Sep 11, 2011

The Rev! Mother, Magical portals, Catboy and E17 Designers

I'd heard lots of good things about Harriet Hammel's soft sculptures so headed down to St Saviour's to check them out. The Rev! Mother, a full size soft sculpture woman priest, dressed in biker gear, dismounting from the Softuki motorbike, nearly steals the show but Harriet's other sculptures are great too. The cuddly looking laptop jumped out at me because I'd just come from seeing Valerie Grove's "Man Machine" which is about the effect that technology has on our bodies (more coming soon!) There is a great deal of attention to detail in Harriet's work, the Softuki has "made in Walthamstow" hand-embroidered on the engine. 

Weapons of soft destruction
Lucky Stitch, soft pack

On my way back to Hoe Street I saw some curious structures on the green at the end of Gosport Road. A wooden door seemed to be swinging open into nowhere, a bathroom cabinet stuck to a mosaiced wall  and a can of coca cola balanced on a sloping bench. These are Roan Allen's Portals. Roan was interested in how objects can change when you get close. He has taken ordinary structures, with functions and explored their shapes, making them not quite work as usual. The mirror on the bathroom cabinet is at a strange angle which means you can't just stand in front of it and see your reflection and the sliding door does not close because of the shape of the wood. The door is opening but it does not swing through and the bench is the wrong shape to sit on. All this is quite disorientating and "perspective defying". Chief E-Spy also saw this today and has sent over this image of Roan discussing his work. As Roan was discussing his work, rats were frolicking in the grass beyond, which is proof of the importance of the ratcatcher as described in the seminal E-Spy in the Stow booklet (on sale at Penny Fielding & all good Stow shops). E17 rats are have impressive strength. This one was carrying a slice of toast!

Spot the rat!

Later on I met up with some friends who'd been drawn to the Trail by the front cover of the guide, so I took them to see Catboy presents Shadowplay, artist Carl Harris (the man behind the guide cover)'s exhibition of drawings and sketches along with limited edition prints and linocuts exploring the theme of shadowplay.This forms part of the ongoing narrative that is Catboy, the boy with the cat shadow. His drawings of animals and a young boy are full of character and wonderful mark making. The boy getting into some trousers that are far too big for him is charming. However, there is something slightly sinister about these images too.

There was just time to catch the E17 Designers Market and dash round trying to see all the lovely stalls, selling jewellery, ceramics, books, clothes and much more! I was very happy to see the E17 neighbourhood quilt, brought to us by Significant Seams

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