Tag Archives: history

Bodelwyddan Castle-Whats on at the gallery..

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Watercolours and Drawings: 18th to 21st Century

“This exhibition is the third to be brought to Bodelwyddan Castle from Hastings by Caroline Gee, a Sussex art dealer who has been specializing in Watercolours and Drawings for over thirty years. It will follow a similar format as her previous exhibitions, beginning with the early years of the watercolour school in Britain, moving through the early nineteenth century, the ‘Golden Age’ of British watercolour, and finishing with delightful twentieth Century examples.” Watercolour is an interesting subject for me as it is an area I would like to develop and explore. As an expert in that area Caroline Gee would be an ideal candidate for information! Caroline Gee Caroline Gee, a dealer in early English and 20th century watercolours and drawings, is particularly excited by the potential of watercolours from the first half of the 19th century by John Varley and David Cox. Both were among the earliest members of the Old Watercolour Society, the founding of which in 1804 saw watercolours starting to be considered an art form in their own right. She says: “In the late 19th century, Cox was considered to be on a par with Constable and was only marginally less expensive than Turner. So what’s on display? ” Featured works on display include some of the most prominent artists who exhibited with the Old Watercolour Society (formed 1804), among them David Cox, Peter de Wint and John Varley. The Victorian Age is mainly represented by those artists who followed in the tradition of the early landscape painters, and will include two large and splendid views of North Wales by William Evans of Bristol. In the twentieth century section there will be another group of the wildlife drawings by Eileen Soper which so delighted visitors last time.” I have to be honest, I am not very familiar with these Artists! So I am going to do a little research 🙂

A Short History of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours

“The beginnings of the RI can be traced back to 1807 with the formation of the New Society of Painters in Water Colours. The New Society was inaugurated as an alternative to an existing society (now the RWS) which had been founded in 1804 and which exhibited only the work of its own members. From the start the New Society showed the work of non-members’ alongside that of members, a policy still followed today. Both societies were started at a time when the Royal Academy was refusing to accept watercolours as a suitable medium for serious artistic expression despite its use by many highly regarded painters including Cotman, Turner, Cox, de Wint, Bonington and many others. The New Society changed its name in 1808 to the Associated Artists in Water Colours. The exhibitions attracted some of the foremost watercolourists of the time including: David Cox, Peter De Wint, William Blake, Samuel Prout, Paul Sandby and Joseph Powell. Even so financial problems caused them to fold in 1812.” (www.royalinstituteofpaintersinwatercolours.org/)

16 Old Bond Street Gallery of New Society of Painters in Watercolours, 1834 George Scharf (1788-1860)

How amazing is it to look back to how, just one aspect of Art, was used? And  how it has developed over the many years until now! I love how all the paintings in the picture are all bunched together across the walls.

David Cox 1783–1859

Cox was born at Deritend, near Birmingham, the son of blacksmith. In around 1798, aged fifteen, he was apprenticed to aminiature painter named Fieldler. Following Fieldler’s suicide, Cox was apprenticed around 1800 as assistant to a theatre scene-painter named De Maria. In 1804 he took work as a scene-painter with Astley’s Theatre and moved to London. By 1808 he had abandoned scene-painting, taking water-colour lessons with John Varley. In 1805 he made the first of his many trips to Wales, with Charles Barber; his earliest dated watercolours are from this year. Throughout his lifetime he made numerous sketching tours to the home counties, North Wales, Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Devon. Cox exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy from 1805. His pictures never sold for high prices, and his earned his living chiefly as a drawing-master. Through his first pupil, Col. the Hon. H. Windsor (the future Earl of Plymouth), who engaged him in 1808, Cox acquired several other aristocratic pupils. He wrote several books, including Ackermann’s New Drawing Book (1809); A Series of Progressive Lessons (1811); Treatise on Landscape Painting (1813); and Progressive Lessons on Landscape (1816). The ninth and last edition of his Series of Progressive Lessons was published in 1845.”

Rhyl Sands c.1854

I live in a small village right next to Rhyl, So to see a painting from the 1800’s, of Rhyl Beach, is amazing. I think the sky looks quite realistic but I get a grass feel instead of sand. I can see it is sand and the longer I look I wonder if it is windy right there by the sea and so the sand is moving?

PETER DE WINT, OWS
(British, 1784-1849)
Hastings from the East Cliff

Peter de Wint, OWS (British, 1784-1849) Hastings from the East Cliff watercolour heightened with bodycolour 38.5 x 56cm (15 3/16 x 22 1/16in).

“The son of a Dutch-American father and Scottish mother, Peter De Wint drew on the British landscape for his subject matter. Whilst working as an apprentice to John Raphael-Smith, De Wint met William Hilton, who was to become a life-long friend. Stylistically, De Wint was influenced by John Varley and Thomas Girtin whose sweeping brushstrokes and subdued blocks of colour were introduced to him by his patron Dr. Monroe. During the summer months, De Wint visited his patrons at their country estates in order to sketch the landscape and work as a tutor to the children of the family. He was to teach throughout his career in order to supplement his income and this resulted in numerous pupils working in his style. “(www.bonhams.com) Although this is a very beautiful piece of work, painted by a very talented Artist, to me, it feels old and the colours feel dark and dull. Maybe Peter de Wint actually used colours the colours of what it actually looked like on that day? I do like the visual lines running and swirling through the grass and I think the tiny detail of the people and buildings is very clever.

JOHN VARLEY OWS (1778-1842)

John Varley was a central figure for the watercolourists of the early nineteenth century. A founder member of the Society of Painters in Water Colours, and its most prolific exhibitor, he was also a highly significant teacher of both professionals and amateurs, and a writer of instruction manuals. He encouraged his students to paint in the open air, but also promoted the Picturesque theory of adapting nature to the requirements of composition. Of Lincolnshire descent, John Varley was born in Hackney, Middlesex, on 17 August 1778. He and his brothers ‘were said to have been born at the Blue Posts (formerly the Templars’ house), after their father had converted it to private use, although the building was still an inn in 1785’ (T F T Baker (ed), A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney, London: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research, 1995, pages 10-14).”

KILCHURN CASTLE ON LOCH AWE

Whilst scanning through the Chris Beetles website, this is the painting, from Varley, that first caught my eyes. Varley has used dark and dull colours as I said about Peter de Wint’s piece, but he has added contrasting colours to the dark greens with brighter yellow tones. And the, as a further compliment, he has added a soft toned sky which I think makes the trees and land stand out very well. WILLIAM EVANS

William Evans of Eton (1798-1877) was a late-Georgian and early-Victorian landscape artist of real distinction, who painted exclusively in watercolour. Further qualification is needed, however, to explain why he was remarkable. Numerous watercolour artists augmented their income by teaching privately, including his own teachers William Collins and Peter de Wint, as well as his rival at the Old Watercolour Society, JD Harding. But as a Drawing Master teaching at Eton, then the premier public school, he stood above most of his peers, occupying an office which had been held by that innovative teacher Alexander Cozens in the previous century. He came second in a painting dynasty which through four generations lasted over 120 years.

He was the ardent supporter of institutions, both of his own school and of the Old Watercolour Society, where he never quite achieved official recognition. His signature, William Evans of Eton, was developed after 1845 when another member with the same name joined the Society. Throughout his life he remained loyal to watercolour painting, finding that the medium was capable of everything he wished to express, and considering those who experimented in oil renegades. His quarrels became bitter and absolute, and few of his artistic friendships remained intact. It was a period when the inventive quality of the British School of watercolour painting gradually ossified, and critics such as Ruskin damned the annual formula exhibition pictures which were sure of their market. By the 1850s William was himself producing ambitious, large pictures which lack the freshness of those painted in the 1830s and 1840s; but he reacted with a rush of inspiration to the south of France in a group of pictures painted in 1867-8, which have since been lost. As ill health inhibited his output, he became more and more involved with the administration 0f the Old Watercolour Society and was one of those who insured it retained its elite exclusive character, keeping out the more progressive ideas emerging in the mid-century.”

Evans. Cricket on the College Field. 1830s

It feels like there is a lot of white area in this painting, in everything there is white space. It feels a little hollow to me. I do love the circles that make up the trees on the left.

Eileen Soper

                                                      “the enchanting world of the Famous Five illustrator – Eileen Soper “Eileen Soper sought success at an early age, and was considered a child prodigy when she was the youngest artist ever to exhibit her work at The Royal Academy in London – at the ripe age of just 15. She was fantastically well received. But Eileen was not new to art at that age – she had experienced a lifetime of top tutoring from her father, George Soper, also a well-accomplished artist.

He drew out the creative side in both his daughters.

Eva, Eileen’s elder sister by less than two years, was a skilled potter, producing many designs for Royal Worcester – whilst Eileen and their father were more focused on etching and painting. Eileen produced around 180 different etchings, two of which were bought by Queen Mary. Her set of etchings of a specific group of children are particularly popular. The same set of children appear numerous times, enjoying different games and activities, and all these drawings were produced during the 1920’s, but they are still hugely well-liked today.”

Brush strokes – Eileen Soper painting.

The Famous Five & Eileen Soper

The Famous Five are among Enid Blyton’s best-loved creations and countless children have gone adventuring with them since the publication of Five on a Treasure Islandin 1942, the first of twenty-one full-length adventures and numerous short stories. Enid Blyton’s original books were charmingly illustrated by Eileen Soper but there have been numerous interpretations and adaptations of the Famous Five over the years including continuation novels written by French author Claude Voilier, cinema films, stage plays, two television series and, more recently, a Disney cartoon series featuring the children of the Famous Five.

First edition: 1944 Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper Category: Famous Five Genre: Mystery/Adventure Type: Novels/Novelettes

THE BOAT SWING

EILEEN SOPER   I absolutely adore this illustration, the movement that is illustrated is beautiful. I like how the drawing shows a small section of what is actually happening but it leads the viewer to imagine the rest. I think the overlapped lines work well for the movement and the lack of colour makes  no difference at all.

ETCHING ON LAID PAPER 6 X 4 INCHES FINAL STATE

This illustration also moves me, the child really is sad about her broken doll and Eileen Soper has illustrated that very well. I really like her use of sketchy line work and again although this is not a moving picture it still gives the viewer a feel that the image is alive. Round Up That’s all I have time for today but I hope I have given a good insight to the exhibition now showing at Bodelwyddan castle! There are always exciting pieces being shown so be sure to keep an eye out for new exhibitions! keep a look out either by facebook, twitter or via their website!

Final Module..

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The last few weeks of my time at Glyndwr University are flying fast!! It wont be much longer before that chapter of my life ends ready for a new one to begin! My final assessment will roughly be around 8th May and then I am due to have my baby on 15th!!! So right now, every minute of everyday is very valuable to ensure I am ready for that final assessment but also ready for the new edition of my family to enter the world!

Just briefly, I have been very lucky with this pregnancy as everything has run smoothly and therefore I have still been able to carry on working on my degree.

The final module is mostly based on portraying a professional practice with my work so that when I leave my studies, I will be ready fr the big, wide world of illustration. Some of the things that are required to show my professional side are designing a website, creating and printing business cards and postcards and creating a portfolio to a professional standard. If I am honest, a few weeks ago I didn’t feel ready to build a website, It wasn’t really that long ago that I discovered my natural drawing style and therefore I didn’t feel that I would have enough of that style to display within a website. I went ahead with the website anyway as it was part of the module and I’m glad I did! It has given me a new goal and more to aim for, I feel quite excited that I actually have my own website and find some inspiration and drive to draw more illustrations to fill it.

You can see my cards on my Twitter page and I have also created a Facebook page! The Facebook page is brand new but I am working at filing it up very soon.

I have been looking at Children’s Education for the final module, to complete the negotiated study number 2 and I am really excited about the characters that I have created so be sure to follow the next few post where I will upload the process of creating them!!

 

 

Francesca Woodman- Bodelwyddan Castle

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Yesterday I was kindly offered tickets to the Francesca Woodman Opening event at Bodelwyddan Castle!! I am so Excited that I thought I would share with you all!! As Francesca Woodman is not somebody I am familiar with I am taking a moment to have a look at who she is and what she does.

So, who is she?

Francesca Woodman

The photographer Francesca Woodman only lived to be 22 years old, but her remarkable body of work has continued to garner increasing renown in the world of contemporary art since her suicide in 1981. Born to an artistic family in Denver—her mother, Betty Woodman, is a sculptor and ceramicist and her father, George Woodman, is a photographer and painter—Woodman moved in New York City in 1979 to begin a career as a photographer. While her work would remain unknown for the entirety of her life, today she is widely celebrated for her black-and-white depictions of young women, frequently in the nude and blurred by slow shutter speed and long exposure. Many of her photographs are self-portraits—though you rarely can see Woodman’s face unobstructed—and men are an infrequent presence. Woodman made a number of short films as well, along the same aesthetics of her photographs.

Yet another leaden sky, Rome, Italy, by Francesca WoodmanFrom Angel Series, Rome, Italy, by Francesca WoodmanFrom Angels Series, Rome, Italy, by Francesca Woodman

Photos from artspace.com

Encouraged artistically by her family from a young age, Woodman received her first camera, a Yashica 2 ¼ x 2 ¼, as a gift from her father, and she used it to take most of her photographs. Though the family lived in Colorado, they traveled to Italy each summer and Woodman developed a love for the country. While attending the Rhode Island School of Design, she traveled to Rome independently to study art for a year. Woodman was also deeply interested in the Surrealist movement and neo-Pictorialism—as seen in the work of fashion photographer Deborah Turbeville—and both movements are evident in the abstraction, motifs, and ghostly air of Woodman’s work.

Her photography was first exhibited at Wellesley College in 1986 after it was discovered by Ann Gabhart, the director of the Wellesley Art Museum, in the Woodmans’ family home in Colorado. Woodman’s first retrospective opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2011 and traveled to the Guggenheim in 2012. Additionally, C. Scott Willis directed a documentary on the Woodman family, The Woodmans, which came out in 2010. Woodman’s photographs are in the permanent collections of both the Whitney Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and prominent artists such as Cindy Sherman continue to cite her as an inspiration for their work.

After taking a look at who Francesca Woodman is I have discovered a whole story about her very short life and some of her family and I feel grateful to have been introduced to her and her work. It is such a shame that the life was short for such a fantastic photographer who clearly had the mind of an Artist 😦 As an Artist myself, in different matters of Art, I  do feel at a loss when I read such things about others artists, like I am compelled towards them in an artistic way.

I find her work very creative and questionable, which I love when I look at work as It draws me in and I enjoy that I find myself interested. By that, I mean that sometimes I can look at images and carry on flicking through to the next but it is intriguing when you actually stop and take an interest and want to know more.

I am looking forward to the opening to the Francesca Woodman exhibition, even more so now and know that I will appreciate her work all the more.

Bodelwyddan Castle and Park

art gallery and historic house in a family friendly heritage attraction

5 April – 13 July ARTIST ROOMS: Francesca Woodman,

the STUDENTS STUDIO and Liberated and Lost (Vivienne Rickman-Poole)

Book your free visit in advance

Creative futures 2014 continued….

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I am now 30wks pregnant and due to that reason (and feeling like the size of a baby whale) I could only manage 2 of the 4 days of creative futures!! 😦 So I don’t totally miss out on the exciting people who have come to visit Glyndwr I have decided to have a look at the schedule and research the speakers anyway.

Wednesday 5th March/ Thursday 6th March

Bex Raven

BA (Hons) Fine Art and History of Art and Material Culture 2002

PGCE Art and Design 11 – 18 2009

MA Fine Art Engaging the public with Art 2011

Bex has always loved Art and has a wide background in many disciplines.

It was her vision that founded Funky Aardvark based on her MA research into making Art accessible for everyone. She is a great believer that Art and Craft should be inclusive and welcoming, but most importantly fun!

Bex creates work with a wide range of techniques yet the thought behind the pieces is often similar. She draws inspiration from her own life experiences to generate quirky, often mixed media artworks. Bex loves to create work which actively involves the audience and often asks them to join in with the pieces in some manner. She often generates interaction via text and encourages the viewer to share their own experiences. Look out for lots of her work in the interactive exhibitions and out on the streets.

Bex plans to further her own knowledge with another return to academic study and write her PhD. She is also working on publishing her first book that will bring out the artistic side in anyone. Most of all Bex continues to pioneer a way through the modern world of Art convincing everyone that really it should be all about having fun.

Bex Raven

I like the way Bex has thoroughly portrayed her unique style and personality within her dress sens and her artwork, she seems to find inspiration in many different areas and I really like her interest in stitching. When I sew, I tend to try and hide the stitching but with Bex, she openly displays her thread which I think gives a different feel. I also love the way she has created hearts differently above by using an actual heart aswel as different shapes and texture.

CAROL RAMSAY

Illustrator turned Installation Artist, responding to site and working with recycled and found objects. I deconstruct forms of everyday life, as such creating and fabricating unusual or delicate works of art. I have a strong belief that contemporary art can be aesthetically pleasing, yet still viable.

“I base my practice in contemporary installation and community based artworks and would call myself an accidental artist activist. I choose not to work in one media, preferring first to discover site through research then also through the art of conversation, breaking down boundaries between artist, place and people. These conversations can then define the media used. The collaboration of ideas can make creativity ever more powerful.”

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Title: It’s a Jungle out there

The exhibition title was ‘Inhospitable’ so taking a book entitled ‘It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments’ I made a play on words and took certain quotes from the book out of context thus making feminism inhospitable.

Again, a totally different artist with another style and views on how she likes to portray art and for her own reasons, I was taken by the book page idea here as I have had a go at something similar myself. I didn’t really have anything that specific in mind, more the fact of how to use old books and incorporate them into another form, artistically, and I can safely say my outcome didn’t look half as interesting as Carols!!

TONY CLARKSON- PUSH CREATIVE

Push Creative Ltd.

“Since Push Creative began over a decade ago, we have gained creative diversity and the ability to create work that is aesthetically, physically and commercially successful. Whether we are working on large or small projects, our approach is the same: original thought, clarity of message and simplicity of implementation.

We are considered a small agency, but it feels like the right size for us to stay close to our clients and build a network of real partnerships with other creative people. All of our clients can enjoy the benefits of a project that has been tailored to their exact needs and we build our team around the project rather than the project around our team. With Push Creative, you’re only billed for what you need and we’re 100% transparent with all our clients.

We work across a wide range of disciplines and we ensure the right creative specialists are working on your project, and you can have direct contact with them, not a third party. We pride ourselves in the close working relationships we develop with all our clients, and we endeavour to make the process as rewarding as the end product.”

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“We had been working with Google on the Line of Site project, a web based architecture competition. They asked us to design an advert for them to be used in series of publications promoting the competition and their software, Google SketchUp. We were happy to oblige and used their actual software to create the 3D lettering model used within the ad. We also included one of the competition

participant’s works that was especially talented in the use of SketchUp to help promote the capabilities of the software for Google.”

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“Deutsche bank needed a series of icons that would sit within specific sections of their website. They had to be bright, busy and striking and all be of consistent size. The client was happy with the result and they were used for many years on the main Deutsche Bank website.”

From the digital perspective I respect the fact that Push Creative have met the customers needs in the above picture for the Deutsche bank. I love the bright, bold colors and also how they have merged different images into the media in an abstract style.

Whilst I was looking for information on Push Creative, I did come across a few other companies with the same name so it was slightly difficult in finding the correct one and making sure that I didn’t mix the information!! But, on my travels through Google, I found a Push Creative website that I thought was pretty cool so I thought I would share it! It is the sort of website that you can interact with, there are even actual moving people doing different things and the back ground music is fun! Ironically this is a branding and design website, check it out!!

CLARRIE FLAVELL

Clarrie Flavell studied at Glyndŵr, graduating in Applied Arts in 2002. Taking full advantage of the ideas – led course, she produced four light-emitting portrait sculptures for her final piece. Since then, having acknowledged her theme, she has based her next steps upon the chance events that have come her way.
                                                               
                                        The Blue Earthworm is a purpose built studio/workshop, owned and run by Clarrie Flavell.
Clarrie has exhibited some of her pretty artwork at Bodelwyddan castle at some point during 2013 and also has her workshop situated right next door!!

Creative Futures day 2

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Nia Roberts – Taking Control of your ideas (IP)

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Nia Roberts

IP Manager at Welsh Government

Llandudno, United Kingdom
Government Administration

Protecting your ideas – Intellectual Property (IP)

As a student within the creative sector, at some point there will come a time when you will graduate and be let loose into the world to make it on your own. Maybe you will be freelance, or even work for a company but either way you will be responsible for protecting your ideas. Nia’s job role, at the intellectual property office, is to help, so you are not alone and she came to Glyndwr University to spread the word that there is help at hand and also advised what aid is available. These were the four main categories that Nia covered.

PATENTS        TRADE MARKS        DESIGN RIGHTS     COPY  RIGHTS

Before I met Nia I was somewhat aware that copy right existed or that you were able to Patent an idea and so on but I didn’t realize the importance of the four subjects. The help and protection are there for great reasons and is well worth looking into, I think it is really important that you do make yourself aware of your rights and the rights of others so that everybody can get on with their work with ease and no hassle. On a more personal note, I felt very excited for having listened to what Nia had to say about trade marks and copy rights and so on as I am near the end of my studying, I will be due to graduate soon and the thought that I could copy right something of my own, or create my very own trade mark, kind of made me look forward to graduating and entering the big wide world. I don’t feel afraid now, wondering what might happen after graduation, but look forward to new doors to open, new opportunities and exciting times ahead 🙂

PETER HOLLYWOOD- FILM DIRECTOR

Peter Hollywood has been editor on a wide selection of productions from small scale documentaries to complex special effects movies like THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN, SUPERMAN III, NEVERENDING STORY – as well as musicals, dramas and comedies. He has been fortunate not only to have worked with world renowned filmmakers like Mike Newell, Ridley Scott and Terry Gilliam but also many first time writer/directors.

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Peter was a comical character who had the audience laughing whilst he told us his story of how he got to where he is today and the history of film making. I felt inspired to meet somebody who has worked along side other film makers and movie stars and to learn that in his time, he has been within the film making industry from earlier days where he had to cut and make tapes by hand, where as now everything tends to be digital. He made me realize how fast times have changed and spoke of how things will change again and again which I thought was an interesting point to think about for creative people regardless to what industry they decide to work in.

Peter also said that we should take advantage of the digital media that we have today, whether the reason being to help us on our journey, enjoy it while its there on offer or before times change and we don’t get the chance.

Abbie Carter

Creative/Digital Designer

Norwich, United Kingdom
Newspapers
Abbie is a Glyndwr graduate and she started her career as a sign maker before progressing to general design work for small businesses. She have been working in print since 2004, starting on the local free ads paper and moving to Archant in 2006, where she currently work as a Creative Designer, producing visuals and ad campaigns for external clients and company events.
Abbie gave the audience lots of useful tips on how to not only present yourself, your portfolio but how to handle interviews and making contact with agencies and companies when trying to sell yourself and your work. What I found most useful and will defiantly take into consideration is not only be yourself, but put your personality across. For Abbie, showing your personality is an important key when meeting new people. She feels that that need to see who you are through how you dress, through your work and how you deal with people. After the short seminar with Abbie, I feel that I need to look at myself and my portfolio and reassess whether both show my personality and there for I feel that I have benefited from her talk and think that he information from her life experiences will be very beneficial to me and my future! So thanks Abbie!!
FELT MISTRESS
Felt Mistress AKA Louise Evans is a UK based stitcher and prolific tea drinker who creates a range of one-off bespoke creatures with her partner, illustrator Jonathan Edwards. Originally trained in fashion design and millinery, Louise has brought many of the skills learnt through years of work as a couture dress maker to the world of character design.  As well as original Felt Mistress characters Louise has also collaborated with a variety of other artists including Jon Burgerman, Jon Knox (Hello, Brute)and Pete Fowler. Her work has been exhibited in the UK and internationally and in 2010 was given her own window on Oxford Street as part of Selfridges‘ Christmas display.
selfridges wonder room
lady gaga felt mistress sketch
lady gaga felt mistress wonder room
Not only are Felt Mistress a business team but they are also a couple!! If I am honest, I was very surprised by their story, of who they are and how they have got to where they are today! I had a basic understanding that they made some kind of felt characters but to meet them in person and listen to their unique story was very inspirational and up to date, the best of the speakers throughout creative futures for me. It turns out that, Jonathan illustrates these unique characters and then Louise makes them! They didn’t set out for things to happen the way the have, they were contacted by Selfridges after doing a display window for a company called Brix.
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The brief was basically that the plush creatures had taken over the store and were to be causing mischief, so I just had to make as many creatures as I could and send them to the store. They were arranged around the store and window, stealing jewelry, pulling mannequins’ hair, trying on clothes, etc. Brix got a big FM vinyl sticker made for the window and made some short videos showing the set up. It was during this time that one of the team from Selfridges saw my work and went into the store to ask for my contact details. So that then led to the Selfridges Christmas campaign and window…
I don’t really know where to start with this couple, the fact that they are a couple and they collaborate their talents to make something amazing is one thing, what they do make is very unique and has given them some fantastic opportunities! One ope door has lead them to another which is remarkable in itself and it seems luck has really been on their side, although I know it is not all down to luck as they work very hard and put in enormous amounts of effort into what the do. Louise said that as a dress maker, she is programmed to make clothing ‘as it should be’ suits would be lined properly and so on and therefor she feels the need to carry that on when making clothes for their creatures. So if you were to buy one of these adorable creatures, you will be sure to know that you will be investing in quality!!
The window displays have inspired me no end!! who would have thought that big companies would be interested in dressing their shops with these hand made beauties? They have taught me that absolutely anything is possible!! I love the way that Selfridges had them cased in glass cabinets, giving them their own place and showing off their beautiful details and characteristics. I also thought that the way Brix had used their creativity to animate them by having them pull hair or pretend to steal jewelery from the manikins!!
I very much doubt that is all there is to now about the felt mistress, and I’m sure that they are one to watch and I look forward to seeing what else they come up with in the future!!!
Felt Mistress - Hey Who's This Guy plush toys
There is a huge range of character from famously inspired to their own cute unique individual creatures, you can find them on some of the links below and discover who the characters are and find out more about the felt mistress.

Blog

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Flickr

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Bodelwyddan Castle family day out…

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Last year Bodelwyddan Castle held an exciting Quentin Blake exhibition to display some of his most important illustrations within their own gallery. As a huge fan of his work I took my family to visit the Castle and also made use of the other facilities available there, it really was a fantastic day for myself, my partner and the children( see the day further down my blog).

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Photo: My own photo from the exhibition

Gareth Whitley

Since the visit I decided to follow the Castle on Facebook and twitter so that I could find out about any more up and coming events. Gareth Whitley, volunteer at kids museums, editor and publicist of the sites had taken notice of our interest and has kept in contact through out the year and more recently had made me an offer I really couldn’t refuse. As he is part of a team who have been making some changes to the castles visiting facilities he has been looking for different ways to spread the word and to let the public know about the exciting new changes he has made, he also needed volunteers to test the said changes!! That’s where I come into it..Gareth kindly offered my family and I a FREE day out to tour the castle, view the latest exhibitions and basically give feed back on the new editions to the castle guides and touring system.

I was over the moon with his offer, obviously as I got to have a free day out with my family at an educational venue but I also felt very grateful for his offer, I could see that Gareth was keen to update the castles visiting facilities, had a general interest in the public’s views and he was willing to do what ever it took to meet both needs of the castle and the customers I thought it was very refreshing to be part of that and hopefully help him on his mission.

So what are the changes??!!

The first thing I noticed when I entered the reception was the ‘Children’s Explorer Tools’. The brightly colored tools have been specifically introduced to enable children up to age 5 to explore each historical room easily whilst having fun interacting with them, and whats more is that whilst the children are having fun exploring, Parents and guardians get their time to join in with them or take in the sights themselves. The explorers tools include magnifiers, torches, toy cameras and tape measures. (To be returned after use)

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(Photos were taken by me unless stated otherwise)

*Getting the children involved*

There was lots of other ways that Gareth and other members have thought about to encourage children’s to become involved in the gallery and history of the castle and so he has introduced drawing and coloring sheets designated for each historical room. (might I add that it is not just that children that enjoy drawing and coloring 🙂 .)

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Whoops!! I don’t have the best camera skills!!

Whilst at the main entrance, children can take some pencils and a clip board so that they can take their activity sheets along their journey with them or even fill their sheets in before they set off.

Activity and Educational Booklets

Cute little activity booklets have been created to specific parts of designated rooms for children to enjoy and to easily learn about the works and history of the castle.

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Mini Signs

Something else I noticed on our tour was the really cute illustrated signs which have been placed around the building, illustrated to tell a cat and mouse story for the very young children (just the right height for them too!!) to enable toddlers who cannot yet read or write and take part in the activity booklets, to feel part of the experience.

At this point I was wondering if there was anything that hadn’t been thought of! I felt that lots of different areas had been explored within the castle personnel to ensure people and children of all ages were considered to maximize an enjoyable and educational visit.

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Extra fun

So there is already a few new changes to aid children on their visit but there is more! More educational features have been placed in the historical rooms themselves just waiting to be discovered!! They have been carefully selected to tie in with the room itself for example, the library has been adjusted to enable visitors to access some drawers and also toys have been placed in there, like prisms and looking glasses to show what kids of historical people are associated with that room. People such as scientists and astronomers. I think the Library was just one of my son’s favorite rooms, as you will see in the following pictures.

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The following photos will show what is new in some of the other rooms for children  to get hands on with 🙂IMG_5870 IMG_5871 IMG_5895 IMG_5896 IMG_6041

Guided tours

Bodelwyddan castle have recently updated their touring system so not only is there some lovely people spotted about during the tour, who are fully educated within the history of the castle itself, and the younger generation are covered with everything I have talked about so far, they now have some really cool handheld media guides!! iPod styled media guides that are packed with everything you will need to learn about the castle and aid a relaxed tour environment!! My son was very excited about having the use of one of the new gadgets and even more so that he could wear one around his neck leaving his hands free to interact with all of the activities.

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The red media guides are available at the main entrance for a deposit, which is understandable considering the cost them, and they give access to the new app which is also downloadable from your own phone or device!!! I was curious about the app so I downloaded it to my own iPhone and I have to admit, as somebody who grew up in Bodelwyddan I was surprised and very interested in the past history of the village and castle!! Do check it out!! And don’t forget to leave a review!!

All of this wasn’t just down to Gareth, The deputy director, Morrigan Mason was responsible for the trails and toys and the coloring in sheets, Whilst the visitor services manager, Laura Verga-Birtles was responsible for the media guides. Gareth Whitley, whose job role within the castle is also directed at Learning and audience development, has been busy researching visitors comments, how they use everything and finding out views and people’s opinions for future services. Further aid came from CyMAL, Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, providing funding/money from the Welsh government.

I have pretty much covered what’s new at the castle where guides and children’s learning is concerned but our day didn’t end there!! My next post covers the rest of our visit, the latest exhibition and what’s coming up. I will always be talking about the illustrator behind the new children’s activity books so keep a watch out very soon!!!!!

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Bodelwyddan Castle

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I went to visit Bodelwyddan Castle recently as the work of Quentin Blake was being displayed there. I took my family along too, as not only does the castle have its own gallery but also caters for a good family day out with activities for all.

We had a lovely walk through forestry, the maze was fun and my son and niece loved the park the most!! (I think that was my boyfriend-mikes favorite part too!!)

IMG_1024 IMG_1026****PLEASE READ THE STATEMENT BELOW REGARDING ZIP LINES****

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****PLEASE READ THE STATEMENT BELOW REGARDING ZIP LINES**** IMG_1001

****ZIP-LINES****

The zip-lines are for ages 14 and under and for uses of one person at a time. It wasn’t until we had been on the lines that we read the sign so I strongly advise that these guidelines are taken seriously as injuries and faults will not be held responsible by Bodelwyddan castle.IMG_0990 IMG_0991 IMG_0987

There is a lot more to the castle, as you will see if you check out their website and one day wasn’t enough to cover everything but still, we had a fantastic time. Inside was even more interesting and fun, we enjoyed the children’s room, looking at historical paintings and spending time listening to the tour operators who gave us very interesting insight to the castle as it was in its day many many years ago.

The children’s room was very educational, my favorite part was the drawing apparatus, as you will see in the following photos.

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Saving the best until last, and my utmost favorite part of the day was seeing the work of Quentin Blake. For me, the most remarkable illustrator of all time, his work has always been there in my life from a small child and to this day I still find myself fascinated when I look at his illustrations.

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I love the use of water color, and how Blake uses it to display his color within his vision, I also like the way he uses the center on the page not using the full canvas when he illustrates. His unique style grabs my attention, his scatty line work that isn’t perfectly formed is perfect to me.

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And there you have it, some of the amazing works of Quentin Blake. Over all we had a fantastic day at the castle and I look forward to keeping up to date with what they will have to offer in the future!!

Bodelwyddan castle can be found online on their website, facebook, twitter, and is just off the A55 at Bodelwyddan, north wales, UK.