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4 posts from March 2011


Weaving a magical vintage spell


Specialising in hand embroidery as a form of drawing, alongside applique and collage, Jessie Chorley's chosen techniques of creating functional objects for the home or as wearable accessories, undoubtedly weaves a richly woven tapestry of vintage charm.

Jessie Chorley and Buddug Humphrey run their concept store on London's famous flower market Columbia Road. With hand embroidered bunting, vintage petticoats, and decoupage picture frames hanging in the window, both location and decorated interior, perfectly creates an enchanting 'Alice in Wonderland' setting for their signature vintage style.

l for one, could quite happily spend an afternoon or two, exploring its contents. Antique toys, hand-stitched covered journals, and trinkets galore, are but a few treasures waiting to be discovered!


Playing with mixed media


Last week's post inspired me to think about the time spent, studying for my BA in Visual Communication (graphic design) at the innovative Edinburgh College of Art. This set of stamps that l designed as part of an ECA brief, reminds me just how much fun it is to play around with mixed media.

We were able to choose our own subject matter for the "Celebrating the Millennuim " four stamp project, and l chose to explore the history of writing. Happily for me, how humanity communicated via drawings, and the written word, opened up a plethora of technique.

The beginning of my journey found me screen-printing hieroglyphs onto linen. l was then most fortunate to commission a calligraphy talent (called David Nash), to take the words from the well-known 'Canterbury Tales' by Geoffery Chaucer, who inturn gave them a flourishing twist. l lovingly recall how exciting it was to receive the hand-written piece in the post, which l then later sealed with a dash of candle-wax.

Next port of call, was the much-beloved traditional Letter-press. This was lots of fun, and the final result achieved, was worth the challenge of setting the type by hand!

With the final stamp, it appeared natural to complete the circle. And so by hand-cutting a hieroglyph from tissue paper, which was then layered onto a lino print of blue colour, l then scanned the graphic piece onto my computer to finally implement the "futuristic" based typefaces. It was integral at this point to mix the media as part of the story-telling.

Looking back on this piece of work, l realise once again, how precious it is to nurture traditional techniques, and yet l feel re-juvenated with the realisation, that the past and future can go hand-hand rather beautifully!


Celebrating the delights of Edinburgh


This vivid 'Edinburgh Skyline' screen-print by illustrator Kate McLelland joyously takes me back to my halcyon student days spent at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). l was thrilled to discover that Kate is now studying for her MA in Illustration at this innovative college. l'm truly delighted to have a fellow ECA student join me on Looking Glass!

The rich and opaque colour tones of green and orange capture the magical charm of this vibrant Scottish capital, and l adore the simplistic forms of the famous landmarks, such as Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill. l can almost hear the playing of the bagpipes, as l view this captivating scene.

l find the style of Kate McLelland's illustration work bold in shape and colour, which speaks to me in a beautiful contemporary, yet elegant manner. Creating simple clean lines while still retaining an eye for detail.

Beloved Edinburgh, with its nooks and crannies, is a treasured memory, and has become a well of creativity that l will lovingly continue to draw inspiration from.


Artful archaeological artefacts


With reverence for archaeology, the excitement of discovering Magie Hollingworth's recycled paper sculptural work is an absolute delight!

Inspired by primitive artefacts, archaeology and nature, Magie Hollingworth takes everyday common tools, strips them down, relieves each one of its dutiful function, re-shapes them into decorative pieces, and celebrates their importance to which can now be grandly admired from afar.

l find the spoon installation with it's nostalgic images, beautiful and heart-warming, a celebration of a by-gone era. And yet like most unearthed artefacts, the messages conveyed, does and will continue to hold relevance to our everyday lives.

Her latest work commissioned for the Royal Caribbean cruise liner 'Allure of the Seas', is a set of hand-made paper plates cast (and gilded with 24 carat gold) on vintage china, finished with a top layer of 1945 vintage book pages. l adore the concept - mapping out the origins of garden plants. l quite agree with Magie, maps, travel and gardening, are all very good subjects for cruisers.

Magie Hollingworth's work certainly generates an inspiring and creative approach to looking at artefacts!