Tuesday, 26 March 2019


an interesting workshop this past week included bonding materials with year 1 at NUA where we managed to work with various plastics, rubbers and sublimation printing to create new materials.
It was good to go North for 36 hours to run book art surgeries in Leeds at The Tetley as part of Pages. Managed to cram in going to Laynes for tasty vegan breakfast in a beautiful design setting, Bundoburst for Indian street food bursting with taste and atmosphere, craft beer at Outlaws Yacht club and extraordinary cocktails at a place I can't remember...... a quick trip out to Ilkley before getting back saw a brisk wander around the moors which was a very different landscape experience to my big sky flat East Anglia experience. I spent most of the journey organising my talk for Turn the Page bookart conference in Norwich, still lots of culling otherwise it would be a 5 hour marathon. https://www.turnthepage.org.uk/ 
Meanwhile watching Idris Elba DJ in Turn Up Charlie.... it did its thing, the episode at Latitude was fun, spotting the familiar areas, started on what is a total mind scramble, the second season of OA. At the moment in wtf territory with seemingly random, visually glorious acts happening without the support of a narrative. films Mule, too many dubious moments to let its strengths fly and Mary Queen of Scots looked great, the hair alone was worth watching it for. new podcast business wars has an interesting take - so far Marvel v DC comics was fun with a few moments of insightful gossip..

Monday, 18 March 2019


some images from the shop at Japan House - it's so full of ideas. Meanwhile I have a piece of work in The PAGES exhibition  - it has started its short tour of three Yorkshire venues - ROAR http://rotherhamroar.com The Cooper Gallery, Barnsley www.cooper-gallery.com Doncaster Art Gallery & Museum www.doncaster.gov.uk/services/culture-leisure-tourism/doncaster-museum-and-art-gallery Interchange at NUA was a creative space without answers or direction - this was a challenge for some individuals but there was some  interesting learning. MA Book Art students have been displaying their altered books in a small exhibition in the library at Camberwell. I'm looking forward to a bonding session (in the technical not psychological sense) with year 1 at NUA - I have been working on the planning for this for a while and hope to demonstrate some of the technical lessons learnt whilst working at the Maxwell Centre Nanotech in Cambridge, the wonders of the heat press. Friday sees me in Leeds at The Tetley as a kind of book consultant attempting to support people exploring the book https://www.thetetley.org/whats-on/artists-book-advice-surgeries-at-the-tetley In terms of screens Stan & Ollie was a sweet and tender experience, Mary Poppins returns reminded me why I didn't enjoy the first one, all those jolly working people getting by and slightly too knowing children all within an Edwardian tweeness. After Life the latest Ricky Gervais work is worth watching if only for the wonderfully true to life use of swearing, but it also has something to say about grief.

Sunday, 10 March 2019


my work is going to be in a couple of exhibitions so making and thinking and packing work - Constellation: Inspiration and the Artist Book in Laramie County Library their annual invitational book arts exhibition in Cheyenne, USA. Work will be part of a touring exhibition coming out of the great team in Leeds who bring us PAGES Meanwhile - A week full of teaching - Mid Point Reviews, preparations for embedded book seminars, group crits, individual tutorials and a presentation around fantasy portfolio's. A day at Middlesex University working on the Craft Design Course was fun - teaching (engaging with students) without the usual bureaucracy I engage with. Undertaking the preparation for the day and working with the numerous paper structures gave time for reflection on the work I have been doing myself in this field over the past 4 years. I also managed to pull together some interesting ideas that I have been introduced to as part of the work at Kings with anatomy scientists around splitting and joining mobius loops and chirality. It was my birthday this week and presents included a really beautiful piece of Boro fabric from a farmers coat that has just the feeling of age within it - quite mesmerising with each stitch and piece of cloth having its own story embedded within it.  Went to see Witness for the Prosecution at County Hall in London https://www.witnesscountyhall.com/ a fun jaunt into theatre - essentially a courtroom drama but in a splendid room - the old GLC Council Chamber. In terms of screens - I gave up on workin mums - just too painful in so many ways, This Time with Alan Partridge is savagely observant,  Instant Family was  more than a screwball 'person out of place' genre but it had moments of thoughtful commentary around issues of adoption. Isn't it Romantic https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2452244/  is a splendid cliché of genres with some laugh out loud moments. I was meeting people at the Barbican (excellent Negroni's at the Martini Bar) so popped into the Curve Gallery but  I needed more time to see the fascinating work of Daria Martin so I shall be back. Just looking around for newish sounds and came across Cillian Murphy's Music Mixtape - not really new but gloriously eclectic - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00039mn and This American life podcast threw up Ozzy Osborne's version of working class hero - which might just be better than the original - sacrilege. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTF6n-JxQ9g 

Monday, 4 March 2019


4 days in Porto and back in the UK travelling for the last time as an EU citizen - what to say. Porto is a tough city to move around - with much to navigate between steep hills and seemingly random acts of traffic in between dodging trams. Got to see some interesting art and spaces - sometimes in the same place. Must sees are Serralves Museude Arte Contemporanea where there was a challenging show by Joana Vasconcelos, great work exploring gender, the role of the object and all done in a dark humour. The piece titled Birka used the language and cultural connections embedded and rooted within textiles to communicate a rich and powerful message - often the idea that textiles does this is lost on people who think textile design is about cushions, that is if they think at all. 
Hung in the pink Casa Villa there was an obscure show of Miro’s work specifically focusing on work where he attempted to destroy the notion of art- lots of burning, hacking, cutting and painting out areas in black. The Museu da Misericordia do Porto is a finely tuned museum telling the story of the space through a small number of stunning objects and should be on a list. The Clerigos Tower has tremendous views. Possibly the oddest space is under Igreja de Sao Francisco where all the Franciscan community were buried. In the main the churches were the high points, obviously the cathedral but smaller spaces hold exquisite riches. 
And then there are the tiles - they are everywhere covering exteriors of buildings and interiors of churches - their state indicates the state of Porto itself - a bit run down and lost but also rebuilding and renovation around every corner, developments of modern contemporary buildings next to deserted and abandoned ruins. 

Saturday, 16 February 2019


the weeks travel has been all about the really poor train service, missed connections, random cancellations, waiting and standing in overcrowded, cold, expensive trains (thank you GreaterAnglia).
In terms of teaching it's been a series of moments of real positivity, of changing and expanding minds in many ways along a spectrum. From the ongoing developmental opportunity afforded  by working with young people in the long-term to the explosive OMG moment when invited in to 'cause havoc' (old skool) - it covers a array of emotions from the idea of feeling you are watching water wear away a stone over a million years to the extensive use of Semtex! both have their value but one is so much more fun!
meanwhile I Spent 25 minutes in the Whitchapel Gallery to see This is Tomorrow - but it costs £12.50 each so for two people - £25:00 - we spent a pound a minute in the space ......uuummmmh....... the show was mixed but with a couple of nice collaborations between Artists and Architects but  - £25:00. meanwhile I popped over to Cambridge to the Private View of the Exhibition: Ground Zero Earth. There was a panel discussion dedicated to the study and mitigation of existential risk (not Sartre but our actual demise as a species) which covered a huge range of topics including the merits of Ai, machine learning, the role of art in time travel, the hierarchy within technologies, health and the future, sentient plants, dystopian utopias. The show is spread over 3 floors on the Alison Richard Building and worth dropping in if you are in Cambridge (as is walking into the Zoological Museum to see some incredible examples from the world of animals, weird stuff, but then isn't everything when displayed in a museum, for 30 mins). The themes in the show and discussion tied in with a recent podcast from New Models it was looking at the aesthetics of 4 Chan and ideas of authenticity in current  Design and Social media within a capitalism structure, recommended (Episode 7). films and screen activity this week have been mixed pod save America and Stephen Colbert on The Late Show continue to be a thorns, pointing out the obvious in the steady stream of madness. Backtrace - oh dear,  the Girl in the spiders web - more of the same from Stig, Ken Jeong on Hotones was an odd star, StarTreck Discovery continues to be intriguing with stunning visuals and just started season 3 of True Detective which is as gloriously dark as ever.

Monday, 11 February 2019


Another weekend of chain-sawing and burning (outdoor housework) but I also managed to check out a couple of work in progress at Snape Maltings in Suffolk - on Saturday Indus was a piece in development by an interesting group including singers, a composer, writer, dance and movement. In my mind it threw up lots  of thinking around the idea of interpretation and a voice in terms of audio description. The second work I saw on Sunday was a kind of mash up - as if the Cantina band from Star Wars was from a folk background. A brass folk band mixed with musical theatre. I love going to see stuff at Snape, especially in the Hoffman building when the exposed pipe work is a dream. Meanwhile James Cousins Company at Dance House in Ipswich was awesome. It was all about balance and completeness, examining  wholeness. Structure v content, the connections we make how we and learning from it. Green book is a moving tale but mainly its stature is held up by the stunning performances from the lead actors https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6966692/

Friday, 8 February 2019


if you like your films full of bad people getting what they deserve - the equalizer is for you https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3766354/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_1 if you like your films confusing and fragmented involving ideas such as good and bad not being so obvious Happy End is for you https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5304464/ The Sisters Brothers is a thoughtful jaunt - violently brutal but I struggled with the fact that its categorised as a comedy https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4971344/ Widows is a masterful piece of cinema - from the sublime camera work to the clever scrip and the stunning acting - it's a commentary on black lives matter, poverty, Me Too, class without been even mentioning it - all within a tight caper movie https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4218572/ Can you ever forgive me  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4595882/ was a gloriously debauched episode, I loved Richard E Grant louche portrayal so much that I had to go watch Withnail and I clips on Youtube.
the concepts informing Russian Doll on Netflix promise lots but 6 episodes in and it's still a gentle series with limited twists and turns with inadequate laughs but - I shall persist.
some recent exhibitions - Rags Media Collective at Frith Street has a sound and video piece within a padded structured room which has peep holes and built in seating to hear the sound pieces.  https://www.frithstreetgallery.com/exhibitions/raqs-media-collective  at Gasworks Libita Clayton has created a womb like gravel sound space, entering it is fun. https://www.gasworks.org.uk/ The Prototyping exhibition at Japan House is interesting with some great biomorphic design, although the expensively exquisite shop is beautiful and having visited the excellent  the 3D printing company, Digits 2 Widgets https://www.digits2widgets.com/  I felt that I has already seen a lot of this type of work https://www.japanhouselondon.uk/whats-on/prototyping-in-tokyo-illustrating-design-led-innovation/ Gagosian has some glorious drawings from Walter de Maria, he of the earth room in New York, but here the ideas rather than the things are to the fore. Downstairs at BlaineSouthern there's a group show of abstract work and on the ground floor the giant jenga blocks and heavily textured paintings by Bosco Sodi https://www.blainsouthern.com/exhibitions/bosco-sodi-heavens-and-the-earth
A week full of teaching - Camberwell has been all about defining finishedness - a gloriously futile task but along the way some fascinating conversations (which is obviously the point). With OCA we are testing boundaries - a brief that always delivers exciting  journeys for the students - this year has some challenging proposals, especially for students navigating the cultural politics of the Middle East. At NUA we are starting the Final Projects and the yearly fear comes hand in hand with the realisation that they get to leave very soon. If only there was a time machine. For myself it's been all about organising behind the scenes - started to plan the paper for Turn the Page, organise the ideas and gather materials for a number of workshops including synthetic anatomy and visiting artist at Middlesex. Images courtesy of going through books at a friend's house.