Sunday, January 10, 2016

2016 Begins

Back in Birmingham again and I've been doing a lot of work at my new house, including planning to remove this horrible wallpaper...


It seems that it is not possible to buy a house without finding a hideous wallpaper somewhere in it!

A calm start to work for me but not for Zoe Robertson, who had the unenviable task of setting up the latest exhibition at the School of Jewellery, the David Poston retrospective. This is a massive show of his work and I had the pleasure of meeting with him as he helped Zoe lay things out.

Preparing for Poston - 1

The exhibition opens on Wednesday 13th January with a symposium followed by the private view, which is going to be one of the highlights of the year as Mr. Poston is not only vital and charismatic but is also deeply political and in many ways years ahead of his time in terms of concepts such as "fair trade" and the environmental impact of being a jeweller. If you can get to Birmingham, don't miss it!

David Poston Retrospective - Preview - 3

David Poston Retrospective - Preview - 2

David Poston Retrospective - Preview - 7

I discovered a new favourite place in the Jewellery Quarter this week, Harry Smith's ironmongery!

Harry Smith

This place is real old-school with wooden boxes full of hand-made nails of all sorts. I can see work being made based on the stock here...

I also discovered the strange and wonderful Birmingham & Midland Institute this week. I helped Zoe and Steve (aka. The Dual Works) take a cabinet there for an exhibition of work by Sally Collins, the first in what is hoped to be a number of contemporary jewellery exhibitions which will be held there.

The institute is very odd and wonderful, having something of the air of a gentleman's club, a Victorian scientific society and 1970s comprehensive school. Which probably doesn't make it sound very appealing but I can guarantee that it is, with a concert hall, a theatre, a fantastic library and meeting rooms, it hosts such a varied tapestry of events, including reading groups, concerts of live music, film screenings and even concerts of recorded music with discussions after!

I will be joining very soon and will post some photographs then.

Some of you may recall that two years ago, I was the subject of a short film by documentary film-maker, Callum Rice. His final-year project was "Glory Be To God For Dappled Things" and was based on me talking about my work and how my work relates to the collapse of heavy industry in the UK.

Glory be to God for Dappled Things - 1

I was delighted to learn that Callum has recently won a Scottish BAFTA for his newest film, "Mining Poems or Odes" and that he has been nominated for the main BAFTAs as well as for "Best Documentary Film" at Sundance:

I've seen the whole film (strictly under wraps for now) and can confirm that it is a small masterpiece. I'll post a link when Callum gives the OK.

Sad news. My favourite brutalist building and, in my opinion, one of the finest brutalist buildings in the country, John Maddin's Central Library is finally being demolished.

END - 1

I'm thinking about ways to get some of this material to make the new work for the Craftspace show, "Made in the Middle". From certain angles, it still looks fantastic.

Starting with a horror from the new house, I thought I would finish with a horror from my new garden:

Sleep On...

This will be at the dump by this time next week.

I've spent most of the weekend in the garden, trying to knock it into some semblance of order.

Believe it or not, this is after a bit of clearance! I'm actually more excited about having a garden than I am about the house and spent today dealing with the trees which will become my "Elizabethan Fruit Grove" - fig, mullberry, quince and medlar, to be added to by some heritage apples and pears over the years. (Is that all too "Mapp and Lucia"?!)