Friday, 30 January 2015

Bitter Lake

I sat and watched Bitter Lake the other night. Bitter Lake is a documentary by Adam Curtis available on BBC iPlayer and here's a BBC blog post about it by Adam.

Bitter Lake is a fascinating and creative documentary... and long! about 3 hrs.

It's mesmerising, truthful and bewildering. The mess we've made! what a hash the whole Afghanistan/Saudi Arabia thing is... and the stories we've been told!

Buckle up, relax and breathe, it's not always comfortable viewing. You'll feel a bit shell shocked by the end, but also a lot wiser and better informed.
I found i was gripped not only by the stories it was telling, but also from an artistic, film making point of view. It's a sprawling collage of sound and image.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Studio Walls

Couple of studio room snaps. It's hard to capture this room in a snap. It feels great, but it's not very photogenic. Previous studio spaces have been easy to work with, great space, interesting industrial architecture. Lots swimming about in it though. One book... And as a consequence, the series, comes to an end and so does a revenue stream, but it will be nice to move some of the other ideas on. Still got my Here's Hank books with the lovely Henry Winkler.

I like to hang current projects up and move them along in priority.
The walls are growing with doodles of sketched out project ideas.

a challenge to see if i can boil famous duos down to their essence (failing so far!)

Collection of printed books i've done covers and illustrations for over the years

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Harry Juniper & Leonard Knight

I received a belated Christmas present from Jakki at the weekend... This splendid tankard from the Bideford Pottery! (which holds more than your average pint pot ;-)

You know I love a bit of Harry Juniper (and the pottery world he represents). Anyway, as she often does, Jakki cooked something special up for me and got me this commissioned pot. It's based on a print I made, that hangs in our kitchen, of Salvation mountain and the man who made it, Leonard Knight.

I love that it's brought these two worlds together, an ocean apart, but now in my hands. It reminds me also of the fusion pots I'm desperate to be able to make. Where it's not purely one tradition, but a fine mess. Where I can mix those fine folk pots, like those from Georgia and the North Carolina with these traditional Slipware pots. As long as it serves the pot. Certain things always seem to stay in certain traditions, but it's good to cross pollinate, mix it up and muddy the water occasionally ( do you know that 'occasionally' is the word I struggle to spell most! Tricky bugger).

i love to still see these old school gold labels!

The print i created for Leonard and his mountain

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Welcome To Craigioland

My good friend and old housemate of many years, Craigio, is back with a really nice fresh looking set of art and a sparkling new website, Craigioland, to match. I always loved seeing how Craigio's head worked (don't try to figure it out!). Make sure you check out his wonderful painted objects too. Our flat used to have so many bits of it dotted around... which i now hear he burned most of when he headed off to Thailand (where he now lives and works). Anyway enjoy some colour in your life and get commissioning!

His fresh colours have inspired me to step it up on the colour front... and not long after being woken up by it all, i found a way in to a project that i had been stuck on finding a way forward with. Then i looked back at Craigio's website again and saw the source of my obvious inspiration. I shall await the lawsuit!
The (subconscious) Inspiration!
And here is where the bottle and colours took me (It even has Mexico in it! sorry Craig).
Honestly, i've had the image for ages (Yeah, sure!), but no direction for the final image. We should just have teamed up years ago and given ourselves a crazy name, something like 'Peckham Disaster', or whatnot. We'd be rich by now!! ;-)

.... It really doesn't seem so blatant when you see the rest of the series!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Wheels In Motion...

One of my little projects is starting to get some traction in the studio. Now could someone just double the amount of hours in my day. I've got a book deadline rapidly approaching, so this (and the others) will get shoved on the back burner again. Story of my life. I need to turn that stove around!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Krautslaw With Marky

Had Marky and his family over on Saturday, all the kids play nicely, the ladies chat and me and Mark got into making a new batch of Kraut. Mark blogged about it too and then he went off at a more political angle! well worth reading though. 

I love making this stuff, i eat some every day, even if it's just a couple of snackable mouthfuls. It is just so easy, that i can't recommend it enough, give it a go.. please. Just shred it all up, like a big coleslaw add about a level tablespoon of good nice pure salt and give it a scrunch for 10 mins, then shove it in jars (just remember to 'burp' it occasionally if the jar can't release the pressure build up. I use the kilner style jars with the metal clips, they have a bit of give and can release the carbon dioxide and liquid build up). Easy and it tastes delicious. As you will see from the step by step picture, one large cabbage soon crunches down to not a lot!  

Marky giving his a good scrunch!
I made my mixed kraut to replace the batch we'd just used up. I also made a straight cabbage sauerkraut with some caraway seeds thrown in.

Step one, shred the cabbage
(note the lovely Harry Juniper Salt Pig, shame it had gotten turned around)

step two, add an onion, couple cloves of garlic,
a small thumb of ginger and grate a carrot or two.

sprinkle the salt over and get crunching/massaging

See how much it reduces down! I also added a handful of coriander seeds
and mixed them through. I'd better get myself a nice pancheon to work in to.
bit more aesthetically pleasing!

got about 1.5 litres of the Krautslaw and 1 litre of the pure kraut.
The onion and carrot make it go that bit further.
The little jar is just some mark had left from his red cabbage kraut.
I added dried chilli flakes, coriander seeds and some spices. We'll see how that turns out.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Got My Goat

I was met on my monday morning walk to the studio by a scattering of these along a road. It took me a while to clock what they actually were, then i decided to go back and get one. They were beer mats discarded in protest i would assume!
Beer mats!! Having a quiet pint in your local (if you have any left) and you're pestered, harassed even, by the government wanting your pittance. They already take a third of the cost of a pint in tax. They're really bugging me with how far they're stooping to wring money out of the bottom of society. I think we've all long ago realised they just need to 'man up" and actually get tax from the big boys like Amazon and Starbucks etc. Raising the minimum wage would help too! They should be helping those at the bottom not screwing them. (As I mentioned earlier on facebook, maybe they should paste this message on magnums of Dom Perignon instead).

Anyway, rant over. Please don't put intimidating government messages on beer mats, it's not nice.
Is nowhere sacred!

They really don't like us do they.

Friday, 9 January 2015


You could watch this video of Stefan Sagmeister and get annoyed that he has the means to just take a year off and still fund little pet projects.... but i liked it and liked what he did with his time and how that would then inform a long stretch of work after. Shake things up a bit, freshen it all up. I'd love to be in a position to do that.

Just giving myself two weeks over Christmas to think and forget the paid work, really helped me think of future avenues and what i really wanted from my work. Imagine what a year might do! I've got such a backlog now of work i want to make, things i want to get printed, objects i want to make and clay that has to get over this hump.

I rounded up all my little pet projects and had another look at them, there's 15 with the potential to be the equal of Wish List... and then there's children's picture books, which i do so little to get them actually published! yet every few years i put them on my list of things i want to achieve (probably for the last 20 years!). I have about 15 of those in some form or other, many fully laid out in miniature spreads and some could easily roll into follow up books. Maybe i'll share a spread or two in the coming days. lot's of my ideas are what is deemed 'conceptual' though and they are, apparently, a hard sell. To be fair they all seem to be a hard sell as the market has become some super safe monster governed by what Tesco might actually put on it's shelves (the answer's nearly always Julia Donaldson!).

Anyway, i only meant to post the video and look at me go.

Here's to sabbaticals... and how the hell to fund them... any ideas?

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Fail To Succeed?

My resolution for 2015? Here it is. I'm going to fail! Everything I planned to achieve last year i failed, so this year i'm going to set out planning to fail. Just fail. Every time i aim for something i seem to fail, so why not make failing my target... i might even achieve it!

I'm going to do stuff with the intention of it failing. I'm going to make terrible pots, beautiful failures, otherwise I won't get any good. I might make other stuff, things that will probably fall apart. Try stuff out, knowing that it doesn't matter if it fails. Failure is my new success. What can go wrong? Everything hopefully!