I recently came across the work of Arielle Bobb-Willis, a photographer born and raised in New York. When I first saw the photographs they felt like a stream of warm sunlight, something I so desperately crave in the bleak winter months. Colour, shape and form is something that is important to myself and my own work; these photographs reinforced that but also made me question the way that shape and colour can be used. I can only hope that I am able to re-create that warm sunny feeling for someone else in my own work.
Sanna Annukka is a half Finnish and half English Illustrator who uses colour, pattern and shape to create beautiful pieces inspired by folklore and mythology found in cultures all over the world, but her work often focuses on the Sami people of Lapland.
For this project, I have started to look at Scandinavian folk art. The thing that caught my attention the most was the tradition of Kurbit painting . A Kurbit is an invented, fantastical symbol of vegetal fertility based on a gourd or pumpkin of biblical legend, principally used for ornamentation in Swedish folk art and on painted furniture and domestic objects. The idea that the symbol represents vegetal fertility really inspired me as it is alive, thriving and evolving which is something I want my work for this project to represent.
During my visit back to Stoke, I visited Stoke Market. The indoor Market has been there for many years and at one point was a bustling and thriving place. Recently the market has seen a decline in the number of people visiting as well as the amount of stalls not being able to survive therefore shutting down. Although it may not be the most exciting place to visit, the people there are so unbelievely friendly and welcoming, as well as having a strong sense of community and pride. This is something that I want to be portrayed in the work I create.
As part of the research for this project, I decided to visit the British Ceramics Biennial in the old Spode factory in Stoke, although ceramics isn’t an area that I am planning to undertake during this project, I felt it was important part of my project to see how ceramics today was being celebrated in ‘The Potteries’. It was wonderful to see what sort of themes were being explored in the work as well as seeing the space used for such a special and exciting event.
Inside the old Spode factory. The vast, cold interior left untouched and raw against the delicate and intricate ceramics creating a juxtaposition.
Place and Practices. Neil Brownsword. FACTORY. This piece explored North Staffordshires early industrialisation and the artistic/technological advances that evolved out of this period of cultural borrowing. Working with former china flower maker Rita Floyd, Brownsworth raises questions surrounding the preservation of marginalised skill as a valuable aspect of Britain’s intangible cultural heritage. What was striking for me in this piece was the way that such delicate and intricately crafted objects were just thrown away.
John Burningham’s work has a such an endearing and evocative feel to it. His use of subtle textures and colour palettes work together to give a wonderful sense of effortless and comfort.