31 Dec 2012

Happy New Year!

Well, 2012 is nearing it's end and it's time for a little reflection.  This year has brought so many wonderful experiences and people in to my life.  Some I might have predicted, others totally unexpected, all of them great.  I am already excited about 2013 and all that it has to offer and I'm looking forward to sharing it all with you on this blog and hopefully in person.

(c) Claire Brewster 2012 - The Bee Eaters (detail)

And don't forget The London Art Fair is on from 16 - January.  I will be exhibiting again with TAG Fine Arts.  If you would like a free ticket please email info@tagfinearts.com and they will be able to send you one.

See you on the other side in 2013.


29 Nov 2012

What I learned from being on live TV

I was asked to do a demonstration of simple paper cutting on Blue Peter (which for anyone who doesn't know is one of the longest running children's tv shows in the UK, it started in the late 1950's and everyone used to watch it and I mean everyone, it doesn't quite have the reach now, but it has serious TV heritage) as they were doing a piece on the First Cut exhibition.

It was an honour to be asked by the curators at Manchester Art gallery and I said yes, mostly for the my 10 year old self that would have loved to have been on the show and because I'm always up for new experiences and this certainly was a new experience.

The show is broadcast live, yes LIVE! Which did send me into a bit of a spin for a while

And here is what I learned from the experience

that saying yes to things that scare you is a good thing

that it is important to put yourself in  places where you will be vulnerable and highly visible.

that the benefits of saying yes to new experiences or opportunities that seem scary far out way any downsides that there might be.

that people in TV are very focussed and good at being in the now. I am in awe of the presenters, who presented all their pieces to camera with no autocue, they learnt all the information and ad libbed, and made it seem to easy and natural.

that you have to take responsibility for yourself and step up to the plate when the situation calls for it

that I can rock it when I need to, I don't have to be the shy, nice girl, I can be professional and confident and competent

that it's fun and it's good to just let yourself go along with the flow

that there is so much I can take away from this and I feel very grateful for being given the opportunity to do something like this.  I love that my chosen career opens up doors for me that I didn't know I wanted opened or that I even knew existed

I also feel proud of myself for saying yes to something that a year ago I would probably run a mile from.  I put a lot of this down to a course I did with Tara Mohr, called Playing Big, check it out here.  She is a great teacher and leader.

I'd love to hear about any experiences you have had that have taken you out of your comfort zone.

And for anyone who want's to see me (UK only I think), here is the link to the show.  It's available until 1 December.

19 Nov 2012

The First Cut - Susan Stockwell

I met Susan Stockwell last year when I was exhibiting in the Art of Mapping with TAG Fine Arts so I was very happy to find out that she was also exhibiting in the First Cut exhibition in Manchester.  I am a big fan of her work so it was a great opportunity to see more, check out her website for more info and images of her work.

When I arrived at Manchester Art Gallery to start the installation of my work they were in process of installing one of Susan's pieces, Imperial Quilt, which is a quilt made of hand sewn maps, you can imagine how fragile it is. It was fascinating to watch them install it. The team of technicians were amazing, they didn't seem phased by the fragility of the work they were installing at all

Here are a few photos of how they did it.

Installation at Manchester Art Gallery of Imperial Quilt 
© Susan Stockwell 2005

Installation at Manchester Art Gallery of Imperial Quilt
© Susan Stockwell 2005

Installation at Manchester Art Gallery of Imperial Quilt
© Susan Stockwell 2005

Installation at Manchester Art Gallery of Imperial Quilt
© Susan Stockwell 2005

Installation at Manchester Art Gallery of Imperial Quilt
© Susan Stockwell 2005
And here are a couple of photos of the piece installed, courtesy of Susan herself.

 Imperial Quilt installed in Manchester Art Gallery
© Susan Stockwell 2005

 Imperial Quilt installed in Manchester Art Gallery
© Susan Stockwell 2005

16 Nov 2012

Singapore Affordable Art Fair

Hi All

I thought I'd share the work that I made for the Singapore Affordable Art Fair, that is taking place this weekend.  I am exhibiting with TAG Fine Arts. Do pop a long if you happen to be in Singapore.

I made 3 works all based around birds I thought you might see in Singapore.  I've never been there, so enjoyed imaging a tropical world that the birds would live in.  Some of them are only visitors, and some you might find there more permanently.  They are all dancing to their own tune and are defying the rules of where they might belong.

I hope you enjoy.

First up a piece called Honeypies, they don't really have humming birds in Singapore, or not these ones, but in my fantasy they are the kind of exotic creatures that are flying about Singapore.

© Claire Brewster - Honeypies 2012

© Claire Brewster - Honeypies 2012
The there is Set us free - I'm not a big fan of caged birds, it always seems to sad when creatures that can fly are confined.  Here my budgies are answering back.

© Claire Brewster - Set us free 2012

© Claire Brewster - Set us free 2012

The final piece is The Bee eaters - these are native birds of singapore and Malaysia and I loved their shape and the shapes they make when they fly around .

© Claire Brewster - The Bee Eaters 2012

© Claire Brewster - Set us free 2012

10 Nov 2012

Autumn in Amsterdam

The BF and I went on a weekend trip to Amsterdam recently, my first time there and in fact my first time in Netherlands.  We had a great time, it's a beautiful city, well I only the saw the very central bit.  The canals provide such a beautiful calmness to the place, and the light is amazing (it was quite dark and rainy but it didn't seem so with all the reflections from the canal.

I got a bit obsessed with all the trees, they were looking so beautiful in their autumnal colours, especially with the brown and grey back drop of the houses along the canal.  I think I drove my BF a bit crazy taking photos of them, but I always think one should go with the inspiration and there were so many beautiful trees!

I'm thinking they will find their way into an art work, I'm not sure how just yet, so watch this space...

This is the edited highlights of the photos, I hope you enjoy!

7 Nov 2012

The First Cut - Nicola Dale

It's always a treat to be introduced to work by an artist you don't know and then to meet the artist.  Nicola Dale is the artist in question, we met during the installation of the First Cut and got along straight away.

Nicola has two pieces in the exhibition, 'Down', which is approximately 12,000 feathers, hand cut from OS maps.  No that isn't a mistake there are 12,000 of them.  When they were in their box, there didn't seem that many of them, but as she unpacked them, the full amount of became evident.  They look amazing as you can see below.

Nicola Dale - Down

Nicola Dale - Down

The second piece that Nicola has in the show is Sequel, which is hundreds (thousands?) of oak leaves cut from reference books attached to an Oak tree trunk.  This piece was commissioned for The First Cut, the leaves took her six weeks to attach to the tree trunk.  The piece considers the ways in which the organisation of knowledge is evolving from the rigid structure of books to the more organic growth of the internet.

The piece was installed in front of my birds, which worked really well.

Nicola Dale - Sequel 2012

Nicola Dale - Sequel 2012

Nicola Dale - Sequel 2012

You can see more of Nicola's work on her website  and she has a blog as well.

5 Nov 2012

James Aldrige - First Cut

I have been a fan of James' work for a long time, so i was very excited to see that he was also in the First Cut exhibition.  And I was even more excited when I arrived to find out he was also there installing his work and I got to meet him.

For the exhibition he produced the most amazing piece, possibly my favourite piece in the exhibition.  It is hugh and was made specifically for the show.  The installation process was pretty complicated and involved a lot of time in a scissor lift (which looked like a lot of fun), but wow! the finished piece is amazing. (Apologies that my photos are a bit blurry)

James Aldridge As above, so below 2012

James Aldridge As above, so below 2012

James Aldridge As above, so below (detail) 2012

James Aldridge As above, so below (detail) 2012

1 Nov 2012

Where it all began (well sort of)

Rachel Whiteread - Herringbone floor 2001
I had forgotten how much I loved this piece of work by Rachel Whiteread until I saw it again recently.  I love it's simplicity.

In 2001 I went to the Rachel Whiteread exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery.  Rachel Whiteread produced this as an edition for the gallery, I loved it so much at the time and eternally regret I didn't buy one then.  It was only a few hundred pounds at the time and now it's approximately £2000!

Most importantly, it started me on the road to start cutting.  In those early days I hadn't really seen any other paper cutters, but knew I wanted to make something like this.

It's always funny where inspiration comes from, it never appears when you go looking for it, but pops up when you least expect it.

I would love to hear what art works have inspired you.


22 Oct 2012

The First Cut - the finished installations

Here are some shots of the finished installations, taken at the opening.  The BF was in charge of photography, so I could pose away!

It was a great evening, very busy and everyone seemed to be having a good time.  I even had people wanting me to sign their catalogue, I felt like a right celebrity.  One of the people who asked me to sign their catalogue was the designer of it.  He made the comment that he liked the page that had my birds on it because it was so free - one of the best comments I have ever had, as that is really what I am trying to express in my work, freedom and beauty.

Any way, here are the photos, I would love to know what you think.

An Apocalypse of Butterflies (c) Claire Brewster 2012 -The finished piece

An Apocalypse of Butterflies (c) Claire Brewster 2012 - looking up in wonder

An Apocalypse of Butterflies (c) Claire Brewster 2012 - from the side

An Apocalypse of Butterflies (c) Claire Brewster 2012 - getting in close

An Apocalypse of Butterflies (c) Claire Brewster 2012 - this seemed to be the pose of the night

The Harbingers (c) Claire Brewster 2011 - my pink tights were much commented on

The Harbingers (c) Claire Brewster 2011

The Harbingers (c) Claire Brewster 2011

The Harbingers (c) Claire Brewster 2011

The Harbingers (c) Claire Brewster 2011

19 Oct 2012

The First Cut - The Harbingers Installation

Following on from installing An Apocalypse of Butterflies, I also had to install The Harbingers.  This was a lot easier as I had installed it before and it was in the main exhibition room, so I wasn't on show to the public.  It was also great to be installing with the other artists and to see how the curators put the final touches to the exhibition.

So here are a few photos of the install.  I didn't take as many as with An Apocalypse of Butterflies, mainly because I was quite tired and had to get the installation finished so I didn't have to come back on the day of the opening to finish it off.

Starting off

A few more birds
From a distance...

15 Oct 2012

First Cut - Installation of An Apocalypse of Butterflies

It was really great to be able to go and install my work in Manchester Art Gallery, for the First Cut exhibition.  It's the first time that I have installed my work in a museum, so I was very excited and a bit nervous, if there was ever a time to raise my game it was now!

I was still finishing one of my pieces the day before and was glad to see when I arrived that one of the other artists was still making his piece as well.

For the exhibition I was installing 2 pieces, An Apocalypse of Butterflies and the Harbingers.  The butterflies were a site specific piece for the one of the Pre Raphaelite galleries.  I was installing in front of a Millais painting, which was a little nerve wracking to say the least! And up a very high ladder!  The installation took about 10 hours, and was quite intense especially as the gallery was open to the public whilst I was installing.

It was really good fun though and the team at Manchester were really great and made everything so easy.  One of the best things about the install was the other artists that were also installing, it was great to be able to chat with them and see their work taking shape as the installed it.  I will be posting about some of them in later posts but for now here are some images of the Apocalypse install.

making a start..

Looking down!

Me on top!

Getting there

Me and the ladder became very good friends

almost finished...