Back in the BCB

I visited the British Ceramics Biennial last weekend at the Spode site in Stoke, and quite enjoyed it. To be honest, I guess I’ve been waiting two years for it to return with quite a high level of excitement.
I had great memories of the 2011 event because I was quite involved as I was part of B Arts at the time and we were running workshops and an outdoor performance called Harvest in the programme, plus in the 2009 BCB we also ran a performance event, called Clay.
This year I’ve not been directly involved, but I’ve still really been looking forward to it’s homecoming.
Well, there was some lovely work there, as would be expected, but I must say that I didn’t really feel the same sense of wonder as I did two years ago. In 2011 I must have visited the Spode site at least six times – to keep seeking out new bits and gaze at favourite bits again and again.
Maybe it’s because the first time I see anything or visit anywhere is always the most memorable and this year I didn’t get the ‘wow factor’ by seeing the actual empty, dusty, ghostly white building used in this way, because this time I knew what to expect…
This year as I strolled around I noticed that the workshop spaces seemed busy again, which is great and smiling faces were getting mucky with clay.
The new shop area was a good addition – giving people the chance to purchase wares during their visit.
The cafe was more reasonably priced this time to accommodate different folks pockets and staff were friendly, but ( don’t you just hate adding a ‘but’) the cafe hadn’t got enough hot food when we were there and it seemed there wouldn’t have been as much selection compared to the previous menu. This time it’s all pies and pastries, very tasty ones though. What I really missed though was that they didn’t have the beautiful Burleigh ware crockery and fabulous tea-chest chairs that they had last time, which made the cafe area look wonderful and feel special back in 2011.
Here are some of my favourite works from the 2013 site and I look forward to seeing what is on display at Potteries Museum and Art Gallery plus Airspace.
If you go, do make sure to have a good look around. I still need to go back, there were parts of the site I’m sure I didn’t see and I want to have another look at the wonderful Phoebe Cummings installation and the beautiful Russian story dolls by Lisa Marie Svensk – theses two artists were definite favourites for me this year.

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Beautiful bunnies and gold beaked birdies.

Follow the line to the ha ha and beyond!

I love how Karen Shapley has pulled this lovely exhibition together and if like me , you like a bit of Julie Arkell’s crookedness, Hen’s Teeth pretty vintageness (Viv Sliwka),mixed with some chunky and textured ceramics .. and the sort of work shown at Unit twelve then you will really like this.

Some how the photographs I’ve seen of Karen’s pieces on pamphlets just don’t seem to do these ceramic and textile beauties justice. It’s hard to get a sense of scale when photographing crafts, I find this when photographing my own work. I guess that I was expecting Karen’s work to roughly be the same sort of height as my doll figures or even smaller, but they are probably twice as tall about 50-60cm perhaps. Karen’s website goes into more detail (see the link) so you get a better sense of scale because she’s been able to view form some many angles. It’s hard to choose just one image sometimes that captures your work.

They look so gorgeous in the exhibition at The Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford, and because I thought they were small, I just didn’t realise that I had seen some of Karen’s work before – not until I arrived at the show.

The display at Shire Hall looks great because there are so many of them grouped together and they are displayed at eye-level height which means that you can really admire them.

Karen had two pieces on show at Unit Twelve last year which I think are in this show too, They were shown as part of the Open Exhibition which I also took part in, and I remember them now, but they were showcased lower down at knew height I think.

the work fits wonderfully with the current main exhibition in the Shire Hall gallery whih has travelled over from Bilston gallery and is entitled ” Once upon a time in the Midlands…” fabulous Midlands tales retold in craft.

Paul and I are getting a kiln eventually – we keep saying this!!!! But seeing Karen’s work has made me even more determined that we do it. We have had so many ideas bubbling on the back stove for about two/ three years now and it’s about time we collaborated and got some work going. Paul is a potter and I’m a textiles person and it would be great to see our ideas come to fruition. Watch this space!

Ron Mueck

So glad they let me take a few photographs at the Ron Mueck exhibition … and the guy supervising the show was really informative and passionate about the work. Thank you.

Apparently Mr Mueck visits every few weeks to see that his people are OK and checks their hair. I can understand that strong sense of attachment.
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Under the influence !

I’ve written a short piece on my ‘making blog’ about the doll maker Alexander Girard but it’s also about accepting how we develop our artistic styles, whether we understand our influences and perhaps it is just better to be honest and realise that you are a creative sponge – and not being arrogant enough to think that you are an original artistic genius!

Alexander Girard dolls

Button it.

I’m involved in this exhibition – glad to see it got coverage in Selvedge magazine – it runs until 8th August – Macclesfield Heritage Centre. Still a few days left to visit. Here is as photo of the two of the button display boards  - mine is the red one,  top centre, with an eye patch.

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A link to The Button Project mention by Selvedge.

Here are a few more photos from the Heritage Centre venue plus a mural in Macclesfield town (near the bus station) commissioned for the Barnaby festival by KREK

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Boomerang

Today I went along to the Boomerang Vintage and Retro shop in the newly spruced up Lightworks arcade – in Hednesford Staffordshire.

The arcade will look fabulous when all the units are full, it looks good already and has a nice mix of stylish shops and hairdressers and other businesses.

Boomerang is a fab little shop, so beautifully presented with a coordinated fifties flavour. Such gorgeous furniture and interior finds plus small gift items too. It’s well worth a visit. I’ll definitely be going back and I promised to buy something next time.

Well done Lyndsey and Steve – it looks fab .

Good luck to you both and I look forward to coming along to some of your future events and using your website shop too when that opens.

I just wish I’d taken a photo! And that turquoise typewriter is ace!

….next time!

Boomerang Vintage and Retro Facebook page

Doll Day – Another fine mess

Another fine mess

This comical head ( with no body ) was lying on a market stall and I had to have him. Makes me smile how his head swings from side to side.

It is printed cardboard and a flexible metal strip mounted between two small blocks of wood.

If you now how this was supposed to look and how it works I’d love to know.

He reminds me of Oliver Hardy   (Laurel and Hardy)