Monday, 22 June 2015

MA-Ness Term 3 Week 10, Ongoing Lurg, Printing, Bookbinding, Potternewton Mansion, Northern Gothic, Taking Time Out

this weeks post it note - pictured on top of brand new cutting mat - been meaning to buy one for a while and fantastic book binding workshop was final impetus to part with cash for one

booklets made in book binding workshop - a concertina which involved lots of glue and was bit fiddly - but worth it, a japanese stab stitch booklet (pink one) which involved drilling and slightly more complicated sewing, and the red one which involved punching a hole with a sharp point and more simple sewing...but well chuffed with all of them and thinking of using the red style one for one of my projects.

A slightly fuller post it note this week but still struggling with motivation and get up and go - partly because my heart is still breaking with regard to Lucia (it'll be 4 weeks on Wednesday since her sudden and shocking death) and lurgy which although is lessening is still lingering. Though thankfully the coughing fits have become less frequent and hacking and with less use of my inhaler - not had to use it since Saturday so that is a big improvement and fingers crossed taking it easier over the next few days will see the back of it.

Still feel lacking in energy though as a result and it was a mix of realising that I was running on empty and a realisation that if I don't let myself have some down time that I will end up really poorly that has led me to rearrange my commitments for this week - some I've postponed and some I'm going to cancel, I need a couple of long lie-ins and doing not very much instead of dashing about like a blue arsed fly for a bit.

But as I didn't make that realisation and decision until the middle of last week I still did quite a lot of running about and doing stuff - namely lots of printing in the digital print room (the print room is about to mostly close down for lots of the summer  and I am mindful of a portfolio hand in date in August) - have printed on entirely on tracing paper this time, some colour but most black and white and some A4, some A3 and some A2 - was originally going to take them all home rolled in a cardboard tube but then decided to buy a plastic A2 project bag as that way they would be kept flat, as unrolling tracing paper can be difficult if the roll has set in...and I had also bought some screenprinted lovelyness from fellow students from the pop up art fair and this was the best way to get it home unscathed. My ever supportive and patient husband picked me up after work that day to save me the hassle of walking home with it.

I have still to sort it out into categories and place them appropriately into my portfolio though - I have printed off some of my Belle End pics (my response to John Waters 12 Assholes and a Dirty Foot) and some of the images I've taken recently on b+w 120mm at St George's Fields and also experimented with the printing and photocopying of one of those images in a Sebaldian tribute stylee (apparently he used to get his colour pics developed on the high street and then copy them in black and white and repeat copying that image until it got the level of murk he wanted) , and I am well chuffed with those as the way parts of the image deteriorates reminds me of how memories deteriorate too so that only the most salient points remain along with the feeling.

The digital printing cost £12.40, the project bag, A3 display book, cutting mat and bone (well it is plastic as they didn't have bone folders at Blenheim but I'm hoping they might at Vernon Street when  their library reopens after the summer break) folder thingy and the photocopying cost about another £20. I did make a note of keeping track of exactly what I'm spending but I forgot - but I must keep a better note for future as a)it'll be interesting to see exactly what I'm spending and b) as I'm hoping to be part of a project for which I'll be able to claim expenses I'd best start keeping receipts.

I was able to appreciate a bit more of the work on show this week as I was on invigilating duty so inbetween printing and invigilating I had another look round - so much easier to see the work without lots of other people stood in front of it and quite heartbreaking to see some of the plaster sculptures being sawn up and attacked with hammers when it came to taking it all down time. 

I took mine down out of the window  and attached them to plain white sheets of paper - there were a little couple of tears but nothing too major but I have left behind some sticky residue from the double sided tape so I shall return with special sticky stuff remover and get rid of it.

It was also an opportunity to see how other people have displayed their work and one of the ways I was most impressed by was in the photography department and it was two images - of the front and the back of the head sandwiched between glass at right angles to the wall - the top part of the glass wired diagonally to the wall - apparently it's rather fiendish to execute but so worth it. I'd like to make my images stand out - not just because of their content but literally so that you either have to walk round them or through them if I ever get them printed on silk (working on ways to make this as cheap as possible so I can actually do it...) so that you can interact with them in some way other than just looking.

The other thing I want to try and incorporate is the use of colour - not as in colour photographs but maybe colour washes over the black and white and taking my inspiration for the colour used from the victorian fashion for messages in flowers - it seems there were various dictionaries so you could send loved ones coded messages both in terms of the flowers used and the colour of them - apparently yellow meant jealousy though it did also depend upon both the message sender and receiver having the same dictionary.

As is probably obvious my obsession with all things victorian shows no signs of wavering and this week has had two highlights of victorian loveliness - a peek inside Potternewton Mansions which was built in 1870 and is now a sikh temple and in the process of being restored to its original splendour and I feel both excited and privileged as well as very much looking forward to doing some more work with them over the next few months and the victorian splendour of Scarborough.

I'd gone primarily to see Sharon Harvey's photography exhibition at Woodend Gallery (details here) plus it was nice to go to the seaside for a bit (I did worry about Mapp being on her own but we had a cat sitter pop in a couple of times to check on her and feed her and though she was very pleased to see us when we got back she seems to have survived okay) and we did do the things we usually do at the seaside - namely play on the twopenny falls, buy terrible tat (in this case an owl made of shells that is truly vile but brilliant) and of course we also had fish and chips, ice cream and had a quick walk on the beach.

We loved Sharon's photos so much we bought two prints (coffee stained cyanotypes) and I can't wait to get them home and on our own walls - her photos are gorgeous, eerie, contemplative, slightly disconcerting and they look so lovely amongst the restored victorian splendour of Wood End in what used to the Sitwell family home. I use similar processes to Sharon but different subject matter and it  has given me ideas about how to develop and progress those processes and also again made me think of what I want to evoke in the viewer.

As ever much food for thought.

We went back to Scarborough Art Gallery the following morning specifically to see the exhibition of seaside snaps from the 1870's to the present day and they were wonderful - amazing to see how much of Scarborough has changed and how much has stayed the same - sadly Warwicks Revolving Tower and the Aquarium under the roundabout have long gone but the advert for 'high class artificial teeth - perfect fit guaranteed' on the side of a building in a picture from the early 1900's made me chuckle and it was lovely not just looking at the pictures but also the memories which accompanied them.

Along with the photographs there were also wonderful paintings by Charles Wynne Nicholas and Atkinson Grimshaw - so lovely to see such wonderful victorian paintings in victorian surroundings - the whole side of that bit of Scarborough is gorgeous, we also popped into Crescent Arts next door and looked at a fine exhibition of new collage work and old collage work by Eduardo Paolozzi's - his Bunk portfolio which were also wonderful - partly due to the heartwarming nostalgia for some of the contents of the collages, I am a sucker for 1950's american magazines and adverts.

From there we went to the Rotunda - a purpose built to show off geological specimens museum which was also splendidly victorian - it had a domed roof (complete with seagulls nest which we had been watching from our hotel room the night before) wonderful glass cabinets full of objects of wonder - glass eyes for taxidermied birds, funerary urns from the bronze age, egyptian cats as the collection soon expanded to include more than just geological specimens and included all manner of things.

We then treated ourselves to a late lunch at Francis - which has just got listed status, it's a tea room set amongst the  gorgeousness of a 1930's hairdressers (you can read about it here) and it's also next door to where one of my other victorian photographic heroes Oliver Sarony used to live and work - sadly his studio is long gone but his house decorated with painted heads and now converted into flats is his house and you can read about him and his work here before heading for home via the splendour of Scarboroughs magnificent victorian cemeteries on Dean Road and Manor Road grouped by a wonderful under the road passageway.

I took lots of photographs which I hope will come out okay and include more than 6 'money shots' (see previous posts) as there were some magnificent examples of victorian grave splendour though sadly all the angels I photographed had bits of their wings or hands missing. I used 35 b+w film (Ilford ISO 400)  and because I didn't want to be carrying a heavy bag I only took one lens - my 'nifty fifty'. I took some on my camera phone but not sure if those will come out or not as although there is space on the micro sd card it kept saying it could not display them as I'd reached the 1000 pictures limit.....

What else? best crack on with my sorting, also want to do some relaxing reading this week - partly course/work related but I also want to get my hands on a copy of Lady Audley's Secret which is a victorian sensation novel by Mary Elizabeth Braddon published in 1862 which caused somewhat of a scandal and is featured in the 1867 painting 'Courtship On The Beach' by Charles Wynne Nichols which is at Scarborough Art Gallery as well as finish the the very wonderfully unsettling and creepy 'We Have Always Lived In The Castle' by Shirley Jackson which is marvellous so far - just got to the revelation that the older sister Constance was acquitted of murder and quite how the arsenic got into her parents food is a mystery.....    



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