The Art of Paper Cutting

Mix up a Saturday, 7 people, a pile of cutting boards, blades and a stack of black paper and you get the most inspired day doing something totally different.

I have just returned from a “Paper-Cutting” course at the Burton Art Gallery, Bideford, with the artist Caroline Rees.  Textile design student Caroline Rees has evolved her career as a sandblasted glass artist into a paper cut artist over the last few years and was in Devon to share her deceptively simply technique of making papercuts.

Photo credit: Simon Williams

So after the basic introductions, and the amazement that Caroline had travelled from Swansea to Bideford to run the course for us, we set to work practicing cutting out simple squares on a piece of black paper on the chopping mat, using the blade.  In no time, most of the class were ready to move onto working on an image.  For some, this was hand drawing an outline and being smart enough to work out how to simplify the image and block it out ready for cutting.  For the rest of us we found an appealing stencil in Caroline’s collection, outlined the image on black paper and then, almost in a therapeutic trance, cut around the multitude of lines to reveal a stunning image.

For me the appeal of paper cutting is that you don’t need to be an artist, in fact, you don’t even need to be able to draw.  The equipment will cost you less than a tenner (cutting board, blade and some paper) and the results are astonishing.  All you need is time, actually hours of time, to master the real art of cutting perfect, intricate, tiny shapes.  Trust me, I was in awe of the lady working alongside me who was able to cut out weenie circles to make the buds on her flower pattern (SO difficult).

Paper cutting – the beginners’ steps.

1)   Purchase a cutting board, blade and black paper.

2)   Think about what you want to draw.  For me it was tough to sit and really think about what image I wanted to create.

3)   Create an outline by hand or from a stencil.

4)   Break it down into small parts and work out how each part would need to be cut.

5)   Then have fun and start cutting out the image from the smallest parts first.  Be patient.

 

The draw? The desire to learn something new, something frivolous in Bideford.

The attraction? A skill that requires no digitization, just the work of the human hand.  And Caroline Rees – like the art of paper cuts, is enchanting.

The result?  A huge sense of personal accomplishment as the image emerges from blank piece of paper revealing something I can hang on my kitchen wall with pride!  And the relief that I now know what I am going to get everyone for Christmas!

So if you fancy having a go at paper cutting, and you missed this course, there is a small selection of paper cutting books on sale at the Burton Art Gallery shop.  But if paper cutting isn’t for you, then Caroline’s limited edition paper cuts are also on sale at the Burton.

For details on upcoming workshops at the Burton Art Gallery visit: www.burtonartgallery.co.uk

Venue Contact Details:
THE BURTON ART GALLERY & MUSEUM, Kingsley Road, Bideford EX39 2QQ
(e) burtonartgallery@torridge.gov.uk   (t) 01237 471455 (w) www.burtonartgallery.co.uk

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm.

Artist Contact Details:
CAROLINE REES, Studio (by appointment), Ty Glas, 2a Overland Road, Langland, Swansea, SA3 4LS

(e)info@blastedglass.co.uk  (t)01792 447 547 (w) www.blastedglass.co.uk

 

 

Lucy Goaman

Contemporary Art in the Countryside

ARTIST ROOMS On TourRichard Long  4th October 2014  – 10th January 2015 Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Bideford, Devon

The Burton Art Gallery and Museum, is proud to present a public exhibition of works by the celebrated land artist Richard Long, as part of ARTIST ROOMS On Tour.

In a career that now spans nearly 50 years, Richard Long, has tested the boundaries of art by creating a substantial and varied collection of work in which he has taken nature as his subject but also as the source of his materials. Credited with being closely associated with the emergence of a new art form, Land Art, Long won the Turner Prize in 1989 and is one of Britain’s most significant artists, living and working in his beloved West Country.

Richard Long’s work is deep rooted in his affinity with nature, developed often during walks around the British countryside. Walking repetitively in a line, making a circle of pebbles, arranging sticks in their hundreds, using mud as paint and piling up stones are just some of the many ways in which Richard Long has interacted with the landscape.  He was amongst a new generation of British artists who wanted to extend the possibilities of sculpture beyond the confines of traditional artists materials and he began to use natural materials such as clay, pine needles, driftwood, slate, mud and stones in his work. Long is renowned for documenting the experience of his walks with photographs, maps, wall drawings and printed statements, revealing patterns and observations with beauty, creativity and inspiration.

As a student in 1967, Long completed ‘A Line Made By Walking’ – a photograph of a field edged by a wood showing a narrow strip of grass, flattened by the action of him repeatedly walking it. Richard Long has stated “I have the most profound feelings when I am walking, or touching natural materials in natural places.” Paradoxically he states that his work is a portrait of himself in the world, his personal journey through it and the materials he finds along the way.  ‘A Line Made by Walking’ is alongside other pieces in the exhibition which have a relationship to the South West; ‘Cornish Slate Ellipse’, 2009, and ‘Three Moors’ are included within this exhibition.

The works on display at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum are taken from ARTIST ROOMS, an inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art acquired for the nation by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland through the generosity of Anthony d’Offay with additional support from funders, including the Art Fund. The ARTIST ROOMS tour programme, now in its sixth year, is showing at 18 museums and galleries across the UK in 2014. The tour is made possible thanks to the support of Arts Council England and the Art Fund.

Warren Collum, Exhibitions and Collections Officer at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum said, “Right from the beginning of being involved with the ARTIST ROOMS programme, one of the artists I had in mind for The Burton was Richard Long. Many of the works in this exhibition have a direct connection to the South West environment. In particular, the works ‘Cut Slate Ellipse’ and ‘Three Moors’ will resonate strongly with our audiences encouraging them to connect with the materials that make up our environment, but in a totally different context – the gallery space.”

Miranda Clarke, Visual Arts Manager at The Burton added, “We are delighted to be an associate partner as part of ARTIST ROOMS. This is a significant moment in the Burton’s 60+ year history, bringing the Richard Long exhibition to The Burton supports the original remit as set out by Hubert Coop and Thomas Burton, the founders of The Burton, in 1951. Recently on a visit to Tate Modern, travelling up the main escalators I glimpsed the 12foot high map of the UK, which shows where all the ARTIST ROOMS venues are this year. It was incredible to see ‘The Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Bideford’ pinpointed. It made me proud of Bideford and of The Burton.” 

Richard Long’s work is a celebration of wild places that often lie hidden, just off the beaten track.  He is an artist who has had a lifetime of joyful exploration and simple pleasures, exploring the relation of man and nature, expressing, in new ways, the beauty and fragility of this relationship.

The Burton Art Gallery also hosts regular art activities for children and teenagers, allowing them the opportunity to discover their creative side and get artistically active themselves. Visit www.burtonartgallery.co.uk for further details.

To find out more information about ARTIST ROOMS On Tour please visit www.artfund.org/artistrooms.  To see the full ARTIST ROOMS collection please visit www.tate.org.uk/artistrooms and www.nationalgalleries.org/artistrooms

Venue Contact Details:
THE BURTON ART GALLERY & MUSEUM, Kingsley Road, Bideford EX39 2QQ
(e) burtonartgallery@torridge.gov.uk   (t) 01237 471455 (w) www.burtonartgallery.co.uk

Opening Hours:

Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm.

Lucy Goaman

Wood Engravers’ craftsmanship at the Burton Art Gallery

Make your Mark! 

Having earned a reputation for creativity, excellence, skilled craftsmanship and distinctiveness of design, wood engraving is valued for its sense of heritage and quality.  Prized by collectors the world over, wood engraving, a very old form of printmaking, has an international reach extending way beyond its English roots.

Last week I had the privilege of visiting the Burton Art Gallery to view The Society of Wood Engravers 76th Annual Exhibition. The Society of Wood Engravers was founded in 1920 and is the oldest and most prestigious wood engravers society in the world. The Society had its resurgence in 1980 and since then has toured throughout the UK sharing works from all over the globe, indeed in the current exhibition in Bideford, the UK works on display are alongside those from the US, Japan and beyond.

Most wood engravers work in a similar way.  Initially the “boxwood” is drenched with paint, once set, the image is painstakingly formed by etching away with millions of score marks using a sharp tool called a “spit sticker,’ until the final design has been created. The raised surface is then coated in a fine layer of ink and once through the press prints directly on paper.  Unlike most artists, wood engravers need to remember that the image cut on the block is the reverse of the final print.  As such, seeing the final image through the press is a great moment, unlike most forms of art, for wood engravers, this is the first time the intricate finished artwork is seen.

In every exhibition I visit at the Burton I try to work out why different pictures appeal, in technical terms, and with regards to wood engraved work, the complexity and range of techniques employed by the artist’s marking with the “spit sticker,” and the content and message the artist is intending to convey.

Hilary Paynter attracted my attention at this exhibition; I guess part of the connection was knowing a little about her work and her intention to make a statement and indeed in many of her pieces, social commentary.  Also as an artist living and working from her home base in Bideford, I feel I can relate to her.

I was also interested in how many of the works depict very physically dramatic locations and for the artist to record them would have meant many hours perched on the edge of a hill, on the side of a river, or cliff whilst the changing seasons, weather and light become a part of the final appearance of the work.

Much of the work on display features intricate designs with beautifully thought through compositions and the range of “marks” is truly extraordinary.  The exhibition, featuring over 140 engravings from Britain and around the world, recognised as the showcase for the engraver’s art, is well worth a visit, and is on at the Burton Art Gallery until 15th September.

Alongside the exhibition, this year’s special feature is a master class day on wood engraving. For anyone who would like to learn more about the art of engraving and create their own wood engraving why not book yourself a place on the workshop day at the Burton Art Gallery on 30th August.  The master class will explore tone, tints and textures in black and white with internationally renowned Hilary Paynter, the past President of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and Chairman of the Society of Wood Engravers.  For more information on the master class and booking information please visit the Burton Art Gallery website www.burtonartgallery.co.uk

Venue Contact Details:

The Society of Wood Engravers 76th Annual Exhibition at The Burton Art Gallery until 15th September – FREE ADMISSION.

THE BURTON ART GALLERY & MUSEUM, Kingsley Road, Bideford EX39 2QQ
(e) burtonartgallery@torridge.gov.uk   (t) 01237 471455 (w) www.burtonartgallery.co.uk

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm.  Sunday 11am – 4pm.

Lucy Goaman

Mobile Marketing – notes from a train journey!

 

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As we close the first month of 2012, with plans for the year in progress, I am sure most businesses are undergoing some change. With economic and EU/UK political uncertainly pulling down, developments in technology are continuing to push businesses up into new territories and marketing opportunities.

I am watching with interest, and working with businesses on the impact that mobile technology is having on their brand and marketing planning. The consumer need for full integration of marketing and communication platforms can create its challenges in our ever-increasing mobile world!

Indeed, as I write this, I am sitting on the 6.05am Tiverton Parkway to Paddington train. I have just seen an ad for the new liquid foundation (will explain all in a future blog – but a long overdue launch from a great brand!) in a magazine, use the QR code that is displayed to find out further details on line, then check on comparison sites where I can make the cheapest purchase, and then order the item to be delivered to my home address the following day.

I have a sip of my decaff coffee (milk and a sweetener) and then move onto checking out some of my favourite (in terms of marketing) fashion brands.

I am a fan of H&M at the moment. Typically a high street retail business model, the brand is making giant leaps with digital media to drive sales.

They are experimenting with virtual changing rooms, customer service Twitter feed, linking their e-commerce site to You Tube and blogs. I sit here working out what I should treat myself to, need something great to wear with my new foundation!

Taking it one step further, is Needle. This is great and I am sure will become an essential marketing tool for UK brands.

Needle puts customers who are looking for product information and recommendations directly in touch with product experts. And here’s the clever part. The product experts are other people who use their products – the brand’s most passionate fans, recruited from social media sites like facebook and Twitter. The theory here is that these “fans” who use the products will offer better advice than any call centre. Advice is given through online text, video or voice chats. As a thank you to the “fans,” the brands allow the experts to earn points – which in turn is used to buy more products from the brand, growing their expertise! According to Needle, a chat with a Needle product expert is “the equivalent of having a personal shopper giving real-time reviews and recommendations to your customers based on rich, interactive dialogues.

Catching the train has never been so much fun!

Define clearly what you do..

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It has been a busy few weeks for The Marketing and PR Clinic. Working with new businesses over the last month in the South West, the overriding and most fundamental piece of advice is to really clearly define and communicate what you do and what you’re offering.  Whether you are a hat designer, a headmaster, or a hotelier,  you’ll be pleasantly surprised how many potential clients are lurking!