Go and see the extraordinary work, sculpture even, of Jean Paul Gaultier at the Barbican.
Amongst the strangely creepy talking mannequins he constantly questions the accepted ideas of fashion and beauty with humour and brutality. For me he makes magic with these black and white stripes – they come alive, even though they’re stuck, static and still, on the models.
Equally anarchistic are the Marx brothers. Seeing the film Duck Soup again after many years gave me a new shot of their crazily brilliant surreal humour, and their insistance in really pushing a joke as far as it will go and then some – others wouldn’t even have started! The hat-swapping sequence – two brothers, one fall guy – cannot be beaten, and enjoy the famous ‘reflection’ routine – two brothers, no mirror – here. Why did I find myself ordering duck soup for dinner this week?
I remember as a little girl how much my father laughed at another Marxian joke: Groucho orders two dozen roses to be sent to ‘the lady’ and tells the florist “And write ‘Darling I love you’ on the back of the bill”. I never really understood at the time why dad found this so very funny – I do now!
In the words of the magnificent Maya Angelou, who died this week, ‘If you’re always trying to be normal you’ll never know how amazing you can be.’ No chance of normality cramping style in these cases!
When I unpacked my bag on returning from the Stroud International Textiles event last Saturday I found something tucked in my sketchbook – a neatly folded piece of paper aptly labelled ‘fabric swatch sheet’ on the reverse. And on the front – this fashion plate! Thank you Edie – I remember you sat drawing throughout the talk, and then showed me your very fetching blue and white picture – so this is an extra niceness.
The workshop, about recording experiences visually as well as with words, gave the eight of us a really good day’s work. Each piece grew with its own atmosphere of the particular journey taken, whether literal or symbolic, and I hope and think that there were some pleasingly unexpected results.
The work we did was all on rather a small scale – so at the end of the day I asked each of the participants to leave a big painted signature on the roll of lining paper – you know who you are!
In the talk immediately afterwards I touched on the different uses of social media and referenced this image which is ‘out there’ at the moment being both entertaining and useful – so thank you to Douglas Wray who brilliantly first thought of it.
Having resisted for some time I have now taken the bold step of opening an SCLtd FaceBook page and am trying to get the hang of what it’s all about – I know I’m a bit slow on the uptake. It’s certainly useful to be able to share information and to show people a fuller view of current work and activities.
The journey to Stroud had been tricky – constant torrential rain on the motorway does not make for a relaxing drive – but afterwards the evening sun lit up a thundery indigo sky and threw the Cotswold hills and leaves into bright linden green relief.
Now here comes the list – lot of interesting events are coming up – a symposium about Migration in Art at The School Creative Centre in Rye for one and The Geometrics at Kingsland Gallery for another. I’m not directly involved in either of these, but I have been asked to speak at the opening of the SLWA Colourswatch exhibition at Espacio Gallery on 5th June – thank you. The two works I touched on in my last blog have been completed and delivered. The naked clockface has been transformed – ‘Every Second Counts’ – and will be shown for sale at the Mall Galleries to raise funds for the ArtRoom charity 16th-21st June.
It’s quite a Mexican summer in London and the new exhibition The Art of Mexico opens at the FTM on the 6th. Curated by Hilary Simon it promises to be an absolute feast of colour and textiles and I’m pleased to have contributed work to it. I’ll also be running a related workshop there in August….
Habitat’s 50th birthday is also quite rightly attracting some attention – Anna Lambert’s article in the June BBC’s Antiques Roadshow magazine gives a good view of the history. I keep being asked when the ‘birthday specials’ are going to be seen – there’s an embargo on images at the moment which I think will be lifted during August for the actual birthday celebrations in September. I shall certainly be showing off when the time comes!
And talking of anniversaries – Dylan Thomas’s 100th is being widely celebrated; I came across this little book ‘The Outing’ on my shelf – here’s how it starts:
Stop Press – news just in – I’m told by WestElm that two of my paintings for them are the top sellers in their WallArt! Here’s the Ripple print, the other is Abstract Waves, available on canvas or birch wood.