Wednesday 20 February 2019

New in at Olive's Nest, York

Liberty Print Fabric Necklaces

Just thought I'd let you know that there's been a new delivery of stock to Olive's Nest in York.  Not only are there some lovely Liberty print fabric necklaces but also some colourful button hairclips...

Button Hairclips

and some resin button brooches - check out the upcycling!...

Upcycled Resin Button Brooches
If you're in York why not pop along to Olive's Nest on Scarcroft Road (just next to Bishopthorpe Road) and take a look.  There are lots of lovely things to buy!

Friday 15 February 2019

Story Book Dresses with Jennifer Collier at Hope & Elvis

Jennifer Collier - Cup

I'm a great admirer of Jennifer Collier's work so I was delighted to be able to go to one of her workshops.  I was also delighted it was at Hope & Elvis which has a friendly atmosphere, great materials, fabulous lunches, plentiful tea & coffee thanks to Louise Asher, the owner.

Hope & Elvis

Paper pioneer Jennifer makes her wonderful sculptures from vintage papers and stitch.  Her work is original, contemporary and with the papers she chooses, weaves a narrative through her finished pieces. 

Jennifer brought along examples of her fabulous work...

Jennifer Collier - Coat & Dress

Jennifer Collier - Cup

Jennifer Collier - Technique

We were making Story Book Dresses and in doing so Jennifer showed us machine and hand stitch techniques, including paper patchwork, covered bindings, button loops, covered buttons plus picot stitch and a needle lace edging.

Jennifer Collier - Examples of Story Book Dresses

We could choose from both Jennifer and Hope & Elvis's materials...


Jennifer showed us a few techniques at a time and let us try them out.  There were templates available so we could fit our techniques to the size of pattern pieces we would need for our dresses later.


My selection of papers...
Vintage Papers

The first technique Jennifer showed us was pleating...

My Pleating

We also made covered binding and button loops...

My Button Loops & Covered Binding

and pockets.  Mine is embellished with a paper covered button and some (very inexpert) needle lace...

My Pocket

I did a little better with my picot although I have to confess this was my second attempt...

Picot - My Second Attempt

And then it was time to put it altogether.  We even got to make a hanger to hang out dresses from...

My Dress - Back

My Dress - Front

It was a great workshop.  I didn't quite finish my dress in the time although most other people did so I completed mine once I got home.  Jennifer was really helpful and approachable and happy to share her techniques and top tips with us all - thanks Jennifer!

Jennifer Collier

Thanks also to Louise & Ruth from Hope & Elvis for looking after us all and to Maggie for a great lunch!  Check out the workshops on offer at Hope & Elvis here.

Friday 8 February 2019

Lucie Rie - Ceramics & Buttons at York Art Gallery

Lucie Rie - Ceramic Buttons

Lucie Rie, 1902-1995, was an admired and respected 20th century potter. Showing in the Ceramics and Buttons exhibition at York Art Gallery are her bowls, bottles, vases and buttons.  My particular interest was her buttons.  Take a look...

Lucie Rie - Ceramic Buttons

Rie's button manufacture was set up during the Second World War. The buttons were sold to the fashion trade, to couturiers such as Paquin and department stores like Liberty and Harrods.  Couturiers could use Rie's buttons as adornment without flouting the clothing manufacture austerity measures of the Second World War.

Lucie Rie - Ceramic Buttons
Lucie Rie - Ceramic Buttons
Lucie Rie - Ceramic Buttons

Alison Welsh, Head of Fashion Research at Manchester Metropolitan University, has made some garments inspired by the modernist qualities of Rie's ceramics and featuring her buttons.  They emphasise the hand woven and the handmade, harking back to the days when dressmaker's or couturier's skills were sought after.

Lucy Rie - Buttons & Alison Walsh - Garments

Lucie Rie - Bowl 1970s

The lava like surface of this bowl is achieved by adding silicon carbide to the glaze.  Firing causes the glaze to bubble and form craters...

Lucie Rie - Bowl c 1985

Lucie Rie - Bottle 1959
Lucie Rie - Bottle c1978

Check out this exhibition on at York Art Gallery until 12 May 2019.

Friday 1 February 2019

Launch of the Thin Ice Press & Moveable Type Exhibition - University of York

The launch of the Thin Ice Press, which is the University of York Department of English & Related Literature's new letterpress studio, took place on 24 January 2019.  The name is inspired by York printer, Thomas Gent's entrepreneurial actions.  In 1739 the River Ouse froze over and a frost fair was held on the ice.  Gent got together some printing kit and set up on the ice printing souvenirs.   

The studio is used for teaching, research, public workshops and collaborations.  There are plans to combine world leading scholarship, letterpress traditions and design, bringing together printers, makers, artists and authors.  A current project involves building a replica wooden common press based on the remains of such a press believed to belong to Gent himself.  You can read more here.

1838 Clymer & Dixon Columbian Press

It was great to be able to see the printing presses.  I was able to have a go on the Clymer & Dixon Columbian Press to print a "Thin Ice" poster after the printing blocks had been inked up ready to go.

Printing blocks inked up
My print
We also saw a demo of the Arab Press, involving impressive hand and foot co-ordination, to produce these cards...

Sample card printed on the 1926 Arab Press

Next up was Nick Hand and the Printing Bike.  This bike had been built to carry an Adana 8x5 Printing Press.  I printed an extract from the Monotype Recorder on a card printed with a shoe design by Hannah Cousins.

Printing Bike - Bicycle with Adana 8x5 Printing Press
Adana 8x5 Printing Press

Shoes designed by Hannah Cousins
My print

Nick had taken his printing bike from Land's End to John O'Groats, stopping on the way to talk to makers and craftspeople and produced a book in the process.  It was really interesting.  I was especially struck by the conversation with Philip and Nick Wright of Ernest Wright & Son, Sheffield who made scissors. I have a pair of Wright scissors and they are excellent.

Conversations from Land's End to John O'Groats - Nick Hand

Apart from all the exciting oppotunities to look at the printing presses and have a go, the Moveable Type exhibition was on in the Norman Rae Gallery in Derwent College.  This exhibition explore's print's capacity to communicate, celebrating the letterpress revival and the art of the page. Combining the traditional with something new, here are a few images to give you a flavour of the exhibition...

Nick Hand, The Department of Small Works - Page from Journeyman
Jukhee Kwon - Red Book Tree
Jukhee Kwon - Red Book Tree (detail)

Artist Books
Design by William Nicholson for Mock Beggar's Hall by Robert Graves, Hogarth Press

Katy Stavreva, Foxden Press - Mending Wall by Robert Frost

Brooke Palmieri, Camp Books - Susan Sontag

Joanna Lisowiec - The Light-Keeper

Peter Allen, Whittington Press - The Puffin

David Armes, Red Plate Press - NYLYN

Jukhee Kwon - Not Anymore

Moveable Type is on until 8 February 2019 so you've still time to take a look.