Sunday, 30 September 2012

From the Sketchbook: Vietnam again

003More from the Vietnam sketchbook. Above, the view of rice paddies in the rain from our luxurious hotel balcony - imagine it with a soundtrack of croaking frogs! Below, a bandstand in the Citadel in Hue, a continuous line drawing. 002

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Mind the Map

I visited the London Transport Museum, drawn by the Mind the Map exhibition, which turned out to be every bit the feast I'd hoped for.  Combine a fascination with London, with the Underground, with maps and the infinite possibilities of transforming them into aesthetic and logical masterpieces, and you are in the dream exhibition.
For me my most inspiring discovery was my introduction to the maps of MacDonald Gill, who for the first part of the 1900s created illustrative maps of London and the tube, blending geography, humour and great colour schemes.
There was also a thrilling range of pieces commissioned for the exhibition.  To pick out one favourite, I should land on Claire Brewster, who made paper cuts from tube maps to bring together her journey from the countryside to the city.
Finally, I made a great connection in the workings of my mind when I saw Susan Stockwell's map of the world made from a montage of travel tickets.  Somehow I had never realised that my love of the London transport network could be connected to my fascination with figuring out the public transport networks in the countries I visit overseas.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

From the Sketchbook: Vietnam

001 In our recent trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, the colourful designs of boats was one of the most fascinating hooks - the way that they all shared a similar colourscheme and style in one region, and a different style in another. Later in the trip, I began to notice eye motifs on the front, as in one of the boats below. 005

Monday, 17 September 2012

Short Hair Bride

IMG_5134 When it comes to a wedding, what on earth do you do with short hair? Actually, you type 'short hair bride' into google and remind yourself that you are normal after all. _DSF9508 My dear Mum makes lace, and I wanted to ask her to make something for my day - we had been working on the idea of a stole, but a piece for my hair turned out to be perfect. I played with making organza and chiffron flowers, and made several for my bridesmaids too, and these different pieces came together in a way infinitely more 'right' than I had dared to dream possible. IMG_5132

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Question of the Plastic Cups

When it came to the bar at our wedding, I struggled with the issue of plastic cups. I could see that we needed plastic cups in case people disappeared all over the garden with glasses in hand. But after such a mission of second-hand things, it seemed a pity not to be able to recycle the cups. However, my research led me to the conclusion that there isn't much recycling of plastic cups in our country - it's more about reusing them until they collapse. IMG_4321 Then it hit me - I could use my eternal fascination with plastic bottles and turn them into cups. A plan of pure genius, if it wasn't found two weeks before the wedding. Even then, if this new form of cup was stackable, I may yet have done it. Instead, I re-visited the idea a month after our wedding for our celebration barbecue, and gave in to using normal plastic cups for the actual day.

Monday, 10 September 2012

African Fashion Show

I was lucky enough to stumble across my first live catwalk show, in Spitalfields Market during African Fashion Week. I must confess to being a sucker for the glamour and frivolity of fashion, though I find it hard to take it too seriously and can't quite understand why it's fashionable for all models to look like they are angry with the clothes they are wearing! I do love the mix of vibrant African fabrics set off by plainer colours though.

Photo credit to Catwalk Capture.

Friday, 7 September 2012

The Shed Bar

_DSF9520In planning our wedding, we suddenly began to identify with the entire event, when we realised we could transform the shed into a bar. Embracing the kayaks, birds nests and abandoned furniture, it was a natural spot for a bar. We decided that here, too, could hide our assorted photographs ... we collected a photo of every guest that was connected to us (we didn't always manage their partners) and I had a dream of time exploring a multitude of ways for making fake picture frames from cardboard. From gold tissue paper, to varnished maps, gold crayon and patterned papers, I managed to create about 60 frames and spread them around the bar. _S160070

Monday, 3 September 2012

Cubist Collage

IMG_4436IMG_4443IMG_4448We spent a week looking at 'Isms of Art', and a glorious day looking at the Cubist Collages of Picasso and Braque. I took a risk with Liam's guitar and brought in that and my clarinet - it was lovely to give the children something really serious to draw and the ensuing atmosphere of focus and concentration was a highlight of my day, as I gradually added a new medium to the mix every five minutes. Finally, we photocopied the pictures and built them into a crazily eccentric collage - I think Picasso and Braque would have been proud of use!IMG_4444

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Sporting Costumes

IMG_4311Inspired by the Olympic clothing, I challenged the 6-9 year olds to choose a flag and build a screen-printed design around it's colours and patterns. Then we spent the afternoon cutting up t-shirts of the same colours and transforming them into bags, shorts, skirts and a growing collection of other accessories. IMG_4298