Friday, 12 June 2015

Little Portland St, Window Sticker

Here is my window display at Exposure on Little Portland Street. My original design was made on Illustrator and started twice the size of the final piece. It included a Sperm Whale swimming across both windows, but in the end the budget didn't stretch to it. I'm really happy with what I ended up with, seeing my colours large and bold was a real buzz after looking at them through on a small computer screen. Hopefully I can do another window design in the future, as the whole process was so enjoyable.

It was fairly easy to put up, although a professional stickerer might notice a couple of glitches here and there. I got the sticker from Mint Signs, and they were great to deal with.

The work in the exhibition is available to buy from my online shop! It can be posted out only once the exhibition is over!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015


Some new illustrations on dishes for my show at Exposure this month in Little Posrtland St, London. The theme of the show was up to me, so I decided to have fun and concentrate on current and ongoing fixations of mine, birds and the deep sea. Also I'll put up a couple of cat plates if I have space.

My show is called Ocean and Aviary. I designed a large window vinyl sticker for the front window of the gallery, which I'm sticking up myself, for the first time ever so I hope there's not too much of  knack to it!


A couple of photos of  Diver and Atlantic Octopus figurines from my show 'Encounters' at Corvi-Mora Gallery, courtesy of Marcus Leith.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Encounters at Corvi-Mora

'Encounters', my new exhibition of figurines opens tonight at Corvi-Mora Gallery in Kennington. Each piece in the exhibition is focused on a moment of discovery or interaction between humans and the natural world. Some of the interactions are historical, and based on accounts of the encounter taken from the time, some are first encounters, some are impossible encounters, and all are imagined and interpreted by me. I have written about two of the pieces; 'Hooke' and 'Jeanne Baret' in earlier blog posts.

The show is up until the 25th of April 2015, for details and location click here:

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Trusty Servant Again

 I visited Winchester College to put one of my figurines into its new display case today. It is going to live in one of the libraries there, under an 1800's scientific bell jar. The Trusty Servant is an invented character specific to Winchester College, and a kind of mascot for the college. one of the paintings of the Trusty Servant at the college dates to the 1580s. The College collects images and objects relating to the Trusty Servant for their archives. My figurine is in the company of some amazing books in the library.

Hookes Micrographia

I have been working on a figurine of Robert Hooke, who was a natural philosopher, architect and polymath. He was born in 1635, and wrote Micrographia, which has some beautiful illustrations of things Hooke observed through his microscope. Published in September 1665, it was the first scientific best-seller, inspiring a wide public interest in the new science of microscopy. I visited Winchester College today and got to see this book first hand.

In my figurine I have illustrated Hooke examining a flea through his microscope, which was inspired by one of the beautiful printed plates I saw today. The prints are on a surprisingly large scale.

These are details of his Flea and Louse plates from the book.

Monday, 29 December 2014

 My latest work in progress is a figure of Jeanne Baret, who was a French lady born in 1740. She was born into a very poor family of farming labourers, but in her lifetime she traveled the world, and became the first lady on record to circumnavigate the globe by disguising herself as a man on board a french naval ship. On board ship she was officially the assistant of the scientist and aristocrat Philibert de Commerson, who's role was to collect animals, flora and fauna which could adapt to French colonies. Baret was discovered as a woman during the voyage, although the stories of the discovery and its consequences vary greatly.

The images are of my piece unfired just after I finished modelling it in the studio toady. It's always tricky illustrating characters from history when there are no surviving portraits or photographs to work from. In some ways it makes things easier as I don't have to get the face to be an accurate representation. In other ways it is more difficult- having to make every decision about hair, dimensions, expression, attractiveness. As she has a remarkable and rare story that involves gender appearance/disguise I wanted my Jeanne Baret to be celebrated as and look like a woman. At the same time I wanted to illustrate how she may have been able to pass as a man on board ship. I wanted her to look intelligent and attractive without falling into cliches of what that might look like. I probably didn't achieve all these things, but that's what I had in mind. 

(The information that follows below comes from an article by Glynis Ridley who has written a book about Jeanne Baret:

'Whatever the case, Baret and Commerson did not continue on with the Etoile after the masquerade was discovered. They disembarked at Mauritius, much to the relief of Bougainville who did not want to deal with having a woman illegally aboard his naval ship. The pair later travelled to Madagascar to document plants there, discovering a plant named after Baret—the Baretia bonafidia. Unfortunately, the plant had already been discovered and named by the time Commerson’s sample made it back to Paris. Only one plant from the expedition honours Baret—the Solanum baretiae—while over seventy species honour Commerson.
Commerson ended up dying on Mauritius, leaving Baret with a lot of preserved plants and records and little means of returning home to France. She found work on the island and married a French officer named Jean Dubernat. Then, around 1775, Jeanne Baret returned to France with her husband and plant specimens in tow. The plants were turned over to the government, and Baret was later granted a pension for her service on the expedition. Bougainville reportedly said her behaviour was exemplary aboard the ship—she was modest and hard-working. The pension honoured her great courage on the expedition, despite the fact that she had disguised herself as a man.'