Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Picasso pots

Pablo Picasso was undoubtedly one of the C20th's greatest painters but I've always had a liking for his ceramics, possibly more than the paintings. Here is a selection of of his decorated pots.

Sunday, 16 May 2010


I went to see "Quilts 1700 - 2010" at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London last week which is what it says on the tin - a comprehensive exhibition of British quilts dating from 1700 to the present day shown for the first time.

The exhibition consists of 65 beautifully crafted quilts, predominantly

from the Victoria and Albert's own collection but also including a number of important loans and new works by contemporary artists, many of which have been commissioned especially for the show. Some of the early quilts have retained immensely rich colours while others have faded gracefully. Personally I like the ones with naive imagery on them that tell stories.

Detail from a coverlet by Ann West 1820

Earliest examples include a sumptuous silk and velvet bedcover, with an oral narrative that links it to King Charles II's visit to an Exeter manor house in the late 17th century. Recent examples include works by leading artists such as Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin and commissions for the exhibition by a number of contemporary artists including Sue Stockwell and Caren Garfen.

"Right to Life" Grayson Perry's quilt about abortion issues.

The curators have unravelled some of the complex personal narratives and broader historical events documented in the quilts. Examples by both named and unnamed makers are on show with objects relating to their subject matter and makers, including paintings and prints, as well as needlework tools and personal keepsakes. One example is a cot quilt made at Deal castle, displayed for the first time alongside the maker's diary and portraits of the two grandchildren who slept under it.

"Bishops Court" quilt 1690 - 1700

The exhibition is presented chronologically and thematically. The contemporary works are woven throughout following the themes: 'The Domestic Landscape', 'Private Thoughts, Public Debates', 'British Eccentricity', ' Making a Living' and 'Memory and Memorial'. Together the quilts document love, marriage, births, deaths, periods of intense patriotic fervour, regional and national identity and developments in taste and fashion. Contemporary pieces are embedded within the five sections in an organic way, inviting links between historic examples and the work of artists practicing today.

"At the End of the Day" a contemporary quilt by Natasha Kerr

On loan for the very first time from the National Gallery of Australia is the 'Rajah' quilt, made in 1841 by women convicts aboard the HMS Rajah as they were being transported to Van Diemen's Land (present day Tasmania). The women used sewing provisions donated by Elizabeth Fry's social reform initiative to create what is now the only transportation quilt in a national collection, never before shown outside Australia.

The "Rajah" quilt

"George III reviewing the troops" (detail) 1803 - 1805

A contemporary (and in parts humourous quilt) made by male inmates of Wandsworth Prison

"Stitch in time" (detail) from an A to Z of love. Maker unknown 1875 - 1885

This is big exhibition and it takes a while to get around even without looking at every stitch, but if you're at all interested in textiles (particularly as social documents in this case), this is a fascinating and worthwhile exhibition to visit. It runs until 4 July.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Noma Bar

Avinoam Noma Bar (born in 1973 in Israel) is a Graphic Designer. His work has appeared in many media outlets including Time Out London, BBC, Random House, The Observer, The Economist and Wallpaper*.

Bar has illustrated over sixty magazine covers, published over 550 illustrations and released two books of his work through Mark Batty Publisher: 'Guess Who - The Many Faces of Noma Bar', in 2008 and 'Negative Space' in early 2009.

Bar wanted to be an artist since he was a child. During the first Gulf War Bar discovered his interest in a unique combination of caricature and pictograms. While staying with his family in a shelter he sketched the likeness of Saddam Hussein around the radioactive symbol he found in a newspaper.

After graduating in 2000 from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design with a degree in graphic design, Bar moved to London to peruse his career. He found his first commissioned assignment with Time Out London. He was recently was hired by BAFTA to illustrate the nominees for best picture of 2009.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Angie Lewin

Angie Lewin is an illustrator and designer who was born in 1963. She was educated at Northwich, Camberwell and Central St Martins Colleges of Art studying printmaking, glass, architecture and fine art. Her decorative prints are quite ubiquitous and available in many print shops and galleries.

She works from her studios in Norfolk and in the Cairngorms, where she is greatly inspired by the natural environment. Images are based on plant forms, especially seed heads seen against sea and sky. Influences also include the contrasting landscape and native plants of the Scottish Highlands.

Angie Lewin has worked in a range of printmaking techniques including lithography, silkscreen, wood-engraving and etching. Recently she has concentrated on linocut and wood engraving. She prints small editions of rarely more than 35 onto Japanese paper.

Her motifs successfully transfer between media, from fine art printmaking to interior design fabrics. Her Dandelion One and Two fabric designs were included in the nominations for the Elle Decoration Design Awards 2006.

Her designs are also extensively used on a range of greetings cards and stationery.