Had a bit of a treat by leaving my phone behind as I travelled to London for a couple of nights. Bit of a treat really to be in-accessible . I was really able to focus on where I was and what I was doing. The Main events being:-
The Scythian Exhibitions at The British Museum.
The Mask as a manifestation of The Ancestor, The Animal as Avatar and Guide. Artistry as an augmentation of reality and connect-ability with the unknown. Transformations and Transitions. The skill of The Maker. Materials metals, leather, felt and Wood.
‘Big Big Train’ at Cadogan Hall
More manifestations of the Skills of the Makers. Prog Rock as Art of and for ‘The People’. Superb musicianship allied with empathy, aesthetics and theatricality. A Big Show. Of course my personal delight to see my masks appearing in their final walk down.
And at The V&A
Ancient materials, exquisite technologies. A bit of a theme emerging here, the very ancient allied with the utterly modern to create something new and relevant. Art by and for real people, usefulness and aesthetics making connections with something beyond normal experience.
Bum Face mask now finished.
First Image is of a painted ‘Bum-Face’ with Costume
Second new painted ‘Bum-Face’ for Simon in Limerick.
Third image is of my own brown paper ‘Bum-Face’ still waiting knicker trims.
And finally, where it all started in a back street shop in Venice.
Having been asked to make a copy of my ‘Bum-Face’ mask. I here show the stages of the replication process. The plaster mould already exists. This will be a painted mask.
Into the negative mould, there has to be several layers of brown paper, blue cellulose, more brown paper. Then after drying, springing the mask out of the mould. Cutting, trimming and filling. 3 layers of gesso, sanding most of that off, two layers of base coat, then glazing with several layers of coloured acrylic glazes. 2 coats of shellac on interior to waterproof. Spray varnish on exterior. Glue in a sweat band and foam on interior and then it will be really to send of to the client. So all in all, with drying times, a mask takes at least six days to complete.
Today I have visited Northampton to see some of the National Leather Collection.
Some wonderful work, From Mandy Havers sculptures, Coptic Shoes, Samuel Pepys wallet. Jugs, Truncheon case, Spanish gilded wall coverings, shagreen and so much more. Beautiful things which just make me want to put my hands to sue and Make things myself.
Northampton was lovely today, is it late summer or early Autumn? People were delightful and I met several ‘enthusiasts’ with whom to talk about Leather. What an amazing material it is.
I shall be returning once the new Museum is properly open and ready to share even more of their collection. A good day indeed.
August Bank Holiday: Clearing Spaces for incoming work. Three work-places and three major pieces of employment over the next few months. Making the conditions right for new creative responses to new challenges.
Puppet Festival activities , ntu teaching, New leather-works. Not to mention continuing researches into comedy, printing and whatever turn up.
Studio One where I do messy work, clay, plaster etc.
Office where the communication and admin get done.
Studio Two, the shared space where I do the clean work, drawing, some construction, thinking and talking to the painters who hang out here.
Casting a leather Spiral Panel. Carved lime wood and veg-tanned leather. This may well become a side for a new bag design.
This past month I have been mainly making paper masks with Children. All part of Nottinghamshire County Council ‘Inspire’ Project. This will be continuing with mask making and storytelling in libraries.
It has been a great treat to work in collaboration with other visual artists and story-tellers over this time.
Thank you to Jess Kemp, Anna Roebuck, Nicky Rafferty and Gordon MacLellan