Archive for January, 2010

Organic teapots and enchanting Treepots

Posted in DESIGN, TEAPOTS - A HOMAGE TO UNUSUAL TEAPOTS with tags , on January 31, 2010 by echostains

Here are some more fascinating teapots, this time with a more organic feel to them.  I think the above ‘Treepot’ is really magical!  It looks like it has come straight from the forest, – but it hasn’t, – it is indeed ceramic! Treepots are made HERE

Madrone teapot

For tree teapots ceramicist Kathy Pallie   takes some beating.  These teapots are so beautiful – they are more works of art than functional: made to be touched and gazed at.  For more stunning teapots, her site is HERE  William Morris did say

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”

tree stump with chameleon detail

I’m in love with this ceramic (yes ceramic) teapot by Cheng Dong Zhu!  This teapot, shaped to look like a tree stump is so convincing.  The colouring and markings in particular show  great attention to detail.  It is a part of a tea set and comes with four cups.  You can buy it here and view the cups and more information about how the set is made HERE

Echostains – what exactly is it’

Posted in ART, ART PORTFOLIO MY PERSONAL ART, exhibitions, MY SURFACES with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2010 by echostains

echo stain

 People are always asking me how I came up with such unusual name like ‘Echostains’ for a blog. Echostains began was a project I did at University. That project has now seen many changes, but it is still alive and kicking. I am still exploring communication through art, though now the communication is through the written word and in cyberspace. Here’s an explanation of the original concept;-


‘EchoStains’ is a personal project that I completed in the second year of my Visual Arts BA Hons Degree. (1Ith August 2002). I have split the project into three parts because the process was ongoing and progressive and each part inevitably merged seamlessly into the other, culminating in the final piece – the large painting ‘Echo Stain’. The work is about communication – on all different levels.

'Meeting Place'


In this first part of the project, the process is as important as the eventual image, in the sense that ‘recipes’ (see ‘My Surfaces’ category) and media components that have been explored in an earlier project, are now being applied in an almost ritualistic manner; i.e. pouring, splashing, scraping back, and finally painting. So, a dichotomy of measured and automatic response has merged to make the stain tangible. The ‘echo’ is the way that the piece communicates with the viewer – it is a first contact. Dialogue is established through the use of colour conversations. Solid matter versus the metaphysical and slight tensions between the representational and abstract start to emerge.

'House on the Borderland'

Another example is ‘House on the Borderland’ a book by William Hope Hodgson which was made iwth various inks overrunning each other, manually mnipulated to created ‘prisms’ crossing over each other.

'Alan Turing'

Shadow Maps

In this part of the project although the language is still personal, a kind of code is starting to come through. The Shadow Map’ is a form of communication: a visual narrative. Although there seems to be a gradual shifting away from the more nebulous ‘Echo Stains’, the ‘Shadow Maps’ are only an extension of the Echostains’ concept.

'Blue Animation'

Communication is continued by the use of colour relationships and special considerations makes themselves known. This is sometimes explored by painting in more gestural movements: sometimes motivated by lines of poetry – a measured response. The use of certain colour relationships denote mood. Repetition has been employed in some instances to convey a sense of rhythm and immediacy. The Shadow Maps try to give some semblance of coherence to the ‘dialogue’. The ensuing result is that they start to develop into a sort of communicative ‘code’ that is not yet deciphered – still in shadow.


The Yellow Wallpaper

The monumental works of the artist Wlodzimierz Ksiazek are both public and personal. He has developed a kind of dialogue that communicates to the viewer. This can be summed up by the quote mentioned in the review by Merleau-Ponty, who wrote of Cezanne’s work how each element contributed to: “an emerging order of an object in the art of appearing, organises itself before our eyes.” It is this kind of ‘dialogue’ that I have used in the third part of my project, inspired by the short story by the American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman called ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’. The story can be read online.

'Creeping Woman'

Although these paintings do not ‘illustrate’ the story literally: it is the highly personal narrative that is the chief objective. The use of repetition and occasional nuance that starts to communicate on some level with the viewer.

So now you know what the ‘Echostains’ concept is about. Each gallery holds about  a dozen paintings. I shall be putting more on, as well as new work.


Weird and wacky design: In my cups

Posted in DESIGN, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , on January 29, 2010 by echostains

coffee bean cup

There are some very unusual cups around.  I especially like this one with coffee beans on.  I don’t know how practical it would be to drink out of, but it looks good to me.  Other strange cups HERE

not my cup of meat

I think this meaty cup is thought provokingly weird!  (do I want my thought provoked like this?)  Meat and drink, meaty Bovril, streaky Tea….I’m trying to make a link here and failing dismally.  Strange, just one of the many exhibits from this exhibition HERE

I heart tea

This heart shaped cup is so dainty and cute.  But I wonder what it would be like to try to drink from?  I’m now trying to think of a red drink – probably rosehip tea or something.  That would look nice. perhaps a little palmier biscuit on the side too – purely for artistic purposes you understand…. want one? HERE

Happy birthday Alice Neel!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS with tags , , on January 28, 2010 by echostains

Alice Neel

The American artist Alice Neel (1900 – 1984) shares her birthday with  the Dripper himself, Jackson Pollock.  I’ve already celebrated his birthday last year HERE.  Neel’  is especially famous for her portraits.  As a woman artist she had her work cut out to become known, but  as well as talent, she did have  a political voice and self awareness.  She  painted lots of famous people including Andy Warhol.  I love the  expressionistic work of this artist.  She seems to capture the inner as well as the outer being – through her we get a glimpse into the models inner self..  

alice neel Robert Smithson

Neel’s  subjects include motherhood, political figures, landscapes and celebrities of the time.  She even painted the famous feminist activist Kate Millet, for the cover of times magazine in 1970.

Kate Millet by Alice Neel

Neel involved herself in radical social movements, she had a voice’ and was well respected.  Her life was very up and down and at times she did know despair.  But she turned her tragedy into triumph ultimately and this I think is what gave her such empathy with her sitters.  She called her sitters her ‘selection of souls’   She was very much  interested in the inner being and tried to show this in her paintings –  always striving to get to the core or essence of the sitter whether they were famous or not:-

Andy Warhol by Alice Neel

Like Chekhov, I am a collector of souls… if I hadn’t been an artist, I could have been a psychiatrist. (Alice Neel)

alice neel two girls spanish harlem

She painted well into her eighties, even doing a self-portrait of herself.  Her life story is both sad and yet inspiring, exciting and varied –  but always the artist within comes to the surface.  No wonder she is still an inspiration to women artists today!

I do not know if the truth that I have told will benefit the world in any way. I managed to do it at great cost to myself and perhaps to others. It is hard to go against the tide of one’s time, milieu, and position. But at least I tried to reflect innocently the twentieth century and my feelings and perceptions as a girl and a woman. Not that I felt they were all that different from men’s.” (Alice

 Alice Neel website HERE

Good art quotes to be had HERE

Like these artists birthdays?  I have MORE – look in my categories


Assemblage – boxing clever art

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY with tags , , on January 27, 2010 by echostains

Too much is just too mind boggling

As you can see from this pic, I love assemblage.  I bought these old print trays and had absolutely no trouble filling them full of tiny bits of ephemera!

what does this section say?

The real art of assemblage (as it is an art form) is when the assembled pieces make a statement or ‘speak’ to the viewer by affecting their sense in some way.  Sometimes there are prompts like printed material, bits of old adverts.  Sometimes nostalgia for one of the objects can cause the viewer to make links over all, so that the piece becomes a statement in itself.

Joseph Cornell boxes clever

Whenever I hear the word  assemblage, the name Joseph Cornell  springs to mind (b. America 1903 -72).  He is linked with the Surrealists and used lots of found objects which he boxed and made art from.

observatory box joseph cornell

Whole poems can be made from the relationships of the assembled pieces – they communicate differently to the idividual.  Some of these relationships may seem incongruous – but a kind of sense can always made (even if this sense cannot be stated in words).  I think it is in our nature to try to make sense of the nonsensical sometimes – even though we sometimes have to accept that life is sometimes – well just random!

By their fruits ye shall know them by Dale Copeland

Another artist who I greatly admire is New Zealand artist Dale Copeland.  I defy anyone not to find poetry in her work.  Some of the pieces are very whimsical, some esorterically puzzling, like the nature of the Sphinx- but all inspirational and thought-provoking.  She must have boxes of found objects in her house!  Perhaps this is what I should be doing with all the little things I can’t bear to part with lol!


Dale Copeland’s fabulous assemblages HERE

My art experiments – Pretend playing in the pretend snow

Posted in ART, ART PORTFOLIO MY PERSONAL ART, DESIGN with tags , , , , , on January 26, 2010 by echostains

nothing to see really

Time for some more art experiments: I was going through some  pics taken when the snow was about (shhhhhh,  better whisper in case it hears me and comes back …) and I thought I’d have a bit of fun with the images.  These are the pics I took – yes, nothing special to write home about, BUT…….

a miserable vista of snowy delight

It’s amazing what lurks under the surface of that snow…so I did a bit of excavation work…..


cleared a few paths…..

snow has many layers - this has three

Cropped, super imposed and filled (no fancy footwork here).  Just when I’d cleared the snow away, I decided to add some more.  But I wasn’t happy with the composition at all, so a quick crop…

I give you - 'See amid the Winters Snow 1'

And ‘See Amidst the Winter’s Snow’ was born.  Here are a couple of variations…  old comic book colours maybe – but there wasn’t anything comical about that snow! 

'See Amidst the Winter's Snow' and feel that icy blast


and finally this one which I warmed up slightly with what looks like something out of the Blitz-

Neuclear Blitz anyone?

As you can see from the original composition, the portrait formated pic didn’t really take off.  So – waste not want not, I say – I decided to merge reverse images of the same shot and go with this;-

'See Amid the Winters Snow' reversal

 I think that the last image would make an interesting  painting,  if I turned the top roofs into tall chimney pots, contrasting Victorian industry with modern day living  –  progress marching through the constancy of the weather – I might be on to something.  Some things will always be with us.

A room with a view or two – exploring perspectives

Posted in ART, ART PORTFOLIO MY PERSONAL ART with tags , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by echostains

'Tilt' an experiment with perspective

I was playing about with some paint the other day and thought I would do a tonal piece with some interesting perspective incorporated. 

'Tilt' b

 As I’d recently been watching some old DVD’s of the 70s series The Onedin Line, and was inspired by the idea of a ship’s cabin undergoing a storm on the high seas – the inside of the cabin bobbing up and down and showing different perspectives.  ”Tilt’ incorporates non representational images –  but don’t let that stop you spotting any….

'Tilt' b

For added effect I turned the actual image 180 degrees, just to give it even more vistas!  Materials used ; Acrylic on  Daler board.

'Tilt' c

Here’s another little experiment with perspective.  This piece is from a small journal of mine.  It doesn’t really become obvious why the piece is called ‘Threeway’  as I have actually shown four perspectives.  ‘Threeway’ is just a play on the word ‘Freeway’…nothing esoteric about that.  However the eroded corridors and isolation which this space conveys and the colours I have used,  is clear – no matter which way it is viewed….sometimes there just is no escape.


 I do lots of small experiments like these and have completed quite a few series of experimental works, which I shall put on here every so often. 

'Threeway' 2

‘Threeway’ was made with felt tip pens and a wet paintbrush on paper.  You can get some wonderful effects with this method – a kind of muted watercolour.  But you have to work fast, and you should always use an old paintbrush because somehow or other, this method  just erodes the bristles.

'Threeway' 3

And the last one:-


The next personal art will be an explaination of the ‘Echostains ‘ concept and how it came about. 


‘Weird and Wacky Design: Slippers to er, slip into?’

Posted in DESIGN, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , , on January 24, 2010 by echostains

rodent slippers whatever next

Slippers have come a long way since I was a girl.  But looking at some of these, I have to come to the conclusion that maybe they’ve gone far enough.  And more to the point – would you actually wear these rat slippers?  Surely, they’ve got to be taking the mickey?  or do I mean the Roland….. lol  Ooh it’s just horrible!

Holy Moley

I’ve always thought that moles were very cute – perhaps it’s their tiny pink hands and feet that contributes to this harmless image (and probably ‘Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame).  They are considered pests and even vermin that cause a nuisance – traps are laid down for the poor little fellows.  Even so, there’s no need to wear them on your feet as slippers!  Yes, I do know they are not real rats and moles – and that no animals have been hurt in the making of them etc (at least, I hope that is so!) .  But why pick on them?

You've heard of fish fingers? - now fish feet

Why you would want to wear fish on your feet – I don’t know, but these fish slippers are probably the most comfortable ones, and not as repugnant as the other two.  There are some pretty awful slippers around – one pair, I found particularly offensive, and certainly wouldn’t feature.  I’ll just stick to my little knitted woollen ones…… 

More weird slippers to be had HERE

And a real odd collection of shoes and slippers HERE