Sunday, 30 August 2009

Kate Walters - Weekend Exhibition

Artist Kate Walters is holding a weekend exhibition 'At the Seashore of Worlds' at Todd's Gallery in Rye from 26 - 27 September, 2009.

Kate will be giving a talk at the gallery about her working process, techniques and inspiration at 1.00pm on Saturday September 26th. She will also be running a Drawing Masterclass from 1.00pm – 4.00pm on Sunday September 27th. Please book a space at the masterclass by calling 01797 229 797.

The gallery is open from 11am - 4pm on both days.

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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Artist of the Week - Rod McIntosh

Rod McIntosh lives and works in Kent. He will be showing new work at the Brighton Art Fair in October.

One favourite living artist? Why?
Oh that is tough, it is constantly changing. This week, today… I think I would say the sculptor Kan Yasuda. As I have been pondering creating something for the garden, his work in Italian marble for sculpture parks has set about a chain of events in my imagination and garden planning ambitions!

One favourite historical artist? Why?
Frida Kahlo. I was introduced to her work whilst I was recovering from spinal surgery in a body cast, during my Foundation year in Portsmouth. I made a connection of personal narratives and the exploration of the personal being political. Her work was a comfort and inspiration.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
To be an artist? This was early in my teen years. It was an escape fantasy, as I knew very little about what being an artist meant. It was a label to hang a set of aspirations that have become guiding principles, that of; being self-determined, hands on, working on own and with people, leadership, seeking excellence with the brutal honesty of a commentary on my thoughts and feelings.
To be the type of artist I am now? And have the type of business I do?? Would be about 10 years ago, when looking for the next step…. The number of jobs advertised in the Guardian, TES, [an] or other like listings that attracted me became fewer and fewer. It was time to create my own opportunities, assess my strengths and build a 3-way business offer.

What place in the world has inspired you?
Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP). I was fortunate to get a Residency for the City of Wakefield that placed me at YSP running workshops. I worked with schools, community groups involving the aged, the psychiatric secure and young people with disabilities. It was where I served my apprenticeship in arts education, working with some inspiring people in an inspiring setting surrounded by some great art. I started with the Joe Fiewless Bursary for 3 months and ended up working there for nearly six years.

Do you work best on your own or in collaboration?
I think my making art is a bit like a conversation. Sometimes it is good to talk to yourself and create great things; the luxury of being in the studio for a stretch of time. Other work is a result of bigger and multiple and varied conversations. With the work and me existing outside of the studio; in research, with people and navigating an ever-changing context.
I realised early on I was not the solitary type of artist and have attempted to engage others in the various aspects of my practice and career to date; artist in education, community/socially engaged work, residencies and public art commissions and within academia and the consultancy work I do. So I would answer I work best with people, it is all with people and it is the art of listening and observation and questioning that informs me.

At age 15 who influenced your style?
Not sure I’d say I was aware of personal style at 15, I was a semi-goth, thinking it easier to be a bit of a clone than an individual. But Rose Webb, secondary school art teacher influenced my decision making, which I know in turn has impacted style and the choices I make in art and everyday life. She was the one who first supported a natural aptitude and encouraged me to take risks. There was a moment that I was asked to un-assume what I thought I should do in answer to a mock exam paper brief, and to do what I was truly thinking and feeling. Liberation.

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace - if at all?
I have an awareness of the many different value systems at work when looking at and consuming art. When making mine I try to start and finish with what my intentions for it intact. I then match the audience to the work, appropriately selecting opportunities that foster people with similar values and needs to have contact with and enjoy it. It makes sense for a cattle farmer not to sell his cuts of meat at an organic vegan farmers market, nor attempt to re-cut, repackage or re-phrase his prime fillet as something it is not. He knows his place, as do I.

Who would you say buys your work?
I would say someone who enjoys a work ethic and high production value, as there is a great deal of time and care spent on each piece. Someone who makes a connection; an association with it or simply enjoys it.

How do you set about starting a new project?
I start a new piece with ‘warming up’, less a ritual than stretching each muscle set ahead of exercise but similarly it is about arriving at the studio with a clarity and focus and preparedness without prejudice or assumption. Small and large free-flow marks on paper, or doing the prep work on surfaces; sieving whitening and blending with rabbit skin or sanding numerous coats smooth in waiting. I court risk and remind myself of having the ability to get it wrong.

Where and what is your studio?
I am really fortunate to have my studio in a space opposite my front door in Kent. It is a purpose built space with great light and views over the garden and the North Downs. I participate in Open Studios and am a firm believer in making the processes and spaces of artists transparent for others to engage with. It is sometime neat and ordered and at others bedlam with a gem of work forming amongst it.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
It is getting there… gave up academic post in 2009 to re-assert my own practice and to be more selective about the work and opportunities I pursued, which affirmed my ability to say ‘No’. So I am working with people I want, on projects I want, in a balance of practice / professional development; earning a living and having a good home life with my partner, dogs and friends. Being part rural and London is a great synergy too, having the flexibility to visit shows and dip into the discourse that happens in big cities.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

Would you rather be doing something else?

Are their other fields that you'd like to apply some facet of your work into?
I am still fascinated by the transfer of learning from artists and notions of creativity over to business and industry where they are looking at new ways to survive recession, risk aversion, change and employee engagement. The visual arts are still on the back step to performance, music and the written word in making a contribution. And with the Creative and Cultural Industries being one of the few growth economies, we definitely know what we do well and have something to offer.

If you could exhibit in any gallery which would it be?
One where the boundaries or obstacles of exclusion; geographic, demographic, real or virtual are addressed. I have enjoyed some of the most inspired art projected upon screens in a cancer ward, stumbled across in the landscape or browsing the web and in the public and commercial domain, how I work with this is still uncertain.

Most overrated artist/maker?
The one where substance does not match the hype.

Where do the majority of your inspiration / ideas come from?
Present and past experiences, people, places; a crack in the desiccated farmers field to memories of handwriting exercise as a child to the science of our visual cortex, a phone conversation overheard on a train journey and the materials with which I work.

Where did you train? Favourite / least favourite aspects of training?
I trained in Sheffield. Favourite part was meeting artist/writer Rachel Lichtenstein on our first day and becoming good friends, sharing a studio and being peer mentor for one another for the last 23 years. Least favourite aspect (at the time) was the ‘break you’ critiques that shook your reasons and fundamentals for making your work and accounting for it. In hindsight an invaluable training in the rigour of understanding ones work and its’ context, but painful at the time.

Please list any exhibitions you have had in the past 12 months.
I have not exhibited in the past 12 months. I have only shown my work in my studio as part of South East Open Studios.

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Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Through the Keyhole - Sophie Coryndon

Sophie Coryndon moved into her home in Sussex in January 2008 but started working from her nearby studio in 2005. She has always lived in the country apart from a few years in Brighton when she was first married. She loves having the space to grow things and keep birds, which provide inspiration as well as amusement.

Sophie says 'My studio is in an inspirational rural location near to my home - light and airy with a great landlord and fantastic fellow artists and crafts-people. The house is a beautiful 14th century cottage tucked under the South Downs. Its a bit like a warren inside with tiny doors and two staircases so the kids can run round in circles. The house's age and the fact that it is two cottages joined together gives it a very quirky layout inside. There are different levels in the house, with windows and steps in odd places. There is lots of outside space for the children, dog, chickens and doves. Plus amazing views!'

Sophie also loves the
rural location and being able to watch the seasons change, plus definitely the vegetable garden - watching everything grow gives her so much joy every year.

Sophie describes her style as
eclectic, cheap and cosy. 'My great Aunt died at the same time as we moved to this house. We were lucky to be given a lot of furniture, crockery and curtains. It was very strange how everything seemed to have been made for this house - rugs, furniture and curtains all fitted exactly right'.

In the
bedroom above the fireplace is an early painting by artist Matthew Burrows. The green velvet chair is a family heirloom that has turned the most amazing colour over time.

Sophie's favourite room is the bathroom because she can lie in the bath and look out of the low window over the fields to the Long Man Hill.

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Thursday, 6 August 2009

Maker of the Week - Paola McClure

Paola McClure designs and makes beautiful, large scale soft sculpture from Dundee. Although Paola's work is brash, bright and humourous and the work can have a darker edge to it and distortions of proportions can lead to a sense of unease. This unease can be exaggerated, as with any figurative sculpture, by the very physical presence of the work. The eyes, however, do not follow you round the room...

One favourite living craft maker (and why?)

Kelly Buntin Johnson is a self taught artist from Missouri whose work I admire. She creates figures with strong religious themes that are ornate yet primitive and that have a kind of menacing humour about them. I particularly like her “Intercessors” and while I don’t share her faith I love the dark intensity of her work.

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased? or What one product/item do you really covet? (and why)?
At a recent craft fair I bought a resin ’eye’ brooch by Islay Jane Spalding.

At age 15 who influenced your style? Was there any individual who very much helped you on your way?
My father was a painter so I was brought up surrounded by art. The impact of that must have been huge but the specifics are harder to unravel. My love of rich colour comes from my father’s work but also from the picture books of my childhood. My gran’s influence is a bit more obvious. She was a great crafter and handywoman who would give anything a go and was only disappointed that she had never built her own house or made a pair of shoes. While she may not have influenced my style she certainly inspired a love of improvising and quite conversely of hoarding materials “in case they come in handy one day” (which comes narrowly above the bottom of the barrel after “might be good for fancy dress” as an excuse for just one more charity shop purchase).

As far as style goes at 15 I was fairly predictable and liked illustrators such as Arthur Rackham and Aubrey Beardsley as well as cartoonists such as Charles Aadams and Andre Francois. I have however always had a bit of a love affair with kitsch and my bedroom wall was covered in postcards of paintings next to cut outs from marvel comics and cheesy advertising.

Last best read (book)?
Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson.

Where and what is your studio? Do you work alone? In silence, radio?
My workspace is part of a group of studios that take up two floors of a converted jute mill in Dundee. Being a converted mill the windows are huge so there is tons of light. I work alone but it is good having other artists just along the corridor for chats and rants. I mainline on Radio 4.

What is your favourite (art) website (and why)?
It depends what for. For art information is very thorough. For inspiration I like outsider sites such as . I think coming from an art background I am fascinated by work that comes without that influence and occasionally wonder if I would be doing anything like this without it.

Surprising activity/hobby?
I am currently trying to learn how to yodel. This is a very private pleasure and can only be practised on long car journeys and well away from pedestrians. So far I haven’t progressed much beyond basic exercises such as blaring “aaah-eee!” from a low note to a high note to try to catch and control the break in the voice that is (pity help me) the essence of yodel. I don’t know what tickles me about yodelling but I already have a genuinely moving piece picked out as my funeral music. My only regret is that I won’t be there to see the reactions.

Do you have a good work/life balance? Are you able to switch off from art work?
I don’t think you ever switch off completely. There is always a bit of brain ticking away and looking out for ideas.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
People have felt the need to create since they had to kill lunch with their own bare hands so I’m going to plump for a yes – which doesn’t stop it feeling like an immense privilege and pleasure to make things all day long. There do you see how I straddled that fence so cleverly?

What do think are crimes against good taste & decency in art/craft/design?
You want me to talk about Jack Vettriano.

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Monday, 3 August 2009

Maxine Sutton's New Online Shop

Textile artist Maxine Sutton has a beautiful new online shop. Full with her new collection of decorative home-wares, limited editions, sewing kits, stationery and wall pieces. Inspired by stories and patterns; domestic objects; animals and nature, and developed from a love of hand printing; colour and cloth; decoration and a fervour for all things stitched. All products are made in Maxine's studio on the East Kent coast.

Maxine uses beautiful organic fabrics that are made without harm to people or the environment along with recycled and sustainable materials whenever possible. Maxine also believes in celebrating and promoting our connection with materials and keeping traditional and domestic craft skills alive.

Do keep visiting the shop whenever you can as new things will be added, as well as
special offers and sales from time to time.

Please e-mail Maxine if you would like to go on her mailing list for news and updates.
telephone: 01843 225637

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