Item of the Week 20/11/2014


£39.50 Marks & Spencer. Size 8- 22

A stitch in time

By far the coolest thing I’ve seen all week….


You can’t really tell from the photo as you can’t see all the cables that would be at the bottom of the pic, but the sewing machine is powered by the stationary bike. The person on the bike pedals away like a maniac while the artist stitches their portrait as they cycle, interviewing them and incorporating tidbits of their concise life stories into each piece.  Its a fascinating process to witness and the skill and precision of the artist is mesmerising.

The artist is Harriet Riddell and the event is Craftspace. Now in its third year the event has grown from a one day event into a 5 day crafting minifest incorporating hand and machine embroidered textiles, jewellery making with cardboard and live music. It’s held in St Phillip’s Cathedral Square (more commonly known as Pigeon Park) and it really made me feel proud to be a Brummie.

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Wall of hand embroidered messages


Hand embroidering messages for the wall

Making cardboard jewellery for a nearby tree. Wish I had seen the make over results!

Making cardboard jewellery for a nearby tree. Wish I had seen the make over results!

I was so impressed. My beloved Birmingham used to get a lot of stick for being generally a bit rubbish, but my city has really pulled its socks up and is making its mark. It’s great for big brand shopping but it’s the independents that really make me beam.  The vintage elegance of  Agnes & Norman shoes, the eclectic homewares of Handmade Boutique,  and the delicious eats at Yorks Bakery Cafe are among my favourite places to visit in the city centre. Not to mention our brand spanking library (which looks like a gigantic wedding cake) which is fast becoming my number one spot to relax. Oh yes, its a good time to be in Brum.

PS- I did consider having my own portrait stitched but I started to think….. Can I cycle non stop for 15-20 mins? Will I look like a sweaty heap? Will the bike collapse underneath me? OMG everyone’s looking. I’ll just watch….

Feeling Brave?

In what has to be possibly the ultimate test in body confidence, artist Spencer Tunick is once again looking for volunteers to strip off in the name of art. The artist is looking to recruit 1000 people to strip off for his next live installation to mark the tenth anniversary of the Lowry gallery in Salford. Up for it? When Spencer Tunick did an installation on these shores around 5 years ago, I signed up, booked the day off work and……

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……….I completely chickened out. A few days later at work my MD exclaimed, “Did you hear about those crazy fruitcake pervs who stripped off all their clothes and paraded around naked for some artist?!?” I stayed silent and suddenly became very engrossed in my work. I’m toying with the idea again but I think I’m even less likely to go ahead with it now than I was back then. I’ve watched countless episodes of “How to Look Good Naked” but even Gok would have a job persuading me to get my bits out for this one. It’s not like it’s a five-minute thing really, is it? Has anyone ever participated in a Spencer Tunick installation? Would you do it? Have you already signed up? Tell all!


Living in a Box

This right here- is genius…

Imagine having to delve into this brilliant work of art every morning to get dressed. I don’t blame whoever that is inside for climbing in because I would do the same thing. I love old suitcases and this masterpiece scores on so many levels as it fuses vintage and modern aesthetics perfectly. It makes me think of the golden age of travel where people used to pack trunks to travel and spent days aboard the Orient Express visiting distant lands and solving murder mysteries. OK- so I’m mixing fact with fiction a bit here but you know what I mean.  It’s one piece from a series of artworks  by Maarten de Ceulaer and has made the shortlist for the 14th annual  Blueprint Awards which is being held at the 100% Design show, Earl’s Court London, September 24-27.

It also reminds me of the front page to the Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week website and I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that fashion week season starts today!!!

Also, today is the day for the worldwide Fashion’s Night Out event which involves hundreds of retailers in 13 capital cities worldwide opening late to host in store activities, special offers, one off designs, celebrity appearances, makeovers and all manner of fun stuff . As I’m not in London (sigh) I won’t be there but click here to find out whats happening near you.

Tony Hart Dies

Tony Hart, children’s TV artist from the late 70’s to 2000 died this morning aged 83. I’m sure there are many people in creative jobs who could say that Tony Hart inspired them when they were children and I know I’m one of them. I used to watch his programmes religiously and he introduced me to the idea that you can make art with just about anything, not just pencils and paint and is personally responsible for me cutting up my mothers good potatoes so I could use them for potato printing. I used to love the giant artworks he did on the floor where he would use rice or some other unexpected material, and you never knew what he was drawing until it was almost finished. He taught me that there were no limits apart from my own imagination and for that I am grateful. Thank you Tony Hart, you will never be forgotten.

I Love Flickr

Ever since I was introduced to Flickr through a friend around 18 months ago I have been in love with it and don’t know how I managed without it before as its an endless source of great images, inspiration and general amusement from Wardrobe Remix to Unseen War. As well as seeing great photos from amateur and professional photographers I have also seen a wide range of fantastic illustrations. Browsing through the Illustration group is like going on a magical mystery tour through the complex mindworks of a group of people, with lots of twists, turns and random thoughts so you never know where you’re going to end up next. Two artists I have noticed through this group go by the names of Elonn and Lime Green Pikkle. Both of these artists have a penchant for drawing curvy, beautiful and quirky women an a variety of settings from the mundane to the mythical. Elonn is an illustration graduate from Israel and has a vibrant, cartoony, comical style of drawing. The women he draws look like strong personalities with a lot to say for themselves and when I look at them I can animate them in my head and actually imagine them speaking.


Lime Green Pickkle’s ladies are sensual and often quite surreal, owing to his interest in fantasy and legend, but no less uplifting. I especially like his BBW alphabet but can only dream of being able to contort into some of those shapes they’re throwing. Oh to be that limber! As well as his Flickr Photostream you can also see his work here, at Deviant Art.

Oo- er Missus!

There can’t be many plus sized women out there who have never heard about the art of Ruben Esq, but just in case some of you have just woken from a 100 year sleeping beauty type slumber- heres the lowdown. Ruben loves curves. Lots of curves. Lots of unclothed curves. Lots of unclothed curves with a triple X rating. So if you’re under the age of consent in whatever country you may be reading this blog from, or if you may be offended by cartoon nudity then do not click on this link. Some full frontal images are shown. Ruben Esq is the King of bbw art and has a blog that is bursting at the seams with brilliant illustrations of sexy plus sized women of all descriptions, in a wide range of sensuous scenarios. Its not every man in the world who is only interested in a slender size 8 figure but its sometimes very easy to forget that. Its refreshing and confidence boosting to see a man so openly and beautifully display his love for a plus size figure with these erotically charged pictures. So if you want to see gorgeous, plush representations of tantalising sexiness- click here now– or here for the non nude myspace page.