Another late evening at Olympus... It's starting to feel like Blackpool in my little corner of the studio; I love it! <3
In other news, my super-exclusive KULES / 'Make Your Own Entertainment' T-Shirts arrived today. This season's must-have, I reckon (with apologies to anyone with strobe-lighting / terrible-internet-graphics-sensitivities...)
(with thanks to Glen for taking the photograph)
Thursday, 29 October 2015
This is a work made late last year that will be shown as part of the final presentation weekend. I don’t usually re-show work, but this time it can be shown outdoors, which was always my intention… and as it had to be cut in half to fit in the van it’s probably it’s final outing.
The work is called O, of love taking the form of the slanted O of Robert Indiannas seminal Love sculpture from 1970.
I was recently sent this article that actually covers much of my interest in the work, in how it has become this culturally diluted emblem, long forgotten as an artwork to exist as a product.
The work has been reused in various ways over the years, most notable General Ideas AIDS version, a Rage Against The Machine album sleeve, I think Oasis used it at one point. As well as Indiannas own rehashes of the works in various languages, where the second letter always retains the tilt but is never quite so striking as the O of love.
Here, it is title of the work that sits in line with thoughts over the past two weeks or so. I am interested in how Indiannas LOVE has become this prop, something for couples to pose in front of as a way to declare their passion… ultimately these images make there way onto the internet, images of strangers embraced in front of a logo.
The title O, of love has this poetic feel to it, yet it is completely literal, this language, the position of the comma, might evoke a more romantic reading. It remains as falsely poetic as the work in which it is taken from.
Today we had workshops for Fine Art graduates from Staffordshire Uni, it was a great chance to gather some content for a piece of work i’m developing whist i’m here (I guess this will become clearly later).
But I also had time to work on a few other small things… one being the work above, which is a very rudimentary mock up for a bench leg, I decided it did something way more interesting once it met a wall. So for now, nothing more than a circle and a stick stuck to the wall but it reminded me of a work i have wanted to make for a while - so completely perfect that these actions pull something from the back of the brain.
This is another image that isn’t really anything. I have been thinking about making a wall drawing in one of the larger spaces. It’s a strange thing making these decisions, there is always this reminder I have to give myself that this isn’t a show, it’s a residency, I know how to make wall drawings.
One thing that came up in conversation over the weekend is when wall drawings are pushed to a certain scale do they end up looking like street art… in terms of my own work I don’t agree but I see the point. And also wall drawings aren’t a laborious task, so now it’s cursed to feel like street art, and i’m not saying street art isn’t laborious, but it has made me rethink the pace or ease of the idea.
So this is a test to remove the surface of the wall revealing the plywood surface below. definitely laborious. It’s something that should jar against the benches with the wood now painted to look more like steel. And hopefully, if I use it, it won’t look like some dashed attempt at a wall mural.
Wednesday, 28 October 2015
Tuesday, 27 October 2015
Today was the day of my first workshop with members of local dance troupes, and it was a bit of a success (if I say so myself!). A total of 32 people from 4 different troupes dropped in over the course of the day between 11am and 9pm, and made some fantastic 'mums... Most decided to donate them to the exhibition - but there was some talk about using them afterwards to decorate the troupe bus, so maybe this US homecoming tradition will catch on here in Stoke...
I don't want to spoil the surprise too much for those of you heading to the open weekend on the 7th/8th, but below are just a few spoiler photos below to whet your appetites...
The calm before the storm...
The first troupes start to arrive...
A couple of sneak previews from Lightwood Crystals...
And from Wulstan Reyelles...
Eternity Entertainers (plus one guest member of Infinity Entertainers) drop by...
Eternity Entertainers part 2!
A few last photos before finishing for the day...
Everyone worked really hard - and were very patient when the generator packed in for an hour or so, stopping all glue-gun use! I think the results are brilliant... Well done everyone!
In 1907 a 25 year old Sylvia Pankhurst left London and set out on a journey throughout Northern England and Scotland to research the lives of working women and the conditions they faced in their daily lives. Armed only with her notebooks and art materials, Sylvia wrote extensively and sketched and painted the women she met, creating a kind of illustrated and political journalism that documented the experiences of women in the industrial heartlands. The same year, Sylvia arrived in Stoke-on-Trent to study the lives of women in the potteries.
Few of Sylvia's drawings remain today, but along with a brief account of her time in Stoke, a few images of women working on the pot banks are published in a book by her only child, Richard Pankhurst, titled 'Sylvia Pankhurst: Artist and Crusader'.
Following in Sylvia's footsteps I decided to try and recreate some of these images, as a way of reimagining her journey and the lives of the women she encountered and progressing a piece of work I did on the Pankhust's and Alexandra Park in Manchester last November. With the help of the ever lovely Luda at The Royal Exchange Theatre Costume Hire, we put together an outfit that mirrored the clothes worn by the women in these drawings. And yesterday, with the assistance of our Residency Super Coach, Glen Stoker, we set off to the former Spode factory in Stoke to set up my scenes.
Glen had arranged special access to the site for us and I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the old mould store and the refurbished former board room, with it's wooden clad walls and glazed ceiling. The images we created exceeded any expectations I had and will be installed as projections for the Public View weekend on 7th & 8th November. Below are some images of the breathtaking mould store and the work in progress.
I've also found a wonderful episode of BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, initially broadcast on Thursday 18th June 2015, in which presenter Emma Barnett talks to Professor Kristina Cowman of Lincoln University about Sylvia Pankhurst's pioneering journey of 1907 and interviews women working in Stoke's Dudson Pottery today. The show reveals that Sylvia was interested in the notion of 'double shift work' for women; who do the job of looking after the family and the home around their paid shifts at work. The women of Dudson talk about their double shits of home and work in the modern day and note that while a lot has changed in the pottery industry since 1907, the nature of repetitive work is much the same with one woman targeted to put around 3700 handles on cups each day!
To listen to Woman's Hour: 'Sylvia Pankhurst and Working Women Today', click on the link below:
Dudson is a very unique pottery. Founded in 1800 by Richard Dudson, it is still a privately owned family run business, with men and women of the family carrying on the tradition to this day. Also, by 1891, James Thomas Dudson, great grandson of the founder, had steered the business firmly into solely supplying the then emerging leisure and tourism industry; a specialism that perhaps went some way to securing the success of the company when other potteries supplying domestic markets went into decline.
Of particular interest to me is Helen Dudson, 7th generation of the family, who was the first person to perfect the technique of aerography in ceramics production; creating aerograph stencilled edge patterns for The Grindley Hotel Ware Company, a pottery also based in Stoke from 1880 to 1991.
Today, the Dudson Museum can be found inside the old bottle oven on the original Hope Street site in Hanley and the distribution centre and factory outlet are on Nile Street in Burslem and I would wholeheartedly recommend a visit to both!