EAST have a new blog and this one will therefore no longer be updated on a regular basis. To visit the new blog to find out about exhibitions and events click HERE.
This blog has been set up for members of EAST to post information about what is happening in the group and in their work.
The following is a piece of my research for “Following a Thread” our next exhibition.
Julia Margaret Cameron (née Pattle) was the sister of Virginia Woolf's grandmother. Born in 1815 she married Charles Cameron and spent much of her married life in India where Charles worked for the East India Company. Not long after their return to England, Julia was given a camera for her birthday - an auspicious present - as she went on to become one of the most important and innovative photographers of the nineteenth century. Best known for her powerful portraits, she also posed her sitters - friends, family and servants - as characters from biblical, historical and allegorical stories. One such sitter, a good friend Anne Thackeray Ritchie, recalled: Sitting to her was a serious affair, and not to be lightly entered upon. We came at her summons, we trembled (or we should have trembled had we dared to do so) when the round black eye of the camera was turned upon us. We felt the consequences, what a disastrous waste of time and money and effort, might ensue from any passing quiver of emotion.
Cameron’s photographs were rule-breaking: purposely out of focus, and often including scratches, smudges and other traces of the artist's process. She was criticized for her unconventional techniques but also celebrated for the beauty of her compositions and her commitment to photography as an art form.
2015 marks the bi-centenary of Cameron's birth and 150 years since her first exhibition, which was held in 1865 at the South Kensington Museum, now the V&A. The museum's founding director, Henry Cole, was an early champion of Cameron's work. He purchased her photographs for the collection, granted her the use of two rooms at the museum as a studio and corresponded with her about technical matters.
In a letter to Sir John Herschel in December 1864, Cameron wrote: My aspirations are to ennoble Photography and to secure for it the character and uses of High Art by combining the reality & Ideal & sacrificing nothing of Truth by all possible devotion to poetry and beauty.
Another prominent Victorian and close friend of Cameron's was the painter and sculptor G.F.Watts. Watts had befriended her sister, Julia Princep, and as he had no accommodation at the time, had been invited to stay, temporarily, in the family home, Little Holland House. Watts lived there for twenty years, initially with his young wife, actor Ellen Terry, and later his second wife the artist and designer, Mary Fraser-Tytler, who with her sisters became photographic subjects for Mrs. Cameron. Cameron considered Watts to be her chief artistic advisor and wrote, Mr. Watts gave me such encouragement that I considered I had wings to fly with.
One member of the family who was photographed regularly was Cameron's niece and god-daughter Julia Jackson, who married Leslie Stephens in 1878. Julia and Leslie had four children, Vanessa (later Vanessa Bell), Thoby, Virginia (later Virginia Woolf) and Adrian. Cameron’s portraits of Julia are unusual in that they show her as an individual rather than a religious or literary character, a position more usually reserved for her male sitters.
Is there such a thing as an original idea? With the influx and easy access to visual stimulus and the ability to promote your work the the furthest corners of the Wifi world.
I do wonder sometimes how my head copes this of visual inspiration seeping into my brain, which sub consciously starts to inhabit, taking on a life of its own, being molded and merged to the existing stock pile of ideas, creating a whole new form and the original ideas slips into the mist of my head.
And then there is Pinterest.....A site I use frequently, to give me that inspirational leg up, only then to feel some sort of copyright/ idea guilt similar to when I secretly eat a bar of chocolate out of the kids earshot. The images I find to be really useful,beautiful, enlightening and empowering. But by taking them in and clicking that Pin button am I allowing the infiltration of my visual resource banks where it melds and merges til I’m not really sure whats mine and whats someone else.
I’ve not got any answer to the ebb and flow of the original, but for Pinterest I must be thankful, not only has it eaten away hour after hour but it enable your work to be seen by audiences that 15 yrs ago would have been mere chance encounters.
This week I’ve been lucky enough to have my work in Belgium in an International Paper Art Biennial as a result of the auto directed suggestions on Pinterest.
Like the guilt over the chocolate which I wont stop secretly eating. My Pinterest account will mainly highly active, in the knowledge that you never know someone, somewhere may using your work as a building block to their original idea.
It is with great sadness that we learnt this week of the death of our dear friend and EAST member, Delia Pusey.
(Above, Delia (centre) with Lorna and Julie at an EAST meeting)
“In so many ways Delia set the benchmark for us all - the highest of standards in everything she undertook. We will surely miss her lovely generous and positive spirit.”
“I will miss her a lot, have
fond memories of her visits to Yvonne and lunches and play days that we three
enjoyed on her visits.”
(Below - images of Delia's work)
“So Sad - Delia was a wonderful friend - We joined EAST together but had known of each other before this - had work exhibited together in 1988. I will really miss her.”
“It was with great sadness that I opened the messages tonight and read the sad news about Delia. She was such a lovely, generous lady with so many talents and I know how much she will be missed by everyone who knew her.”
“Delia will be great loss to EAST.”
“A gentle, kind and
exceptionally talented lady.”
(Below - Delia's work as part of EAST @ the Warner Textile Archive)
"I was so sad to hear that Delia had died. What a courageous battle she had fought with such dignity and fortitude.
Delia showed me such patience and encouragement when I first joined EAST and continued to answer questions and give advise and help me to feel comfortable within the group. I looked forward to our monthly chats to the point where I felt honored to call her, friend.
Her talent was obvious to all but her modesty and strength of character was a hidden pearl which EAST will sadly miss."
There was a massive sense of anticipation when entering Savage Beauty, the articles, teaser campaigns and the relentless posters in the museums sub way. I tried not to look, I was desperate not to be let down.
The exhibition certainly did not do that, the first few rooms
were subtle invitations centering on tailoring and early work, a stimulating
easy mix of fairy-tale step mother meets Mary Queen of Scots. This allowed you
to glimpse into the half-light of a slightly shifted reality.
Gradually as you became more and more seduced by this duvet of fantasy, the curators ratchet up the illusion until you entered the rooms of full on creative frenzy, dreamlike environments where nothing was certain other than the stimulation, beauty and imagination.
The setting of this show enabled you to go on a journey which lifted your heart and eyes only to throw then around the room doing delightful somersaults.
It took a while for me to process what I’d just seen and had to retreat to a back stairs corridor for minimal visual input.
The use of materials was overwhelming.
The attention to detail was relentless.
The overall creativity was humbling.