Archive for November, 2009

lisa swerling

Hole by Lisa Swerling

Today I have traipsed all the way across Nottingham for a meeting and am now eating M&S oat clusters as I recover. However my long trek gave me the chance to enjoy the leafy Park Estate in Nottingham – I was amazed at the size of some of the town houses and the architecture as well as the tennis and squash clubs and the bowling green. All too soon the peace and tranquility ended as I found myself heading towards Hyson Green but I knew there was a treat in store after the meeting…

When we finished I got a lift up to Gregory Boulevard to the boxy New Art Exchange building. There were a couple of exhibitions so I decided to take a good look at the main and mezzanine galleries. Downstairs was the “Pork Knocker Dreams” exhibition by Guyanan artist Donald Locke. It comprised of around 50 sculptures and several paintings made with natural and printed found objects. According to the information, “Pork Knockers” are the gold prospectors of Guyana and they were represented as folk art like wooden heads with a modern twist. I have to admit that they weren’t to my taste and almost a little eerie.

I headed upstairs to find an exhibition of Pardhan Gond Paintings by Venkat Raman Singh Shyam and Rajendra Kumar Shyam. This colourful art illustrates traditional myths and natural scenes and as well as spiritual elements. When you look closely at the canvases you can see much detail goes into making the vivid trees, birds and animals.

Finally I took a look at the Butterfly Images on the stairway by Rakha Singh. The large images of rare butterflies and moths have been produced by a special technique created by the artist that seamlessly joins together many smaller close up pictures.

On returning to work I spent my lunch break looking up some of the exhibitors for the Country Living Magazine Christmas fair. I was delighted to discover some more tiny art – Glass Cathedrals by Lisa Swerling. She has created a series of boxes containing tiny scenes which she describes as being inspired by a “collision between the seriousness with which we take our lives and the limits of our understanding.” I just love them especially as she has some clever and original titles and the characters seem so small within the boxes!

I am thinking that I am going to do a bit more exploring into tiny art. Sounds like a nice evening of teatime research with a mug of hot chocolate…


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Beautiful Candy Cell art from Boshdi Design

I love autumn! I think it has to do with the rustly sound as you kick through bright orange – brown- green heaps of fallen leaves! There have been so many near where I work on Castle Boulevard in Nottingham that I have been happy as a little kid in jumping in puddles as I make my way down the road. Out in the countryside there have also been some great sepia coloured misty sunrises across the fields near my house and some lovely autumn sunshine.

A couple of weekends ago we decided to make the most of the weather and head to Sherwood Forest to visit the Art and Craft Centre and go for a walk through the forest.  We walked across to the craft centre first and had a good look around.  The centre is made up of a number of little studios set in the former Edwinstowe Hall Coach House and stables.  Amongst them are the Firecracker Glass, Boshdi Designs, Three Little Daisies and A Bit More Than.

I started off with a visit to Three Little Daisies which is packed full of textiles and gifts and offers workshops in textiles and soft furnishings. I made a note to bear this in mind for a future challenge and headed to A Bit More Than who specialise in cardmaking and scrapbooking and also offer some workshops including paper folding – maybe I should have a go after my recent disasters! We were heading back across the courtyard to visit when we got sidetracked by the smell of coffee and before we knew it we were sat at a table with a couple of cappuccinos and some triple chocolate torte! I am pleased to say – for those who are beginning to wonder about my tendency towards cakes – that I didn’t finish it all and was quite stuffed!

We then went to Boshdi Design where Amy Woodman was busy at the loom. It was fascinating to watch her in action at the huge piece of machinery and see the blanket being created in front of our eyes. Amy doesn’t just create blankets though, I was fascinated by her Candy Cell Series of  3D geometric hand woven canvases which were hung on the wall. You get a really good sense of the layers of warp and weft in this artwork.

Finally we headed out to one of the stables to take a look at Firecracker Glass. As I mentioned before I really fancy having a go at glassblowing so was hoping that I could see some in action. Sadly I wasn’t in luck but got to have a good look around at the studio  stacked full with different coloured glass and the products on sale. There were some beautiful bright bowls and paperweights which I particularly liked and Jill Ellinsworth explained to me that visitors could also have a go at making their own sand art paper weights if they booked in advance. It was definitely something to remember for a future visit and I have since found out that they even offer a glass blowing course (just need to start saving!).

It was getting late so we started to make our way towards the forest for a walk around. The sun was setting through the silver birch yet the sky was still blue against the leaves. We stopped to ponder on the age of the Major Oak before returning back to the car through some lovely piles of leaves.

Cakes, craft and leaves on a Saturday, who could ask for more?

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