Invited to add magazine layout know-how to a design / astrophysics / app development mashup, it’s not entirely expected that you’ll start by getting participants to design their reader. But the reader is a great place to begin. It was a flying visit to Venture Thinking’s Multi Media Space workshop at Eastlea Community School featuring leading Solar physicist Dr Helen Mason, app developer Richard Healey and as client, Jeremy Curtis from UK Space but we’re looking forward to the follow-up.
Boot polish. Chris Alexander was bold with his choice of media but until I went to the exhibition at the lovely [mine] gallery accompanying his sons’ book of his work I had never even thought of making marks with it…
Chris Alexander, artist and foundation tutor at Canterbury, brought style, wit and a memorably no-messing sensibility to the job of teaching life drawing. And decades later, I remember these things:
How would your figure walk off the page?
Never start a drawing in the corner of a piece of paper (it’ll fall off the opposite corner)
A good portrait study has a subtle element of caricature
Understand how a body articulates
If the person you’re drawing is moving, be patient: people tend to return to the same position
Don’t make scumbly drawings – do a confident line
Chris, sadly, is no more but getting to the exhibition on its last day and chatting with Steven Alexander I was reminded what a stellar draughtsman he was. And how important, and difficult, drawing is. More on the man, his work and the book here.
Designers. Do we walk into a room and settle to the business of unloading bags and organising thoughts? Not when there’s a nice bit of typography to enjoy, we don’t. Chairs to admire, numerals to discuss…
An East German fishing vessel turned art ship, MS Stubnitz, moored in Canary Wharf, has been showing artworks and film by day and hosting music by night. The ship itself is a thing of industrial marvellousness.
In professional practice, it’s a treat to get an opportunity to make experimental work. These were pieces I produced as part of a day of making at Ravensbourne.
The travel album came from the ephemera I bring home from trips, often put in a drawer and forgotten – so this is a book of envelopes, one bound with a shoelace to carry on the travel theme and the other with string and a pointing hand discovered on one of the envelopes.
The subversive doilies are a reworking of the teatime, cupcake trend with an edge: this is British Summertime, with a pattern of snowflakes, raindrops and umbrellas.
And ‘Story-weaving’ is an experiment in creating accidental headlines and stories by weaving contrasting newspaper clippings together.
How to Sharpen Pencils. Buy it. No, really, do, if you have a design-geeky bone in your body. It is a book of deep joy that had Lydia crying with laughter as she read out passages over Sunday lunch. Old Foundation friend Chex, who brought it, thought it was the winner of The Bookseller’s annual Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year but, dear reader, though it was shortlisted it was trumped by winner Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop.
Oh, the exuberant civic pride of a town hall… Chelsea Old Town Hall was the perfect treasure box for Selvedge magazine’s Spring fair. Lydia, whose eyes light up at the sight of stuff to make things with, emerged with tape-measure-print braid and a haul of Merchant & Mills’ beautiful haberdashery.
Mammoth tusk. That a sculpture is so ancient is mind-blowing – but the sophistication of seeing, drawing and making tens of thousands of years ago is more astonishing still. We’ve seen Ice Age Art at the British Museum: small but thought-expanding…
Great big windows across one end of the studio are mightily-draughty on occasion, noisy (we’re talking old warehouse here) but, creatively, good. We can gaze out of them, use them to refocus – that’s a tick for health and safety, then – enjoy the many white van man exchanges of words that happen at the junction of Curtain Road and Old Street and this week, enjoy some architecture. The scaffolding has come down on Duggan Morris’s warehouse extension and uncompromisingly-modern though it is, we like the way its perforated, corrugated panels and its structure reference the buildings on either side. But equally-impressive has been the scaffolders’ knack for making standing on two scaffold poles while deconstructing the framework above them look easy…
Fun is highly-underrated as a design tool. So by way of prep for some workshops on formats and low-tech binding, we give you a “what can I make with what’s knocking-around in the studio” hour.