Tag Archives: art house

home correspondence

Wednesday 11 February 2015

a good artist friend has sent me some pictures of one of her recent sculptural assemblages with one of my miniature abstract collages – comparing the surface, colour and texture of the small sculpture with the collage: blue, pale green, grey, rusty red-brown.


it was a lovely surprise to see one of my tiny collage cards now in a picture frame next to hazel’s sculpture.


this delightful ‘boat’ sculpture is constructed from a rusty spade* as its sail, fixed to a small piece of driftwood. my small abstract collage is made from paper and card fragments [art studio detritus].


this very small collage is is about 3cm square, one of thirty abstract collages on A6 postcards that i created for the 2013 artworks exhibition. the artworks exhibition has a popular ‘art shop’ where visitors can buy postcards, small paintings, original prints, drawings, sculpture, etc – the small things you might see and like at an ‘open studio’ event. i made more collages, this time on square cards, for the 2014 artworks exhibition. many people seemed to like these tiny collages, which was heartening.

most of my artwork is quite subtly textured, or created in relief, and sometimes muted in colour, and it doesn’t translate naturally into flat, printed cards and postcards. i’m more naturally inclined to make artworks as cards, or cards as small artworks. i have also framed a few of these very small collages [as seen in previous blog posts].

it is always pleasing to see art in situ, at home in someone else’s home, how it corresponds and connects to the surroundings. curiously, this aspect of art and the home came up in conversation this week with another artist friend: how and where you live, and how it influences or reflects your art in some way. i don’t think i could ever live and work in two separate places [well, no further than the end of the garden!].

inevitably, this got me thinking more about art and life, how one thing feeds naturally into another, the correspondences between the life we live, the things we see, the things we collect, the things we like and love, the things we make and do – it is an ever-evolving symbiotic relationship. if it is disrupted, it takes some time to rediscover and nurture a ‘creative space’, be it physical [a room] or in the mind [of ideas].

relatedly, last week, another artist i know had mentioned in casual conversation my artwork from the 90s – my detritus collage – and whether i had considered doing more of that kind of work [it seems like decades ago, now – and it was!!]. i still have a habit of ‘collecting’ small random things from walks and my travels – all the artists i know do this – artists are natural magpies.

well, dear reader [i think that’s me, mostly!], this concludes today’s home correspondence.

back to the wonderful rusty boat. hazel has a marvellous art studio, spacious and full of light, filled with beach-combing finds, which are often transformed into small sculptures. many of them, like the boat pictured, are created while staying at the coast. you can see more of hazel’s paintings and sculptures on her website. http://www.hazelbignell.co.uk/

from art house to art home

Sunday 3 May 2009

i’ve been doing some country living, not country living as in residing in the agricultural hinterlands, I mean Country Living, the magazine. I was perusing some back copies recently (I am taking a textiles class soon) and one can’t help but admire (and wish for) some of the beautiful houses and gardens… the rustic hues of Tuscan villas, Rococo shabby chic, bookish Bohemian townhouses, Bloomsbury colours.. distressed plaster walls, oak furniture, Moroccan lamps, kilim rugs, antique mirrors, vintage fabrics and wallpapers, a bold splash of framed art on the walls, a sofa strewn with quirky cushions, a chair rescued (or is that recycled) from a skip, a collection of old teacups on a welsh dresser, a neat pile of split logs by an inglenook fireplace, strong sunlight softened through diaphanous drapes at a french window.. an infusion of textures, interiors with the patina of life, interiors that are matured, not designed from a mail order catalogue.. full of market finds and objects from more distant travels, all aide memoirs to a quiet way of life.. for here there are no TVs, mobile phones or PCs, no cheap plastics or synthetic fabrics, or any people for that matter, it’s all about appreciating the space and what it contains..

when I decided to pursue art as a vocation, i went to an art school far away from home, a necessary right of passage, the first road to independence, and the time and space to develop one’s own style of living.. i remember my first digs, a tiny granny-style annexe flat above a garage, as i had just acquired a vintage 1950’s fridge from a house yard sale; it was buttercup yellow with flared legs and about a third the size of a contemporary fridge, cute as a button but barely practical as a kitchen appliance.. i then acquired some vintage print curtains that i made into window blinds, restyled some lampshades with Japanese papers, a coloured glass fruit bowl made an interesting light feature with the addition of some string lights.. but over the years i was slowly cluttering my homes (and my life) with a plethora of stuff from auctions (in the days before eBay), car boot sales and charity shops, thrifty style crafted through an appreciation of art means that for every gem found there are quite a few impractical rejects.. as William Morris said, have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful – or better still, useful AND beautiful.. Morris’s declaration is as interesting now as it was then, the handcrafted (the arts and crafts movement) as a reaction to industrialisation – perhaps now, with the over-saturation of technology and gadgetry in our lives, more people will appreciate the hand-crafted and the handmade once again – and let’s hope that it will not inspire a new wave of the home-homemade as seen in the 1970’s, which gave us macrame plant holders, crocheted cushions and string pictures for art! i’ve been a bit of a fan of Art Deco and the Bauhaus style for a while, the strong geometric forms and limited palette of colours, and similarly their design ethos appreciated the quality of materials and the high craft of construction.

on another but not dissimilar note, whilst talking to a colleague this week, she reminded me that labour-saving devices, such as the washing machine, conversely mean that we are made busier than ever, not washing once or twice a a week, but almost obessively every day of the year, thus clothes wear out more quickly because they are often poorly constructed and cannot withstand the strong detergents and heavy machine washing.. so, we have to buy more clothes more often… and of PCs, there is hardly a job in the country that doesn’t require the use of one to make us more efficient in our work, despite the fact they create more work for us to do…contemporary living makes for more work and less free time as we strive to maintain standards of perfection.. and so for me, the old style habits of flea-bargaining and thrift-shopping still remain..

i could mention Kirsty’s Handmade Home for new ideas and inspiration on creating stylish, practical interiors on a budget (like many of the TV style shows that have preceded it), but I’m not entirely convinced by Kirsty’s style sensibilities, and maybe, like Louis Armstrong said of jazz music, if you have to ask what [it] is, you’ll never know.. The Sensual Home by Ilse Crawford, which i bought for a knockdown price of 60p from a charity shop, is an interior design book with a difference, in that it doesn’t tell you how to make things or what items to buy, or what colour goes with what, or what style of appliance or furniture is in vogue (all styles will date, some better than others), but more intellectually (and rather beautifully) it illustrates the poetics of lived-in spaces, the experience played through the senses, a sensitivity towards materials, the quality of light, aroma, the balance of colour, texture, shape, form and surface, all as a means to create one’s own unique style philosophy for the home….

Homes and Interiors

Sunday 6 July 2008

Photographs of some of my work around the home, a little interior decoration, art house styling… starting from top left to right (as they do in home style magazines)… handmade collage cards on retro coffee table, the paintings meld, crag and mire, detail of the painting mire with Oleander plant, detail of the painting fire with gold-leaf pebbles and turquoise blue glass on driftwood shelf, the painting fire glowing orange in contrast to the black brick fireplace, and the red painting rost with vintage green glass bowl filled with dried chillies…

The Harleston & Waveney (HWAT) art trail brochure can be found here, or is available from the Harleston Gallery