Soutine’s Portraits: Cooks, Waiters and Bellboys

Chaim Soutine – ‘The Little Pastry Cook’ (detail) c1927   I visited The Courtauld Gallery last week, ‘killing time’ between a theatre matinee and evening visit to Cockpit Open Studios in Holborn.  I worked at The Courtauld Institute of Art for several years and often used to pop into the gallery but visit less often these days. Somerset House is … Read More

Mr Owl

‘Mr Owl’ – A school pottery project   An old friend of ours has a handsome period property in South London which he has recently spent a great deal of time and effort refurbishing and we went to admire it over supper earlier this month. During a quick scan of the room to take in all the changes, my eyes … Read More

Isobel

Isobel – an ‘art doll’ by Johanna Flanagan   It was by pure chance that I discovered Johanna Flanagan’s Instagram account, ‘The Pale Rook’, a few weeks ago and immediately started ‘following’ her.  I was intrigued by her work. The next day she posted an image of Isobel – an ‘art doll’ – the central character in an exhibition entitled … Read More

Feet of Clay

‘When we were very young’ – ceramic shoe installation.   I made my first ‘feet of clay’ for a project during my ceramic diploma course.  The work was entitled ‘Shoes for the Cobbler’s Daughter’ and was based on the saying ‘A  cobbler’s children often go barefoot’.  The piece consisted of a series of girl’s shoes – started but unfinished – … Read More

The concept of ‘Home’

Cover design of ‘Home’ by Carson Ellis.   I picked up a children’s book in a gift shop recently entitled ‘Home’ by Carson Ellis.  It illustrates, very beautifully and imaginatively, many different homes and the people or creatures that inhabit them. I’ve always found ‘home’ an interesting concept.  What is it that makes a ‘home’?  I suppose it means different … Read More

Tilly

‘Curation’ – ‘Tilly’ – Found object assemblage   I was at the London Palladium for a rock concert earlier this month. A very old fashioned and ornate venue – strangely at odds with the mood of the evening and most of the band’s fans. They opened with a ‘pastiche’ newsreel featuring the band headlining on ‘Sunday Night at the London … Read More

The Beauty of the Garden

Illustration by Inga Moore – from ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett   If you follow me on Instagram you will notice that I am a lover of the great outdoors.  I also like historic places – houses and gardens – that have grown and matured with a succession of owners.  I enjoy the sense of continuity that comes … Read More

Phoebe Cummings and ‘Truth to Materials’

‘Triumph of the Immaterial’  (detail) – installation in raw clay by Phoebe Cummings   I was delighted to see that Phoebe Cummings has recently won the inaugural Women’s Hour Craft Prize (8 November 2017) with ‘Triumph of the Immaterial’ – a installation piece in raw clay which took 5 weeks to create and is currently on display at the V&A. … Read More

Joan Miro – Assemblage – Found Objects and Figures

Joan Miro – Figure and Bird, Bronze 1968   I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend in Barcelona this summer. Such an amazing city – lovely people and fabulous architecture. I was delighted by Gaudi, but I think the highlight for me was probably Fundacio Joan Miro.   It is a spacious purpose-built gallery situated on Montjuic with wonderful … Read More

Annie Turner’s sculptural ceramics

‘Martello Tower’ by Annie Turner – Ceramic vessel with fishing net (detail) I was very fortunate to have Annie Turner as a tutor on my ceramic diploma course several years ago.  She is a gifted teacher who demonstrates techniques clearly and is happy to share not only her extraordinary hand-building skills but also her slip and glaze recipes. In her … Read More