Thursday, March 14, 2013

hull in a handcart

Well, not quite, but I did have to travel on a bus - which is nearly a handcart - the trains being cancelled due to a landslip.
Hull is an odd place. For the place in the UK with the highest rates of unemployment and some of the lowest property prices, it feels like a prosperous city. It is clean, it is busy, there are plenty of galleries and cafés. Adding to the oddness is the fact that it is in Yorkshire but while the buildings are completely as you would expect in that great county - plenty of notable Victorian buildings and arcades, reminiscent of Leeds or Harrogate - the surrounding countryside is flat and agricultural of the sort more usually associated with East Anglia.

The Punch Hotel

The Punch Hotel, typical Victorian architecture as found plentifully in Yorkshire towns and cities.

I stepped off the bus at Hull train station in pouring, icy rain, heading to meet with Cari-Jane Hakes at the excellent Ferens Art Gallery. Ferens is one of those great little galleries which exist all over the UK, showing small collections of very interesting work: there is a nice selection of Wyndham Lewis, Stanley Spencer and Paul Nash in this gallery and it well worth a visit.

Portrait of a Lady of Elizabeth's Court, 1895 - 1

 Fantastic jewellery on a portrait in Ferens Art Gallery. Is that a jewelled weasel she's clutching?

Before visiting there, however, I had to get some breakfast, which I found in a little café in Hepworth's Arcade, one of the many Victorian arcades in the city, now, alas! struggling to survive in the face of ugly chain-store malls. It was only after I had eaten my breakfast that I realised that there was an interesting dish on the menu...

Forget The Horse!

Savoury mice all round! 

Hepworth's Arcade is definitely worth a visit if only to see the remarkable old-fashioned Dinsdale's Joke  (and Trick) Shop:

Dinsdale's Joke And Trick Shop

I didn't think that there was ANYWHERE like this anymore but I am glad to see it here, open and doing well.

The reason for meeting with Cari was primarily to discuss an exhibition we have decided to organise. As yet untitled, the plan is that we will invite interesting jewellers to enter the show with a small entry fee which will cover the cost of a pair of the silver antlers that I made some time back:

Silver Antler Pile

The maker will then make a piece of jewellery using the antlers and it will become part of the exhibition. Obviously, friends and associates will be involved and we are also hoping to get interest from Etsy and Crafthaus as well as it is our intention to invite some of the makers from there to join in too. More details to follow...

After our discussion, the weather worsened and I headed off to see the remarkable Holy Trinity Church in Hull city centre before heading home. The church boasts a pair of Walter Crane stained-glass windows as well as woodcarvings by Robert "Mousey" Thompson and an amazing set of pews carved with gothic and pagan motifs.

Walter Crane Windows -

Carved Pews

Back at the workbench this week after as longish - for me - absence. I've been invited to make a piece for an exhibition called "Handmade by Machine", exploring the crossover between CAD/CAM practices and bench skills. While I could have used my Chanel tribute piece for this, I wanted something which blurred the distinction more than that, so started "20000 Leagues Under the Sea", an allegorical pendant after Jules Verne:

20000 Leagues Under The Sea - WIP - 2

Just received the proof of the poster for my first solo show, "I Am Iron Man", being held in Ayse Gallery in Istanbul, Turkey, next month. All welcome!

I Am Iron Man