Sunday, 30 October 2011

Hard Fi 'Good For Nothing' At Glastonbury 2011

Laura Marling 'Rambling Man' Glastonbury 2010

Guy Garvey Of Elbow Interview at Glastonbury 2011

Cell Mates 'Mariachi El Bronnx' Glastonbury 2010

Jon Allen 'Last Orders' At Glastonbury 2011

John Grant 'Sigourney Weaver' at Glastonbury 2011

I love John Grant and seeing him at Electric Picnic and on my sons 21st birthday was one of those highlights I will remember for the rest of my days. He belts it out with such wit and warmth and he had the crowd performing kareokiwise, absolute star. Somebody sent me this You Tube film of him at Glastonbury Festival in the BBC's garden  infront of my Hey Girl willow sculpture which now has me beleeiving in absolutely extraordinary possibilities, that will move you to scream involuntarily
 happening to you at anytime, lol. I rename that scuplture "Sigourney Weaver" in his honour and praise.  But you know none of this would happen without the help of my young team and especially Izaac Cain who is  the real motivator in my life. Thanks buddy

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Ruthin Crafts Centre, "Baskets" Exhibition

Ruthin Craft is the purpose built state of the art complex for the display, understanding and sale of some cutting edge work by contemporary makers. For a while now I have been anticipating their latest exhibition called, perhaps a bit unassumingly,"Baskets". The nine makers chosen to exhibit are diverse and talented masters specialising in the ancient craft of basket making in the broadest sense, exploring individual ideas and techniques to create their own unique and beautiful forms. All of the work is fascinating and inspiring. As a maker I am always scrutinising the work of others to find the "how" and the seamless interplay of materials and techniques to achieve the work. All these makers deliver excellently and elegantly. For me the show is uplifting. Looking at the images later I realise the things I  missed in the gallery, especially in the photos taken standing further away. Dail Behennah's pieces are for sale individually but here in the show they appear to be of a whole with the angles of  colours matching and flowing from one to the next, it would be a shame to separate them, what a brilliant acquisition they would make together. Lizzie Farey's airy wall pieces are a delight, they seem to have flown from the more densely woven sphere and vessel forms placed below them, frozen in a moment of flight. Looking more closely in the gallery the work of Joe attracted me on a more personal level as he is a rural dweller growing his own willow to use and commenting that he found these three elements "deeply satisfying". Again the depth of this relationship with his thirty years experience is evident in his sculptural take on the traditional form. Including gnarled and curving branches and stones to close and top his pieces I was reminded of the landscape of the west coast of Ireland, the ever changing weather, the shimmering light on a lake or sea, the outline of the rugged ancient hills and mountains and the puzzling prehistoric structures that cling to the landscape like stubborn, decaying teeth, mysterious and secretive. Lee Dalby's, minimal frame baskets may have their origin in the everyday unfussy utility ware familiar to every home once upon a time but he has transformed these baskets into objects that resonate with an almost  modern spirituality. An obvious love of these humble, simple shapes and their recipes combined with his sensitive selection of his own cultivated materials and excellent execution, I feel  he elevates what is the everyday, the commonplace. I could not imagine I would dare use one of his baskets for something mundane they surely should be used for some other special, sacred or ceremonial purpose. They are very beautiful and very desirable. Mary › artists & curators › artists & curators

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Philip Treacy at Tate Liverpool

One of the highlights of the various exhibitions I visited in Liverpool this weekend was the show curated by Philip Treacy at Tate Liverpool. Some beautiful choices I loved the portrait of a sleeping Leigh Bowery by Lucien Freud. So tender and the slight hint of a smile and peaceful expression captured was very beautiful. A gem. Apart from his choices from the Tate's collection were the carved wooden block moulds Treacy uses to create his imaginative and unique hats. There are two packed 30m shelves of them and they make an eye catching display in themselves. Very desirable. Jaw droppingly gorgeous.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Secret Light Garden at Picton Castle 2011

It came and went, a flash in the night, kaleidoscopic castle, luminous tree tops, strangers in the light, illuminated peepholes, real ghosts and willowy giants, spooky lake and a glowing snail. What I love about Secret Light Garden at Picton Castle is that once you step through the gateway you immediately feel like you are entering another world. The colours and shapes of all that is familiar disolve into something else cartoon like and a wonderland. The art trail entices you to explore the nooks and crannies. As you go along you discover some intriguing,puzzling, mysterious objects. A huge plastic water tank, suspended overhead, becomes a pulsating light with deep philisophical ponderings printed on it for the literate to articulate to the very young. On you go and a saxophone playing shadow serenades you as you pass by. You turn and find a garden of small ultraviolet flowers never before seen on earth. Beyond oversized glowing tulips spur you further on into the shrubs and trees, turn around and the castle is invisible transformed into a swirling iris shooting out light from every compass point. What's this? A door just there in a clearing. You open it and a light is switched on to reveal a couple laughing, close it and they are gone open it again and another image appears a man on a scooter in a desert. What a strange house you are thinking when you next encounter a wardrobe but it won't open. You can hear something inside a radio perhaps quietly broadcasting, you notice little holes in the side where light from within shines out. You peer through and get tantalising glimpses of a room or rooms, belongings, photographs, old fashioned, vintage wallpaper. Who lives here, are they in, are they small, are they asleep, dozing off to the humming radio. We walk further amongst cedars and vines touching beautiful carvings, sitting on toadstools, climbing on trees. A band strikes up accordian and fiddle and we examine strange glowing moluscs gathered in an aquarium. Back on the lawn below the castle we clamber like children onto giant wooden chairs where we can all sit together to watch the lights play. Have you seen the ghosts someone asks over by the door in the wall over there. We leave our perch to witness the sight. There they are.
They appear through the door and sit on the step, two ladies in white from another time, oblivious to us, chatting, drinking, laughing. They are gone but another appears, a man who digs the flower beds to the side of the steps. Little children go up to him and try to feel him, touch him but he is not there he is not real he is a ghost they say. Another vision appears a young woman with her broom, she sweeps each step, looks around, her work is done and she is gone. Like a wisp of mist. Come back you want to say and if you wait and wait she will.
I bumped into friends I hadn't seen in a while and made new ones I hope to see again.
When closing time came we were tired and happy but a little sad to say goodnight.
Last year they thought they would not do it again, I am so glad they did, next year they say it will be their last.
I am sure it will be something special. Everybody contributed their time and creativity free of charge and there was an agreeably organic evolving of it's design and spaces. Gareth, Jen, Ashley, Roddy and Nixy did a good job to make it so. So thanks to them and all. The chocolate cake maker, hot chocolate and mochas to die for. And Beanie Dog woofed her special sausage rolls glad I had forgotten her usual munch. Happy all round.xx

Sunday, 2 October 2011

My Baskets

It's the end of the year for basket making. I am nearly all out of last season's willow and what's left is going into commissioned pieces. The harvesting time for willow is almost here, in time with the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain. Once 31st October has passed I will be just raring to begin cutting the bare withies that have grown and turn them into creations both functional and not. I have allready been wandering amongst the beds we have planted and it is as good as shopping for a buzz! Really, the branches are so juicy and alive, they even smell good. Time keeps pushing forward and I have been thinking about all this activity, growing, harvesting and making locked together in woven forms. At festivals there is always the pause in activity when the sculpture is up and is part of that other pocket in time, I stop and wonder what to do, no stuff to weave, well better take a photo. I rarely stop to photograph my baskets though...or workshops. This year I am making more of an effort so here are some of the ones I didn't forget to snap.