Monetlr Monet2lrDavidlrblue figurelrMy boy1lr My boy2lrBrick artlrLego…what’s not to like? So when I heard that Nathan Sawaya was exhibiting over 85 sculptures made from Lego, we headed into London to see ‘The Art of the Brick’. The exhibition was in Brick Lane – how cool is that? Nathan has interpreted some of the most famous artworks such as Michelangelo’s David and some of Monet’s paintings out of Lego. He has also created Lego figures that take your breath away.

But is it art? I struggle to call it art or sculpture not because of the medium but because somehow I didn’t feel they pushed conceptual boundaries or encouraged one to reconsider accepted ideas or create an emotional response. I found it difficult walking around wanting it to be art but actually considered it high-class entertainment. There were possibly two pieces that I would call art. One was called ‘My Boy’ and was inspired by a sad story told by a parent. In this piece, I felt the sheer agony a parent experiences when their child is ill or worse, dies. The other powerful piece was a short film by another artist using Nathan’s pieces as props. In the film, an old man creates a wife and daughter from Lego and when they are complete, they become real. Did they really become flesh or was it a lonely’s man’s imagination? The film explores the way our imagination makes things real for us or perhaps it was a fairytale and in the film’s reality they became human – in a similar way to Pinocchio.

Final word? Brilliant family fun, not cheap, but an excellent day out. (And definitely go to trendy Spitalfields Market for lunch). www.artofthebrick.co.uk

Bob Dylan1lrBob Dylan2lryellow figurelr

About this post: My 2014 resolution is to visit a creative place every month.
January – The Ashmolean: Malcolm Morley
February – Oxford School of Photography
March – The Ashmolean: Cézanne and the modern

April – The Jam Factory
May – Art in Ardington
June – On Form exhibition
July – Crossing Borders
August – David in Florence
September – The Vale & Downland museum

 

http://www.limetreesstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/06-05-14-book1-72.jpg
My mother and sister have recently completed a superb collaborative project. Megan Kerr wrote Rope of Words over a period of five years, most of which it spent in the drawer, in various stages of disrepair. She finished it in 2012, when it won the British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition. Lin Kerr used the story to create an illustrated book with 14 watercolours of models drawn from life and then stylised. She also designed a font called Elva which you can see on the book cover.

The story is about a woman and her lover who collected words. The Woman lost both her words and her lover and spends the rest of the story looking for them (vowing never to cut her hair until a reunion). She had to find her words to get back to her lover. If you love words, illustrations and beautifully printed books, then put Rope of Words on your Christmas list, or even better treat yourself now.

It is being sold as a limited first edition of 600 copies, numbered and signed by the author and the artist and has full-colour artwork printed on fine paper and is hand bound. The price is £15 and can be bought from Rope of Words Website.

“With some customers she bartered for hours, word for word; others would pop in for a quick word in the lunchtime rush and never consider the cost. She even sold misspellings in a bargain bucket – wikkid, lite, fink, alrite – which the teenagers bought until someone from advertising came in and snapped up the lot.

http://www.ropeofwords.com/images/index_main.jpg

Art2lr Art3lr
Art4lr
This month I visited a place a little closer to home – exhibitions at The Vale & Downland museum. The are a number of exhibitions throughout the year as well as a permanent museum about the Vale and its surrounding area which I have enjoyed visiting many times. I have a lot to thank the museum for as they were the first stockists of my cards and also inspired me to exhibit my book called ‘Journey‘ giving me a confident boost.

I saw Notes from a Potter’s Diary by Jo Bosley and Lyn Harrison who are both potters. They draw inspiration from the countryside and then interpret their images into ceramics. I loved the way they made sketches and notes but found that the pottery objects lost something of their loose, fluid lines and became a bit ornamental. I thought their best works were when the subject matter was most stylised.

Art1lr

I also popped into the exhibition of the Wantage Art Group –  a group for practicing artists, beginners and those who are trying to start. It was good to see people ‘having a go’ and I know from experience how important it is to finish a piece of artwork, not just try different techniques. Having an exhibition to aim towards is an excellent impetus. Through the Trees 2 by Amanda Hislop using paper, acrylics, and stitching caught me eye with its gorgeous textures.

About this post: My 2014 resolution is to visit a creative place every month.
January – The Ashmolean: Malcolm Morley
February – Oxford School of Photography
March – The Ashmolean: Cézanne and the modern

April – The Jam Factory
May – Art in Ardington
June – On Form exhibition
July – Crossing Borders
August – David in Florence

Plant1 lr

This year’s autumn lasagna ingredients

Plant2 lr

Layer 1 – Tulip bulbs

Plant3 lr

Layer 2 – Narcissus tete-a-tete bulbs

Plant4 lr

Layer 3 – Crocus bulbs

Plant5 lr

Top with winter flowering pansies

I have been working incredibly hard on various design projects and decided it was time to take a break and grow a lasagna. Inspired when off to buy chicken food at my local garden centre, I bought 3 different types of bulbs and wintering pansies.

Ingredients
A pot and compost
20 x crocus bulbs
12 x narcissus tete-a-tete bulbs
10 x tulips bulbs
6 x winter flowering pansies

Method
Place gravel at the base of the pot
Fill the pot halfway with compost
Place the tulip bulbs on the surface and cover with compost
Place the tete-a-tete bulbs on the compost and cover
Place the crocus bulbs and cover over with compost
The final layer is the winter flowering pansies. In the past, I have also used ornamental cabbages which look fabulous and amusing although they can smell a bit… cabbagy.

The beauty of this lasagna is as each layer dies, the next will appear in a blaze of glory taking you all the way to April. And I feel very pleased as normally I’m shivering in November and trying to poke frozen soil forcing daffodil bulbs into the ground – too little too late. Go on… and cook your own floral lasagna.

brick2lr brick3lr brick4lr brick5lrbrick1lr brick6lr
On our backpacking holiday, we allowed ourselves one luxury item each. Mine was my camera and my son, Nicholas, brought Brick. An intrepid Lego man who experienced Italy from a new perspective – from BIG pizzas to the scary heights at the Duomo. Brick borrowed my Vespa on the Spanish Steps and peeked into Vesuvius – luckily he wasn’t lost, dropped or stolen on his travels.

I enjoyed taking my own photos of Brick – a quirky take on Italy and Nicholas loved creating Brick’s blog – go visit it on backpackinglegoman.wordpress.com

Florence2lrFlorence1lr

Florence8lrFlorence7lr

Florence3lr Florence4lr Florence5lr
What a pleasure to visit Florence which made a change from the dynamic but run-down southern Italy. We stayed at the same youth hostel that I stayed at 18 years ago as a student. Either it had grown shabbier or I had grown up – but it was clean and safe and we enjoyed the faded glamour of an 15th-century villa. The girls made friends with the carved elephant banisters which they named ‘Elmer and Ellie of Florence’. I was delighted to see the Duomo which appeared like a dramatic black and white ink drawing and I loved its clean, sharp lines which contrasted with the colour and excitement in Florence whether it was the carousel, the ice-creams or the exuberant albeit slightly sickly pastries. It was fantastic to climb the 463 stairs to the top of the Duomo: its dome is made of two ‘skins’ (or domes) and you climb in a narrow space between the two domes to spectacular views.

Florence was our final destination before heading home after our adventurous holiday with many memories to process.

Florence6lrNaples 2014 11lr

Naples 2014 1lr Naples 2014 2lr Naples 2014 4lr Naples 2014 5lr

Naples 2014 7lr Naples 2014 8lr Naples 2014 9lr

We caught a train down to southern Italy which was  very run down and the train station looked a bit like Pompeii. Vesuvius, however, surpassed all expectations as there is something very raw and primeval about climbing a volcano and looking into its crater. We travelled up in army-like jeeps and then climbed the last 30 minutes to see spectacular views with the whiff of sulphur and hint of danger. The children kept wondering if it would erupt but we reassured them that it was monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and there was an evacuation plan for the area. (Most of the 800 thousand inhabitants don’t know the plan and without a great infrastructure how it would work in reality is debatable). I certainly wouldn’t live permanently under a live volcano!

Pompeii was interesting to visit as it was something I had always longed to do but it was so very hot and dry that we all wilted. All the artifacts are in the Naples Museum, so you only have half the story when walking around the site. I liked the fact that there are stepping-stones across the road so that when the roads were sluiced down of debris, the citizens could still cross without wetting their feet. You can also see the ruts between the stone made by the waggons and their width set our current day railroad gauge. Twinkling quartz stones set into the road acted as cat’s eyes. It was certainly a very advanced city.

Naples 2014 3lrNaples 2014 10lr

Rome 2014 2lr Rome 2014 3lr Rome 2014 6lr Rome 2014 7lr Rome 2014 8lr Rome 2014 4lr Rome 2014 5lrRome 2014 9lr

August holidays: and we went backpacking with the children to Italy, taking only what we could carry in our rucksacks we headed off for Rome, the Bay of Naples and Florence.

I’ve a kaleidoscope of impressions of age, grandness and decay. The English romantics went to see Rome’s glorious decay in the eighteenth century and 300 years later, it has progressed further. It was a shock to wander out of our apartment and look down our street to see mammoth pillars that are 2000 years old at The Forum and to marvel at how enormous they actually are. We rushed off to see the Sistine Chapel suitably attired as men, women and children have to cover their knees and shoulders. It was very sweet to see Isabel, aged 8, in one of my skirts. As we stood in the queue being harassed by touts, the realisation hit us that it really was a four-hour wait in the baking sun. It was a bitter pill to accept but I had to admit defeat and that I wouldn’t be able to see Michelangelo’s paintings. Water fountains are situated through the city and run with fresh water, courtesy of the Romans, so we cooled down and found a street cafe to eat delicious pizza which brought back the sense of contentment. I gloried in the colours and drama, graffiti and mess of this crazy city although Isabel took one look at the Colosseum and dismissed it, “It’s broken.”

.Rome 2014 1lr

David1 lr

David2lr

I walked into Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence and was admiring Michelangelo’s slaves when there he was. I was caught unaware and there was the incredible sculpture of David larger than life and towering over the crowds. After seeing so many reproductions and crass interpretations, the real thing took my breath away – it was a ‘wow’ moment. Many images of David have been depicted of when he is victorious and has slain Goliath – this one is different, it is the moment before. David’s hands are clenched and the tension is there in his body, in his watchful eyes, in his neck and in his veins. This is his moment and he can take it, he is at the cusp of the decision which would change him and he could choose to grab that moment, throw that sling and kill Goliath or let the opportunity pass him by. The man is not yet victorious, not yet sure of the outcome, he doesn’t know the end of the story even if we do. He can only choose to trust his God and the meagre tools that he has been given. He has been anointed a king but it is still a promise and not yet a reality. What will he do?

About this post: My 2014 resolution is to visit a creative place every month.
January – The Ashmolean: Malcolm Morley
February – Oxford School of Photography
March – The Ashmolean: Cézanne and the modern

April – The Jam Factory
May – Art in Ardington
June – On Form exhibition
July – Crossing Borders

First day of the holidays - 'suping' in Sweden (surf upright)

First day of the holidays – ‘SUP’ in Sweden (surf upright)

Early morning swims

Early morning swims

Canoeing, exploring and picnics

Canoeing, exploring and picnics

A dream treehouse with pulley system to kitchen

A dream treehouse with a pulley system to the kitchen

Cousins

Cousins

An arty sessions

An arty session with Granny Lin

We have recently returned from a fantastic visit to Sweden to see my brother, Anna and their children after three long years. It had been such a hectic and emotional time with the end of the school year and when we got there we could stop, breathe and unwind. When my children woke up early they crept out into the dappled sunlight to find a dream treehouse built by Andy for his girls. They climbed up and explored. Elva woke up and called out, “Papa, papa there are people in my treehouse.” “They are your cousins!” Nomi who is only three then asked plaintively, “Papa, papa where are MY cousins?” The children reunited and we all relaxed in beautiful Sweden enjoying the incredible sense of clear blue skies, open horizons, outdoor living and our wonderful family.

crossing1 crossing2 crossing4crossing3With hectic work and family commitments, I thought I would not be able to make it to an exhibition this month but an exhibition came to me. While waiting at Arlanda airport in Stockholm, I was able to enjoy an exhibition at the airport. What a cool place to display art and so much more satisfactory than browsing through a bookshop or tourist tat while waiting to return home.

An airport is a place where people who travel across borders meet and pass through. This exhibition depicts portraits of Swedes who work or have become famous outside their own country and included diplomats, musicians and athletes. Their work took them away from Sweden over geographic borders but they also broke barriers and borders in their spheres. The exhibition has crossed borders by being at an airport which challenges our perspectives of where we expect to find art and the ‘boundaries’ we place on an airport’s function.

I love viewing photography where the image reveals more about a person and is not trying to capture the ‘perfect smile’ or a glamorous pose. This challenges my response when I see photos of myself that I feel are not flattering. I also found it stimulating to see the reflections of the airport, of planes and travel paraphernalia on the glassy surfaces of the pictures creating new dimensions and breaking the borders between art and its surroundings.crossing5

About this post: My 2014 resolution is to visit a creative place every month.
January – The Ashmolean: Malcolm Morley
February – Oxford School of Photography
March – The Ashmolean: Cézanne and the modern

April – The Jam Factory
May – Art in Ardington
June – On Form Exhibiton

Paul3I have recently completed a catalogue for Paul Kessling, a well-known abstract artist who exhibits world-wide. He also happens to be my neighbour and got fed up with trying to make the layout program InDesign work for him! Two of his paintings were being exhibited overseas by the Cube Gallery in London and they required a catalogue to depict his other work as well as describing the concept behind his work. I produced a 48 page catalogue plus cover to showcase his art. The brief was to keep the design as clean as possible and use lots of white space. The artist and gallery were delighted with the results. Have a look at Paul’s work on his website www.paulkessling.com.

Paul2

Paul4

http://www.limetreesstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/28-06-14-_-elva-and-dino-72.jpg
My brother Andrew Kerr has spent the last 8 months working on an app where children ‘choose a colour’ on an iPad or iPhone and finger paint a dinosaur. They can then pose and take a photo of themselves with their dinosaur that they have just painted.

Please download this free app and rate it and help make it happen so that the ratings and comments do well on this weekend’s BIG Launch. Just click on Let’s-paint-dinosaurs.

The first three dinosaurs are free and for this weekend  T-Rex is free as well.

To rate it – you need to download it, then go back to the link, and you can write something and give some stars. This follows his first dinosaur app Dinosaur Zoo a couple of years ago which consistently won ‘Best kid app’ awards and got five-star ratings on the Apple App store.

The photos are of my cute little nieces ‘playing’ with dad’s dinosaurs.

http://www.limetreesstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/28-06-14-_-nomi-and-dino-72.jpg

 

 

Asthall12lr Asthall14lr Asthall15jlr Asthall13lrAsthall17lrThere were so many details at the On Form but I limit the images on each post so didn’t include these, but I thought you may enjoy seeing more of the On Form Exhibition. There are still two more weekends when you can visit for a marvellous day out.

On Form is at Asthall Manor from June 8th to July 6th, 2014.
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 12 noon to 6pm
www.onformsculpture.co.uk

Asthall16lr

Asthall lr Asthall2 lr Asthall3 lr Asthall4 lrAsthall9 lrAsthall6 lrWe rushed in at 12:00 on the dot for my daughter to attend the children’s carving workshop and I was overwhelmed by the sculptures, the flowers and the manor house. Once Isabel was sorted out, I could slow down and celebrate the On Form exhibition. On Form is a top priority to visit in June and is a fabulous biennial exhibition of sculpture purely in stone. The glorious setting of the seventeenth century Asthall Manor and beautiful gardens surrounded by the Cotswolds set off the sculptures to perfection.

My favourite sculptor this year was Tom Stogdon who uses roughly cut stone pieces to create organic shapes. They remind me of stone walls where there is much thought and skill in using individual pieces to create a satisfying whole. I love the way his sculptures interact with their surroundings and especially Stone Overlap which frames the countryside, is reflected in the pool and draws people towards it. Tom Stogdon has also created abstracted cityscapes inspired by London and Oxford where we were able to identify landmarks from the simplest shapes. The repetition of forms and texture in his work create a sense of calmness. Another sculptor I appreciated was Aly Brown and her piece Parvati, a slender torso, whose sinuous curves continue as they reflect into a natural pool dotted with lily pads. Aly said that a recent comment she had overheard was, “How does she make stone bend?” When you look at her work it is hard to believe it is stone as it flows like liquid. Then there is Adrian Gray, a stone balancer, and David Worthington’s Experiment in Colour VII who dared to add colour to marble – perfect against the red poppies.

Not only is there sculpture, but ponds, wild flowers, a dramatic swing, a tree house to die for and the connection the manor holds with the Mitford Sisters who lived there between 1919 and 1926. There are many events to enjoy too: Aly Brown gave free carving workshops to children which Isabel loved and on the 18th June you can watch Adrian Gray balance rocks.

I can’t recommend On Form highly enough as a day out whether you are passionate about sculpture or see it as a backdrop for a social occasion – our friend Jon’s words not mine!Asthall7 lrAsthall5 lrAsthall10 lr

Asthall12 lrOn form is at Asthall Manor from June 8th to July 6th, 2014.
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 12 noon to 6pm
www.onformsculpture.co.cuk

About this post: My 2014 resolution is to visit a creative place every month.
January – The Ashmolean: Malcolm Morley
February – Oxford School of Photography
March – The Ashmolean: Cézanne and the modern

April – The Jam Factory
May – Art in Ardington

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 122 other followers