Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Daily Drawings... Ghost Girl

A quick character drawing from today. Ghost girl made herself some pockets, nice huh?

Icon: Gunta Stolzl

I remember studying the Bauhaus when I was at high school, albeit very briefly considering the body of work that was produced by the artists/students from the school. Despite being considered as a modern and progressive school , there was very little female artists who went on to have successful art and design careers. The majority of artists associated with the school are male; Marcel Breuer, Wassilly Kandinsky and Paul Klee to name a few. Gunta Stolzl is one of the few female artists who studied and then went on to became a Bauhaus master.

Stolzl was a German artist who studied at the Bauhaus and then used her time as teacher in the school to rebuild the weaving department so that students gained both technical skills as well as creative thought processes. Her time in the school began in 1920 as a student and a full master by 1928. Her teaching career began when the school relocated from Weimar to Dessau.

Knotted floor carpet detail, 1923

Design for a knotted carpet, 1920-1922

Stolzl clearly understood the importance of developing a technical skill set and gaining inspiration outwith the confines of the school, when in 1921 she took a trip to Italy to view art and architecture she had looked at during her studies in the flesh. She also passed her journeyman's exam as a weaver and took courses in dyeing so that the dyeing department could be reopened in the school.

Design for a knotted carpet

The relocation of the school allowed Stolzl to create a much larger studio with better facilities and more structured classes in weaving techniques as well mathematics. Her own work became more functional and as well as using a more structured geometric style. Having a strong technical base of skills allowed for experimentation with a variety of materials therefore the structured curriculum did not stifle creativity, it only enhanced it.

Jacquard wall hanging 5 chore, 1928

Wall hanging, 1923

Unfortunately due to political pressure from the Nazi party, Stolzl was asked to give her resignation in 1931 and outraged students dedicated a school newspaper to the fact.

Wall hanging slit tapestry, 1927

African Chair, 1921

I am a huge fan of Gunta Stolzl's work and if I was unaware of who she was I definitely would not have believed the pieces shown here were created in the 1920s. The lasting impact of her work is a testament to her skills as a weaver and pioneer in design.

Portfolio of the 60th anniversary of kandinsky, bahaus dessau 1926

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Monday Musings: Embroidered Valentino

I just had to share a couple of Valentino gowns from Spring 2014 collection. Just to clarify they are not printed but completely hand embroidered!I love the variety of stitches used and the nod to folk patterns.


Saturday, 26 April 2014

Paperfolk Loves... Hagar Vardimon- van Heummen

Hagar Vardimon- van Heummen is a talented artist who runs Happy Red Fish, a creative studio based in Amsterdam. His work varies in subject matter but combines illustration with embroidery on paper. I particularly love the printed illustrations on canvas which have been enhanced with strong colours of embroidery floss. Check out some more work below and even more on the website.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Icon: Lucienne Day

I've decided to start a new themed post on the blog to try and give an insight into the many artists who have been truly inspirational during their working life and continue to inspire today. I felt that I've been offering an insight into modern day artists along with quick inspirational posts but there is definitely a gap in historical overview.
If there's a particular period of time or artist you think would be great for this type of post please let me know in the comments section.

So, on with the first post!...

Lucienne Day
Post World War II, Lucienne Day (1917-2010) revitalised textile design with her move away from traditional, heavy designs to light, playful and contemporary pieces for Heals. Although she is often discussed in conjunction with her designer husband, Robin Day (1915-2010), it should be noted that both designers worked independently to great success.

Four Seasons Plates, 1959

It was the Festival of Britain, 1951, that brought attention to both of their works and it's worth mentioning both artists were in their mid-thirties at this point. The creation of such confident, cohesive design works illustrated that they had clearly been developing their style throughout their twenties. Having lived through World War II and experiencing furniture and textile design during that time, they most likely knew which aspects they would like to change and develop in their own works.

Lucienne created a furnishing fabric, Calyx (1951), that was heavily inspired by nature. Flowers, grass, trees were pared back to single sweeping lines and irregular shapes with an earthy colour palette. Designs, such as this, are clearly of relevance today and still being sold as textile fabrics in haberdasheries.

Calyx, 1951

 Looking at pieces, such as Calyx, we can see the influence of modern art on the designer particularly artist Joan Miro. This fresh approach ensured Lucienne's designs were highly sought after and she quickly progressed to wallpaper and ceramics as well as creating textiles for Heals over a number of years.

The nightingales song at midnight and the morning rain, Joan Miro

As with every great designer, Lucienne's work evolved quickly. During the fifties and sixties,  the light linearity of Calyx was replaced with bold architectural works such as Sequoia (1959). Flat, larger repeats in Pennygrass (1966) were followed by vertical works such as Causeway (1967).

Sequoia, 1959

Pennygrass, 1966

Causeway, 1967

Lucienne's influence can be still be seen in the work of modern day designers such as Orla Kiely and wouldn't look out of place in most homes which is a testament to the longevity of this designer.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Monday Musings... Postcards of the year 2000

I remember being at primary school and discussing what we thought life would be like in the year 2000. Since I was a kid of the eighties my predictions centred around hover boards, time travel and having the ability to consume three meals a day in a pill format. Sadly the hover boards and time travel are maybe still to come?! The meals in a pill format probably is best seen in crazy diet fads which isn't really what I was going for in the first place!

I was looking around on and came across sets of postcards from 1900 that predict life in the year 2000, enjoy...

'A stroll on the water'

'X-ray surveillance equipment for Police'

'Weather control machine'
'Roofed cities'

'House moving by train'

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Paperfolk Loves... Val Jackson

Quilting is a craft that I haven't tried in any meaningful way but I enjoy the idea of having a narrative running through embroidered works. I think I've always had a preconceived idea of quilting that it's a little bit old fashioned and lacking in the cutting edge approach of modern embroiderers. Val Jackson proved me wrong!

Val creates quilted works by machine embroidering through layers of silks and netting. Although her works have an element of nostalgia they depict modern life through text interspersed with images, which keeps it fresh.

Check out more of her work here.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Paperfolk Meets... Bohemian Sin

I always admire artists who combine various mediums and techniques but still manage to get beyond simply being experimental, creating beautiful products that are unique artworks to wear. Eugenia from Bohemian Sin shop does exactly that. Her works are fun, colourful, skilful and most importantly wearable! You can see more in her online shop.

Eugenia was kind enough to give us a behind the scenes peek into her textile practice...

How did you get into needlecraft?

I first started with doing things for myself. Like bobby pins from reclaimed fabrics or floral brooches from my old blouses. Later on, I realized that I just have too many just for me to use. But the desire to work and create was still there. I never took classes in this area. I just learned, in baby steps, on my own, by experimenting, mistaking and trying again.

What inspires you in your artworks?

The sources are so various. But the main sources are nature and tribal influences. I love both and I return to them with the same great pleasure every time.

Can you give us an insight into your process of creating your products from start to finish?

It usually starts with ‘’that will be nice to try this or to use this’’! Referring to a certain shape, or bead, or small things. Than, everything evolves gradually into bigger things by adding details, shapes or fabrics that I think will work with the initial idea. Sometimes I wonder ‘’Oh how could I do a certain thing’’? And I keep trying until I get something I like, usually far away from the starting point :)).

How do you keep yourself organized- lists, filing, sketchbooks?

Who said I am organized? They are a big fat liar! I think I’m hopeless regarding in this respect. Never sketch, never know where my needles are, nor my head.

Do you ever have creative blocks? How do you get through them?

Often. If I don’t come with a new idea in more than 5 days I start worrying. In this phase, I usually make myself a large coffee, I lose myself in beautiful things I discover over the internet – photography, art, jewelry. Or I threaten my brain that if it doesn’t come with a new idea I will take it back to my old job! Though my hands can't always manage to reproduce exactly the ideas transmitted from my brain.


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Monday Musings... Toy Stories

I have just recently come across the photography of Gabriele Galimberti. I admire his willingness to travel for his subject (most of his photographs involve a lot of globetrotting) and I do love a bit of visual uniformity in a photograph so this ticks all of the boxes!

Do check out his other projects here.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Inspiring Reads... Home by Orla Kiely

I've made it no secret that I love Orla Kiely's work and own her previous publication Pattern as well as some of her children's books. I was so excited when Orla's new publication, Home, popped through my door!

The cover is a hardwearing canvas that gives an indication of the level of quality in the book before it's even been opened. I am a sucker for a good quality publication and I absolutely hate it when I pay around twenty pounds for a book only for it to be of poor quality. This book doesn't disappoint on that front.

The book is split into different chapters with each one looking at a different property from England to Norway. Each property has been selected by Orla because of its appreciation of mid century modern design, the kind that is a direct influence for the designer.
One chapter, of course, gives readers a sneak peek into Orla Kiely's home and illustrates how she combines her own products with others. She also refers to compromises she had to make with her property in terms of design because she needed it to be functional family home rather than a design showcase.

If you are looking for a book that looks at Orla Kiely's work and design products this may not be the book for you. However, if you are genuinely interested in how people use a particular theme or inspiration throughout their homes then this makes for a great source of inspiration.

If you'd like to pick yourself up a copy, you can do so here.