May 25, 2011

Just read Wall and Peace, Banksy, (2005) and thought I’d share his thoughts with you:

Graffiti is not the lowest form of art. …. it’s the most honest art form available. There is no elitism or hype, it exhibits on some of the best walls a town has to offer, and nobody is put off by the price of admission.

The people who run our cities don’t understand graffiti because they think nothing has the right to exist unless it makes a profit. But if you just value money then your opinion is worthless.

The people who truly deface our neighbourhoods are the companies that scrawl their giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff. They expect to be able to shout their message in your face from every available surface but you’re never allowed to answer back.

Always current, never boring!

Give it some thought.

After Wordsworth

May 17, 2011

I wandered lonely aluminium

That floats on high o’er green and brown

When all at once I saw a can

Just laid upon the ground;

In the car park, beside the trees,

Fluted and bouncing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky  way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margins of the day;

Ten thousand saw I at a glance.

Tossing their way with hollow dance.

The trees beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;

Environmentalists, not gay

In such disturbing company;

I gazed and gazed but little thought

Concerns the show to me had brought.

For oft when on my couch I lie

In vacant or exhausted mood,

They flash upon my inward eye

When I am thinking of some food;

With that my heart displeasure fills

The greenery that cans have killed.

(after Wordsworth)

Learning to paint

May 17, 2011

A first effort at acrylic abstract: based loosely on the colours of dumped cans amongst the trash beside the recycling tanks.

What can I say: I think it represents the colours and the outlines of the Pepsi max cans is evident but am left with an outstanding feeling of distress. I would dearly love to be able to paint with a certain level of skill, if only to show that I have learned some techniques. Is Do I want what I have not been taught? Yes … to all the above.

Marlene Creates

March 29, 2011

Marlene Creates
(b. 1952, Montreal, Canada)

Since the late 1970s, Marlene Creates has focused much of her artistic practice on investigating the relationship between human perception and occupation of land. For Creates, “ . . . land is not an abstract physical location but a place, charged with personal significance, shaping the images we have of ourselves.”

Creates frequently uses a combination of personal interviews, photographs, spoken text, hand-drawn maps, and found objects to document the memories and viewpoints that people impress upon a local landscape.


 In “Places of Presence,” for example, Creates discovered the connections between ancestral land and her own personal sense of place and identify. The 1989-1991 series is based on the artist’s visits to Newfoundland to explore the practical and emotional history of the land where her grandmother, grandfather, and great grandmother were born. During her time in Newfoundland, Creates interviewed and photographed relatives; had them draw memory maps of the places they grew up in; and then followed these maps to see the places they had described, taking photographs and collecting natural found objects along the way. All of this research led to the final installation of Places of Presence that consisted of three groupings of black and white photographs on a wooden shelf, memory map drawings, text panels, and “natural souvenirs” collected on site.

Kathy Prendergast

March 29, 2011

Kathy Prendergast
(b. 1958, Dublin, Ireland)

As a sculptor and a draftswoman, Kathy Prendergast transforms commonplace items such as maps, bits of clothing, human hair, and household objects in order to draw our attention to issues of identity, political power, and individual experience. In 1992, Prendergast began work on an enormous project called City Drawings in which she set out to draw maps of all the world’s major capital cities in pencil. Each map consists of delicate lines that depict the main thoroughfares and streets of a city as though they were the veins and arteries of a human body. When complete, there will be some 180 drawings in this series.

 Prendergast’s “Lost map” appears at first to be a straightforward map of the United States with the familiar topographical information about mountain ranges, lakes, and state borders. Yet, on closer inspection, this computer-generated map reveals that all the names of places have been removed from the map except for those that begin and end with the word lost (e.g., Lost Creek, Lost Island, and Lost Canyon).

In describing “Lost Map” as well as her plans for an impending project, Prendergast writes: “For the last few years I have been researching place-names with the idea of producing an “Emotional Atlas of the World.” This atlas would show all the places in the world which have names connected with emotions, i.e., Lost Bay, Lonely Island, Hearts Desire, etc., rather than the conventional atlas which shows places of importance. The map Lost in the exhibition is a variation on this theme, showing all the “lost” places in North America. Until quite recently maps and atlases were produced by hand. Within the last few years new atlases have been produced using digital technology. It is the combination of this technology, the place-name information on the Internet and my idea that has made my project possible.”

Waiting for Christmas …

March 19, 2011

Roni Horn (Contemporary Artists)

This comprehensive monograph documents the work of Roni Horn, the natural successor to 1960s Minimalists Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt et al, but with a markedly 1980s to 1990s conceptual twist. Horn “disguises” her work as Minimalism, but infuses it with personal poetic references and unexpected emotion. Initially working only in sculpture, in industrial materials in machine-made forms, in recent years the artist has also turned to producing photographs, often of her “adopted” country Iceland, which she has visited regularly for the past 25 years. These photographs capture the subtle changes in lighting and mood in dozens of images of the same subject. Groupings of sculptures and photographs are often drawn together in large installations which, in the barely perceptible changes from one work to the next, demand the viewer’s full attention.

I’ve put this on my Christmas list, I love her work.

Peg Loom

March 15, 2011

A peg loom will take advantage of wasted, torn and badly disposed of plastic carrier bags.

The peg loom itself is a very basic piece of equipment, easy  and cheap to make with nothing to maintain! This isn’t a weaving frame which sometimes is also called a peg loom – it is simply a row of pegs which fit into a timber base. Each peg has a hole through the bottom through which a warp of string is threaded (your warp thread is the thread that goes from top to bottom which the fabric strips or fleece is woven around). The distance between the pegs on the peg loom determines the density of the finished fabric. Pegs which are a long way apart are best when using thicker fabrics or fleece, pegs which are closer together are better for fine work or using threads.

  1. To weave using a peg loom, first gather up the materials which you are going to use – if you are using pieces of old fabric cut them up into similar sized strips.
  2. Tie warp threads through the hole in each peg. The length of the warp thread needs to be at least as long as the required size of your finished project.
  3. To start, wind the end of the fabric or fleece a couple of times around the end peg and then start weaving in and out around the pegs, doing a complete turnaround the end peg before coming back.
  4. When the fabric or fleece is at the top of the pegs, whilst at one end of the peg loom, one by one pull the peg out from the hole and push the woven fabric down the warp threads replacing the empty pegs in the hole. Repeat the process until the work is the required length, keeping the weaving as tight and compact as possible.
  5. To end, make a row of knots along the end of the work to stop the weaving from coming undone or unravelling. Finish the weaving as you require – make tassels, bind the edges or even sew a few pieces together to make a large rug or bed cover.