Tag Archives: The Bagpuss Window

Sunpan And Gong

10 Dec

The Bagpuss Window, a semi-derelict anarchic artspace, flashed into existence for three short weeks in September (2015) and then ended as abruptly as it started as the wrecking crew moved in to demolish the building. Fellow artist Melanie Ezra and I took it on at very short notice from developers Coastal Group and opened it up for artists, musicians and poets to see what happened. It was fabulous. Creative people from across Swansea and beyond wandered in and used the space to develop new work, ideas and collaborations. Film maker Melvyn Williams and I recorded what was going on and Melvyn has been editing the footage into short videos to show what happened.

Here’s the first, featuring Sharon Edlington-Douglas and David Pitt who bumped into each other one day and started playing their instruments, Sharon with a Sunpan and David with gongs. The door was open into the High Street, we were having a glorious Indian Summer, and the extraordinary sound reverberated along the road. I became absorbed in the music as I drew on the wall of the decrepit old shop and people wandered in to walk a labyrinth made from bark chippings by David and local archaeologist Dewi Bowen.

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Dewi has written a book about ancient stone monuments in Siluria, South Wales, you can find out about it here. David is involved in keeping alive the Mari Lwyd in the Swansea and Gower area – you can read more about this fascinating tradition here.

To Paint Or Not To Paint?

24 Oct

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That’s the question, isn’t it? Some printmakers think it’s acceptable to hand-colour etchings and some don’t. I do. This is a little drypoint I did a few weeks ago at The Bagpuss Window based on a drawing I scribbled when I was in Pakistan last year. I’ve added colour with Winsor & Newton half pan artist watercolours applied with a small sable brush.

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Swansea Printmakers Hannah Lawson and Rosy Ind at Swansea Print Workshop

I’ve just completed day 2 of a 4 day open studio at Swansea Print Workshop with Hannah Lawson. We travelled together to Rawalpindi in April 2014 to do a residency at the Zaira Zaka print studio and we’re bringing a flavour of that to Swansea. Pop in and see us tomorrow or Monday – 10.30 to 5.00. We’ll give you tea and Welsh Cakes.

Humongous!

10 Oct

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I am doing a two-day masterclass with epic printmaker, John Abell, at Swansea Print Workshop. John specialises in humongously large woodcuts, click here to see some of his awesome work. I’ve done some small woodcuts before, on plywood, but didn’t really get on with the method. Today, I was presented with a table-sized lump of 6mm MDF to get stuck into. That was a bit of a shock. But I went for it, outlining some images in graphite block and then fleshing it out with charcoal. I used some of the imagery I developed recently on my wall drawing in The Bagpuss Window transient artspace. I knew it would come in handy.

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I started cutting and I suppose I’m about two thirds of the way through. I’ve been quite free, not sketching in too much detail and trying to be spontaneous with my cutting. My Flexcut tools cut through the MDF like a hot knife through butter – lovely. I’ll finish the cutting tomorrow morning and then we’ll be taking a print – by hand! Not with a printing press but with a wooden spoon, although I have a couple of barens as back-up.

Allotment Break

4 Oct

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I spent almost all of September at The Bagpuss Window, a semi-derelict shop that became a spontaneous artspace for a few weeks before demolition. Ironically, after our awful summer of torrential rain, September was glorious and I was stuck indoors for most of it. I took the keys back to the owners last Thursday and spent the next 3 days taking an allotment break. It’s been neglected and needs a lot of maintenance as well as catching up with some Autumn sowing. It’s been lovely to be in the fresh air and gentle late sunshine, digging for hours. I love digging, I could do it all day. I planted some Meteor peas today and a late sowing of kale yesterday. I shovelled some manure onto a bed to lie fallow for a month or so, ready for a November sowing of Aquadulce broad beans.

Rain is forecast for the next couple of days so I can stay in and take stock of everything that happened at The Bagpuss Window. I took loads of photos and did a lot of filming so I need to start collating all the images and then decide what I’m going to do with them. So much happened and it would be a shame not to document and publish it. Here’s a detail of the large wall drawing I did. Most of it was spontaneous and done under the influence of gong music. More of that to come…..

Bendy Bus

1 Oct

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After nearly a month doing art in a semi-derelict shop (The Bagpuss Window) I’m back to my normal routine and life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop on Thursdays. This evening’s model goes by the name of Ben D’Busse, a pun on a local traffic experiment that turned out bad!

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I drew this with a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 using a free Markers app. I put in a grey ground to start with and then did most of the drawing with my fingertips, using the stylus to put in detailed line work towards the end. Here’s a slide show of the drawing in different stages of development.

Working On Me

29 Sep
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Chalk and charcoal ephemeral drawing onto newspaper

I’m reaching the end of my time drawing on the wall at The Bagpuss Window, Swansea’s pop-up artspace. Tomorrow is our last day and the keys go back to Coastal Housing Group on Thursday so that the building can be demolished to make way for new social housing. So it’s going to be put to good use. The final part of my drawing is a drawing of me drawing. There’s still a fair bit of work to do on the face because the likeness isn’t very good and I had to resist the temptation to shave a couple of stone off my body! My right hand also needs a lot of work but I hope to have the whole thing finished by 5pm tomorrow so I can take a final photograph and then – the end…….

 

 

Walking The Labyrinth

26 Sep

Here’s 3 minutes of my feet walking the lovely labyrinth made from chipped bark by archaeologist Dewi Bowen and musician David Pitt in The Bagpuss Window this week. The feet are not interesting at all, except it looks like I have my shoes on the wrong feet, but the accompanying gong music from David is wonderful. Go with the flow…….

Dewi has written an excellent book about Siluria, now South-East Wales, and its ancient standing stones, burial chambers, cairns and stone circles. Well worth a read and dead cheap.

Walk, Draw, Gong.

23 Sep
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The labyrinth with my ongoing drawing on the wall

Today is the Autumn Equinox and The Bagpuss Window featured a labyrinth made from bark and gong music from David Pitt. Visitors were invited to walk the labyrinth while David played gong. I had a go. It’s very meditative. It helped me loosen up as I did some more work on my big wall drawing.

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Walking the labyrinth with David Pitt on gongs

I’m loving what’s happening at The Bagpuss Window. When I picked up the keys to the old shop at the beginning of the month, I had no idea so many lovely artists would get involved. It’s been a brilliant experience.

Drawing And Gonging

17 Sep

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Coming up to the end of the second week at The Bagpuss Window and I’m getting on with the gigantic wall drawing, worked mostly intuitively. I’ve been pushing out of my comfort zone. I normally work directly from life, small, with fine pens and my drawing can be very tight and controlled. I want to use these few weeks in the old shop to experiment and loosen up my drawing as much as possible.

The past few days, we’ve been joined by David Pitt who, amongst other creative activities, plays gongs. Wonderful instruments, such incredible music. He was playing today as I was drawing and I got right into ‘the zone’, carried away by the incredible sounds and drawing automatically. When I looked at what I’d done, it was markedly different to the drawings I’d done earlier in the week, much freer. I used my fingers more, smudging the sparse features rather than fretting over details and doing loads of cross-hatching.

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David Pitt and two gongs

It’s been a really good experience so far and there’s so much arty stuff happening locally that Swansea’s being called the new Montmartre. 

Heston And Husb

15 Sep

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I’m carrying on with the ephemeral  wall drawing I’m doing down at The Bagpuss Window, the pop-up artspace in a shop about to be demolished in Swansea’s High Street. The drawing will be demolished at the same time. I wrote some text, “The older you get, the more dead people you know” and this is inspiring the whole piece. I’m using charcoal, chalk and conte crayon.

The door has been open and people pop in for a look. One chap came in and asked why I was drawing “….that telly chef, Heston Blumenthal“. It’s Husb! Same hairstyle though 🙂

 

 

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