Monday, 20 May 2013

New Designs and Moulds : The Crystal Palace and Smithfield Market

For the past two weeks I have worked on new resin designs and a range of bangles inspired by The Crystal Palace and Smithfield Market, (working from archive film footage and photographs).  All of these are now at various stages of development from 3D models to part made up blocks.

©Jane Dzisiewski : Cut up photocopies of drawings - Smithfield Market

©Jane Dzisiewski : design produced from a collage of drawings - Smithfield Market

The Crystal Palace - ironwork and windows

©Jane Dzisiewski : Crystal Palace Design

©Jane Dzisiewski : bangle models - new sizes and designs

I also tweaked two of my existing designs and scaled new sizes from these and created a new bangle design for the Crystal Palace work.  The first blocks are now finished so I'll be cutting stones from these today and assessing what changes to make to the resin opacity and colours I've used so far.

©Jane Dzisiewski : resin block - detail

©Jane Dzisiewski : resin block - detail

For the colours I have been referring to the Pantone Colour forecasts for Spring and Autumn 2013 (see here).  I've also introduced references from The Grammar Of Ornament by Owen Jones as this contains the information he used for The Crystal Palace when he was overseeing the creation of the various exhibition Courts.

Owen Jones - The Grammar of Ornament : Moresque Designs - Alhambra Palace

I've been mixing various blues, reds, blacks, creams, off-whites and metal colours.  The image below I found on Tumblr gives an idea of the range of colours I have been mixing within this remit.

Pinterest : Tumblr image - no record of  citation

©Jane Dzisiewski : resin block detail after first sand

There's now two and a half weeks until The Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey and much is still to be done!  For all festival information, list of exhibitors and details on advance ticket sales, please see their website here.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Crystal Palace: An historical patchwork

Fuzzy photographs and lithographs. Piecing together research for the Crystal Palace is like trying to complete a giant jigsaw puzzle with most of the components missing.

A patchwork of information and a patchwork of pattern.

The Crystal Palace, 1851

The Crystal Palace: blurred images - filling in the gaps

The Crystal Palace, 1851

The Crystal Palace, 1854 - lithograph

©British Heritage The Crystal Palace, 1854 - The Alhambra Court : Owen Jones

Owen Jones’s interpretation of the Alhambra Palace inside The Crystal Palace is known as one of the best examples of Victorian Polychromy ever created.  It is virtually impossible to make out the individual patterns from Delamotte's photographs but Jones relied heavily on his collection of pattern "The Grammar of Ornament" when designing the various Courts inside the Palace.  This was the first book I purchased when I started my Printed Textiles Degree at Manchester Metropolitan University back in 1986 and it soon became my reference bible for pattern and has remained so ever since.

Below are three images of the Doha Tower, Qater under construction which depict a snapshot in my minds eye of how it must have been inside the Crystal Palace - in this case, the layering of Arabic forms over an ironwork structure. 

Doha Tower, Qatar - Jean Nouvel Architecture

Doha Tower, Qatar - Jean Nouvel Architecture: under construction

Doha Tower, Qatar - Jean Nouvel Architecture

Jane Dzisiewski - patchwork star

The Crystal Palace: a patchwork of pattern

Walking around this vast, 'Victorian Pleasure Dome' with exhibits from all over the world must have been a very overwhelming experience.  The "Guide to the Crystal Palace and Park - Facsimile edition of 1856 official guide" lists for example the following Courts:-

Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Alhambra, Assyrian, Bzantine and Romanesque, Medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan, Italian, Stationary, Birmingham, Sheffield, Pompeian, Musical Instruments, Foreign Glass Manufacture, Ceramic, Sculpture Galleries (English, German, Greek, Roman, French, Italian, Gothic, Renaissance), Portrait Galleries (English, German, Greek, Roman, French, Italian), Industrial, Geology.

The Crystal Palace Guide Book listing 203 of the 217 sculptures within the Greek Court

Alongside the museum like Courts, there were also hundreds of market stalls selling goods from across all the Continents - as well as exhibits of industry, machinery and photography.  What photographs and lithographs there are were mainly taken for advertising purposes, so very little photographic evidence is in existence of the less high brow side to the exhibits within Crystal Palace, or even of the ironwork and glass structure itself.  I find this frustrating because I want to see the nuts and bolts and not just the shiny version of events.  Regardless of this, I primarily see what I always look for and that is pattern and negative space - and I see this everywhere.  I will be be bringing this to my work and filling in the gaps with my interpretation of how the Crystal Palace experience must have been for the visitors. 

The Crystal Palace - lithograph: Open gallery towards the garden

I've included the picture below because it is one of the few images I have seen which actually shows that the Crystal Palace was not just a place for the social elite.  The lithograph above depicts sedate Victorian society enjoying the Crystal Palace in virtual solitude, whereas the Palace was one of the most visited places with over 100 million visitors during its 80 year existence.  This painting by Blaikley is at odds with the normal paraphernalia produced and manages to capture the atmosphere and bustle within the Crystal Palace at the height of its popularity.

The Crystal Palace: Painting of the interior by A. Blaikley 1866

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Crystal Palace: A source of Innovation and Inspiration

Following on from my work inspired by Smithfields Market, I've been researching other ironwork structures and have become somewhat obsessed with the Crystal Palace of late.

I discovered an amazing book "Delamotte's Crystal Palace" by Ian Leith which mainly centres around the Crystal Palace in its second incarnation after it was dismantled in Hyde Park at the end of the 1851 Great Exhibition and rebuilt in 1854 in Sydenham, Kent, as a much larger and permanent structure.

The Crystal Palace, 1851

©British Heritage The Crystal Palace, Sydenham, 1859 - taller and shorter in length than the original building, but with a greater volume using twice the amount of glass of its predecessor

Every page I turn I read another 'first' or an amazing fact about this era in History and the part the Crystal Palace played in it.  It inspired people to do great things; not all good, but it was primarily a time of dynamic innovation and invention.  It made me realise how small we have become, seeing obstacles rather than seeking solutions.  My new moto is to 'think like a Victorian' and to endeavour to try new things and be bolder when setting goals.  For instance, I would like to incorporate 3D printing into my Practice, (but as I already have done using Lasers), I'd like to experiment with this technology and produce new and less predictable outcomes than "Here is the design I did on the computer printed out into a 3D object".  It's good to have a goal and a challenge.

Joseph Paxton - 1st drawing plans for The Crystal Palace

The design for the Crystal Palace was by Joseph Paxton and was based on the glass houses he had constructed at Chatsworth.  Built off site and designed to be dismantled, it was in essence the first flat pack building ever made.

©Hulton-Deutsch/Corbis - the Victoria Regalia Lily which inspired Paxton's structural ideas for the Palace

©English Heritage - there was so much controversy surrounding the removal of this sequoia tree from California in 1853 to display in the Crystal Palace, that it brought about the conservation movement which created the National Parks in the USA.

©English Heritage - THE OLD AND THE NEW - Owen Jones's interpretation of the Alhambra Palace juxtasposed with Paxton's ironwork structure.  

The author George Elliot visited both the original Alhambra Palace in Granada and Owen Jones's recreation inside the Crystal Palace and proclaimed he thought the former was "vastly inferior".  Whilst I seriously doubt that, this and other accounts point to the quality of the exhibits at the Crystal Palace and it not being filled with tacky replicas of Egyptian temples and Greek statues that we would expect to see today in a similar enterprise.

©English Heritage - "The palace exhibited an almost complete anthology of classical and other sculpture which is only distantly echoed in the Cast Courts of the Victoria and Albert Museum.  Though mostly copies, some original sculpture was also in evidence.  In effect this was a key reference collection which had been carefully selected and copied by Owen Jones and T H Wyatt.  In the foreground is the Venus de Milo from the Louvre, Paris"...(Ian Leith, Delamotte's Crystal Palace, P.71)

©A J Mason c.1925 - The 1936 fire destroyed most of the palace.  The water towers were demolished during 1941 because they were a conspicuous landmark for enemy planes - and the Railway Station (LHS) soon followed

The remains of the Crystal Palace after the fire on December 1st, 1936

In the book, the last chapter entitled "A Mythical End" gives an account of what might have been if events had been different.  Supposition aside, had the Crystal Palace survived today it would certainly have been afforded Grade 1 listed status, whereas at this present time the Crystal Palace Campaign are fighting against planning for a multiplex cinema to be erected on what was once the site of this extraordinary building.  How depressingly 21st century is that?

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

My next show is the  Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair (LNCCF) at Altrincham Boys Grammar School on Sunday 28th April 2013, 10am 5pm.

These one day events are an off shoot from the annual Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair (GNCCF) at Spinningfields in Manchester. They predominantly feature work by previous exhibitors from GNCCF maker selected events, all made by professional artists and designer/makers.

All dates for 2013 so far are as follows:-

Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair - Spring 2013 Events

Sunday 28th April: Altrincham Grammar School for Boys
Sunday 19th May: Cheadle Hulme School
Sunday 16th June: Wilmslow High School
Sunday 7th July: The King’s School in Macclesfield

For more information on these events, please see social media links below:-

Little Northern Contemporary Craft Fair
Tumblr: LNCCF
Facebook Event Page: via GNCCF
Facebook Album: via GNCCF
Facebook: Northern Craft and GNCCF 
Twitter: @Northern Craft and @GNCCF
Pinterest: via Northern Craft (Great Northern Events)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Craft Centre & Design Gallery, Leeds

I'm assembling a collection of work to send to The Craft Centre & Design Gallery, Leeds which will be available to buy there from mid March.

With the change of season approaching I have researched the Pantone colour forecast for Spring 2013 and already have an eye on Autumn 2013.  The Spring palette initially looked quite upsetting but after trying to assemble a mood board over my mixing desk, it seems it isn't a million miles away from the Vuillard painting which has been up on my wall for 10 months now.  The left half (except for the hideous emerald green) sits within the left hand side of the painting and the colours on the right are reflected in the right half of the painting.  The subject of the painting, the sombrely dressed Bonnard, I see as representing me and my tastes in there and will feature in all my colour mixing choices.  So the Vuillard painting stays - and not just because I love it but because it includes almost every colour in the Pantone colour predictions for the coming months.

Pantone fashion colour report - Spring 2013

'Study For The Portrait Of Bonnard' by Édouard Vuillard - colour inspiration

Taking poppy red from the Pantone predictions, I was searching for an image of tonal reds and found a beautiful photograph on Flickr by Bertil Hansson (link here).  Below is a detail of the original with one of my resin stones overlaid.  I cannot wait to start interpreting the colours and the texture into resin - my mouth is actually watering!

© Bertil Hansson / BUS - All rights reserved
Jane Dzisiewski resin stone overlaid a detail of Bertil Hansson's photograph - Wall IV.
This image is from a series of Abstract work Bertil has on his website

I've made quite a few bangles and blocks already and now hoping for a few degrees increase in the outside temperature so that I can get outside and start sanding and cutting stones next week.

Jane Dzisiewski - Resin bangles just released from moulds

Friday, 8 February 2013

Sketchbooks - once a necessary evil but now my friend

In honour of #SketchBreak on Facebook and Twitter run by the Design Museum, I have assembled a few images below of my sketchbook work from 2007 up to present day.

During the process of flicking through all my black books of various shapes and sizes, I thought back to the mid 1980s when I was at Manchester Polytechnic doing BA Hons Printed Textiles.  I moaned about having to 'do' sketchbooks and yet 20 odd years on, I have done a complete about turn and see my sketchbooks as the most useful tool to collate my ideas, inspiration and design progression. 

This change of heart is partly due to the fact that for the duration of my Textiles Degree, the majority of our work was done on large A1 sheets and pinned on boards rendering sketchbooks surplus to requirements.  Fast forward to 2007 at the Manchester College, we did not have the luxury of our own studio space so all work was done in sketchbooks.  I adapted and found a way to use them that works for me - a mixture of photography, images from books, drawings, tracing, quick sketches, maquettes and writing.

I used to be very timid with my choice of sketchbook but now it's 'the bigger the better'.  I feel no pressure to fill a page or to make it pretty for other people to admire, as this is primarily a vehicle to record what is going on in my head and for developing new designs.  When I first start a page, it may have only one small picture and a bit of writing but over time I add to this - and eventually pages are often crammed with information gathered from a particular train of thought.  One day I can think I have had an excellent idea and then after digging around to check, I discover a picture of another makers work who has pipped me to the post.  In the picture goes as a reminder to shelve that idea and turn the page in my head and move forward taking a different tack.  This is why I like to have as much research as possible in the form of photographs and books around me, so that I always have a large amount of material for inspiration during the inevitable 'back to the drawing board' moments Designers encounter.

My sketchbooks are a collection of things that inspire me at any given time and I develop and interpret these ideas or themes in my work.  Land and seascapes, ancient artefacts, decorative ornamental designs, japonaiserie, textiles, sculptures, paintings and architecture in all their forms are in evidence - but the common element I am drawn to in all of these are pattern, colour, textures and line.  It has dawned on me this week that I haven't travelled as far as I originally thought from my textiles days; the same aesthetic which was in my textiles designs continues today in my jewellery pieces.  Applied Arts though gives me a chance to bring my inspiration to life beyond the page and the story about how a body of work has evolved, is an intrinsic part of its final success and (most important of all) its integrity - all of which is backed up in my sketchbooks.

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2009 / Starting point - drawings of a bronze Roman Pin

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2009 / Roman Pin - Bronze

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2009

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2009 - Silesian wirework

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2009 - Silesian wirework

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2009 - Drawings inspired by wire netting on Hastings seafront

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2009 - Drawings of wire inspired by Hastings seafront

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2009 - Stones and mounts inspired by artefacts in La Seu Cathedral, Palma, Majorca

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2009 - drawings of knitting, crochet and chainmail

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2009 - crochet / dreamcatcher (inspiration for mounts)

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2009

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2008 - Textiles neckpiece

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2008 - Textiles neckpiece

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2008 - Textiles neckpiece

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2007 - Barbirolli Square Fountain, Manchester. Inspiration for textures - water

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2007 - wet pavements - St Peter's Square, Manchester. Inspiration for textures.

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2012 - Smithfields Market roof. Inspiration for Manchester Craft & Design Centre 30th Anniversary exhibition, Crafting History.

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2007 - Yorkshire Scupture Park - Barbara Hepworth

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2007 - Yorkshire Scupture Park - Barbara Hepworth / Henry Moore

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2012 - Smithfields Market ironwork roof. Inspiration for Manchester Craft & Design Centre 30th Anniversary exhibition, Crafting History.

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2012 - Smithfields Market ironwork roof.

Jane Dzisiewski: Sketchbook 2012 - Designs for mounts inspired by Smithfields Market ironwork roof. The Crafting History exhibition which this work was made for has been and gone, but this sketchbook will continue to grow and evolve over time.

Anyone can join in on Twitter using the #SketchBreak hashtag - and please see the Facebook album here which Crafts Council UK has uploaded and includes sketchbook work by some of their other Hothouse jewellers.