Thursday, 12 November 2009

Friday, 6 November 2009



Unfortunately this photograph is not mine. It is by Marga VP, who is in Andrha Pradesh at the moment.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Glad Tidings

Some exciting news has popped up: Craig Coulthard has gone and won a 2012 Cultural Olympiad Commission!

A football pitch clearing will be made in a forest. Wood from the trees felled will be used to build a stand. A football match will be played and then the pitch will be left to its own devices.

I'm delighted for Craig and anticipate a really interesting work. And some great football strips. More info at the Hi-Arts website.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

At Lancaster Station

On the return journey from the wedding in Yorkshire of two friends. Morcambe bay vast, a smudged Morandi universe. Here is a rusty bridge at Lancaster Station, which had integral Constance Spry-esque live foliage arrangements.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Just listened to Robert Macfarlane talking about his book 'The Wild Places' on Book Club. His reference to marine debris seen on remote coastlines reminded me of Robert Callender and his Plastic Beach and Coastal Collection works. Robert makes uncannily life-like copies of things he finds on the shore. When you see the pieces, especially en masse, suspension of disbelief is almost complete. They can't be made from cardboard and paint. The works mark Robert's monitoring of wash-ups over 35 years. In Plastic Beach the mixed detritus of Coastal Collection has become plastic jetsam.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Wild in town

Wild weather in the town reminds you that the town is part of the wild too.

For Mr Kipperling

Sunsets not my normal fare but the evening that I did this was amazing.

We were on the MV Loch Nevis between Canna and Mallaig after a few days on the Small Isles. The sea was still, silver and viscous-looking. We could see past Skye and Canna to the Outer Hebrideas. To the North were crisp views to the Black Cuillin ridge. Hushed tourists all around. Kipperling was sipping Red Cuillin ale, eating CalMac chips and watching over my shoulder. Unusually, he made approving comments (about the picture - CalMac chips and Skye Brewery beer always of a high standard). Sunsets are obviously his thing. So he's getting this one for his birthday.

I am fairly sure that Kipperling will not see this before I give it to him tomorrow since he will be celebrating tonight in Brontë country. Which conjures a very interesting set of images! He will no doubt be wearing brogues, clutching a copy of the Guardian Weekly and eating shin of beef.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

William's Ikaturina

Me plus client went to the museum to draw prehistoric sea creatures. Then I took his drawings and turned them into a pattern, to be printed on heavy Linen Union. The fabric is now at the sewing wizard-ess to be made into curtains and cushions! The first properly printed fabric from the den, exciting.

The print is digital, done at CAT digital, Glasgow. A great service as you can order small quantities to be printed. Handy for sampling and smaller orders of bespoke fabric. Fabric can be printed in pre-specified lengths - very useful for curtain making as any pattern match wastage can be wiped out. Because each panel is exactly the same the horizontal match is perfect, and thus saves the curtain maker a bit of time (helpful when the the drop means long lengths of fabric that would otherwise have to be measured out). The fabric arrived very quickly - about a weeks turnaround. They have a huge range of stock fabrics to print on.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

New things

A large roll of fabric arrived, with a pattern from the den. Pictures to follow. It is called William's Ikaturina.

Monday, 3 August 2009


William Orpen. Embarrassingly didn't know anything about him until very recently, when I heard Miruna Cuzman do an interesting talk on his work. Perhaps more here soon. War paintings and allegory in marble medium.

The Holy Well. Skellig Michael in the background?

Bedtime reading:
Roy Foster,
‘Old Ireland and Himself: William Orpen and the conflicts of Irish Identity', Estudios Irlandeses Vol 1, 2005.


Last week there was the biggest clan gathering ever, in Edinburgh. There hasn't been anything like it here for a long time. Left is a poster advertising the 1951 clan gathering, from the collection of the Museum of London.

A nice accidental find to help me out with ideas for the wedding invitations that I am designing for my cousin. City silhouettes and tartan were ideas already usual. The client's brief cites Edinburgh/London/Malaysia/Norfolk and several tartans as possibilities for inclusion.

This is the kind mentalists' brief that is most welcome (nay, desired!) in the den. Thanks S&P!

Also taking place during the Edinburgh Festival of 1951 (Only the 5th Edinburgh Festival and the same year as the Festival of Britain) was 'Living Traditions', an exhibition at the Royal Scottish Museum (now Royal Museum of Scotland and currently closed for refurbishment). Left is the Roger Nicholson (Palladio Wallpapers) designed poster.

Quite different displays of style and content. Not so different from disparity in currently circulating marketing materials. But too tired for teasing out exegetical detail at the moment!