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

Corridor Exhibitions @ The Parkside Building

‘Walk in my shoes’

Graphic Design Exhibition at the Parkside Building, Floor One, Cardigan Street.

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‘Walk in my shoes’, is a creative collection to raise awareness of real world issues. The exhibition from the School of Visual Communication has been on display since the 9th November, and continue until the 29th November.

This exhibition aims to highlight real world issues through the form of graphically designed advertisements. Many of the issues illustrated in the exhibition largely go unreported by  mainstream media, with a select amount having no visibility at all.

This exhibition has proved to be positively progressive, as it has enabled students to research world issues that are in need of desperate recognition and campaigning. Such as the refugee crisis, homelessness visibility, the lack of recognition of anxiety disorders in young people and ageism within our society.

One of the most engaging and empathetic advertisements was designed by Visual Communications student Abigail Bills (in collaboration with level 4 students Joseph Matten and John Cooper), who tackled the ever-present issues of prejudice against certain breeds of dogs.

Currently, there is a growing issue within the UK of misidentifying Staffordshire bull terriers as dogs classified under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991. This misidentification has tragically ended with certain dogs being put down.

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Abigail believes that the Staffordshire bull terriers have been ‘ misportrayed by the media and society as a ‘dangerous breed’’ and also that ‘it is fact the irresponsible breeding of owners that has condemned the Staffordshire Bull Terrier above all’.

Abigail’s empathy for this issue can be felt through the emotive use of black and white portraiture to present the true nature of this breed. Also, by the use of language in her strap lines that engage the audience to review their own thought on how these dogs in the are portrayed mainstream media.

All students and staff involved are to be congratulated for a thought provoking and innovative exhibition!

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‘Bipolar Fantasy, reserved for…’

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‘Bipolar Fantasy, reserved for…’ is a photography exhibition on the ground floor of the Parkside Building, and is showing until the 21st November. It is a five-year study undertaken by Paul Lander, who is a lecturer in photography here at Birmingham City University.

This five-year study has culminated in an exhibition of his self-titled ‘photographic observations’ of the paradoxical nature of the state of Florida, USA.

 ‘Encountering Tinkerbelle v Harry Potter, dolphin v alligator, the Everglades v humanity, have all contributed to a self- interrogation of how I perceive awareness of those moments in my life

-Paul Lander

He has captured this bizarre visual culture solely through the use of his iPhone – stepping out of his role as a tourist and into the role of the observer. In doing this, he captures the everyday pictures but heightened to a new ethereal status in the warmth of tones, vividness of colours and the unique quality of subject matter.

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Each image is juxtaposed in the subject matter and form. However, each one is seamlessly tied together to create an undisturbed narrative within which the audience can take a glimpse into this paradoxical state.

If you want to find out more about Paul Lander and his practice, access the link below for more information:

http://www.bcu.ac.uk/visual-communication/about-us/our-expertise/our-staff/paul-lander

Be sure to look out for our upcoming corridor exhibitions here at BCU on the Parkside Gallery blog!

Digital Arts combines with wearable tech to map reactions to music

Birmingham-based digital arts producer Harmeet Chagger-Khan has teamed up with artist Tas Bashir and leading British Asian arts agency Sampad, to explore how the concept of Rasa can be mapped and digitally visualised into conceptual art.

Photo (top): Cassipeia A: Cassiopeia A in Many Colors, Smithsonian Institution
Photo (top): Cassipeia A: Cassiopeia A in Many Colors, Smithsonian Institution

Utilising Qawwali music to generate a state of mind and then mapping it digitally could lead to some unique artistic outcomes. The mind has been an interesting theme for artists but through the use of digital tech, the ability to map the emotional response leads to a potential unique form of art. Turning performance art into tangible physical art that unique crafted digital through emotional responses could lead to interesting hybrid results.

Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music with a tradition that stretches back more than 700 years. The rise in its contemporary mainstream popularity can largely be attributed to the late, great Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan who is widely credited with introducing Qawwali to international audiences. Qawwali music tends to begin gently and build steadily to a very high energy level in order to induce hypnotic states and a sensation of the sublime, both among the musicians and within the audience.

From October 2016, the creative team will collaborate with neuroscientists and psychologists from the University of Birmingham. They will be using new technologies to capture detailed scientific data from a group of participants made up of a variety of generations from local communities.

The aim is to test the assumption that it is possible to capture and cultivate a sense of transcendental awe through monitoring and recording the neurological, physiological and emotional responses to the music. Through the combination of musical responses and technological monitoring, patterns in responses can be mapped. These can be presented in a variety of visual ways and could lead to new forms of art and music combinations.

Clayton Shaw, Associate Director of Sampad says

“Although this kind of digital mapping and exploration has been carried out in relation to responses to Western classical music, it’s truly fascinating to now take it one step further by using new technologies to explore how people in the 21st century connect with centuries-old Qawwali music and perhaps challenge audience expectations of how art can be presented”

The Qawwali Shrine project and the creative team will also partner up with Birmingham Electro Acoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST) at the University of Birmingham in January 2017.

The open performance will invite people from the tech, digital, arts and academic worlds to join the test participants.  It also includes members of the wider community for an interactive musical experience, that will immerse them in a soundscape of traditional and digitally re-worked Qawwali sounds.

Producer for The Qawwali Shrine, Harmeet Chagger-Khan adds:

“We want to find out more about how people experience and express the ‘sublime’ and whether similar patterns of response emerge, as they transcend into a state of enlightenment in reaction to the music. Can we pinpoint that state of ‘Rasa’ or spiritual rapture? Can science and tech help us harvest that evidence? Can we capture it visually?”

Findings from The Qawwali Shrine will be presented in March 2017 as part of the University of Birmingham’s annual Arts & Science Festival.

You can find regular updates about the project on twitter @qawwali_shrine.

If you want to get involved or participate in the project, you can find out more at http://sampad.org.uk/

Birmingham City University's Contemporary Art Gallery