Sunday, 8 February 2015

Late at Tate Modern

My friend Rachel and I spent Wednesday evening enjoying three exhibitions at the Tate Modern.

The first exhibition was the Sigmar Polke which was the last chance as it closes this weekend. It was an eclectic mix of drawings, paintings, fabric collages and screen prints - lot's of crazy stuff!

Sigmar Polke - Resin paintings
Sigmar Polke - Resin paintings
Sigmar Polke - ink experiments
Sigmar Polke - Ink and collage experiments
Sigmar Polke - Large painting based on a photocopy experiment
The second exhibition was the new Marlene Dumas, The Image as Burden. This exhibition was a contrast to the Polke which was varied and eccentric. Dumas' work has a fluidity and cohesion in the approach to her work - the majority of which are portraits. She has a beautiful hand, using paint and inks in fluid lines to capture her subjects in arresting and sophisticated colours.

Marlene Dumas - Mixed media collage
Marlene Dumas
Marlene Dumas
Marlene Dumas - The paintings of children were a little bit spooky / eerie in my opinion
Marlene Dumas - This large wall of ink portraits were my favourite part of the exhibition they were so characterful!
The final exhibition was Conflict, Time Photography which I saw part of in November when I attended a Tate workshop. It was a powerful exhibition that was quite thought provoking encouraging you to reflect upon the effects of and aftermath of war.

Overall, I spent a lovely evening with a great friend and enjoyed lots of art.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

MA & Mad art

Last Friday I travelled to the University of Warwick with my other half and brother to attend my graduation ceremony. I have spent the last 3 years studying part-time for an MA in Educational Leadership which has involved lots of written assignments and action research projects.  It was a lovely, if slightly surreal day - I couldn't quite believe I had actually done it!

As for the mad art; I spotted a free event on Friday 30th January at Central Saint Martins at Kings Cross which seemed very intriguing.... it was entitled Curating Carnival.
I invited a few friends along and this is what we saw:

Lots of cool arty types attending the event
Dancers wearing metallic sculptures parading in the atrium 
The lights reflected off the shiny surfaces of the sculptures creating interesting effects in the space
Two dancers wearing mirrored masks weaved their way through the flock of sculpture-creatures
Three 'rope' dancers unravelled a large pile of pink rope
On different levels you could see menacing 'bird' dancers who started off with semaphore style choreography
Amazing black and white costumes adorned the 'bird' dancers whose movements had motifs of flight and birds walking
The details in the black and white costumes included applique, patchwork and the use of patterned fabric
I can not claim to understand any of the meaning behind the performance of Curating Carnival, but I do know it was a unique and entertaining experience. A fun free London event!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Pop-up Re-fashioning

Over Christmas I spotted a free crafting event at the Southbank in London for the first week in January - so I booked two tickets and invited my friend Natalie along. All you needed to do was turn up to the event with an item of clothing you want to adapt or re-fashion. It was part of a Pop-up charity shop for 'Mind' the mental health charity. The re-fashioning tools and accessories were provided for you to get creative! The choices were pretty extensive, they had; pom-poms, safety pins, sequins, beads, wool, embroidery threads, buttons, zips and pockets cut from other garments.

I had brought a selection of clothes but decided upon a simple navy gap tunic dress to change. There were no sewing machine available for any complex alterations so opted for a DIY re-fashion with these awesome coloured safety pins - the advantage being when I get bored I can easily remove them!

I also found any amazing bargain in the Pop-up charity shop - a bright green Paul Smith shirt in my size with the original labels attached for only £10. The original price on the tag was £148! Happy days. The button placements are quite unique and the buttons have been sewn on with different colours for an interesting touch.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Neon lights and Elizabeth I

My good friend and I took some time out to enjoy the last few days of the Neon artwork at the Lights of Soho gallery. The exhibition centred around the late God's Own Junkyard artist, Chris Bracey who mastered the magic of Neon adverts during a 40-year career in advertising and commissioned artworks (read more here).

Afterwards we popped over to the National Portrait Gallery for the Late Shift and got involved in the weekly free drawing workshop there. The theme for the evening was to select a figure from any portrait then transport them into a different environment (background). It was such a relaxing way to spend an hour or two. We chose the Tudors Gallery and decided to sketch Elizabeth I.
The portrait I chose dated from 1588 (an adult Elizabeth) and my friends was around 20 years earlier and showed her as a girl.
What do you think? Look at the beautiful details on her costume! Such bling....

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

McCalls 6696 shirtdress completed!

My first ever shirt-dress, DONE. I wore it for the first time today at work and it fits soooo well, it's very comfortable and the pockets are fab. I have joined in with the Autumn of 1,000 Shirtdresses hosted by the loverly Mary at Idle Fancy.
It may have taken me a little longer than planned but as the new year started my main aim was to complete any UFO's in my sewing pile before embarking on any new dress-making adventures.

Let me tell you about the basics:
  • Size: I cut a size 8 bodice, grading to a size10 for the skirt. 2cm added to the length of the skirt
  • Changes: I adapted the back piece by removing the gathering at the back yoke
  • Main fabric: Liberty's burgundy cotton (with a slight stretch) corduroy from Shakut's
  • Inner fabric: Black and white polka dot cotton from Goldhawk Road 
  • Fastenings: Black press-studs from John Lewis, black hook and eyes from stash
  • Interfacing: Didn't need any for the collar or button-stand due to the weight of the corduroy

A lot of time was spent hand-finishing all hems, facings and I chose the jumbo press-studs for the fastenings to create a cleaner line on the finished garment. I was 'slightly' worried about my press-studs popping open but they held fast all day with no embarrassing incidents thankfully!

I am very happy with the insides being as nice as the outsides - I bias bound the seams with a satin bias-binding which gives a little bit of glamour. As you know from my previous posts I had to chose a lighter weight fabric for the facings so I had the chance to pair the burgundy cord with black and white polka dot cotton which I think works very well - what do you think?

The 1,000 pin method to set in the sleeve! 
Hand basting the sleeve after pinning.
The McCalls 6696, pretty on the inside too!
Pocket bound with satin bias-binding.
You can't quite see it in this photo but there's polka dot pocket linings too!
The adaption of the back piece by taking the gathering out of the yoke worked really well. I had to create the two pleats you see above the waistband that 'almost' match exactly with the skirt darts!