New Church Street Screen Print!

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As you may remember, back in June we ran a charity auction for The Abney Park Trust with John Gosler’s original art. Thanks to everyone’s support and efforts we were able to raise £260 for the charity. Don’t forget we still have a few of the cemetery maps and festival posters for sale if you’re interested in owning a bit of Stoke Newington history!

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While working with John on getting the auction together, we found another original in his collection. The piece was made in the same scraper board technique as the festival posters and featured a streetscape based upon the shops and buildings lining Stoke Newington Church Street. It was also done around the same time in the mid-90s to promote the Stoke Newington Midsummer Festival. We loved it so much we decided to reproduce it ourselves to sell in the shop!

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Since the scraper board left such a distinctive woodcut style texture, we wanted to pick up as much of that as possible and decided that a screen print would reproduce it best. We worked with Mark at Atom Gallery in Newington Green who printed them up for us, on  beautiful Southbank Smooth 310 gsm paper stock, hand pulling each one in a limited edition of 500. Each print is hand numbered and embossed with the Of Cabbages & Kings logo for authenticity.

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People frequently ask after locally themed prints, so we are delighted to be able to offer something drawn, made and printed right here, and exclusively available from Of Cabbages & Kings!

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An Interview with Freya Cumming

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Spring is just about here. Or at least surely it must be close – we can almost smell it! Also, right around the corner is our brand new exhibition with one of Of Cabbages and Kings’ longest standing collaborators Freya Cumming. Freya will be traveling down from Dundee with her latest collection of screen prints fresh of the drying rack. The private view is on Thursday May 5th from 6:30 – 9pm. We hope you can make it along. In the meantime, we caught up with Freya and found out a little bit more about her art process and influences.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
I use them all, but if I had too choose one, my weapon of choice would be a propelling pencil. I love ’em! 

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Your art features many repetitive motifs (hot air balloons, Victorian figures, the ocean, etc.). Do you feel like you work with themes or that you are drawn to a particular image?
I don’t think that I have any particular themes other than that most of the work I enjoy making has some form of pattern, however small a detail it is, it’ll be in there! The balloon images became a theme by accident, I lived in Bristol for seven years and I thought one day I might try a balloon print, as they are such a familiar sight in the city. I enjoyed the endless possibilities of patterns and colours within the balloons and so I got quite carried away and produced a whole series of these. 

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Your images feature many built up layers. Can you tell us a bit more about that process? 
One of the pleasures of screen printing for me, is the ability to play around with the opacity of the inks when mixing them. Printing in overlapping layers, in varying opacity can come up with colours and effects that I aren’t planned, but that make printmaking more interesting for me. I like making it up as I go along! It makes what can be a very technical process, much more interesting and spontaneous.  

Can you tell us a bit more about founding Snap Studio, the artists co-operative in Bristol?
It all came about very serendipitously. My friend Frea and I were manning a pop-up shop in an old hairdressers in Bristol for a few days. We were chatting about how amazing it would be to have a studio, gallery and printmaking facilities under one roof. The man who had the keys to the hairdressers, just so happened to be the founding member of the ethical property company, and owner of  a beautiful 16th century building across the street. He offered it to us at a really reasonable rate which allowed us to seek help from the co-operative development agency in Bristol and go on to form a co-op with six other printmaking friends. We are all either just graduated/ or graduating, so it was perfect timing. It was the perfect setting- post-uni to have somewhere to work. 

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

You recently moved back to your hometown in rural Scotland. Has this move changed or influenced your work? 
I’ve realised with hindsight that it did at the time. I’ve always been inspired by my surroundings so suddenly, instead of urban scenes, I was drawing chickens and squirrels. I found I missed the urban landscape and I realised there was a danger that my work was unintentionally becoming overly countrified, so I moved my studio from the village to nearby Dundee.

How long have you been printing?
I learned to screen print the same year I graduated in 2001 – so on and off, around fifteen years of squeegeeing ! 

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What is your favourite takeaway?
All of them?!. I live in the middle of nowhere though so takeaway is rare! No-one will deliver this far either 😦

Q&A with Tiff Howick

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We are excited to announce our next exhibition will be with Tiff Howick. It will run from Thursday February 4th, with an opening preview on Wednesday February 3rd from 6:30-9pm.

Tiff’s artwork features striking portraits of animals, focusing on dogs and British wildlife. They are done with a loose, expressive style in black ink, printed over a strong colour on crisp white paper.

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What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
It is very hard to choose, I would say overall it’s a paintbrush, I really enjoy experimenting with brushmarks to create different textures.  

Your art features striking portraits of animals. Have you always been drawn to animals?
I have, I grew up with pets – Jack Russells, rabbits and guinea pigs. I also spent my summer holidays in Norway where there were sheep grazing in the forests and we’d see squirrels, deer and elk.  

Your animals are very expressive, like they each have their own personality. Is that something that evolves as each animal is drawn?
Mostly the expression is intentional, I’ll have a reference image with an animal in a pose that I think represents a particular behaviour or emotion such as the spirited French Bulldog or the thoughtful Greyhound.  Sometimes the expressions evolve and either reflect the mood I’m in when I’m drawing or I make subtle changes to the eyes to create an overall feeling that works for the drawing. 

Reading the expressions in my screen prints is subjective, people commenting on my work have seen a variety of different emotions. 

Your art is inspired by your Scandinavian heritage, vintage children’s illustrations, and contemporary fashion illustration. On the surface these styles are quite different, what is it within them that you think draws them all together so successfully?
Over time I have incorporated in to my work the elements of each style that I most admire.  Limited colour palettes from Scandinavian design and the creation of striking images with just one or two colours.  The bold colours are from Scandinavia and my childhood picture books, two of my all-time favourite illustrators are Carl Larsson and Richard Scarry.  The loose, textured brush marks and sketchy lines are inspired by fashion illustration, I am a huge fan of David Downton’s work. 

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One of your most popular prints has been the Yellow Hare, which features a bright splash of yellow. Some of your prints feature colours that are not traditionally associated with the animal depicted. Do you feel that the colour can change the mood of the animal?
I’ve used bright primary colours to represent extreme versions of the animal’s natural colour, using one vibrant colour to simplify the final image. This sometimes ties in with the mood of the piece, the bright red fox staring assertively over it’s shoulder.  The hare is resting but alert, the bright yellow also representing a hot day in a cornfield.  

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How long have you been printing?
I first printed a long time ago on an art foundation course.  I rediscovered screenprinting fairly recently and have been using it to create most of my work for just over three years. Tiff-Howick-screenprinting-work-images

What is your favourite takeaway?
Since starting to work for myself I’ve researched and read a lot about how to make it work.  I would say the best advice, and the hardest for me to stick to, is to focus. Being creative my head is always full of new ideas, there are so many things I want to do and experiment with.  To make a living out of work that I really enjoy I’ve had to pick one idea and work really hard to make my screenprints as good as they can be. 

Or if you mean food it would have to be Indian :o) 

Kingdom Under A Hat /// A Tour Of Factory Press

We’re very excited at Of Cabbages and Kings, to be hosting the launch of the latest edition from Factory Press Kingdom Under A Hat on Thursday 5th March, and last week I cycled over to Clapton to meet the creator – artist, designer and printmaker Liz Loveless. The book is the 9th published by Factory Press and I visited Liz at her studio and shop on the site of a disused ice cream factory just off Chatsworth Road to discuss the story behind it.

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A few years ago Liz had been asked to do some illustrations based upon the story of The Rock Garden of Chandigarh in India: A secret world built entirely from rubbish scavenged by it’s creator Nek Chand. This ‘Kingdom’ as Chand liked to refer to it, consisted of man-made interlinked waterfalls and other sculptures made of scrap and waste (bottles, glasses, bangles, tiles, ceramic pots, sinks, electrical waste, etc.) which were placed in walled paths.

The hidden garden had been built in a gorge Chand believed to be wasteland outside the city and no one found it for 19 years. It was discovered by the authorities in 1975, by which time, it had grown into a 12-acre complex of interlinked courtyards, each filled with hundreds of pottery-covered concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians, and animals. A battle then commenced to save the garden from demolition and it was finally granted public space status in 1976.

In January 2014 Liz had the opportunity to visit the garden herself and once again felt inspired by the story of Nek Chand and his secret rock garden. She started gathering discarded wrappers and other paper scraps from the pathways around the garden itself, which she bought back home to use and interweave into her own expression of the rock garden story. These collaged, enlarged sweet wrappers now decorate the end papers of her book.

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Liz often combines collage techniques with hand-pulled silkscreen to create the illusion of texture over a flat surface. Her books start life as A1 sheets of paper screen printed in 3 colours on both sides and finish as limited editions hand bound in cloth or card. Kingdom Under A Hat will be an edition of 650. These large sheets are then guillotined into double pages, arranged in order, folded with the bone folder, measured, hole punched and hand sewn to form the body of the book.

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As I watched Liz at each step in the book making process I began to truly understand the love and craftsmanship that goes into constructing each and every one. The next stage was the nipping press. I’d been eying up this beautiful object since I’d entered the studio and couldn’t wait to see Liz put it into action. Liz cases the books in grey card, glues the end papers and covers the spine with bright coral book cloth. The nipping press will only hold 4 books at a time. Cellophane is placed between the pages to prevent the ink from sticking and the books are left overnight, sealing the endpapers to the cover and pressing the pages completely flat. By morning the new books are ready to be numbered and added to the edition.

On Thursday 5th March we’ll be hosting a very special evening to launch the new book. Liz will be at the shop with so please join us on a journey to the magical rock garden of Chandigarh, see Liz’s photo collage installation including a life size bicycle and watch a short supporting animation as well as grab your copy of this beautiful limited edition, hand-pulled silk screen printed, hardback, hand-bound book. There’ll probably be drink or two going round too!

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Kid Spirit

Local artist Johnathan Reiner has produced a series of hand-pulled screen prints entitled ‘Kid Spirit’. His masked child figures confront the viewer, questioning relationships, childhood and the expansive and wild possibilities of the imagination.

Johnathan trained as a doctor in Neuroscience, but in recent years he has been devoting much of his time to learning the art of print making. In his screen prints he combines graphic and illustrative components with drawings and the manipulation of photographic textures and details to explore colour, pattern and composition.

 

Kid Spirit I - Maui
Kid Spirit I – Maui

Kid Spirit II - ChicksKid Spirit II – Chicks

Detail from Kid Spirit II - Zoro
Detail from Kid Spirit II – Zoro