HKK, a gourmet Chinese restaurant based in East London, contacted me late last year to see if I would make them eight huge prints for their Chinese New Year celebrations. As I love a challenge, I said yes.

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The storyline was about an Emperor who threw a birthday feast: here he is writing his invitations.

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The ingredients for the feast were gathered from far and wide: here they are aiming at the hawk in the sky, while people (and an enormous chicken) look for fish in the river.

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Chefs created new and beautiful dishes from the fruits of the land and sea.

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The banquet hall was decorated with splendid finery: I imagined these strange silver flagons shaped like rooster heads.

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The emperor arrived to the feast carried on a palanquin by four women (why not?) over a lavish staircase, inspired by the one that goes up to the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City.

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The Emperor was offered wine from a jade goblet (modelled with oak leaves taken from the design on a Dutch lamppost from Amsterdam) with gold dragons as handles.

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He joined his family and guests for a toast to health, happiness, abundance, peace and prosperity. The VIPs wore pearl necklaces and women had fresh flowers in their hair.

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After the meal, they were entertained by acrobats and ribbon dancers, harp players and singers, roosters and jugglers.

img_7391These prints were designed in four days and carved in japanese vinyl (gomuban) over 11 days: a record time for me. I made use of the Royal Academy Schools’ library where I found lots of books on Qing dynasty clothing and customs, and admired paintings of ancient landscapes, throne-rooms and interiors. I was buoyed along at this crazy pace by adrenaline and the looming Christmas deadline for approval of the images.

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Once approved, I scanned them and enlarged them to 133 x 76 cm each, and started phase two of the project: screenprinting them onto delicate shoji paper to hang in the restaurant interior. Luckily my studio, East London Printmakers, was quiet over the Christmas break, so I had enough space to work…!

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This stack of paper took over 100 hours to print… done in only 6 days.

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Finally some of the work was picked out with gold leaf. It’s not that obvious on a backlit image, but the gold shimmers in the light.

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Here are some installation shots of the work in the restaurant HKK Shoreditch, London.


The work is up until 4 March (extended an extra three weeks!) 2017. Let me know if you go along!

http://hkklondon.com/ 88 Worship Street, Broadgate Quarter, London EC2A 2BE

http://www.eastlondonprintmakers.co.uk 42 Copperfield Road, London E3 4RR

I’ve finally got round to photographing the Orchis prints (which make up the images in the Orchis books) on their own. Each print is 20 cm high and 91 cm long; on a webpage they tend to look like a smallish black squiggle. So I’ve added in close-ups in a section below each main image, which allows you to see more of the detailed carving and printing.

Orchis One

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Orchis Two

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Orchis Three

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Orchis Four

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Orchis Five

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Orchis Six

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Orchis Seven

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Orchis Eight

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Orchis Nine

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The prints are linocuts carved on three panels of Japanese vinyl, printed with black sakura ink on lambeth cartridge paper with a French American tool press, which has exerted enough pressure to stretch the print by 1-2 cm longer than the original blocks. Some prints (Orchis 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9) have been wiped and re-inked to achieve the different depth of greys. Some prints (not photographed here) have had a small bit of red colour pencil drawn on top to add highlights.

Orchis Four as a flat print has been accepted to the Society of Wood Engravers’ annual touring show, and will start off by being displayed in Bath.

79th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wood Engravers, 44AD Art Gallery, 4 Abbey St, Bath BA1 1NN  44AD Gallery 11 Oct – 5 Nov. Private View: Saturday 15 October, 2.30 – 5.30pm.  http://www.woodengravers.co.uk/79th-at-44ad-gallery-bath/

When the prints are folded into a book format they become a very different object: the long panorama is collapsed into a set of shapes that bring separate parts of the image close to each other. For me, books are portable, secretive and tactile. The images are read individually, rather than remaining in constant comparison.

A complete set of Orchis books will be displayed in the University of the West of England in Bristol in February 2017. More details to come.

 

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Around November 2014 I started to make this series of works about bodies

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dancing

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intertwined

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tumbling, blurring, merging

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colliding

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diagonal lines signifying cuts in time

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faces hidden in the forest.

My works are often stories told from the heart; I think the colour makes them more emotional. In the above prints I used colour blends and irregular shifts of the paper to make playful variations: each one is totally unique. They are screen prints 112 x 76 cm large, so each was the absolute limit of my arm span.

The studio is shut at the moment, so this is a strange time: thinking rather than making, reflecting rather than doing, planning over running. It’s probably good for me!!!

 

I just got back from a trip to the US where I spent time with many lovely friends and hung out in the forests and fields, forgetting about the hustle of London life. It was exactly what I was longing for: no near-death misses on my bike, no sirens all night, no tube strikes and city-wide roadworks: hurrah, instead the sound of the sea from my cabin at night, and lots of time outdoors. So I thought I would bring out my sketchbook, something that was a constant companion until I suddenly stopped a few years ago. One drawing a day, I thought, and I didn’t quite make it, but here are some of them.
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Grass Mountain

IMG_3892_eGrass Mountain
IMG_3893_eView of the sand spit from Cascade headIMG_3894_eView of Cascade head from the sand spit

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Sitka Center for Arts and EcologyIMG_3895Bus to Seattle, with annoying stranger who leaned on my arm the whole trip… ;(IMG_3882_ePrint Zero print studio in Seattle, run by Brian LaneIMG_3878_e

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Brian in pub

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Great show about disguise at the Seattle Art MuseumIMG_3897_e

IMG_5921_eThe rolling fields near Weston, OrIMG_5922_eIMG_5923_eSt Andrew’s Mission graveyard
IMG_5924_eOh the greyhound bus, next to prophets and veteransIMG_5925_eMo Osorio in LAIMG_5926_eDaisy and BongoIMG_5927_eJack Doyle’s cameraIMG_5928_eCabin in the forest
IMG_5919_eColumbia River GorgeIMG_3900_e

Hestia and MekoIMG_3899_e

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Greyhound, againIMG_3884_eOf course, many memories were undrawable, unphotographable, just nice to experience.

I was also fortunate to spend a few days in the beautiful Crow’s Shadow Press in eastern Oregon, which I first visited almost 10 years ago. It was great to catch up with friends, and breathe in the desert air, even though it actually rained there in August for the first time in years. I started to make a series of reduction prints which I am still working on now: here is a sneak preview.

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Wouldn’t it be great if this were an animation??

Hmmmmmmmmm, maybe.

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My screenprint, Beyond the Moon, has been selected for the 16th International Biennial Print Exhibit in the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. The opening was today: wish I could have gone along! Show continues until 26 October so if any of you happen to be in the area, do drop by and let me know what it’s like!

beyond_moon_silkscreen_eIt’s perfect timing with respect to the recent super moon sightings in the UK in mid August….

I still have some of these prints left, so get in touch if you would like one.

 

One day, when they’ve made a teletransporter that doesn’t scramble you into a million pieces when you get reassembled, I’ll be able to invite everyone to visit my show, even if they live a million miles away… In the meantime, here’s some photos and a video. The weird cracking noise on the video is my knee- too much jumping around on concrete I think! I absolutely love the sound of the piano which transformed the space into a performance venue and changed the viewing of the work into a piece of drama.



 

Click on this picture below to view a video we made of the show, with the piano playing on its own.

And here’s a picture of me looking pleased!

In all the fluster of New Orleans, I forgot to mention I’m in quite a few shows in the UK and abroad in the next few weeks.

1) Kicking it off will be a group show called Spring at the Smokehouse, with 50 artists all responding to the theme of spring. That show opens on Thursday 5th April more details are here. I’ll be showing my new dancing dress animation, Shift, in a vertical format, with a dress flying above it on the wall. There will be many other friends and colleagues at this show so please come and check it out.

2) I’ve been invited to be a guest artist in the 8th British Miniprint show, which opens on the 12th April in London Print Studio. My print is a big one, to show off how cute and small the other prints are, I’m sure! Other guest artists include Guy Langevin, He Weimin and Ana Maria Pacheco. More details here.

3) On that same day, I have 3 books in the 6th International Artist’s Book Triennial, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2012, on the theme of Love. All my books are about love, I realise. More details here.

4) Next up will be a group Lino show, Linoleum: The Cutting Edge, in Hemingway art, Oxfordshire, opening on the 14th and a celebratory steam roller event on the 28th April, more details here.

LINOLEUM art show invitation

This is from the blurb: Artists from the UK, USA and Germany present works that push the boundaries of the seemingly simple linocut artform, through large-scale prints, installation and animated films. The artists are Victoria Browne, Steve Edwards, Bill Fick, Wuon-Gean Ho, Scott Minzy, Nick Morley, Carsten Nicolaus, Chris Pig, Peter Rapp and Mark Andrew Webber.

5) I’m in the Glasgow International Book Fair on the 28 and 29th April, with East London Printmakers, should be a fun event.

6) Finally, one month away, but counting down, I have a solo show in Ludlow, Material gallery, opening on the 6th May.

PS) Oh yes, just got mentioned in the Guardian on Friday, my book cover for the Tiger’s Wife was singled out as different from the rest, in a good way. Nice!