppers and hand-sewn them in place before then fusing them with her multicolour crochet stitch-work.  The exhibition gave me the chance to look at these finishings with close inspection to really appreciate the time and craft that has gone into each element.  
Her final collection ‘A Love Letter to My Hometown’ was born from her teenage boredom in the suburbs. However, her hopes and dreams have been realised since an apprenticeship at Margiela and shadowing stylists from the industry.  This was evident in the clear and unique aesthetic of her art-direction from the shoot of her look-book to the live presentations. I was lucky enough to see the runway show and witness the lenticular knits in action.  I'll be uploading those clips to Instagram so head over there to see the full glory of the magic in the material.  Also keep an eye on my Instagram stories during the week where I'll be sharing clips from the work of all fourteen finalists for you to then vote for your favourite.  You have a week to cast you vote - final day to have your say is next Monday 2nd July.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Sunday 24th June: Central St Martins degree show TWO / NOVA Awards = BA Fashion Print







It's the final day to see Central St Martins graduate shows including Harry Henley-Freegard from Fashion Print with his project ‘The Art of Dying’.  Since an epiphany at Highgate cemetery, his concept has been to kill himself off as the ultimate sustainable sacrifice.  He has safety-pinned his collection from serendipitous salvaged socks to inject satirical fun into the fashion world.   See his memorial plates and self-help books on display in Show TWO today. 
Harry has been selected for his innovation in the MullenLowe Group NOVA Awards.  Check back tomorrow for details of how you can vote for your favourite in the final fourteen selected students to win at the award ceremony on July 5th.