Today I went to St. Saviours’ Hall on the Barbican for an exhibition by Ancient Scent, a group of artists who take residencies in different places. Their project Ancient Scent: Ireland was a residency “inspired by the spirit of Ithell Colquhoun’s own journey to Ireland, recorded in her psychogeographical memoir”. During this project, Ancient Scent spent a week in Ascendancy House in Ballycumber, and visiting sites such as Durrow Abbey, Clonmacnoise, and Leap Castle. The work in the exhibition was made after their return in April 2017, and created during group art workshops.
The artistic styles and the mediums which Ancient Scent use are really diverse, from photography, to pottery and ceramics, all the way to creating an imaginary cult. The individual artists within the collective inspire each other’s work, so the exhibition isn’t just a lot of different objects on the same theme, but feels more like a full fusion of all of the artists’ skills and ideas. Walking around and looking at the pieces was like wandering through a folktale, serene and magical at times then creepy and menacing at others. I’ve never been to an exhibition quite like this before, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for more of Ancient Scent’s work.
I have made my Tate Exchange 2018 comic strips project into a new zine – TEX Comics! I will be releasing it at Counter Art Book Fair this Saturday 17th March at Ocean Studios, Plymouth. The fair is open from 12-6pm and is free and open to all so come along!
On Sunday 10th December I had a table at Give Up Your Day Job, which is a D.I.Y. art fair “and punk rock flea market kinda thing” held at The Junction, Plymouth. This event is really focused on Plymouth’s indie and punk makers, with stalls selling t-shirts, zines, embroidered items, ceramics, cards, prints, and lots more.
I like this event a lot, the diy giveupcommunity seems really close and friendly and there was a great atmosphere all day. Dan of Il Pleut Screenprinting and South Coast Rats, who was one of the organisers of the event, came over and gave me a copy of this zine, full of photography and collage, which made me feel very welcome. There was even a stall selling fresh homemade vegan cakes and snacks where my brother got a chocolate brownie which he says was really good.
I was offered the opportunity to exchange art with my table neighbour Jasmin Griffiths which I was pleased about as her embroidered t-shirts are really cool. I like her sweet but sour minimalistic designs.
My neighbour on my other side was Paige Nicholas, an illustrator who draws punk inspired portraits, and I got a copy of her zine.
Rachel Hall is a Bristol based illustrator who makes prints based on lyrics, space and science fiction. I thought her postcards based on Star Wars and The X-Files were adorable and quirky.
My dad was helping me out on my stall, but I only live around the corner from The Junction so the rest of my family also came down for a visit. My mum bought herself a book from Blind Spot Distro, who specialise in vintage sci-fi and fantasy, which she was quite pleased about.
I took my badge maker with me so visitors could create their own badges, here are the ones I managed to get photos of. The top left one is one of mine.
This was my second time at Give Up Your Day Job, but my first as a table holder. I came earlier this year and met Max from Shake Bristol and Lize Meddings from The Sad Ghost Club, so I felt proud to be able to take part myself this time. It is a really chilled out event, small in size, big in heart and full of independent and alternative local makers. Watch their Instagram for details of the next one!
Last Sunday I went to Ocean Studios for the Illuminate 2017 festival. Local artist Rosie Drake-Knight of Native Makers led a workshop on making a reflective heat transfer vinyl t-shirt and I was able to have a go.
First I had to sketch out a design. I chose the Junkrat symbol from Overwatch which is one of my favourite games.
Next I copied my sketch on to the back (the matt side) of a reflective vinyl sheet, with the design reversed.
I cut out the individual pieces and arranged them on the t-shirt shiny side up.
Rosie worked the heat press for safety reasons. She had to hold it down for a short time. The heat press has a heated plate on the bottom and the top, so it is like being sandwiched between two irons. Apparently you can use a dry iron instead to do this at home.
The last stage was to peel the shiny plastic off the top of the design. Underneath was the reflective design permanently sealed to the t-shirt fabric.
Here I am wearing my new t-shirt! I have hand painted and stencilled t-shirts before and this seemed to take less time and was a much easier process (as long as you’re only using one colour and the design is simple, like this one). Here is how the reflective vinyl looks using flash photography:
I am going to research using an iron to do heat transfer vinyl to see if I can make more things at home. The heat press was actually borrowed from my college so I am also going to see if I can access it or maybe one of my tutors would let us use it one day.
I had a look around some more of the work on display for Illuminate 2017 at Royal William Yard. It was really impressive, there were light shows and huge animations projected on the buildings.
There was a DJ playing music to match the beats of the show on the walls. It was a freezing cold late November evening but the atmosphere was upbeat and exciting.
Inside Ocean Studios was this Ray Of Light installation by Paige Alexander. This was my favourite piece on display and it is made from ultraviolet string that glows different colours under ultraviolet light.
Illuminate is an annual event to commemorate the sailing of the Mayflower nearly 400 years ago. There will be lots of other events happening in Plymouth over the next few years linking up to the Mayflower celebrations and I’ll try and visit as many as I can.
My local art shop, The Art Side, opened a competition last month to find the new design for their shopping tote bags. After finding out all of the details I needed and what my limitations were, I drew some sketches for different ideas, mostly based around art supplies and local landmarks. From those sketches I chose to do a selection of artists materials because (a) their previous bag (by Diana Mazuru Hooper) was illustrated with a picture of Plymouth’s beloved turtle Snorkel so I didn’t want to do a lesser local-based idea and (b) because I’m always looking for accessories that are decorated with illustrations based on illustration as a topic.
Because I wanted to do illustration as the theme, I thought it would be great to use a hand-drawn rather than clean digital style. I drew lots (and I mean lots) of different individual materials, from spray cans and markers to sharpeners, erasers, paints and glue. Then I scanned and cleaned up my images a little, keeping the sketchy style. I played with my images and came up with different compositions, sketching thumbnails as I went along to find balance and a good assortment of items.
Finally I found an arrangement I was happy with, and I entered it into the competition. I waited for the results with excitement and nerves and guess what? I WON! (Slight spoiler in the title there..)
My prize, as well as being the designer of the shop’s new bags and getting to see my work being carried around by people (and I will definitely get one for myself!) was a Daler-Rowney Screenprinting kit. I have tried screenprinting before at a short Saturday Art & Design Club workshop and have wanted the chance to try it properly by myself for a while, and now I can play with my kit at home and learn more about the process.
I have also been wanting to get some of my designs screenprinted for a while but haven’t had the money to do it, so now I can practice and make test versions at home which will help me to make better decisions about whether to get any designs printed professionally. I have tried lino printing on bags before but the results didn’t last well through washing, unfortunately. Now I just need a couple of days in a row free to play with my new kit..