I adore everything I've ever seen by Punchdrunk so I'm really excited about their next event that's coming this summer (I dashed to get my tickets this morning).
There's no photograph that does them justice because their work is completely immersive and experiential. So instead of sitting down watching people on a stage, you walk amongst the performers (often wearing a mask and cloak so that you - and all the rest of the audience merge into the backgroud). The action takes place all around you, the actors don't include you generally - it's a bit like watching people sleepwalking.
One of their pieces I saw a few years ago was in a 5 storey warehouse by the river in which they'd built a diner, a cinema and a perfume store all in 1920/30's style, looking like Edward Hopper paintings. The styling of their pieces is immaculate, I kept getting choked up and nearly crying because it was so beautiful! I'm sure you'll fall for them like a ton of bricks - get your tickets quickly!
An intriguing and beautiful concept from a team who last year submitted plans for an inflatable bridge/trampoline for a competition. Wouldn't the world be a nicer place if we could experience our cities through playful interactions on structures like these? I'd love the Battersea project to come to fruition.
Today a piece about Fashion Designer Elizabeth Hawes who I first heard about when I worked at the Brooklyn Museum many years ago. She was an amazing talent who had a very interesting life and it's sad that she is so little known. She had a multifaceted career, writing 9 books, fighting for human rights and of course designing ready to wear clothes. Her book 'Fashion is Spinach' which she wrote in 1938 and is a very entertaining read condemning the fashion industry for creating a planet of fashion victims. "I don't know when the word fashion came into being, but it was an evil day" she wrote, unexpected from a top fashion designer you might think! She felt that the only purpose of fashion was to "give a little additional gaiety to life" and to entertain, rather than something to slavishly follow and that the system worked against the customer by creating a thirst for poorly made uncomfortable clothing that wouldn't last. Elizabeth Hawes also challenged fashion for men, creating vibrantly patterned and coloured menswear including skirts and robes.
Elizabeth Hawes was also a union activist and married to Joseph Losey the film director. During the McCarthy era in the US they were both blacklisted as communist sympathisers. As a result she became an alcoholic which lead to her death in 1971. Her books are out of print but you can pick up second hand copies from time to time. Whether you're interested in fashion or not I highly recommend 'Fashion is Spinach'
The London Transport museum has a brilliant exhibition on at the moment which I will definitely be going to take a look at. My son loves it there plus they sell my products so we think they are great but maybe a bit biased. The exhibition shows 150 posters from their archive of over 3000 and is a great way to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the world's first underground railway.
Until Oct 2013
Just back from a quick visit to Berlin which I'd never visited and loved. We visited the Bauhaus museum where they had a great exhibition about Gertrud Arndt. She wanted to be an architect originally but there was no course at the Bauhaus so she did the weaving course instead. She was also a keen photographer, using herself as her model and her pictures are quite playful and fun, as are her colours in her weavings. The show didn't really say what happened to her after the Bauhaus, I don't think she ever practiced so maybe she got swallowed up by family life. But anyway, some beautiful work that was great to discover.
A friend emailed me about the Carlsbad flower fields after my post yesterday about Norman Szkop's beautiful photographs. Driving from San Diego to LA takes you past 50 acres of fields of ranunculus flowers which are renowned for their spring beauty. I love ranunculus. If you are in Southern California from March to May take a trip...
London is so grey this time of year so my eyes pounced on these gorgeous and astonishing pictures of tulip fields by photographer Norman Szkop. You can view the entire set over at the Flickr address below - together with a bit of info about where they are if you fancy renting a helicopter and taking a look for yourself. I'm wondering whether they plan the planting according to the colour combinations or is it completely random....
Off to a slow start with the blog this year - sorry. Too cold and too much Xmas pud last month has made me sluggish.
Anyway, this project caught my eye recently and I'm looking forward to going over down to the design museum to look a the rugs in person (March 5th).
Designer and illustrator Chris Haughton and Akshay Sthapit set up Fair Trade rug business Node after Chris's rug designs were pounced upon by members of the design blogosphere (not surprisingly). Designers started to email to ask if they could design their own rugs and so their company was born. By connecting designers with traditional Nepalese carpet makers they can ensure fair trade and also help support of school and an orphanage which is very impressive. I've designed and made some rugs over the years for clients but always in India which doesn't have the best reputation, so I'm very keen to find out more about Node's work in the future.
Pictured are a rug by Sanna Annukka (we sell her beautiful cards in my studio) and two by Chris Haughton himself - very lovely.
The holidays are a good time to go to performances! To celebrate the season here's a little film of artist Alexander Calder performing his circus that I've always like very much.
When I first saw some pictures of eye jewelry I immediately thought it was made by a Surrealist from the 1930's. I was amazed it was that much older. Apparently it was a huge fashion in France and they later were used as love tokens in the UK. Sometimes they have pieces of hair of the beloved enclosed behind. The fashion persisted until the end of the 19th century, I saw a broach with a mans eye in it from 1905 but supposedly that's very late. Well I'd love an eye broach, they are rather crazed aren't they?