Saltaire Inspired

May 9, 2016

Gemma Lacey.Longing Cabinet.wood print

I’m very excited to be showing work on the Saltaire Arts Trail over this May bank holiday weekend. There are open houses showing the work of over 50 artists , a Makers fair, participatory installations and photography exhibitions, workshops and all in a World Heritage Village to boot! As I’m new to the event I imagine I’ll be scrambling around to see as much of Saltaire and the art on show as I can without having palpitations. I’m full of good intentions to keep a diary of the 3 days as they’ll be so much good stuff to absorb. We shall see. The whole event is free and here is a mini map and guide. However you can pick up a full trail guide for £1 which also gets you into the Makers Fair each day. For more information see here .

If you want to find me I should be invigilating each day and showing some of my prints and books alongside Chrissie Freeth, Dave Gowers, Janis Goodman, Salma Patel and Steve Rayner at The Art Rooms in Salts Mill, underneath the Visitor Information Centre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Image: Martha Hall, Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England

This week I’m off to Kent for a symposium and workshop on Artist’s Books and the Medical Humanities.The symposium is linked to an exhibition of Martha A Hall’s work curated by Dr Stella Bolaki and Egidija Ciricaite at The Beaney,  see below for more details.

Prescriptions: artist’s books on wellbeing and medicine

with featured artist Martha A Hall in The Drawing Room at The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge CT1 2RA from April 22 – August 14. Preview April 21.

The exhibition focuses on the book art of Martha Hall, on loan from the University of New England, and linked to a University of Kent symposium. Hall’s books document her experiences with breast cancer and interactions with the medical community, and are accompanied by a curated show of artists books responding to themes of art, empathy and wellbeing. Supported by the Wellcome Trust.

 

I’m also really pleased to have some work in the supporting show.  home was made to give me time to reflect upon and share my understanding of my nan’s dementia, and how it affected both her and my relationship with ‘home’. Sharing the work at book fairs and exhibitions has opened up conversations with others in similar situations, has allowed reflection and disclosure of thoughts and feelings often censored in situations.  Along with some other exhibitors I’m donating my final copy of this edition to the University of Kent’s collection for future research by medical humanities students.  I’m really looking forward to hearing more about the project later in the week.

 

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home, screen printed  flash cards 2009

Gemma Lacey.Longing Cabinet.wood print

I’m really pleased to have had a print chosen for the Salisbury Print Open. And so from Wednesday evening (1st October) it should be possible to see the print ‘Longing Cabinet’ and the block ‘Longing Cabinet’ it was made from showing side by side* for a month.

*via a line almost straight up the country from Salisbury Arts Centre to Neo Gallery, Bolton.

box plot printing

September 8, 2014

plot box in printing 1

plot box in printing 2

plot print

I’ve been rolling out the ink, rolling on the ink, laying flat the paper and fabric, smoothing over the surfaces and giving them all a good hard rubbing with a barren and my hands. So far s’okay.

The cotton can take the print much better than the Zercal paper can, lovely as it is. The cotton can get into the dips of the brushstrokes left on the surface from the paint job the box got in one of it’s former lives. The cotton wraps around the box with ease, when I manage to put it on correctly and leaves the box looking extra special.  It reminds me of the post in India, where I am told, all parcels are sewn up inside white cotton fabric, to keep them safe. What a wonderful way to receive parcels, I wonder if the recipient sits with a quick pick taking apart the seams carefully, refolding the fabric and storing it for another day before setting to the contents of their parcel. I would. Like a parcel wrapped and waiting, the wrapping of the box adds to the wonder and tension of the contained unit. I’m still printing and working with the box, I’m also fighting the temptation to leave the fabric on at the end of all the process.

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I’m really pleased to say that the cabinet I cut as part of the Longing Series was selected for the Neo Print Prize. It will be showing at Neo Gallery in Bolton until 2nd November.  I went to see the show this weekend and felt most honoured to have been selected alongside the other printmakers there. It was a great and varied show and well worth a visit if you are anywhere nearby. Too many good works to mention but for now some that caught my eye and, in parts I think, have shared concerns:  Rosey PrinceKaori HommaFiona GradySusan Eyre. Thanks go to the selectors and all at Neo for making the prize happen.

Seeing the cabinet in the centre of a gallery space, rather than it’s original station in the dusty eves of the Islington Mill loft or it’s more recent placement in my living room, was an interesting affair. The cabinet and it’s print were submitted separately for the print prize. In it’s making I felt that the block had become just as important, if not more so, than the print. When the cabinet and not it’s print got selected I wondered if the cabinet could actually stand up on it’s own as a piece of work, without the print to make sense of it. I’m still not sure. The cabinet seemed to puzzle it’s audience, how did I do it, had I burnt it? I wonder if it gets mistaken for a print made onto the cabinet. Does it matter if it does? 

box plot cutting

July 31, 2014

Taking a break from cutting furniture and making the most of some of the slow hot days we’ve had recently I’ve been hiding under a dog rose bush making a new wood cut on the allotment. Working in response to the allotment plot, drawing imagery from my own space and those around me.  With the wider idea of having a contained piece of land to pioneer in mind I’ve been cutting the sides of an old wooden box.

Allotments are wonderful things, affordable and open to most ( I hope) in this world where land is at such a premium and owed by so few. I feel very lucky to be able to have this spot but everyone should be able to have a piece of land to work in some way if they want to. I’m pretty sure that the law still says if there isn’t land enough for allotments you can ask the council for more.

Anyway, here are some photos of the sides of the box, placed in the spots I drew from. Everything is growing so quickly at the moment that the views are not always that easy to recognise, it’s not my cutting skills.

box 3

box1

box2

box5

box4

I found someone else who has written about my work in the loft. This post probably offers a clearer picture of the experience of viewing the work than I have, see it here.

Thanks to Karen for the extra thoughts and words.

 

An afternoon spent sharing the work so far. In the last week I’d installed the prints and furniture blocks up in the loft space at Islington mill. I’d always had this space in mind for it’s intimate scale and timelessness, the sense of wonder that climbing the stairs induces, layers of marks, dust, glimpses of construction and former use. It allies well with the implicit life and memory of the furniture, the projected dreams, the ghostly apparitions of the prints onto fabric. In this I felt that the space was half the work and without the space, the work would be less. I’ve been assured otherwise. It was useful to see and hear how others responded to the work, the space, the work in the space.

A brief tour of the loft installation below. Photos of the individual pieces will go up on my website in a week or two.

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Some comments, all anonymous, left in exchange for an -in between- book (more of an exchange than a bribe):

tastes like burnt toast, bittersweet, peat, wood, sulphur, tea

smells like a story, a forest, linseed and memory, woodsmoke, water,

sounds like yesteryear, ambient, ‘whispers, laughing, eavesdropping, the stories you would tell the furniture’, the low drone of a road and moving air,  sanctuary from the world, normal life

feels like ‘somebody’s sadness, loneliness, just beyond the veils – but utterly peaceful’, haunting, damp wool, wondering and wandering, another world, mirrors

I would like to see it in a forest, more, in a national trust property, with spiders and butterflies, no one else,

 

in the loft

I had a wonderful time cutting the wood, making the prints, sweeping the floor, rescuing butterflies, following the flow of the soundtracks coming from the floor below, installing myself and my work in the loft and sharing it with those who came to see. My thanks to Islington Mill  and all who helped, saw and shared.

I hope to move the work on to another space where it can grow and be shared some more.

 

 

On Landscape # 1

March 3, 2014

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Fenlands, a book of etchings, letterpress titled and coptic stitch bound. Held in an embroidered slipcover. I made this book in response to the weloveyourbooks call for books on the theme of Crop. I was thinking about the art of cropping and using reeds in the fens and the time I first learned about this. Being taken out in a little boat along the narrow channels of water as the reeds cut towers above our heads. I was thinking of the texture of the dense reeds and the channels cut into the land to work with the water in the fen landscapes.

Fenlands is to be included in a presentation of Artist Books at On Landscape #1, an exhibtion at Guest Projects in London, based on a dialogue between 3 artists Minna Kantonen, Dafna Talmor and Emma Wieslander that aims to challenge traditional representations of landscape. I’m really pleased to be able to contribute work to this dialogue, hope to get down there too. So, there will be photography, installation and artists books all about landscape, it has to be a good thing. It starts on Friday 7th and runs til the end of the month, more info at the link above.

two months in brief

November 21, 2013

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A wedding book made first proof of steel sea etching

A large steel plate etched with the sea and proof printed many times as I learn how to wipe steel.

detail of 'basin';book of risograph prints

A book bound of orange fencing and Risograph prints made from canal basin line drawings, photographs, paint and watery objects. I’ll post a full look through the book sequence soon.

photo of an earthquake by Sarah Gillett

A visit to Margate and the Pushing Print exhibition featuring Sarah Gillett’s Earthquake installation,  above.

dreamland

A chilly afternoon with beautiful views, good company, warming ale and cheese.

sunset in margate

bookfair table

Another successful book fair in Manchester by Hot Bed Press, lots of lovely people and books, books, books.

A new routine, a little walking, a little making, a little walking a little making.

filled in doorway radcliffe

A visit to an archeology dig in Close Park, Radcliffe where an old tower was being dug, thought to have been part of a much larger complex.

trees in rainwater

solander boxes

A rush on Solander boxes, made for little crackd rabbit records yearly subscription.

allottment sky november

Autumn skies at the Southern Allotment, Manchster and outside the Walker Gallery, Liverpool.

liverpool sky november