Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mrs Gaskell's earthly paradise

I have just put the finishing touches to my latest literary collage and here's a snap of it:

A bit dark, I know, but I can't get it professionally scanned for a week or two.
Number 42 Plymouth Grove occupied (and for all I know still does) what is commonly called a leafy suburb of Manchester, well away from the dark satanic mills of the industrial revolution. But leafy suburbs - and Italianate villas like this one - are metaphorically built upon those mills and factories and they are very much present in the writings of Mrs Gaskell. Her husband, a Unitarian minister, was involved with the manufacturing poor as well. So the mills are there, diorama-like, prominently in the background.
As is the livestock which Mr and Mrs G kept in their garden which served the double purpose of providing food and "bringing some countryside to the town".
One of the Gaskells' friends and neighbours, the conductor Charles Halle, described the place as "a large, cheerful, airy house, quite out of the Manchester smoke ..." a description I have tried to convey in the image.
And there's Charlotte Bronte downstairs, famously hiding behind the curtains from visitors. Couldn't miss the opportunity of putting her into the picture could I?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Homes & Antiques!

Page 14 of the July issue (out now) of

are my houses:
here, have a closer look!...

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sheep on my table

A flock of unruly sheep and lambs are taking over the chaos of my worktable...

 After publishing that photo a while back of some battered plaster sheep that sit on a shelf in my studio, the product of a venture into souvenirs many years ago when I lived in sheep country, I was asked to do a few samples.
 So I have:

But in papier mache rather than plaster of Paris.
Though still in their sort of Staffordshire-esque na├»ve style.

Not sure if they are going anywhere, so to speak, but I really enjoyed the messiness and working in 3D for a change.
Poor old Mrs Gaskell was put on the back burner for the duration of this pilot experiment.
I'd better get back to her ...