It’s another Nate Berkus kind of day.

IMG_1471It wasn’t meant to be an interior sort of day. Today was about painting outside walls, I attempted to paint some walls but the Cornish summer weather got the better of me and as fast as I put the paint on, it was diluted with heavy rain showers and rinsed off the wall.

Time to tackle the spare room and create a feature wall. Today’s problem is barometers . We have two! Something that is no longer needed now every smart phone or tablet has a weather App. But back in the day they were considered a fitting retirement gift from employer to worker.  Ours represent a fathers and grandfathers employers gratitude for years of loyal service. It felt too disrespectful to send these two bits of history to the charity shop.  I had boxes of framed photographs to sort through and a rusty round mirror that I thought could make an interesting addition to the wall. I picked though the photographs and selected the ones that seemed to match the dark wood of the bed and the barometers . Once that was done I measured out the wall space and marked the same area on the floor. Then it was just time to play around with positions and weed out the pictures or frames that didn’t work in the hanging plan. Once I was happy I started putting nails in the wall in the right position for my chosen pattern, after hanging the barometers and mirror I started putting the photographs into their positions. I only needed to switch a couple of frames that didn’t quite work as well on the actual wall. I’m pretty pleased with this , it has been a good use of a rainy day.

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theoldmortuary- real life interior design.

IMG_1468Nate Berkus a US interior designer has many of the same philosophies that we are adopting at theoldmortuary. As we have mentioned before we are sadly depleted of relations the generation above us. We have a pretty large archive of ‘stuff’  from deceased relatives , it needs to be curated or we would be accused of being hoarders and that has never been a stylish look.

Tea sets are a tricksy one , reasonably unfashionable for day to day living .We must have had five sets that were nostalgic to the point of being impossible to send to the charity shop. We’ve found a compromise.

This one , a simple classic that suits our style lives on the Cornish Range in our Kitchen.IMG_1467Denby Manor Green Stoneware was produced from the 1940’s until the 70’s,our collection holds pieces from every decade and has been inherited or gifted from family and friends. I can’t say we use it often but it looks good on the range and is really comforting to use , especially in winter. The bowl shape of the cups is perfect to hold between chilly hands and the plates have a bit of a lip that is great for retaining the melted butter that oozes from hot crumpets.

We have a few bone China plates that we have kept from a variety of manufacturers and sources that spark interest when Cake is required , the quality of the pieces spans Woolworths to Crown Derby. We’ve also kept 4 bone China cups and saucers that we serve deserts in. Beyond that the bone china has gone to charity shops, it takes up too much storage space and flies of shelves if you brush past it. You don’t need an eight person setting to prompt a memory when a single plate will do.

 

Ocean Studios, Bakery and Cafe.

IMG_0998This summer Ocean Studios at the Royal William Yard has opened a bakery and cafe. Sourdough and other bakery products are supplied by Column Bakehouse of Devonport.

IMG_1001.JPGThe Bakery also sells jams and other luxury provisions all displayed beautifully.

The Cafe spills out into the gallery area of Ocean Studios.

IMG_0995.JPGIMG_0992.JPGCoffee at Ocean Studios is great, full bodied and fruity. Beans are supplied by Origin Coffee.

There will be regular art exhibitions in the gallery that envelopes the cafe . Currently and running until 11th August is Made In Plymouth. An exhibition featuring contemporary souvenirs created by students from Plymouth College of Art. Held in collaboration with the Real Ideas Corporation it featured Plymouth specific art.
Plymouth has culture and history in abundance and is establishing itself as a creative hub with a thriving and diverse arts scene. The bespoke items at this exhibition show the talents and creativity that the city has to offer.
The merchandise on display is exquisite, some of it so gorgeous it might slip from souvenir to fetish object without any trouble at all. I’m thinking particularly of the collection of Pilgrim Hats , preserved in an old Victorian shop fitting.

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Close to the cafe servery there is s display of silk scarves, moving as only silk can do in the gentle breeze.Each one giving a slightly different, colourful,perspective to the Plymouth theme.
The mundane objects, tea-towels, tote bags, beer mats, badges and aprons are not overshadowed by their more sensualist competitors for attention. Well thought out and stylishly created they present an edgy contemporary example of how good souvenirs can be, both representational and abstract at the same time.

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Fashion is represented by Fisherperson smocks and Jewellery by badges both intriguingly different from the standard coastal fashions.
Ceramics are well represented by Paulina Chromik, simple black and cream designs that are calm and considered.

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2D art and printing fill the walls of the gallery. It is stunning, even the difficult subject of Plymouth Blitz is rendered in a way that is considered and beautiful.
Alan Qualtrough was the artist in residence on our visit .His Kiss and Bite Letterpress prints are both lexicographically and visually pleasing. The usual quiet of the gallery  gently disturbed by the rhythmic thump of an Adana hand printing Press.

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https://realideas.org

https://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/

ocean studios plymouth

First paintings of the summer, finished and ready to go to their new homes.

Two paintings, inspired by an early morning walk, were finished yesterday. Back in May I took an early trip to the Barbican in Plymouth. The early sky was, an impossibly clear, Klein Blue. The colour was reflected in the waters of the harbour. As usual the harbour water was full of the detritus of a busy fishing port.

In Barbican Detritus II the wake of a boat washes into the harbour and breaks on a roll of fishing net. 50cms x 50cms  £300

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Barbican Detritus I

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Barbican Detritus I,  has a super-shiny resin coat which makes photographing it impossible. The shine gives immediate impact but closer inspection shows the texture and detail. It is a macro landscape of a corner of the harbour where rubbish, oil and paint gather.

50cms x 40cms £300

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My Place – South London Women Artists- Brixton East

IMG_1113South London Women Artists put on their summer show at Brixton East last week.

Founded in 2008 this collaborative group of women artists are rapidly gaining traction in the London Art World and beyond.

An exhibition at the brilliant Brixton East venue has become a bit of an SLWA summer tradition. The curators of My Place asked artists to respond to the theme of the same name. The artists responded magnificently , those featured here photographed best but all of the work was of a very high standard.

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New Ideal Home-Pat Cove

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I think this was one of the pieces selected by an art critic  who exclaimed that he liked this and one other piece but that “the rest was shit.” Thankfully the comments in the visitors book were more fulsome and complimentary.

 

 

The Ladies Bridge- Waterloo Bridge Karen Livesay

IMG_1116This video installation looked amazing projected on the wall next to the three prints of Waterloo Bridge that accompanied it. The text projected is the actual writing of some of the women who were welders on the bridge.

Talking text, which is my current obsession, I bought this painting by Valerie Lambert.

IMG_1134Valerie, a London based Scot, feels that bridges signify her place in London.  It’s hanging very happily in theoldmortuary now .

IMG_1278The success of this exhibition is not only the work of women. Celestine, a man of infinite patience, hung every piece of art. The building, Brixton East, is also pretty special.

Did you ever see such well stocked loos ?

http://www.brixtoneast1871.co.uk/

 

https://www.southlondonwomenartists.co.uk/

Wrongly Hung Door Part 2

Who would have thought it. You wait all your life to tell a badly hung door story and two crop up in one day!

IMG_0469I popped along to Tate Britain this morning to visit Queer British Art 1861-1967, a great, informative exhibition . Somewhat unexpectedly,  and to my mind unnecessarily , the cell door of Oscar Wildes incarceration was exhibited next to a famous portrait of the celebrated gay icon.  The point of the door was lost on me but if it had any relevance surely it would be the cell side of the door rather than the side seen only by his gaolers that would be of interest. If I’m to connect in any useful way surely I need to look at the door as Wilde would have done? Would it have been more effective shown as a sculpture in the middle of a room, or could have it been mounted in some way so the interior door surface could be reflected on a mirror?

Curating is a strange craft , this odd inclusion, arred in an otherwise stylishly curated exhibition.

Quiet blogging patch is over.

As a new blogger and website creator I try to get something on my site nearly every day. My tag line even says “Something Stylish Every Day”  it’s a big ask but it has been motoring me through many WordPress Tutorials , hopefully it hasn’t been too obvious that I’ve been working to a brief.

Too many blogs too little time would be my motto of the last ten days. Three return trips, Cornwall to London, in the last ten days has sucked the time out of my days. In addition to setting up and taking down some of my pictures at an exhibition I’ve been doing stuff that needs to be written up for other publications and my own blog/ website.  Here’s a snippet of yesterday with South London Women Artists.

IMG_0468Yesterday was my first chance to see the completed ‘My Place’ exhibition at Brixton East. It will be a blog subject all of its own in the next few days.

The Exhibition was brilliant and despite having a personal  ‘Big Elephant’ in the room, or gallery, I sold some art.  I still can’t quite believe my luck that I also managed to snap up a beautiful picture while tills were closing and the paintings were flying off the walls to snuggle once again in bubble wrap.

IMG_0467My Place by Valerie Lambert had to be purchased. Firstly it represents , to me, the defiance of London following the attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market. Secondly it combines Fine Art with text which is my current obsession. Thirdly it’s a political watercolour. Red Dot in the corner please.

Here comes the Elephant!

IMG_0466This is my main piece of art for the exhibition. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this is not an Elephant . It is quite obviously a door. What this also is, is Contemporary art comedy gold. Sections of the media and comedians love to laugh and scoff at the futility or silliness of Contemporary Art . They report and snigger at Mark Quinn’s Self Portrait ( A sculptured head formed from silicone and ten litres of his own blood, frozen)  Made funny by a security guard turning off the power that kept it frozen. Tracy Emins bed, tidied up by an over zealous cleaner, and a recent installation , I don’t know the name of the artist, hoovered up overnight in Liverpool

The eagle eyed will notice a mismatch. The text accompanying the work is upside down.

The truth of course is that My Place ( my door) has hung upside down in a gallery for a week ( I’ve flipped the image above), worthy of a chuckle, I agree. Many people have commented and asked me if that was a deliberate decision. The answer, of course, is that I’m not that clever and that it was a simple error. But it does make you think and comedic, or not, that is exactly what contemporary art is about

 

https://www.southlondonwomenartists.co.uk/

 

http://www.brixtoneast1871.co.uk/

A weekend with Milly

A weekend of giving Aunt Milly some love and attention is enhanced by sunshine. I have a pile of books to keep me occupied and a view to distract me.

IMG_1032I popped into the Royal William Yard to buy some bakery provisions at The Ocean Studios. A home made Pork Pie somehow slipped into my shopping bag. Cue a bit of bakery porn, posing in the old clome oven, giving me the chance to use the term ‘Crumbshot’  which I have stolen from memoirsofabaker.

IMG_1021.JPGMy reading for this weekend if the sunshine and the views don’t distract me is:-

How To Write About Contemporary Art by Gilda Williams.

Recommended by my art writers group. So far I’ve only dipped but it seems like an easier read than I had imagined.

 

 

Long Live Great Bardfield: The Autobiography of Tirzah Garwood.

Edited by Anne Ullman. My entire gene pool comes from the Bardfield area and I know very little about the village. Coupled with the narrative of a female artist, this will suit me very well.

 

 

Cant Stand Up For Sitting Down by Jo Brand.

A friend gave me this after I took a shockingly bad selection of books on my holiday. She thought this would chear me up literarywise. She was right. Living near Jo in South London, being grey haired and inclined towards curviness, I am often asked if I am her sister by shopkeepers. I think she would make a fabulous sister but the answer really is NO but if you insist I will sign your till receipt.

 

The Saturday Guardian,.

Regardless of the general opinion of our newspapers the arts stuff is well written and I enjoy reading it over the weekend.

 

Living Etc:

A style magazine that offers interior design that can be modified for normal living.

 

Cornwall Today: July. The Poldark Edition.

Colin and Diana had a copy of this ,when we met them at The Sorting Office Coffee Shop at St Agnes, yesterday. I’m more of a Winston Graham Poldark fan than a BBC fan . I read all the books in my early teens, I’m intrigued to see how Poldark is reimagined within real Cornwall.

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Evening Standard Magazine: 07.07.17 London United Edition.

My love affair with London never fades, I voraciously read other people’s stories about their feelings for our capital city.

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