I made some spoons! I took Barn Carder’s one day spoon carving workshop (see his website here and a bbc film about him here) in Stepney. My bus used to go past his shop on Hackney Road; all I could see was a man on a stool surrounded by a sea of wood shavings, so naturally it being Hackney I assumed he was an art installation. The whole thing was so inspiring – taking a chunk of a tree and learning to axe it down to make a spoon ‘blank’ (a wedge you can whittle), and then carving it into shape with two small knives. I felt like Michaelangelo releasing the spoon from the wood.
Category: Inspire me
While sorting through some stuff over the weekend I came across all the roughs I did while trying to work what picture, out of all the possible pictures in the universe, I was going to put on my business card. My starting point was that I wanted a person to be in it, and if possible an animal, and I wanted it to be quite vibrant.
One idea I had was to have the business card as one frame of a storyboard – everyone would be sent different frames and you’d have to visit my website to see the whole thing. I was using moo.com so I could have up to 50 different images on one side of the card..
..the middle column of a woman and a bird was the idea I eventually went with.
Lots of faces with different backgrounds.
I kind of liked this playing card idea using a man and a woman..
..and one of the last stages before I got to the finished product. The bird is a Cock of The Rock, a slightly comedy Andean cockerel-type creature.
I went to my first comic con, Kapow!, this weekend, mainly out of curiosity. I wanted to see what it was like to hang out in that world; storyboarding obviously isn’t far removed, and I’m wondering where else I could go with it. I was hoping to sketch some fan boys/girls but there wasn’t really a quiet corner, so I ended up drawing a statue outside Costa Coffee instead.
I also bought some stuff from the Nobrow stand. They’re a small publishers in East London who I’ve got a bit in to; their books smell amazing and everything looks like it’s been handprinted. I really like the quality of their colours. This is from The New Ghost by Robert Hunter:
Mm love that space observatory. The below is from Pebble Island by Jon McNaught, a wordless look at life on the Falkland Islands. It’s small, about 15cm squared, but the tiny frames manage to evoke the space and solitude of life there. I really love it.
I discovered some amazing marker pens today, which would usually be the sort of thing I can’t justify spending the money on, but I was armed with a voucher from my v. generous ex-colleagues so it seemed the moment had to be seized. They’re Tombow double-ended pens (brush/fine tip) and both the cut of the nib and the zinging colours make them awesome to draw with. I’m definitely using them for storyboarding.
This is the page I was testing them on in the shop; at least two people tried to have a go as well when my back was turned thinking it was the communal pad of paper.. er no. Anyway I like the confusion of colour – if I tried to plan a jumble like this it wouldn’t come out the same.
We’re back in London, moving in to our new place and not posting enough on here. We now live on a park so lots of opportunities for figure studies.. Also below, a visit to the British Museum, one of my favourite places. On this occasion I went to see the Italian Renaissance Drawings exhibition, stuffed with gorgeous sketches and half the population of London.
This was the final drawing in the exhibition, Portrait of a young woman in profile to the right by Titian. Artists at that time tended to use men as models for female characters, I guess because nude female models weren’t the done thing. So the women often looked a little (or a lot) masculine. But not in this drawing. You really need to stand in front of it to see – it’s lovely.
Here are three souvenirs I bought in Peru – all beautiful examples of crafts found around the country. It’s extraordinary how many different kinds of craft the country boasts, and the quality of design. I read that Peruvians have, through time, mastered every kind of weaving technique known except for those that are machine-made.
Here is a lovely example of weaving, bought from the Allyus Ecológicos artisans’ cooperative in Cusco. All natural fibres and dyes.
This is a fabric made by women of the Shipibo tribe, in the northern Peruvian jungle. The ink is from the fruit of the Huito tree and when first applied, it’s clear, but after a while turns dark (hence also used for temporary tattoos). The women create this pattern from experience, ie knowing where to lay the dye. I totally love it.
And lastly this was a present for my mother. It’s a little gourd, minutely etched into by the master artisan Oswaldo Osores Medina, who is from a town called Cochas Grande in the district of Huancayo (the only place to produce etched gourds). After etching they rub oil and charcoal over it to bring out the picture. The detail and lightness of touch is amazing – the woman I bought it from only had 2 of his pieces and said they were difficult to come by (although he’s still alive). It’s quite moving to look upon such patient, devoted workmanship; apparently the younger generation aren’t that interested, so who knows what will happen to such a special art.
What an incredible country, to produce such a fine level of design and craftsmanship in all these different forms.
Lovely time lapse video of the Milky Way to reassure us all of our insignificance in this world.