We Are Resident: 10 Minute Artist Residency Take-Over at Manchester Art Gallery

This Saturday 28th November, I will be working with artist Nicola Smith to run We Art Resident's '10 Minute Artist Residency' at Manchester Art Gallery. The event has been set up to research and develop a future artist residency programme that can include those who feel unable to participate in existing programmes.  Artists / creatives / parents with children, or those who may feel excluded from existing residency opportunities are particularly welcome. 

The 10 Minute Artist Residency will take place in the Clore Art Studio on the first floor at Manchester Art Gallery from 12pm - 3pm. Participants will be asked to 'check in' and will be guided through a 10 minute residency space to participate in playful, creative activities and contribute ideas to create the ideal artist residency. Information gathered at the event will be used to inform a future residency programme with the opportunity to take part in an artist's residency in Tampere, Finland in 2016.

Diary of an Atelierista

As if I haven't got enough to do, I have now decided to up my game and start a Tumblr blog as the-scribble-kid ! This blog should hopefully act as my online Diary of an Atelierista. So do pop over there from time to time and see what happens!


London in a day - Yoko Ono, Bauhaus, and the Art Fund Prize 2012!

...am recovering from a random, last-minute art gallery-packed day down in London! The Serpentine Gallery 

First, a long walk from Knightsbridge and through Hyde Park to the Serpentine Gallery to see Yoko Ono's latest show 'To the Light' which opened yesterday. The exhibition features a variety of installations, films, photos and archive material - threaded together by an accompanying sound piece of bird cries and ambiguous heartbeats.

The central piece Amaze 1971 invites viewers to take their shoes off and lose themselves within a disorientating maze of clear perspex, which simultaneously serves the purpose of revealing the participants to the rest of the gallery. The installation seeks to reveal the viewer as the 'viewed', as the participant struggles through the space, unsure of whether they are about to hit a wall as subtle reflections confuse their sense of space. Finally, the lost viewer finds or 're-discovers' themselves once more as their reflection is revealed in a small, cubic water well at the centre of the piece.

Elsewhere, the world distorts as the viewer encounters suggestive objects, such as a ladder leading up to a suspended magnifying glass. The seemingly overlooked soldiers' helmets filled with jigsaw pieces of a blue sky also provide a sad testament - rather heartbreaking on reflection. Perhaps the lost blue skies can be found on the 'Sky TV' in another room where a plasma screen transports us to a flat, one-dimensional, filmed sky. Ono leaves a trail of suggestive notes here, telling us that the ceiling is, in fact, 'the floor' and the floor 'is the ceiling', or is it?

I also practically walked into Yoko Ono as she was being accompanied out of the Serpentine's learning studio towards the new Pavilion - in preparation for her talk, in conversation with Waldemar Januszczak in the warm, dark, cork-filled, sensory pavilion designed by architects Herzog and de Meuron and artist-activist Ai Weiwei!





Then it was on to the Barbican's current Bauhaus: Art as Life exhibition, an in-depth portrayal of the Bauhaus movement and manifesto - the UK's biggest Bauhaus exhibition in over 40 years. At first slightly hesitant to enter a world of rigid architecture, geometry and colour theory I did, however, become quickly immersed. The Bauhaus vision of utopia is hopeful and appealing as creativity, imagination, play, celebration, community and shared identity are emphasised as key ideals in a movement that blossomed and then dissolved in the dawn of the Second World War. The path through the exhibition provided a comprehensive timeline of the Bauhaus movement, but the curated space, did not seem to capture enough of the playful, free spirit of the movement. This was to be found, instead, in the close examination of small archive photographs and photograms, prints, drawings and paintings.



After being properly immersed in the world of Bauhaus, it was a mad dash to the British Museum to the Art Fund Prize 2012 award ceremony! The two prize categories were The Art Fund Prize for Museums and Galleries - Museum of the Year 2012 and, also, The Clore Award for Museum Learning 2012.

And the winners were....

Museum of the Year 2012 - Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery (although I was rooting for and had my fingers crossed for the Hepworth, the team have achieved a tremendous amount over such a short space of time and were favourites to win).

Clore Award for Museum Learning 2012 - joint winners Leicestershire County Council Heritage & Arts Service - Held in the Hand and Touch Tables and also... the Whitworth Art Gallery/ Manchester Museum / Manchester Art Gallery with the Manchester Early Years Partnerships!! The early years initiative began over 5-6 years ago through the Creative Collaboration projects in Sure Start Children's Centres and rippled out to the galleries which provide innovative sessions as part of a core offer for the early years, where 'children lead the way'! It has all come a long way and our Mini Art Club session at Manchester Art Gallery will turn 50 next month - yes, that's the 50th session!

To read more about the shortlists:



To hear/read about the winner of the Art Fund Prize 2012:









Lost in Lace

One of my installation workshops next month will tackle the theme of loops, lines and lace, so I decided to take a train ride to Birmingham to catch the 'Lost in Lace' exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, before it finishes next Sunday 19th.  The range of interpretations to the theme of lace from the 20 contemporary artists featured in the exhibition is impressive, and the level of concept, skill, scale and attention to detail keeps the average visitor engrossed for much longer than anticipated.

Quite a few of the artworks respond specifically to the exhibition space within the Gas Hall at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, as threads, panels and lacy forms literally slice through space, forming new perspectives, delineations and boundaries for the visitor to walk around and peer through. Responses range from the microcosm of a thread of lace - 'Black Lace', a video-sound installation by Kathleen Rogers; to the dark, otherworldly installation 'After the Dream' by Chiharu Shiota, featuring a row of white dresses floating in an intricate, webbed confusion of hand-woven threads (complete with a surveillance camera's view which demonstrates how the space was painstakingly constructed).

The exhibition space itself is curated in such a way that the visitor can choose their own route around the exhibition, almost as if they too are weaving their own lacy path. There is much to see and walk around and plenty of to-ing and fro-ing, so it would be great if this could have actually been recorded and mapped out in some way!

To travel down by train across icy/snowy landscapes and find myself 'Lost in Lace' for nearly two hours was a great visual distraction and inspiration. My fingers were left twitching for needle, thread and paper to play with, pencils to scribble with and my head buzzing with ideas and possible responses. A trip to this exhibition is highly recommended and a pre-conceived idea of lace will be ripped apart and intricately re-threaded.




Journeys through the Forest nr. Krosno, Poland

After arriving in Krakow, Poland, I took a bus east, with my good friend Ula to the small town of Krosno, not far from the Ukrainian border. In preparation for a project taking place over the summer at Manchester Art Gallery, I decided to make good use of my time exploring forests and hills surrounding Krosno. Whilst Ula and her friend Dorota hiked along the soggy slopes in the rain, I lagged behind with an old-school tape recorder and camera, capturing the sights and the sounds of the sloping woodland areas...