Shopping: Check it Out
The Bluecoat Centre, Liverpool
Saturday 06 February 1999
Like the East End of London, Liverpool's docklands have been undergoing a mini-renaissance in recent years, losing in the process their seedy and derelict image. Artists and designers who were originally drawn into the area by its low rents have made a significant contribution to this regeneration.
They've been helped in this by the activities of the Bluecoat Display Centre, which was established to exhibit and sell contemporary work by designer-makers in a variety of media. (You'll find the Centre in the laundry of the former Bluecoat School, which was built in 1717 to educate the orphans of seafarers.) The exceptionally high quality of the work in this show is a reflection of what is happening in Hackney, but is also a fair indication of the Centre's reputation and ability to attract, and, more importantly, sell the work of some of the best designer-makers in Britain today. Sculptor Thomas Hill is happy to be showing at the Bluecoat Centre again: "It has an excellent client base: people seem really enthusiastic." His views are echoed by textile designer Rachael Howard. She grew up in Merseyside before moving south in the early Nineties. "Liverpool has become quite lively over recent years. It was always Manchester that had the interesting work, but Liverpool is bubbling upwards."
So what's on show here? Thomas Hill's wire birds and animals are not chicken wire constructions reminiscent of forms destined to be covered with papier mache, but simple, evocative outlines - yellow hens, pike, greyhounds - conjured into life from the barest of skeletons. Occasionally he adds cut and painted sheet-steel, although this in no way detracts from the lightness of the pieces.
Rachael Howard combines quirky screen-printed drawings with appliqued fabrics and machine embroidery to produce cushions, wall-hangings, scarves and ties. Her subjects are everyday scenes and activities which she captures with a comic vitality.
Titus Davies hews her chairs from green (unseasoned) timber - elm, ash, oak, holly or cherry - using traditional green woodworking techniques. Much of the work is done by hand and, as a result, each piece is a one- off. Batch production is impossible. Initially inspired by the simplicity of Welsh stick chairs, she has now developed a way of working with the shapes revealed in the split timber.
Bettina Kunkel also specialises in one-off pieces of furniture. She only uses British, European or North American woods for her freestanding pieces, using rarer timbers such as yew and rippled lime when they are available. Her work is influenced by art deco designs and the simplicity of Japanese furniture.
Emma O'Dare's decorative glass vessels recycle old glass using the ancient technique of pate de verre. Her glass looks volcanic, not dull but phosphorescent, and full of light.
All these makers are linked by the vitality of their work. This energy is also apparent in the other exhibits, including Sian Tucker's geometric and vibrantly coloured textile hangings; Nicholas Arroyave-Portela's undulating clay vessels; and Karen Bunting's monochrome jugs, plates and bowls, delicately decorated with spots and stripes.
Obviously, as a selling exhibition, you can buy what's on display, but don't forget, if someone else has beaten you to that perfectly poised wire chicken or you'd prefer a turkey buzzard, you can always commission exactly what you want.
Hackney Contemporaries runs 9 February to 6 March, Mon-Sat, 10am - 5.30pm at the Bluecoat Display Centre, Bluecoat Chambers, School Lane, Liverpool, L1 3BX. Tel: 0151-709 4014. You can e-mail the gallery on email@example.com- net. com; or visit its website at http:// bluecoatcrafts.merseyworld.com
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
Life & Style blogs
iPhone 6 review: bigger, thinner, faster, brighter - Apple proves you can make the best better
iPhone 6 Plus review: more like a small iPad that makes calls - but perfect for some
Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures leaked: Reddit removes 'The Fappening' board dedicated to sharing naked pictures of celebrities
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Say yes to 'no-poo': It's been three years since I stopped washing my hair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
- 1 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained star's white boyfriend Brian Lucas confirms LAPD internally investigating 'racist' detainment
- 2 Isis release 'Flames of War' video warning Obama of attacks troops could face in Iraq
- 3 Pakistani passenger power forces two politicians off plane
- 4 Say yes to 'no-poo': It's been three years since I stopped washing my hair
- 5 John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time: 'That was the lowest I'd ever felt'
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...
£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...
£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...