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:
http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/may/22/tracey-emin-love-hayward-review (Accessed: 5th October 2013).

Dorment, R. (2011) 'Tracey Emin: Love Is What You Want, Hayward Gallery, review', The Telegraph, 16th May. (Online) Available at:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-reviews/8517013/Tracey-Emin-Love-Is-What-You-Want-Hayward-Gallery-review.html (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: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/somethings-wrong-tracey-emin (Accessed: 21st October 2013).

House to Home (2013) 'London Olympics 2012 - 10 of the best home accessories', housetohome.co.uk. (Online) Available at: http://www.housetohome.co.uk/product-idea/picture/london-olympics-2012-10-of-the-best-home-accessories/4 (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.