Saltaire Arts Trail

The lovely Saltaire Arts Trail event is on this coming bank holiday weekend. I am opening my studio at The Butterfly Rooms as part of the Open Houses trail – we’re number 20 on the map. We shall be open 10 – 5 Saturday, Sunday, Monday (27th- 29th May). Do come along and see the space I work in. I will have a variety of framed and unframed work available, as well as books and cards etc.

If you’ve never been to Saltaire then this is the perfect excuse to visit the World Heritage Site, have a look in all sorts of buildings and houses in the village, meet some lovely people and have a generally arty time – I am a little biased as I was involved in organising the event for 5 years!

caravan

Touring Gallery

Anyone who has been following my work over the last year or so will know that I like an unusual gallery space.  This week last year I was exhibiting in the old lighthouse at Spurn – I can’t believe it’s been a whole year.  Well, the next unconventional space is an old 1960s Sprite caravan that Stef and Ian Mitchell of Duckett & Jeffreys run as a touring gallery space.  Over the next two weeks it won’t be touring but will be parked up outside their house in a stunning location in the Yorkshire Wolds.  Stef and Ian turn their house into a gallery four times a year and invite artists to show their work.  I was thrilled to be invited to do a ‘caravan takeover’.

Pavement Piece #23 detail

I’m showing some of my Gifts from the Pavement work, including a few new pieces.  I took my work over there yesterday in beautiful autumn sunshine.  It was tempting to linger in the dry valleys that are so typical of the wolds, amidst pheasants and buzzards and berry-heavy hedgerows.  Sadly I had to get back to do other things.  I did get a sneek peek at some of the work going up in the house, particularly Helen Booth‘s and I really do recommend getting over there as there is some lovely stuff.  There are directions to find Canada House here and there are some lovely images of my work going up over here. The exhibitions are open between 11 and 6 daily until 13 October.  If nothing else it’s worth just to see this lovely part of the world!

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement print detail

looking and links

In the last few weeks I’ve seen some wonderful and inspiring exhibitions.  A trip north took me to Perth where I saw the moving work of Angus McPhee, a man who spent most of his life in a psychiatric hospital choosing not to speak and devoting his energies to weaving structures with grass and other material gathered from the hospital grounds.  There is a touring stage show that tells his story, which sadly I didn’t see (although it is still touring). Through this exhibition I discovered the beautiful work of Joanne B Kaar, who created  replicas of some of Angus’s ‘garments’ for use in the stage show.

Angus McPhee peat creel

In Edinburgh I visited the Dovecot Studios and saw the lovely Fleece to Fibre with its wonderful links to the people who were involved in producing the wool used to weave a tapestry version of Victoria Crowe‘s Large Tree Group.  My favourite bit was actually the back of the large tapestry (still on its frame) where you could see all the hand written labels showing the breed of sheep the wool was from and the person who had spun it.  The whole tapestry was made using natural tones of wool from different breeds of sheep.

Ilana Halperlin We make geology

Also in Edinburgh I visited the National Museum of Scotland to see this intriguing exhibition by Ilana Halperin. Ilana’s use of geological processes to collaborate in making her work was really interesting and there is a lovely guide to the exhibition that you can download from the page I’ve linked to above.

Back home I had my first visit to see Cloth and Memory {2} at Salts Mill.  My friend Hannah is exhibiting in this and used my spinning wheel to spin fibre that she found at the Mill into balls of yarn that are included in the exhibition, so I have had a sneaky insight into a bit of the work before it all went up. There is a lovely film here that shows her spinning the wool in the amazing space where the exhibition is.  Because I live just up the road and the exhibition is one for a couple of months I can take my time with this one and visit as many times as I like: there is a lot to see.  On my initial walk round a coupe of things really caught my eye, including some little interventions on the crumbling walls by Jeanette Appleton. They reminded me of this project by my friend Ruth.

pavement pieces

Alice Fox Pavement Piece #16

I’ve been working on some small textile pieces that are part of the series of works called Gifts from the Pavement.  These compliment the paper based prints that formed the original exhibition.  They are made in the same way, building up layers of rust print, collagraph print (both using found objects from the Saltaire streets) and stitch, but this time on silk.

Alice Fox Pavement Piece #20 detail

Alice Fox Pavement Piece #16 detailAlice Fox Pavement Piece #16 detail 2Alice Fox Pavement Piece #17 detailAlice Fox Pavement Piece #18 detail

These ones have just gone off to the framers and I have a little stack to work on through the holidays.

 

sound track

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement Saltaire X print and stitch detail

You can now hear  some of the music that was composed for my Gifts from the Pavement exhibition for Saltaire Arts Trail in May.  Composer Nigel Morgan wrote a series of miniature pieces in response to my prints.  These were performed by the award winning jazz pianist Matt Robinson and a taster of those is now available here.  Matt will be recording an album of these along with other works written for him by Nigel as part of an on-going collaboration.

book

Gifts from the pavement cover

The Gifts from the Pavement book is now available to buy on my online shop.

By the way, this is the last week to see Industrial Abstract at the Beetroot Tree in Derbyshire.  Textures of Spurn continues at The Bowery in Leeds and if you’re around that area next Saturday I’ll have a stall at the Leeds Festival Chorus Plant and Produce sale at St Chads Parish Centre, Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds from 11.30 – 2.30.  This is a fundraising event for the wonderful choir, which I sing in.  There will be lots of plants, food, craft stalls and general loveliness.

.

masons marks?

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement exhibition

The dust has settled after the Saltaire Arts Trail last weekend.  It was a wonderful three days that were blessed with lovely weather and we had thousands of visitors to the various events happening as part of the trail.  I had almost 2000 visitors to my pop-up gallery over the three days, which was amazing.  I had some lovely conversations with people about the project too, which was great – until people came to see the work I really didn’t know whether people would ‘get it’, but they did!  It was lovely to see children’s imaginations being sparked by the different shapes I’d captured and finding delight in recognising some of the items I’d used to print with.

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement exhibition detail

I’ve had a few problems uploading things this last week or so but now I can catch up on a few of the things I was going to share about the Saltaire project

Alice Fox Saltaire kerbstone masons mark diamond

Wandering round the streets of Saltaire there are a whole range of carved marks in the kerb stones.  I assumed these are masons marks and they seem to be referred to as those by many people.  I found some discussion on line about whether they are benchmarks for the ordinance survey, but this seems unlikely.  I then had a few conversations with people during my exhibition at and it seems that these marks indicate utilities:  A little less romantic, but the most plausible explanation.

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement masons marks

Some marks are in the form of letters, some are simple shapes.  Whatever their provenance they make an interesting  and sometimes playful-seeming addition to the pavement-scape.

Alice Fox Saltaire pavement marks rectangle

These marks found their way into my collagraph prints for Gifts from the Pavement, recreated on the print plates by string that was found on the same streets.

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement print detail

gifts

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement print textures detail

I’ve been working quietly away at my exhibition for Saltaire Arts Trail.  This time next week the event will be in full swing and the ‘village’ of Saltaire will be buzzing with people of all ages, inspired energy and a plethora of different art experiences for visitors to sample. One of these will be my exhibition Gifts from the Pavement, in one of two pop-up galleries on Victoria Road.

I posted a while ago about finding my ‘gifts’, the result of a kind of ‘beach-combing’ or pavement combing.  Farley & Roberts (see post on Edgelands) refer to this kind of collecting of objects: “This is not beachcombing, but edgecombing” (p154).  Saltaire, a World Heritage Site, can’t really be classed as an edgeland; it’s far too loved and looked after.  However, the discarded or ignored details that I’ve explored here are generally over-looked, so there is an edgelands quality to them.

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement layered rust, collagraph and screen print

My collection of ‘combed’ textures, marks and shapes found on the streets of Saltaire has been transformed into a series of long prints or sections of a path, which will form the main part of the exhibition.  As with other recent print-based work these are built up from various layers of different print techniques and texture:  There are rust prints from found metal objects; collagraph prints, some made with found items and some from paper but inspired by the textures and patterns found on the street (drain covers, worked stone etc.); mono-prints using some of the natural items I found (leaves and seed heads); screen prints featuring scraps of found text; hand stitch adding a further layer of texture to the surface and finally a layer of subtle texture, almost like a rubbing, that makes the surface even more pavement-like.  There are areas of intense activity as well as quieter sections.  This reflects the ‘activity’ on the streets: some stretches were rich in points of interest, others much ‘cleaner’.

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement Saltaire collagraph and screen print detail

In the run-up to the Arts Trail the Saltaire Tourist Information Centre has some ‘Pavement Pieces’ prints (like little fragments of the main ones) and cards.  I still don’t know exactly how the long prints will actually come together in the exhibition space until I get in there later in the week.  This is slightly nerve-racking but exciting too.  The book I’ve published to go with the exhibition is due for delivery on Monday and until I see it in print I won’t know if it really has worked how I hoped.  Although the work is all made there are unknowns and challenges for the week ahead.

beneath my feet

Alice Fox pavement marks 18

I’m working on a new project.  It started with my contribution to the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project (link to my book in the digital library on the right).  I’m now working on an exhibition for the wonderful Saltaire Arts Trail which takes place in my local World Heritage site in May.  I’m taking the ideas I started in my original sketchbook and the resulting work will form an installation as part of the trail around the village.

Alice Fox pavememnt marks 6

Gifts from the Pavement is a collection of textures, marks and shapes found on the streets of Saltaire: Subtle changes in the surface of the pavement; points of interest under foot; discarded objects like a rusty washer or squashed tin can, a dropped ticket or a scrap of something not-quite-discernable.  These marks and shapes are collected and arranged, explored and developed into unconventional prints and displayed in surprising ways for the viewer to follow, discover, explore.

Alice Fox pavement marks 11

So I have been collecting, pavement combing, sweeping the Saltaire streets with my eyes.  I have a whole bunch of wonderful photos of ironmongery, kerb stone marks and ephemera of all sorts.  I also have a box of ‘gifts’ that I collected on my walks, some more beautiful than others (I avoided anything too distasteful – there were many cigarette stubs and a few other unsavoury items!).

lice Fox pavement combing

This week I’ve been sorting through the images and items (some more of them are here) and preparing to print with them.  They’re a strange mix of things: some with a history as long as Titus’s village, some dropped from someone’s pocket on a rushed journey to work a week ago.

gifts from the pavement

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement Sketchbook Project 19

Over the past couple of months I’ve been working away slowly at my contribution to The Sketchbook Project.

My book is a record of things picked up in the streets around my home on everyday short walks during autumn and winter: on the way to the post office or back from school.  The things I’ve picked up are insignificant: a rusty washer, a few leaves, a beer bottle top… They have come together with the help of the chemistry of tea to make marks on the pages of the book.  I’ve then used rollers and ink to build up more marks and texture and finally there are stitches added in response to the other marks.

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement Sketchbook Project 12

This morning I finished my book and now I can post it off to the Brooklyn Art Library for it to join all the other books from around the world.  Eventually my book will be available online to view digitally, but for now here are a few peeks at the detail:

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement Sketchbook Project 10Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement Sketchbook Project 14Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement Sketchbook Project 15Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement Sketchbook Project 17

Alice Fox Gifts from the Pavement Sketchbook Project 20