Annual paper project launched at ‘The Shell’

The Paper Project at The Shell.
The Paper Project at The Shell.

Parkside Gallery’s sister exhibition space ‘The Shell’ has launched ‘The Paper Project’. The annual exhibition, which opened on Monday 6 February, presents a culmination of student work within ‘The Figure in Space’ module 12 weeks into the BA (Hons) Design for Theatre, Performance and Events degree course.

The Figure in Space

The module, tailored for first year students, has been developed over the past 16 years, with this year’s celebrating 2016 as Roald Dahl’s centenary in collaboration with The Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre.

Supplied with one kilometer of corrugated card and two kilometers of brown paper, students were set the task of creating a Roald Dahl-themed environment within 18 days using only their ingenuity and basic materials. Rosie Anderson, first year BA (Hons) Design for Theatre, Performance and Events student said:

“It has been really challenging to make it work, but I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been the best project to work on and we’ve all been able to put our own stamp on it.”

The environment

This year’s outcome features a variety of characters from Dahl’s children’s stories putting on a 100th birthday party in the woodlands of Great Missenden.

Elements such as Roald Dahl’s writing chair, George mixing his marvellous medicine watched by his shrinking grandmother, Augustus Gloop hovering around the food-table with Aunt Sponge, a drunk rat and Fantastic Mr Fox add to the details captured within the environment. Hollie Wright, BA (Hons) Design for Theatre, Performance and Events Lecturer said:

“It’s an enchanting experience. You can get lost in this world. This is an environment transformed using paper to depict various elements, showing how paper sculpture techniques can be used to create this setting of fun in the forest.”

Collaborative practice

In addition to celebrating the wonders of Roald Dahl, the exhibition also provides an opportunity for students to collaborate and develop industry skills. Elanor Field, Visiting Tutor said:

“You notice new details everywhere you look, like mice with party hats. This is the first taster of collaboration for the students, mirroring the landscape of the industry, ensuring that everyone has the chance to put their own stamp on the project through collaborative practice.”

To find out more, search ‘The Paper Project BCU’.

Parkside Gallery to host major contemporary craft exhibition

By Sally Collin.
By Sally Collin.

Contemporary craft exhibition Made in the Middle is set to be displayed at Parkside Gallery between March 6 and April 29.

The partnership between Craftspace and The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in collaboration with The National Centre for Craft & Design, is a recurring touring exhibition of high quality contemporary craft and applied art from the Midlands. The eighth exhibition in the series, coordinated by Craftspace, is part of the organisation’s 30th anniversary programme, featuring both recent graduates and makers with established reputations.

The display

Through providing an opportunity to purchase and commission work from some of the best makers in the region, a wealth of creativity is on display, including ceramics, jewellery, metalwork and textiles. Selected by an expert panel through open entry, it promotes the best of contemporary craft from makers living and working in the Midlands or with a strong recent regional connection. Emma Daker, Exhibitions and Projects Development Manager for Craftspace said:

“Craft is a vital source of revenue and innovation to the UK. With recent changes to country’s economy we are keen to highlight and explore the value of craft both in economic terms and social contribution. Through the work and careers of the selected makers, the exhibition will explore enterprise through the life of the sole trader. We will also build on the development of digital practices since the last exhibition.”

Exhibitors

A panel of curators and craft sector specialists has selected 28 makers to have works on show. The group of exhibitors features individuals such as jeweller Dauvit Alexander, who creates striking jewellery for men combining found materials and precious gemstones, Aimee Boll who also takes inspiration from found items which she combines with minimal ceramic vessels, and John Grayson who uses traditional metal forming and enamel decorating processes to create whimsical, humorous and decorative metal objects.

The exhibition will continue its tour to major galleries across the Midlands into 2018 raising the profile of regional makers and giving them the opportunity to sell their work to regional and national collectors. Visitors are encouraged to consider commissioning new work from local makers and a range of more affordable work will be available to buy, whether your budget is a few pounds or a thousand pounds.

#madeitm30 #madeitm @tweetcraftspace
madeinthemiddle.org
craftspace.co.uk

Birmingham City University Textiles student set to explore ‘Punk’ with ‘Grace’

Third year Birmingham City University BA (Hons) Textile Design students are taking part in the ‘Trends’ project for this year’s NEC Furniture Show taking place from January 22 – 25 2017. The project is a collaborative partnership with Color Hive which has been ongoing for the last seven years and includes working partnership with industry partners such Ikea, HF Contracts, Tektura wall coverings and Brinton’s Carpet’s.

The ‘Trends’ project work has helped contribute to the Trends Academy project with Color Hive. During the 2016 project, Kiddermister-based Brinton’s Carpets have helped students with the manufacturing process. The collaborative work resulted in students’ work being displayed at Clerkenwell Design Week.

This year’s project involves tasking BCU students with contributing to two of four trends that Color Hive have identified for Autumn/Winter 2017 range. The two trends selected for the students include ‘Grace’ and ‘Punk’, two very contrasting themes.

“The students have really risen to the occasion, in relation to both trends. They have explored processes new to them, in terms of workshop practice. Each of the students has extended their textile design language. That is really exciting, and exactly what trend development is about”.

– Kate Farley, Programme Leader, BA (Hons), Textile Design.

 

Grace has a colour palette that includes soft shades of green and ochre with rose and cashmere cream. Using moody back drops of dark colours that include laurel green, navy and peat brown, it allows for light and mid tones to combine to create a rugged natural world look. The references include serene landscapes of Scottish heather on misty mountains that present some interesting design challenges to create unique designs. It becomes a very real journey of exploration, which causes individuals to questions their own thoughts and interpretations of grace and match it with the serene and luxurious roots that has formed Grace into a trend.

Punk by contrast presents a real opportunity to explore the anarchic and exuberant spirit of punk. It allows for exploration of personal freedom that is boldly inclusive but rejects the common clichés. Punk allows for inclusive inspiration taken from challenging social views through design in new technologies such as the internet, exploring overt embellishment in areas such as jewellery along with tribal references and the development of rich gaming landscapes. It provides a rich, diverse field of colour while avoiding and challenging clichés making it rich for exploration. The Punk colour scheme is usually dominated by rich and sensual dark tones using pinks and yellows to provide balance, all grounded in pale shade blush white. It is a broad opportunity to create something uniquely personal, reflective, and challenging.

The aim of the project is to really question the existing design interpretations and allow for creative and personal responses from the students to push the boundaries of design. The students themselves will have access to utilising their full range of core skills and be encouraged to experiment outside the realms of the traditional workshop environment.

“The Trends project is a fabulous opportunity for students to see the development of a studio module, in to something that’s actually within an industry environment. Through the exhibiting of their work at the trade show – it’s a really proud moment for our students, and working with a client like Color Hive will help them to question their practice within the industry as well”.

– Kate Farley, Programme Leader, BA (Hons), Textile Design.

Selected design concepts from the students work and design proposals will be realised, actualised, and made into products for display. This will be achieved through liaising with several manufacturing firms including Tektura Wallcovering and MRF furniture manufacturers to create the trend forward products and proposals.

The entire project allows for industry experience and to help take students on their own personal journeys with design by encouraging multi-discipline work practices and experimentation in textile design right through to the process of manufacturing and displaying forward thinking designs. That journey is a vital one of personal exploration that can really contribute to bigger and wider discussion within textile and product design.

You can find out more about the work being undertaken by students and their various projects at the BCU Textiles Design Facebook page or follow them on Twitter @textilesBCU for the latest updates.

 

All Because of You: Northern Soul Portraits

A photographic exploration of Young Northern Soulies in Birmingham and the Midlands

27 January – 24 February 2017

‘Chloe’, image permissions via Bethany Kane Photography

Coming to Parkside Gallery this January is the work of Birmingham-based independent photographer Bethany Kane and Sarah Raine, a researcher for the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. They have documented the underground northern soul scene in Birmingham and the West Midlands through what Raine describes as a “curated collection of photographs, audio, memorabilia and scene insider accounts.”

The exhibition takes its name from the 1967 hit track, All Because of You, by The Dramatics. A true classic, it is a must-listen for anyone interested in this pivotal period of music and culture. You can listen to the track below…

The exhibition has a focus on the younger ‘Soulies’ on the scene, which has been achieved through ethnographic studies of Northern Soul in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Raine has been awarded a rare insight into the social mechanics of this secretive cultural movement, which is firmly underground within the wider music scene.

A 19-year old Birmingham-based Soulie called Nancy said the scene had been crucial to shaping her personal identity…

“Before [finding] Northern Soul…the clothes I [would] wear, I felt like it wasn’t me and I never really knew why… I just felt like I didn’t belong here. I didn’t really like people’s opinions on stuff and I didn’t like listening to the music they listened to. I didn’t know what was out there for me and then after my first all-nighter, I just felt like a completely different person, that I’d finally found who I was and that’s all down to the music.”

I can personally identify with Nancy as I felt the same before I experienced the beauty and vibrancy of the Northern Soul music scene. I couldn’t relate to what people my age were doing and experiencing, I knew I liked Motown and Soul but there was something missing. There’s something about the music and the passion of the people that surround you within a Northern Soul event, you can be yourself – or anyone you want to be. I feel that it is so important to listen to young people, to their stories, memories and experiences within this city and within wider society. I feel this to be the crux of the exhibition, as there has been a real care and concern for how this is affecting young people.

As Raine has said: “This exhibition aims to explore how these young people place themselves within the dominant ways of seeing the scene, and how they make their engagement meaningful as both a Northern Soulie and a young person in the 21st century.”

Here at Parkside Gallery we are getting ready for the upcoming show. To follow our progress you can access our social media below, and that of AllBecauseofNS …

https://twitter.com/ParksideGallery

https://www.instagram.com/parksidegallery/

https://www.facebook.com/parksidegallerybirmingham

Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research www.bcmcr.org

Bethany Kane http://www.bethanykane.co.uk

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/551044365085019/

Twitter @AllBecauseOfNS

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/allbecauseofns/

Leanne O’Connor is a Fine Artist, Curator and Collaborator based in Birmingham, UK. She works as a Marketing and Exhibitions Assistant here at Parkside gallery, and is in her final year on the BA (Hons) Fine Art Course at Birmingham School of Art.

‘In the Loupe’ @ Vittoria Street Gallery, School of Jewellery

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Over head view of ‘In the Loupe‘ @ Vittoria Street Gallery

‘In the Loupe’ is the inaugural show for the new Vittoria Street Gallery at the School of Jewellery. The exhibition brings together a multi-disciplinary group of ‘artists, educators, researchers and practitioners from the School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University and The Plymouth College of Art and Design’  (Zoe Robertson). The show is also applauding the work of School of Jewellery Alumni, in addition to the Gallerist Victoria Stewart, as she is celebrating her 10th Anniversary as Director of The Victoria Stewart Contemporary Jewellery Gallery.

The creators exhibiting are as follows:

Dauvit Alexander, Beaulagh Brooks, Sybella Buttress, Rachael Colley, Sally Collins, Sian Hindle, Andrew Howard, Bridie Lander, Anna Lorenz, Jo Pond, Claire Price, Zoe Robertson, Fern Robinson, Kate Thorley and Maria Whetman.

Zoe Robertson kindly gave us a Curators Tour of the new exhibition,and her insights are reflected throughout this article.

“What we’re trying to do is celebrate the depth and diversity of what we do here at the School of Jewellery, each member of staff has a really different voice, a really different style and a really different practice or concept that they are exploring”

– Zoe Robertson

The exhibition truly emphasizes the ever changing nature of the Jewellery Industry, as there is an eclectic mix of designing, methods and materials used. The show will be highlighting the breadth of talent of those involved, through the collaboration between The Plymouth College of Art and Design and School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University. There is an interesting contrast between these jewellery styles, with the coastal landscape evidently reflected in the materials and textures used in the Plymouth alumni’s pieces as demonstrated by Sybella Batress in her use of sea-life-like textures and Maria Whetman’s use of precious materials that are reminiscent of coastal rock formations. (Pictured below)

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Maria Whetman, Plymouth College of Art and Design Alumni.
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Plymouth College of Art and Design Alumni

Whereas the Birmingham based Makers styles are more reflective of the Industrial Landscape that this city offers – echoed in the various tones and treatments of the metals and materials used in the works.

These industrial, aged textures are prominent in Jo Pond’s work. Jo pond is a narrative Jeweller who creates works that are extremely multi-faceted in narrative, materiality and meaning. Her work really resonated within me and I feel it was one of the strongest within the exhibition.

 

I come from a family of ‘Ponds’ who appear to have a genetic necessity for hoarding and a passion for objects which others might not quite appreciate… Some of these find their way into my work.’ – Jo Pond, Jopond.com

 

According to colleague Pete Croton, ‘ Jo takes old objects, is able to retain the original quality, and turns them in to something beautiful’. Croton went on to explain the original objects, revealing one as a match stick holder, beautifully crafted and adorned with lettering that created a new narrative within the piece. Zoe Robertson expanded upon this by explaining that the lettering on the piece was  taken and reconstructed from old biscuit tins. (Picture Below)

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Works By Jo Pond, School of Jewellery Alumni
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To find out more about Jo Ponds practice, you can visit her website: jopond.com

The Curator and Director of  The Victoria Street Gallery – Zoe Robertson has exhibited a past work (pictured below), that was part of the development of Flockamania. You can find out more about Flockamania at Parkside Gallery by viewing our past blog post on the show. Flockamania fused performance and contemporary jewellery making that resulted in an innovative and vibrant Show and series of performances.

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Work By Zoe Robertson, Director of Vittoria Street Gallery

“My past work has been a real investigation in materials, I really like industrial materials that aren’t used in the traditional, commercial side of jewellery”

– Zoe Robertson

The detailing that has gone in to this piece is immense, with a multitude of processes being utilised. Such as flocking; sublimation and vacuum forming. The outstanding qualities of the work is firstly in the drawing that has been sublimated on to the work. Using special inks that has been transferred using heat and pressure. Secondly, in the vibrancy achieved in the flocking that adorns the entirety of the work.

 Overall the show is an eclectic and engaging inaugural show for Victoria Street Gallery, which reflects the breadth of the Jewellery Industry and the talent of the makers both at Birmingham City University and The Plymouth College of Art and design.

All those involved in the realisation of ‘In the Loupe’ should be congratulated. We look forward to more successful exhibitions!

The exhibition is running until Friday 16th December 2016.

The Gallery is open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm, term time only. Please be aware that the Gallery is not open on weekends.

To keep up to date with the new Victoria Street Gallery and for more information on the individual practitioners, you can access the links below:

https://victoriasewart.com/exhibitions/in-the-loupe-exhibition-in-conjunction-with-plymouth-art-weekender/

https://twitter.com/soj_bcu?lang=en

https://twitter.com/Vittoria_S

Leanne O’Connor works as a Marketing and Events Assistant here at Parkside Gallery, and is in her Final Year on the BA (Hons) Fine Art Course at Margaret Street School of Art.

Midlands Modern Review

The Midlands Modern exhibition is currently taking place in Parkside Gallery until January 14th, 2017 and is an opportunity to see some great exhibits of modern Midlands manufacturing. At a recent private viewing of the show, I got the chance to look through the range of exhibits on display.

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To start off some of my personal highlights, I first looked at the Gordon Russell exhibit containing the design work of Richard Drew Russell. This particular exhibit shows design work on chairs and includes a cathedral chair from Coventry. These chairs have interesting design elements to enhance the functionality of the seat.

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One of the most exciting pieces within this part of the exhibition is the 1949 Baffle Console and Radio Cabinet.  The design and curvature alone make it interesting. It also serves the purpose of baffling the sound from the radio console above making it a must see for audiophiles.

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Midlands Modern also features designer Susie Coopers work for Wedgewood Group. Wedgewood is still a household name in ceramics and tableware today but the Carnaby Daisy and Gay stripes surface patterns by Susie really makes this range of Wedgewood stand apart. The ceramics exhibit highlight how designs can change the nature of an ordinary object into something far more interesting aesthetically.

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Midlands Modern covers the wide spectrum of disciplines in manufacturing and design throughout the Midlands. The works of printed and woven fabric by Tibor Reich are on display within the exhibition space. In the mid-1950’s Tibor developed a brand new approach to textile design entitled Fotextur to create revolutionary next design for fabric. It is fascinating to see some of the different results of Tibor’s experimental design work in the gallery.

The Midlands manufacturing scene isn’t just known for its work with ceramics, design and fabrics. Midlands Modern includes a wide range of different displays including steel and metalwork, lighting and more.

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I would highly recommend visiting the gallery for this enjoyable exhibition as not only are the exhibition ranging in variety and interest but are a testament to midlands manufacturing over the years. Curator Richard Snell has also provided an interesting video to give you an insight to some of the thinking behind the designs. He also highlights that these designs are important as part of Midlands history and heritage and they will also be part of its future in manufacturing and design.

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A lot of companies involved that pioneered these designs are still going strong today. Their influences can be seen in other modern day products and manufacturing processes. With the Midlands beginning to experience growth again, new opportunities will arise in manufacturing and design. By looking into the manufacturing designs and successes of the past in Midlands Modern, we can see that they are still relevant today and could be a great influence for future design and manufacturing processes within the Midlands.

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Midlands Modern is now open and will continue until January 14th. Check out the website for more details on all of the current and future exhibitions and sign up for the regular newsletters.

Parkside Gallery is active on Twitter and Instagram via @ParksideGallery, so if you go to the exhibition, be sure to tweet or tag the gallery using #MidlandsModern

5 Christmas tips for Artistic people

Christmas is just around the corner with seasonal stress beginning to take effect. Art can often help relieve some of that stress and help give your busy schedule and hectic mind a rest. Here are 5 Christmas themed tips we have created for artistic people to help relieve the stress.

1.Visit the German Market:

You may think that the volume of people and the hustle and bustle of the Birmingham German market may be stressful. However, it’s all about timing. If you visit the market during the middle of a weekday and it becomes more peaceful. It also gives you a proper opportunity to browse some of the fantastic arts and crafts on display.

2.Winter Art Fair:

If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city centre, then Eastside Projects Winter Art Fair might be for you. It launches during Digbeth’s First Friday on the 2nd of December and continues over the weekend. The gallery will be transformed and filled with affordable artworks, artist books and editions, music, homemade refreshments and will showcase independent artists and self-publishers from the West Midlands and beyond.

3.The Magic Lantern Festival:

This next festival is being launched for the first time in Birmingham at the Botanical Gardens on the 25th of November. The festival is designed as a fusion of art, heritage and culture; a festival of light and illumination. Visitors will follow a trail around Botanical Gardens and explore giant lanterns and more while exploring traditional Chinese culture and the amazing 2000-year heritage of Lantern Festivals.

4.Winter Craft Fair at Ikon Gallery:

On the 25th of November Ikon Gallery will be holding its annual seasonal market showcase. The market contains bespoke handmade products by artists, designers and crafters from around the Midlands. It’s the perfect opportunity to pick up those unique one-off gifts for friends and family. The great thing about holding an event like this at the Ikon gallery is that you have the chance to take in the exhibitions that are on at the moment. Art, shopping and then a relaxing cup of tea/coffee (hot chocolate if not a fan of the others) makes it an ideal destination for artistic people.

5.Netflix and Bob Ross:

If you have had enough of  crowds stressing you out and want to relax. Pick some paints and canvas and be artistic from the comfort of your own home. The best way to do this is to watch Netflix. Relax with Bob Ross as he guides you through the Joys of Painting. There are over 30 episodes with more to come in the future. It  is sure to keep you busy and actively creative over the Christmas holidays.

“We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.” – Bob Ross ‘The Joys of Painting’.

That’s our five Christmas tips for artistic people. Why not share yours with us. It could be an event, something you like to do over the Christmas period or any tips you want to share us.

Let us know in the comments below. You can also Tweet us or tag us via Instagram and Twitter @ParksideGallery using #PGChristmasTips

Birmingham City University's Contemporary Art Gallery