Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Lailey Bowls

I'm not sure how i came across this clip, or if i actually found Robin Wood's blog post first. Anyhow, i saw this just after Christmas and found it fascinating. i guess it's similar to pottery, with the wheel, throwing and turning. I have a real respect for craftsmen/women, this stuff is important. This is Robin recreating a set of four bowls out of one large piece of wood, called Lailey bowls, after George Lailey who mastered the skill. The last century seemed to be how far we could take everything, mass production etc and i think this century looks like we're starting to take it back, realising that too much was given up along the way. The technology is great and i don't know how our daily lives quite functioned without it, but somewhere along the way we also lost sight of the basic human touch. I guess technology and the internet is now helping us learn and share these ancient skills. Anyway take a trip over to Robin's blog it's full of interesting wooden things! Right, I'm off to get a pole lathe... anyone else coming?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Lincoln Student Visit

Lincoln Cathedral, very impressive.
My trip up to my old stomping ground, Lincoln, was very enjoyable (who knows if the students felt the same way?!) The travelling i can do without though. It was over 5 hours on 4 different trains, i know that makes it a local trip for you folk Stateside!!) Anyway it was great to catch up with Lydia and Simon and go back 20 years. It was also good to catch up with my old tutor, Howard and more recent members of staff, Darren and Jamie. My slideshow just about held together, but i still felt i was jumping all over the place! It was really good seeing Simon and Lydia recap their last 20 years, i think me and Lydia just sat with our mouths agape as we watched Simon(Basher) take us through his impressive publishing empire! Once i get over the depression i'm sure it'll motivate me!! He's very modest about it all too, but i for one was seriously impressed. I could do with some of Simon's smarts. Lydia's talk was also mightily impressive with her 80 books or so in the bag.. i could see a few students jaws dropping over that too! A good time all in all and I even managed to sneak off to chat to a potter just around the corner from the illustration department. Andrew MacDonald, makes historical pots and has just opened a shop recently on Lincoln's Steep Hill. Go take a look the next time you're in Lincoln! I bought a nice bowl and a mug, I would have bought one of his nice big Medieval jugs, but didn't trust myself not to break it on the journey back!

Simon Coleman(AKA Basher), Howard and Lydia
group shot, they kept making me sit down for photos!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

My Memory Jug

I made this for Jakki as a Mothers Day gift from the boys, well, kind of thing. We always do gifts for each other on Fathers/Mothers day. I know you ladies out there must be feeling sorry for Jakki by now!! I took an old coffee pot and got busy! the bits are all the crap we used to get out of the arcade machines, before we had the kids! I wasn't sure to start with, but as soon as i gave it it's red undercoat i knew it would be ok. The gold came out better than i expected, it's really rich and feels like it's been dipped, rather than just a cheap can of spray. Anyway, I'm happy with it and i definitely be making more. They're a great way to get rid of all those little bits that fill the bottoms of drawers! It looks terribly fancy. Nice.

apologies for the crinkled background!

You always have to put red under gold, it really helps.

Who knew all this lay underneath!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Fun Day With Students from LCC

That's me giving a masterclass in the top picture.
Bottom pic, on the left, Martin, Me, Tim. On the right, Peter and Chris.
All pics are courtesy of Martin O'Neill.

Several weeks ago we were asked by Martin, my good friend down here in Hastings, if the guys from our studio (Tim Marrs, Gary Neill, Chris Watson) would meet up with a batch of students from LCC and talk about the life of an Illustrator. We duly obliged and set up a meet in the function room of a nice, rough around the edges, bikers pub, the Carlisle. Martin was doing a joint day of talks etc, along with Peter Quinnell. It was a fine afternoon, overlooking the sea and lubricated with a few beers (i managed to spill a pint, all over one of my lovely Wish List posters!... a student now owns a rather crinkly, beer tainted poster). They were a great bunch and we went for some more beers and darts with a small group of them afterwards. Thanks to the tutors, Stuart Varley and Paul Bowman and all the students!
Which brings me to another trip to talk with more students. This time I'm off up to Lincoln on Thursday and staying over to go and spend a day with them on Friday. I studied there 20 years ago.. WOW! time sure does fly. I'm meeting up with two friends who studied there with me and we're going in as a group. Readers of this blog are probably familiar with Lydia's work and there will also be Simon.. a much more shrewd man than me! Looking forward to catching up with both and talking about the old days. Lincoln was a HND course when we were there, but now is a full on Degree course (Me and Lydia then went on to do the final two years on Kingston University's Illustration course... first class honours for us, of course!) Anyway looking forward to it, but I'm now madly trying to sort out a digital slideshow for it. I'll report back on it all on Monday... I must remember to take pictures.
Students, go easy on me!!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Pencil Play

 You may have noticed the little doodle of the leafy man in my broken sketchbook post. Well, i had a go at just drawing in pencil and losing the more solid black pen line... and generally working a bit softer. It's no big diversion, just me trying to keep myself moving. It might lead nowhere, but you 'have to go in to find out' (or some such self-help book fluff). There's no reason not to explore slightly new approaches. I had planned to also work them into more of a 'scene'. I don't really do scenes! I just like characters in a space, like a very minimal play, a stage and one or two characters. Anyhow, it's me making sure I'm not just being lazy! I am aware that maybe all these years of working things out, has got me to this point and now I'm trying to throw all of that out for something inferior!!! Does it matter? it's what being creative is all about, not finding one process and then trading off of that for a whole career (I wouldn't dare mention names!) Anyway, as they say 'No Biggie'.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sketchbooks and Pockets

Thought I'd stick a pic of my current sketchbook... NOT my travel notebook of choice... it doesn't 'travel' very well! Yes, thought I'd give the over-priced moleskin a go, as you can see it just can't hack the pace! not even half way through and it's falling apart. This usually only happens in my books final days. I still can't find the right back-pocket notebook... even after all these years! (admittedly I've not tried that hard!) The most reliable tend to be the Simple Daler Rowney ones. I'm trying to find something a little thinner/more flexible. I know keeping it in my back pocket is going to give any book a tough ride, but i must be able to find something.
Any suggestions? I also find the moleskin paper too thin, so you get all the mess of the previous page showing through... not a problem with the Daler! Anyway, thought I'd use it to try and get my blog rolling again, while i wait for my spirits to not be permanently deflated!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Out With The Old

 Remember my lovely studio?

Well, now it's like this : (

I am now fully in my new studio, although far from settled in. I hate this part of moving anywhere, the bit where it takes you a while to find a natural place for everything and also finding the best way of working within it. I'm already having an issue with the lack of worktop in front of my mac. I'm used to doing most of my drawing in front of the screen and now I'm having to move away to draw, bah! I'll figure it all out in the next couple of weeks, but it's leaving me feeling unsettled. Which is how I've been feeling all year so far. 2012, is just not happening for me yet. I just can't find any kind of 'flow'. I always have a fairly rough January, but this is starting to drag on now. To add to it all, I've had to move quite a bit of my stuff home from the old studio. It now sits all over my work room, so not much happening in the world of pots either. I need to get over this hump soon! Bah.
Here's a link to some lovely pictures and an article on the building our new studio is in. It's a magnificent building, just off the seafront here in Hastings. It housed the printworks for the local paper many years ago. This isn't a history blog, so i can be bothered to find dates etc!... it just was! The whole area around us is developing nicely. We even have a public library that is actually expanding rather than closing!! That's why we were kicked out of the old studio, as the building is now going to become part of the library. We are now in the building the other side of the library. This one.

studio before occupation

It's a great old industrial space
I'll stick a pic up of the space in action, once i get settled in. It's a nice space with a good vibe.