Since I was a little girl I've been making dens....and don't think I'll ever stop..........

Friday, 25 June 2010

Awesome Give Away - £40 Gift Voucher

I'm really excited that CSN Stores who are an amazing company selling all kinds of lovely things ranging from lighting and furniture, to kitchen appliances and cookware, have approached me to partner up for a free give-away from one of their on-line stores. It's for one of my readers living in the UK, US or Canada. I've been having so much fun researching that I now have an enormous list of things I plan to buy from them myself.

But a lucky reader out there has the opportunity of receiving a forty pound gift voucher to treat themselves to something lovely from one of their sites. All you need to do is just leave your name in a comment below or email me at and your name will instantly go into the free draw.

I've posted images of some of the food related things I like over on my other blog that you can get from Csn store so why not pop over and have a look. I'll be posting more here too, or why not check them out for yourself on any of the links below.

Hurry up be the first to enter.

Oh and if you want to get an extra chance, just mention the give away on your blog if you have one......


We were seduced into Bottega on Walton Street, in Jericho the Bohemian quarter of Oxford, last Wednesday evening. We'd actually intended having a coffee at the Albion Beatnik book shop at number 34a just opposite, who I mistakenly thought opened until late every evening. They actually open late from Thursday to Saturday (possibly Sunday, I'll definitely check that out) and specialise in 2oth century fiction. It has a really nice atmosphere, is small and quirky with laid-back jazz playing, an old leather sofa and a few small tables painted red where coffee is served. They also have a selection of second hand books in the backroom and plan to open up the basement soon.

As they were closed, we had a little walk whilst deciding what to do next. It didn't take us long because the open door of Bottega, Italian for an artist's shop or studio and suitably named considering the tantalising glimpses of art work decorating the walls, caught our attention. As we peered through the window, dulcet Italian tones invited us in for a glass of wine. We hadn't really intended drinking wine but were introduced to a good selection of fruity alternatives by the amiable proprietor Murizio Luci, who was most warm and welcoming. It was great to sit down by the window in the gentle lighting on a comfortable sofa, having a conversation with my partner, whilst ear-wigging the soft tones of a Latin conversation coming from the bar on a balmy, almost summer evening. It took us back to summer evenings in Florence or Sienna....... mmmmm..........

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

In Vogue

All images above credit Tim Walker

Lily Cole and spiral staircase, Whadwan, Gujarat, India, by Tim Walker, 2005

I received an invitation to the preview of the News Speak:Art Now exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea this Friday evening. The invitation was sent to Vogue readers and members of the Gallery. I have a very vivid memory of sitting in the glory-hole (cupboard under the stairs) in my grandparent's house as a little girl, surrounded by copies of Vogue magazine.

They belonged to my aunt. I remember the pile of magazines looked like a mountain to me...In hindsight I realise that was probably because I was so tiny. I spoke to one of my sisters and she had a similar recollection. I remember spending hours looking at the ladies in beautiful dresses.I still get the same thrill. I specially love the styling of Italian Vogue and usually get a copy in the summer if we're on holiday there. I love this black and white shot of Laura Stone by Paulo Roversi. You can see more here.I also love the exotic 1920's covers, this one just makes me want to go and get my paintbox out, I have a real thing about drawn swathes of fabric. You can see more like this if you'd like to check here.

But the crown for creativity and sense of fun, whilst at the same time making women look the most amazingly sophisticated and beautiful creatures imaginable, has to go to Norman Parkinson whose images never seem to go out of fashion.

With close second my favourite contemporary fashion photographer Tim Walker.

.....and will I be going to the exhibition? ....unfortunately not, I'll have to miss out on the free glass of bubbly as I haven't got a thing to wear........

Friday, 18 June 2010

Silent Auction at Ovada

There's going to be a silent auction at OVADA with live music from 'Ensemble Azut' and refreshments, tomorrow evening from 7 til 9. Over eighty art works have been donated, including one from me. It's going to be a really good night so why not drop in and join in the fun.
You can find out more and look at some of the work in the online gallery at

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Internship at Autograph ABP

Autograph ABP are looking for two summer interns if you're in London this summer it might be worth checking out.

Autograph ABP seeks two interns – details below.

Please circulate widely.


Autograph ABP is looking for a website intern to work with Autograph’s Communications team on their new website that is scheduled to launch in Autumn 2010.

This person will be computer literate to a high standard with good content management (CMS) website backend skills, good Photoshop and/ or Illustrator knowledge, the ability to convert images for web, some database experience and crucially someone who is very organised and familiar with Excel.

You will be working as part of a team but also independently. The internship will be based at Autograph ABP’s offices at Rivington Place, Shoreditch in London and would ideally be two days until mid/late September starting July 2010.


Autograph ABP is looking for a Digital Imaging Intern to support the establishment of the Archive and Research Centre for Culturally Diverse Photography, Autograph ABP.

The ideal candidate will be competent in working with Photoshop CS4 & CS5 on Mac to an intermediate level. Experience of photographic retouching of B&W and colour images; spotting, colour correction, use of adjustment layers, masks and paths, and re-sizing is necessary. Experience of scanning negatives, transparencies and prints on Epson and Flextight scanners is desirable.

It is a fantastic opportunity to develop photographic retouching and scanning skills, while also gaining valuable experience working as part of a team in a dynamic arts organisation. The internship will be based at Autograph ABP’s offices at Rivington Place, Shoreditch in London and would ideally be two or three days a week for three months, starting July 2010.

Please send your CV and a cover letter outlining your experience by Wednesday 22 June 2010.

Lunch and travel in London will be covered.

For more information please contact Emma Boyd at or call 020 7 729 9200.

Many thanks

Emma Boyd
Autograph ABP Coordinator
Rivington Place
London EC2A 3BA
Mob: 07734682239
T +44 (0)20 7749 1266 F +44 (0)20 7739 8748
Follow Autograph on Twitter

2 June – 4 July 2010 – Sammy Baloji – Memoiré – Dilston Grove Gallery, Southwark Park, London
16 September – 30 November 2010 - Ever Young: Retrospective Exhibition of Photographs by James Barnor
16 September – 30 November 2010 - Du Bois, Thomas J Calloway and the Paris Albums 1900

Rivington Place - the new home for Autograph ABP
Autograph ABP is a charity that works internationally to educate the public in photography, with a particular emphasis on issues of cultural identity and human rights. We achieve this through formal and informal education programmes, exhibitions, publishing and the creation of an archive of culturally diverse photography that is accessible to the public for research


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Oxford and Cherwell College Creative Arts Show, 2010

There was a diverse selection of work at the preview of the Oxford and Cherwell College Creative Arts Show last night, here's just a taster.

Tom Hughes, quirky photographs.

I was disappointed that I couldn't find out who was responsible for this piece. I just loved these simple line drawings. One of my favourite things.
Lana Al-Sharma's wall mounted pieces raised questions regarding cultural identity. Being of Iraqui heritage but born and brought up in the UK, Al-Sharma's Final Major Project explored the notion of belonging to more than one place.

Daniel Clements mixed latex and bamboo installation was intended to provoke a reaction from the audience.
Some cool graphic work.
Lucy Wills-Wright's installation Transition, comprised a digital projected image, textile and found object.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

For Richer For Poorer, James Plumb
I've been following the Bird in The House Blog written by Welsh Artist Kathryn Campbell Dodd for some time now and am impressed by some of the amazing work that she discovers and writes about.
To Have and to Hold
I just had to show you these amazing pieces produced by James Russell and Hannah Plumb, working together as Hannah Plumb to produce these assemblages. Especially as they have the chair thing going on
Cluster Chandelier
OOh and lamps, too.......

And you can see more of their work on

Friday, 11 June 2010

There's A Lot of Money in Chairs

There's A Lot of Money in Chairs, Tracy Emin
Seat For the Rich on the Lap of the Poor, Steven Cohen

I'm not sure why I'm attracted to artwork that involves the use of furniture. Especially chairs, I don't spend much time sitting down..........Although I have to admit that since beginning to blog-write I do sit down much more than I ever did before.

It's probably something to do with the association of domestic comfort and the idea of home. I
must read up my Bachelard.....He said that "one reads a room." I can't remember if upholstered furniture comes into the equation or if it's just chests of drawers!

Tracy Emin's, There's A Lot of Money in Chairs, was made from a little rotund chair given to her by her grandmother, along with the advise that Emin used as the title for the piece. I'm sure that in Emin's case these pearls of wisdom will prove to be true.

She has given the chair similar treatment to her quilts, appliqueing the fabric with appropriate text that she confirms "tell the story of her life." Although I do sometimes think that Emin is having a joke at our expense, I also can't help but be attracted to the naive quality it has as well as her honesty in sharing the most banal aspects of her life.
It was coming across the above piece S
eat for the Rich on the Lap of the Poor by South African Artist Steven Cohen that reminded me of Emin's chair. Their is definitely a similarity in their choice of medium, although Emin used text whilst Cohen used screen printed images to express the concept of his work.
There are obvious themes that reflect his South African roots with images that take us back to the Civil Rights Movement of the 60's. These again make a cross over to Emin's work as racial prejudice is a theme which she has woven into her work. Memorably for me a quilt inspired by a conversation with her mother as small girl. It was precipitated by shouts to her mother of 'nigger lover,' referring to Emin's father. The young Emin apparently asked her mother 'what's a wog?' To which she replied 'Western Oriental Gentleman.' I think this country has moved on a bit since then but I still find the quilt an emotive piece, that takes me for one to a place where a small child could feel the threat of such prejudice.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Louise Bourgeois 1911-2010 A Life Worth Celebrating

"Art is a guarantee of sanity......" Louise Bourgeois 1911 - 2010

Ode to Forgetfulness,2004

Cell VII,1998
Femme Maison, 1947


I just heard that Louise Bourgeois died yesterday. She was almost a hundred years of age and one of my heroines.

She's one of the artists whose work I've re-visited quite a bit recently. She was such an inspiration to me. A prolific artist who produced artwork almost every day of her life.....I'm sure it's having such a creatively fulfilling life that guaranteed her longevity.

One of the attractions of Borgeois' work, for me, has always been her use of fabrics and textiles, and processes that would be considered intrinsically, domestic or feminine.

One such piece, that has a beautiful concept, comprises a set of books made out of the curated textiles of her life, kept from as long ago as the 1920's. It's entitled 'Ode to l'Oubli', literally 'Ode to Forgetfulness'. Amy Newman of The New York Times, elaborated that this was in the 'Proustian sense'. She also informed us that whilst "many people's closet-cleaning cast offs find their way to the Goodwill. Louise Bourgeois made hers into poetry............her 36 page fabric-on-fabric book is an extraordinary and poignant object: a tactile diary of the long, trans-atlantic, unusually examined life of the artist."

It's amazing the way that a scrap of fabric can conjure up a time and a place...a just the same way that a fragrance can return you to somewhere long forgotten. Also how the mind over time can play with that memory.

I've probably referred to another of her textile works
previously, the emotive textile installation, entitled Cell VII that she produced in 1998. I'm always attracted to installations that involve the use of light and lanterns. A further element that always compels me to take another look, has to be the use of clothing. As this work utilises both, it moved me a great deal.

As does, much of the work of another French Artist, Christian Boltanski. He often uses clothing, sometimes piles of them in his installations such as Personnes,2010 that can't help but bring to mind images of those piled up in concentration camps like Aushwitz. When you learn of his heritage it's no wonder that these themes creep into his work.

Reading Bourgeois' biography her influences soon become patently obvious too. Louise's surname appropriately reflected her social class, being born into a bourgeois family in 1911. Who at one time owned a gallery specialising in tapestries and later set up a workshop for their restoration.

Her father searched for tapestries whilst her mother, along with their employee's, restored them. I seem to remember watching a documentary of Bourgeois' life that depicted women, bent-over dyeing wool, working the thread for this purpose. This along with her fathers promiscuity, Bourgeois' knowledge of this and her mothers acceptance, but failure to confront him, is the fertile ground that Bourgeois found much of the inspiration for her work. Even the huge metal spiders that she produced, because of their ability to spin thread represented her mother.

She often used the spider as a the subject of not only her sculptures but also of the simple line drawings, that I love and that formed a huge part of her work.

In later life, Bourgeois who was working up until the week that she died, despite all this, said that, "my childhood has never lost it's magic." I for one, can see that spark of magic in all her life's work. It's a life that is certainly worth celebrating.