Author Archives: Caroline

Delectable bags at MADE London in Canary Wharf

I do love a good bag and these two designers seen at MADE London certainly know about making them. Although very different, each produces a “classic” style. I didn’t choose deliberately but both makers below are based in London.

Frank Horn is the name of the brand, not the person, though Francis is his middle name. He produces small runs of clean structured bags in practical sizes and a great range of plain colours –  yellow is apparently a current favourite.

Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksThese covetable market/storage bags below by Maiko Dawson are some of her sturdiest ones though she has a large range of leathers and colours to choose from in other stylesPhoto by Caroline Banksfrom this acid lemon tote with pocket stitch detail

Photo by Caroline Banks

to the kid leather softness of these pocket bags and spectacle holders. Oh, and she also makes shoes.Photo by Caroline Banks

Tableware at MADE London at Canary Wharf

Lighter evenings feel like a gift of time so I profited by visiting the latest fair by MADE London held at the Winter Garden East in Canary Wharf.

We were really taken by the mid-century aesthetic of  Elizabeth Renton’s domestic ceramics in a sophisticated colour palette. One piece that stood out for me for the subtlety of colour was this crackle glazed jug. Notice how the glaze doesn’t quite reach the bottom.Photo by Caroline Banks Her mugs and small jugs fit well into the hand and are really satisfying to hold.

Photo by Caroline BanksNext on the culinary wish list was this sterling silver saucepan, just one of a range of items by Brett Payne. I made the mistake of asking how thick the silver plating was (as it would rub away with repeated cleaning) but no, his impressive front-woman (also his daughter) told us he only works in solid silver; he is a silversmith after all. Silver is  an excellent conductor of heat so just the thing for searing scallops.Photo by Caroline BanksThese swan spoons were very cute too.  Click here for the video). You need deep pockets but these pieces are investments, made to last for generations.Photo by Caroline Banks
Photo by Caroline Banks

The Linnean Society, London

Whenever visiting places not normally open to the public I’m struck by the range of hidden enclaves. Such is the Linnean Society, one of several societies housed in Burlington House in London.

As the name suggests, this is a natural science society, the oldest one in the world, and still very active in all aspects of the life sciences.Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksAmongst its many treasures are these beautifully delicate botanical illustrations. All photos are skewed as I was trying to avoid direct light on glass.Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksThis book from 1542 by Leonhard Fuchs is remarkable in that the three artists involved in its production are credited with both their names and portraits: Albrecht Meyer (botanical illustrator), Heinrich Füllmaurer (woodblock draughtsman) and Veit Rudolf Speckle (wood engraver)Photo by Caroline Banks

A couple of the artists showing at Roy’s People Art Fair

My participation in the second Roy’s People Art Fair, which took place at The Bargehouse, OXO Tower in London, is the last (for a few weeks at least) of a blur of constant creative and commercial activity this year.

Photo by Caroline Banks

“The Merry Wives of Windsor” published 1910

Robert Robinson is popular on the art fair circuit exhibiting his books and cut-outs, with subjects including superheros and Alice in Wonderland. He was my neighbour at the recent The Other Art Fair but we never had the chance to talk as were so busy.Photo by Caroline Banks In complete contrast, Lucy Stevens combines sound and imagery in ongoing explorations into, as her website says, “the acoustic ecology of the natural environment”, specifically birdsong.

I didn’t have the chance to listen to her recordings but found the imagery intriguing so please visit her website to learn more.  Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline Banks

I’m now looking forward to slowing down a little for a while.

Breathe: A Green Lung – installation at the Barbican

There is always more to see than anticipated when visiting the Barbican  and this was exactly the case whilst on my way from Yto Barrada’s Agadir in The Curve to Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins in the gallery.

I came across this small installation tucked into a corner called Breathe: A Green Lung, devised by Cityscapes with Heywood & Condie  in which a stained glass greenhouse is enclosed within two green walls.       Photo by Caroline Banks

Photo by Caroline Banks

Photo by Caroline Banks

Increasing greenery within an urban environment is preaching to the choir here; what really appealed to me creatively was the stained glass greenhouse Photo by Caroline Banks with its amended imagery. To see more of their stained glass work click on this link.Photo by Caroline Banks

Artists discovered at The Other Art Fair at Victoria House, London. Post 2 of 2

I never had enough time in the mornings before the fair opened to look around properly but enjoyed finding these artists, all previously unknown to me.

Ian Rayer-Smith’s lush abstracts seduced me with their colour and the energy of mark-making; they also come across as rich in meaning. I see myths and legends with the gods battling in epic skyscapes…Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline Banksthis one evokes Leda and the swan for me but don’t let that stop you from a different  interpretation.Photo by Caroline BanksDutch artist Peter Bezuijen is also concerned with colour but in a very different way with pattern and repetition. His background in illustration and graphics is evident and I enjoy his infinite variations within quite a regimented format.   Photo by Caroline Banks Rajvi Dedhia Unadkat’s paintings combine both elements mentioned above: gestural mark-making and structural composition, seen in the layering and contrasts within a piece.Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks

Artists discovered at The Other Art Fair at Victoria House, London. Post 1 of 2

It’s pretty obvious that I’m a rabid fan of The Other Art Fair, both as exhibitor and visitor with the recent event no different.

I love the exciting environment as well as the supportive community of artists and that you can see and buy fabulous art directly from the creators themselves. I really enjoy getting to know the artists and having that personal connection with the maker of whatever it is I admire or have bought. Anyway, I’ll stop eulogising and show you some photos of work I fell in love with  this time.

Just round the corner from my stand was South Korean artist Cheolyu Kim who brought everything over in one suitcase. His fantastical and unsettling compositions are rooted in his childhood close to the border with North Korea.

Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks

Hildegard Pax ‘s dichroic glass sculptures are fresh and delicate yet powerful, influencing the space around them, Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks even this small piece with paper.Photo by Caroline Banks

More to follow in my next post.

Depicting the female body – art by Caroline Walls

As already mentioned, I’ve been hard at work in the studio these past few months, occasionally opening a few newsletters, including design blog Yatzer,  where I discovered the work of painter Caroline Walls.

These images connected to a recent discussion I had with a figurative painter about the minefield that can be the contemporary female nude painted by a woman. We are bombarded every day with so many images of nubile, conventionally beautiful and “perfect” bodies with overwhelming connotations of the male erotic gaze that I, and many others, find disturbingly exploitative.

I was struck by Caroline Walls’ work which depicts an abstracted view of the female form with sensuality and honesty. She’s part of a group of artists challenging this hegemony and celebrates the female body in an inclusive, non-didactic manner. The flat, print-like silhouettes are given depth by the application of many layers of colour.
All photos are from either Yatzer or from Caroline’s website

The Dark Side: some of my work to be shown at The Other Art Fair

I haven’t been out and about as much as usual as have been busy with tight deadlines so, as there’s now just a week to go till The Other Art Fair I’ve been exclusively focussed on the studio developing new work to exhibit.  Here are a few snaps of a couple of pieces that’ll be on my stand (No. 48).

Photo by Caroline Banks

Energy (dark ground) 100 x 80cm

This canvas, tentatively named Energy (dark ground), is one of a pair finished only a few days ago during the very cold spell when the pipes in my studio froze. I’m a bit obsessed with a dark ground at the moment – it has something to do with an intensity of mood. I had planned to paint a series of three ( I have a thing for triptychs) but then received my stand layout (No. 48) which doesn’t allow for 3 large pieces in a row. Never mind, they work as single paintings too.

Photo by Caroline Banks

Painting detail

Painting detail

I work ideas out through drawing and studies: this one developed from the small piece below, itself one of a series.

Photo by Caroline Banks

Dark Study (1) 18 x 13cm

One of my nightmares is naming work so please send me any suggestions – they are always welcome and I look forward to meeting you at the show.

The Bird Hide by Sara Heywood at Bow Arts RAW Labs

If you get off the Docklands Light Railway at Gallions Reach, one stop before the end of the line to Beckton, a short walk will bring you to a new development called Royal Albert Dock, right on the river Thames and opposite London City Airport.Photo by Caroline Banks

Bow Arts has worked with the developers to help create a soul and community to this location with RAW Labs, a purpose-built affordable studio complex with a gallery and cafe around one of the pools. It’s a wonderful place for artists to work with big skies and the light from the water. And, luxury of luxuries, the studios are heated! I’d be there in a shot if it weren’t so far away from where I live.

Photo by Caroline BanksSara Heywood, the recent artist in residence, was influenced by the waterside location and the proximity of London City Airport across the river. Bird life includes cormorants as well as the ubiquitous seagulls. The big birds, however, are the planes which fly directly overhead in to land. Her hide helps you identify both from its location facing the water with binoculars provided.

Photo by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksIt’s cosy inside with views up to the flight path and there’s a handy identification chart too.Photo by Caroline BanksI was outside when this one came over and no, I can’t tell you what type it was.Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banksthere are little spyholes to see what else is going on around the hide.

Photo by Caroline Banks