Saturday, 28 December 2013

Flowers scanned

Pressed between book pages and newsprint, all-sorted flowers heads.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Colour Archive: Bisazza Mosaico

An A4 advertisement from a forgotten magazine, advertising Bisazza Mosaico,
the luxury tile and glass mosaic designers for interior and exterior decoration.
Nice to know such Artisans still exist.
Their website:
(They have music playing in the background.)

Zoomed in, the use of tinted but clear glass works well with 
the sand colours and pretty motifs.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Odd Colours and Leaves

Royal blue and olive green leaves, with these lines that form flower heads and leaves. An interesting colour palette, at first I thought it was awkward and not very nice to look at, but actually after spending time working with the fabric itself the pattern grew on me.  

The blue so striking and seems to almost move and glow, whilst the odd touches of a mid green add a little stability.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Postcards: the last of an old species of written word

Source: Post cards/promotional material from mid 2000s for
My So-Called Life (The Tragically Normal Diary of Rachel Riley)
By Joanna Nadin

Not actually read this book and probably never will at the rate its taking me to read my way through some books, but the covers of the postcards I found are bold and amusing, with soft mellow colours and swirls. I am going through a bit of a swirl doodling obsession at the moment, so though this doesn't help with that, at least it fuels it (in felt tip like colours).

Monday, 9 December 2013

White Hibiscus and the Blue

Originally fabric I have used in some past pieces of artwork. I scanned in some of the largest parts of it before actually working with the material, simply because the pattern is gorgeous.
I've just started noticing the way the leaves swirl in on themselves. 

The slight pink at the top middle is where I spilt some dylon dye. 
This is just one of them, the quality is quite poor to save up on room. I always worry about running out, and having to go through all the scans and photos on my Google Picasa account.
Resort to Photobucket maybe?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Pastel green, fresh and minty

Pastel green beads and lots of stitch, the silver chain stitch is particularly pretty
with this hue of green. This edging was re-used,
or at least I have taken the beads to one side to be re-used into something.  

Lots of shots placed together so they line up in places.

Silver, white and light green. Bit of ashame the decorative stitching 
and some beads were loose on this, 
could have just re-used it as it was on some tunic or dress.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

John Lewis Autumn/Winter 2013 Catalogue

My favourite pages and pieces from this catalogue. I don't actually go in for much - well except for that one time when I was desperate for some calico for a school project, or when I needed a special sewing tool for my work at university. You know, actually I quite like John Lewis and Fenwicks' haberdashery/fabrics/sewing departments. They are well stocked and specialised which is always a good thing when you need specifics for your sewing machine.
The orange binding is textured and the book has a quote by William Morris for some reason. Likely because JL likes to state that it works and buys from British designers and makers (I half believe that) that convey important ideas of having a purpose and still having an aesthetically pleasing form. Morris was all about equality for people, regardless of class or wage, and keeping makers and designers in work, paid well and utilising their specific skillsets instead of depending on factories and mass manufactured things, bit of naive thinking on his part, and strange considering his benefactors and people who commissioned him/his company were generally of the middle and upper classes.  

Each section is given a theme, starting with the mostt striking in terms of colour and texture, 'The Modern Restoration' title uses a strong identity of a traditional idea mixed with a bit of modernity. The next few pages are full of interesting shapes and textures. Again in keeping with the colour scheme, including teals and cobalt blue, some of which I have photographed. More sections reveal floral imagery, interesting design aesthetics - both what could be considered as classic ideas and innovative thinking, (like the magazine rack within the coffee table). 
I would have prefered to scan these, but in the end photographing meant I could test out the phone camera on my Nokia lumia 520, its not fantastic, but it can pick up detail and though really could do with a flash and maybe something that gets rid of my shaky hand, it does a good job.  

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

(Artist) Tracy Emin: Respect

This is quite a personal post and well overdue.
I was thinking about how respecting a person doesn't automatically mean you then like or agree with everything they do or say.

Tracey Emin would be a great example of this thought trail, whilst as an artist I think she has done so much good in terms of exposing textiles, fabric and the workings of stitch to the public as something equal to paint or sculpture using old school materials like plaster - that in fact stitch and thread are about as old school as you can get. She also has an interesting way of drawing that is loose and sketchy with a genuinely warm perspective and style. Delicate still.  

Olympics and Paralympics Poster
(House to Home, 2013)

I actually found myself with mixed feelings. I liked the poster for its simplicity, it was brave and unlike the other posters it seemed much more personal and like a small note on a scrap bit of paper - yet more treasurable. Breaking boundaries; who says a poster needs to be an explosion of colour and images and an assault to the senses?
However it was very plain, there seems to be no fanfare in it - no amazing triumph or sense of...well power and endurance and strength. Though looking at the image there is a kind of strength to it's grace of image. Also, comparing to the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics (wow has it been that long ago?), where is the colour in this poster? Also lacking in anything sports related except the logo. But again I can refer to my above point, who says a poster needs to be a graphics montage or drawing that hurls itself at the eyes and is painfully loud.  

Emin is one gutsy artist, and honestly if someone who really dislikes her work was to say anything about her it would be that she is strange, or prevalent, that her works refuse to be snuffed out quietly. Tracy Emin will not be cautious or careful. I find her work at times to be far too personal, a scrutiny of her life that is too close to even the sad or gruesome tales. She seems to be like a ship, going form one storm to the next.
But, I admire her in spite of this, for being bold and ballsy, being so personal with her work. She is an honest artist, she doesn't say 'well no this didn't effect me', but revels in the fact that the work is her and her experiences. She actually narrates her story through art. Could her work be seen as a literal self biography? The un made bed? The blankets and the tent? Yes, of course.
Melanie McGrath's essay (2013) regarding the artist, also relates or creates an analogy of Emin's work being like text, like you're reading something as if it were a set of letters making coherent words and phrases, looking at materials she uses and shapes she creates or ideas Emin plays with.  

What is the point of making art unless it confronts or explores something? It can't be just for visual kicks, because now you can get that from the internet, from pinterest, facebook, online newspapers and, well, any where.  

So yes, I respect Tracey Emin as an artist, even as a person, because in the end she presents herself with honesty. She doesn't hide away and pretend to be what she isn't. It helps that she's rich, her exhibitions reviewed and that she is continuing in her practice, but not that much really.  

Cumming, L. (2011) 'Tracey Emin: Love is What Your Want - review', the Guardian, 22nd May (Online) Available at: (Accessed: 5th October 2013).

Dorment, R. (2011) 'Tracey Emin: Love Is What You Want, Hayward Gallery, review', The Telegraph, 16th May. (Online) Available at: (Accessed 5th October 2013).
McGrath. M. (2013) 'Few Artists are Subjected to Fierce Public Scritiny in the British Tabloids Like Tracey Emin. But Is She A Great Artist?', Tate Magazine, no. 1. (Online) Available at: (Accessed: 21st October 2013).

House to Home (2013) 'London Olympics 2012 - 10 of the best home accessories', (Online) Available at: (Accessed: 11th November 2013).

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Buttons in black and white

Black and white photocopy of buttons dug out of my old research file from university. The ones with shiny metallic areas scanned in particularly well I think. I had to leave the copier lid up just to stop the buttons backs from damaging the white foam pad on the inside of the lid.
The top row of buttons are particularly decorative, look classical in terms of pattern.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Clothing Labels: Maximalism and Floral

Falmer Heritage
Label @ Matalan

Lovely floral motifs which I find are rare on clothing label tags. Really pretty in red with the dark green swirls, all finished off with the grunge effect, giving the label an aged appearance.
Matalan's quality and price are an amazing combination, more often or not their clothing items are made from better cloth (and better stitched), with prices that are almost akin to Primark.
Denim Co.
Label @ Primark
Details on this one are simple, Greece like in motif and the colour is modern and indeed the very image of Primark with its ever colourful items of clothing, items that can be used as layers, leggings, bags and hats and so forth. A thin grey ribbon adds a neat finishing touch on top of the thin semi sheer fabric.
Primark's key to success is maximum sales at lower prices and importantly reacting to the fashion world and its trends of the moment.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Colour Archive: Stylist (unknown issue no, 2012/13)

Magazine online @
 The pages below, scanned in from the magazine, would make a particularly beautiful desktop or mobile wallpaper (maybe even literal wallpaper for interior design?).
Why not include the text too?
See, this is why I use magazines to collage from, their sources of colour is immeasurable.
Due to the cost of inkjet printing and colour laser printing (which is mind numbingly high), printing sheets and sheets of coloured stuff just seems like madness. In the end using pages from found or bought magazines makes more sense and to sweeten the deal different magazines use different kinds of papers. For example, Stylist uses this soft paper that is like newsprint but much better quality for printing on and unlike its glossy sisters, you can in fact draw, annotate and doodle on the pages.
Beautiful Technicolor.
Yes ladies and gents, that is colour spelt the British way :) 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

(Painter) Charline von Heyl

Painters are dependant upon visual (more often of not), and upon colour and even surface. Charlene von Heyl is one of these painters who in particular stands as out as one who breaks rules, or at least rules within painting, and even goes as far as changing the way she paints, what she paints and what her paintings are examining.
She is an abstract painter, whose approach to painting is interesting and lively. She is a German artist whose approach to abstract painting is not conventional (Butler, 2013). Instead of seeking to represent objects by shapes and motifs, she seeks for her paintings to create their own shapes - completely separate from the real world shapes that we might be able to recognise (Institute of Contemporary Art, 2012).

The painting below has pointedly sourced pattern in the form of the black and white stripes, which then alternate as black and purple stripes. So they are valid as they push through ideas of pattern being consistent. Repeating idea of shapes not being exact in their properties of colour.
The use of the purple and dusty yellow/golden colour is an interesting comparison of colours. The white and black continues on one side and the river of paint that seems to bleed down the painting simply re-iterates the importance of painting processes and marks, which become so pattern like in shape and in their repetition.   
(Institute of Contemporary Art, 2012)

Heyl's method of tearing into magazines then putting them together with papers stained by ink, photocopied upon etc. She works intuitively, working on paper or painting until shapes that look like things begin to look like nothing - becoming something completely different (W Magazine, 2013). Personally I still see things in some of her collages - patterns and shapes that is, not physical real life objects (no toasters or kettles so far).    
Also Heyl states in an interview with BOMB magazine (an interview magazine) (20 that she can't remember things such as faces for long and so ends up kind of restarting. I try to remember things/pattern and surfaces as they inform me. I collect stuff. Hence
the blog. Its interesting to see how painters think.


Butler, S. (2010) 'Who is Charline von Heyl', Two Coats of Paint, 19th April 2010. Available at: (Accessed: 30th September 2013). 

Butler, S. (2013) 'Charline von Heyl takes on Ellsworth Kelly at the Worcester Art Museum', Two Coats of Paint, 13th November 2010. Available at: (Accessed: 30th September 2013).

Institute of Contemporary Art (2013) Charline von Heyl. Available at: (Accessed: 30th September 2013).

W Magazine (2013) Charline von Heyl: In the Abstract, 19th August 2013. Available at: (Accessed: 30th September 2013).
Kaneda, S. (2010) Interview with Charline von Heyl by Shirley Kaneda, BOMB magazine, Autumn 2010. Available at: (Accessed: 30th September 2013)

Monday, 30 September 2013

Plastic bags and strawberries

I have always been a fan of strong plastic bags that can be reused. Because of their ability and very green nature, the importance of being used over and over again, they are often given brilliant decorative graphics and colours. 
Sainsbury created a brilliant bag presenting the union jack flag made from a photo of fresh strawberries collaged with blue pieces on a white background.
At one point I was working on this bag to create shapes and patterns of a random dripping nature using glitter glue, which when peeled off the plastic once dried would also peel away the coloured print underneath - leaving only the white plastic.
Remember to re-use your bags.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Pringle Packaging

Pringles taste amazing. Their packaging is also quite interesting, using very simple black lines to form the actual simplified shape of a Pringle crisp. Which actually looks like a beak - a duck beak....daffy duck. There is a band of this repeated shape going all the way around the see
through plastic covering of the Pringle tubes.  

They overlay quite nicely too.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Visual Arts Degree Show 2013: Stained and Painted Room





 Photos taken by E. Russhard and Z.Akram

Stained and Painted Room

Garment fabrics, interior fabrics, sugar paper, wallpaper, glitter glue, pva glue, Dylon fabric dye, Brusho dye, ink and emulsion.

Northumbria University, Squires Building
Exhibited as part of the Fine Art and Photographic Practice Undergraduates Degree Show. Northumbria University
May - June 2013 

Floral lace scans in b&w

Some lace scans. Originally the lace came form a t-shirt like top I bought from a charity shop in town. The floral pattern on the top can be found on a previous post titled Chintz roses; odd colours of pink, red and purple-blue.
I haven't yet got a chance to use these pieces in any painting or work, but I used the rose print top part in my degree show exhibition as an appropriation of the typical floral patterns now commonly seen on the streetwalk and catwalk. A pattern that has been brought back out of the cupboards and dusted off, then given a pat down with modernisation - as has lace or lace imitation fabrics of course.
Thinking of doing a lace feature of prints/scans/photos for September.
So please by all means send in photos/scans of lace or bits of lace form anything via e-mail to  

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Visual Arts Degree Show - July 2013

Materiality is at the beginning of things. It is about the physicality and where it comes from, what it does and how it interacts with others. I choose from what is discarded and I physically change these materials using paint. Stuff is collected; plastics, papers and fabric conflict with gesture and drip.
What is a
painting or how a composition can exist are questions that I ask. I challenge the conventions within fine art by staining fabrics and other surfaces with emulsion, ink and Dylon fabric dye. The walls and the very structured surface of a space are given their own marks that are reminiscent of decorative painterly gestures.

Fabric too, is decorated and marked intentionally by these substances, creating a unique collaboration between craft, fine art and textiles. Stitch joins a piece of graphic pink print with a plain piece of fabric, then paint interferes with the sheer blue dubatta, covering the embroidery in places and coating the sequins with a veil of colour. The paint does everything but fit in.

A strange collaboration where East meets West. These discarded materials and fabrics reference this cultural fusion, exploring a duality that connects and confronts.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Archived Snip: Independant Radar, grunge and sequins

Scans from an old Independent Radar magazine from a Saturday Independent
- dunno the date but I can say with a bit of certainty that is it from this year.  
The above costume is really fascinating just because of the abundance of blue glittering sequins.
They catch the light really well, making the costume look more and more intricate and
expensive or couture like.
Then there is the mask made from a kind of net that is also lined with sequins.
The face made highlights the unconventional use of sequins over the facial features.     
 In the above and below images, the singer is dressed in different textures, including feathered,
which beside the grungy and splattered background makes everything look raw and edgy.   

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Chintz roses; odd colours of pink, red and purple-blue

The chintz pattern has a lot of history and many books written about it.
But here are some chintz patterns that are have been brought to the present,
to the contemporary pattern structures and use of colours.
The colour palette is very expressive and bright and warm,
despite fabric having faded through multiple washes,
the colours still strike me as being original.
Especially that strange purple-blue.

These tiny rose buds are beautifully printed onto the fabric,
which is a kind of synthetic blend of materials -
and seems like it would be difficult to print upon.