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Margaux Illescas/Interactive Arts

May 8, 2011 Student Projects Comments Off on Margaux Illescas/Interactive Arts

Twenty Interactive Arts students from MMU visited Platt Hall before Easter and came up with ideas for a proposed event at Platt Hall in Autumn 2012. Margaux worked on ideas for creating a keep sake/promotional object based on the keys in Mary Greg’s collection. I will be blogging the results during the next few weeks. Hazel

“The Mary Greg Project

For this project I have chosen to focus my work on “the way to promote the Event”.

Seeing the Mary Greg key collection at Manchester Art Gallery I decided to use it in order to find an original, creative and effective way to promote this future event. Rather than making simple paper flyers I drew the same shapes as the original collection onto Illustrator in order to go to the laser cutter and make my own keys. The keys are between 10 and 15cms long but the size can be reduced. There are different prototypes in plastic and in wood. I engraved the Mary Greg website onto the keys so once people get the flyer they can directly go on the website and see what this is about. I added a catch phrase on some keys as well to attract people: “Would you like to know where this key gives you access to?”

I believe this could be a nice way to promote the event and that people would keep the flyer rather than throw it away.”

Margaux Illescas

Button Missing Tags

April 16, 2011 Artist Responses Comments Off on Button Missing Tags

The start of a new set of work inspired by Mary Greg.  Ways to indicate damage or missing buttons on garments..instead of trying to disguise the damage I want to  make it the focus of attention. Maybe to remind the wearer to mend it, or maybe to “celebrate” the fact it needs mending. I am planning on making a batch of these in various shapes and forms..The dresses in the Platt Hall collection have some wonderful delicate repairs. (see next post.)


Time to Think

Ready to use ,threaded needles from Woolworths

Needle cases from Platt Hall

I feel very sad that I have neglected this blog for so long. The students did a wonderful show for the Platt Hall project before Xmas and due to circumstances beyond our control the project has lain dormant since. I have been thinking a lot about ways to try and keep this project going, and I finally have a little time in my workshop to look at my own response to Mary’s collection One thing I have been doing as often as I can are watercolour paintings of my collection (will add photos later), It feels right to sit and quietly paint in watercolours, I was very inspired by Mary Greg’s Nature Diaries. I am also looking a “mending kits” and  needle cases..or damage repair kits. Will add some tests to the blog at the end of the week.

Behind the scenes at Platt Hall

January 26, 2011 Student Projects 1 Comment

Behind the scenes at Platt Hall

Just before Xmas 21 students from the Interactive Arts course at MMU pitched their ideas to Liz for the Platt Hall exhibition planned for Autumn 2012. (Photos of the work, which was exhibited in the Link Gallery can be seen by clicking on the link in the previous posting.).  I have been thinking about the students responses, and a number of things stand out. Firstly how excited the students were to get access to areas usually out of bounds, some have tried to find ways to recreate this feeling for others. Being allowed to hold delicate objects, and open boxes which have been closed for years. I was also amazed how many of the students read the copies of the letters between Mr Batho and Mary which I left  out for them in the studio, some know as much, or maybe even more about Mary than I do now, and we talk about her like an old friend. This project just gets richer and proves to me that keeping  Mary Greg’s collection together is so important.

Student work at the Link Gallery

Manchester Metropolitan University Interactive Arts students were asked to take part in a project to come up with ideas to show off the Mary Greg Collection at Platt Hall in Manchester in 2012. Students pitched their ideas to staff from Manchester Art Gallery on Tuesday 14 December. Read more about the project at the Link Gallery Blog.

Table Runner 2

November 5, 2010 Artist Responses, The Letters Comments Off on Table Runner 2

This project has been my main focus recently as my collaboration with weaver Ismini Samanidou intensifies!  Recent developments include some further refinements to the clay palette based on the initial woven samples made by Ismini on the jacquard loom.  I particularly liked the section woven from digital images of some of the spoons in the collection and have been working the clay to try and capture these characteristics.

Bygones spoon, worn and distorted through endless stirring

Bygones spoon with the initials of an unknown family

Cloth samples being woven on the jacquard loom

Detail of Bygones spoon woven into cloth

Translating the woven cloth back into clay

Exploring overlays of stained clay

clay colour sample responding to woven cloth

We have also been playing with ways in which text from the archive letters may be brought in to the composition.  In one of the letters there is a handwritten inventory of spoons sent by Mary to the collection.  We have been playing around with somehow combining this alongside images of spoons from the collection into the cloth.

Digitally overlaying the spoon inventory over the spoon

spoon inventory on computer screen as part of the designing and weaving process

woven spoon inventory

It’s all looking very promising but there are still a number of refinements to be made.  We are still trying to achieve greater subtlety and richness.  The cloth samples to date are still a bit too graphic visually. We want to work on that and move toward a more abstract outcome, at least in parts.  Physically the cloth is a little too thin and mean so we want to explore further combinations of yarns to yield a thicker fabric with a richer texture.  We also want to warm up the colour palette a touch and perhaps introduce some creams, golds to reflect the colour palette of the range of metal spoons such as pewter and brass.  So still plenty to do but all very exciting!  Sharon

Rosemary Snead – Student Response

November 5, 2010 Student Projects 2 Comments

Curious blackened bone with metal loop insert and twisted wire in the Bygones collection

Definitely uncanny, maybe grotesque. A bit wanting, how they were at the front of the drawer like that. Driven by some lonely bones, a peripheral fluke in the Mary Greg collection. Bones without a body separated from their beginnings with no story to tell. My work says ‘come close, go away’…all at once and demonstrates that the ugly and the beautiful are both worthy of being seen.

‘Propa Butchers’ of Bilton Grange supplied me with a selection of bones to play with. The cleaning of these bones was a very time consuming and obnoxious process; I do not have the words to describe the smell. The bones made a protest like squeal as they boiled in ugly water yet they became almost pretty as they dried out.

All bones, to me have a distinct element of dichotomy. The idea of a person wearing a cow’s foot on their hand or a chicken’s vertebrae on their blouse…a home for a bone, no longer lonely.

Chicken bones after boiling

Chicken bone pin

preparing cow bones to make into rings

Drawing of chicken vertebrae

early idea combining bone and yarn

Further developments in bone, yarn and fishing hooks

Joe Hartley – Student Response

November 4, 2010 Student Projects Comments Off on Joe Hartley – Student Response
Bygones box containing puzzle with a missing piece rplaced by a bit of blue card

Bygones box containing puzzle with a missing piece replaced by a bit of blue card

Currently showing in the Object Memories showcase in the Craft and Design Gallery at Manchester Art Gallery (until November 29th) is MMU 3D Design student Joe Hartley’s response to the Bygones collection.  He writes: –

When I first visited the Mary Greg collection I was instantly drawn towards the slide lid domino style boxes, one of the reasons for this was because my own pencil case, an old domino box that I had with me at the time looked just like it and could easily have belonged in the collection.

I especially liked one box with a wooden puzzle in it. A piece of the puzzle had been lost and someone had replaced it with a piece of blue card.

I instantly began exploring different ways of making boxes using whatever materials I could get my hands on like pine fruit crates and mahogany pulled from a skip, one box was even ceramic. Through making many boxes I came across a way of using finger joints to make a box that could be dismantled and rebuilt in different ways, a bit like a puzzle.

The final box, which deconstructs and stacks into another box, has an oak base with side pieces made from cherry, ash, mahogany and reclaimed plywood, it has a blue Perspex lid that’s supposed to reference the Bygones box with the blue piece of card.

My pencil box

Some of my early boxes

My version of a puzzle box - individual boxes that can be put together in different ways

Puzzle box within a box

Liz Milner – Student Response

November 4, 2010 Student Projects Comments Off on Liz Milner – Student Response

The initial objects of inspiration from the Mary Greg collection were the doll’s house items within the Craft and Design Gallery. These inspired me as they are objects that have transcended hundreds of years, and maintained their relevance as toys and collectors items in their own right. I developed this idea by exploring the potential narrative of these miniaturized objects, and how the viewer interacts with handmade pieces on a small scale. The aesthetic is developed as found and made objects are forced to interact. Traditional needlework skills and Victorian imagery are re-contextualised as I apply them to my ecological concept of miniature textiles. Digital print and hand embroidery on a small-scale give rich detail and a sense of preciousness, evoking the delicate tactility and intimacy relating to the handling of the collection.

Platt Hall Visit October 2010

Discovered patchwork pieces October 2010

Patchwork Pieces from Mary Greg's collection

I visited Platt Hall last Tuesday and Wednesday with 23 Interactive Arts students, split into 4 groups. They all has “Access all areas” for half a day and we saw the East and West wing storage areas, the amazing attic and the OPUA (objects of personal use and adornement) room. Everytime I visit Platt Hall I discover something else that amazes me, and I wasn’t disappointed this time. Checking the list of what is in the collection it can be hard to know what you might get from the brief description….”patchwork pieces” sounded intrigueing, so Rosie kindly found them out. They are wonderful, each one has a little snippet of a letter. pieces of envelopes with dates  and addresses. Is this a project started by Mary Greg herself? Some of the writing looks similar to hers.  I also found some other objects that I hadn’t seen before, some needle cases and a straw spiltter.

I am meeting the students next Thursday, when they will present their initial ideas.