Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Update 2...

Following on from the initial statement we posted on Friday about the context and rationale for the Blackpool work (the post before this), we have unfortunately not heard anything back about the future of the piece. We have managed to pull together some images of the work. We are not at all happy with the quality of these images, as I mentioned previously the work was removed before we had time to document it properly. Unfortunately these are all we have and they are at least better then the 3 week old photograph that was taken before the piece was finished and is being used by Blackpool Council's communication department as evidence against the appropriateness of this work...
We haven't been given the opportunity to talk about the work to Helen France, the Director of Places for Blackpool Council, who ordered it to be removed, or show her the finished work. As such, we still haven't been given the facts as to why the work was removed. As mentioned in the previous statement we are committed artists, we both have BA(hons) in fine art, Sarah Jay also has an MA from the Royal College of Art. We have both independently received grants for the arts funding from Arts Council England in the past five years to develop our work. We have a good track record of successfully working with communities on arts projects and believe that art and cultural are central to successful regeneration. I think our professional experience demonstrates our commitment to a high level of artistic quality.
What little information that has been passed down to us suggests that somebody thought the picture of the unfinished work made the shop look like a brothel. Again the work has been judged one day in to a three week installation period. The thought never crossed either of our minds. We were creating a piece about the Blackpool we know, and brothels are not central to that perception. In our view of Blackpool we were drawing parallels to the Christmas display windows of Binns that we used to get so excited about as children and the drama of the stage sets at the Winter Gardens and the Grand Theatre.

We feel it is really unfortunate that Helen France has not taken the time to view the final piece or talk to anyone about the project, if she had have taken this time she would have understood the piece was promoting Blackpool using the beautiful archive and celebrating Blackpool's rich history.

The pictures below show some of the work. They do not document accurately the different levels and layers that the piece worked on. Please see previous statement for a full explanation of the work.

Friday, 17 December 2010


Just a little post to update you on the Blackpool Culture Shops project. We'd like to thank everybody for their support and good wishes for this project. We would also like to warn people not to visit on the dates we have previously posted due to a council decision to remove the work before the opening, we would hate anybody to have a wasted journey.
First, a little more about the piece that we have been working hard to develop over the past month. Both the artist that I am collaborating with and myself grew up in the Blackpool area, and as such are very proud of Blackpool and its heritage, in fact through our artistic careers our background has shaped much of our work. We are fascinated with the stories from the area, how tourists perceive the area and the beauty and faded glamour we see in the town, having spent our first 18 years there. We wanted to develop a piece of work in the windows of the empty shop space that we were allocated to reflect on these themes and use the beautiful objects from the Blackpool archive to introduce naratives to the work.
The work itself took the form of what might appear to be a large stage set. We specifically wanted to create this from fabrics, curtains, bedcovers etc that we bought from local charity shops. We were interested in the history of the items, the stories they might have seen - for example they may have been the curtains from a B&B room where a family spent a happy summer holiday, or a rainy afternoon playing board games. We then went through a process of intricately cutting, pinning, sculpting and embroidering this fabric over a couple of weeks to create a back drop which had in it large and small peep holes, stages and areas of interest where we could create little moments of narrative. Using the characters that we found in the archive, the wonderful tiger, the beautiful fan, the clown, we set up small stages that played with the idea of scale and perception. Some of these moments where up against the glass whilst other were hidden three layers back so could only be visible by some.
Throughout this process we kept in mind that there is a local primary school around the corner and many people pass the shop on the way in to town - in fact we spoke to many people that were interested in the work as we were installing. We specifically designed secret little stages at the bottom of the window, visible mainly to the school children who pass everyday on the way to school.
The work was designed to be lit very carefully, timed to illuminate the window and the narratives entwined in the work as dark fell at around 3pm, creating a magical scene, not unlike a traditional Christmas window.
We had discussed covering the window as it was being created, but we decided that it would be nice for the school children who pass everyday to see it grow and develop.
Unfortunately somebody unrelated to the project and the process photographed the unfinished work three weeks ago which resulted in the decision being made, without seeing the work completed, to have it removed on the morning of the opening day. We are in discussions with the council to see if we can rectify this situation as we are very upset not to be able to present the work to the communities of Blackpool who it was designed for. We are equally upset that we had arranged for a photogrpher to document the work on the opening night and it was removed that morning so we have no good images of the work to represent the outcome of the project. At the moment it would take some time to fix the work as it was a bespoke site specific work that has been removed. We are hoping that by Monday this situation will have been resolved and we will be able to announce new dates when you can come and visit the work. We will keep you posted!
P.S if anyone would like one of the beautiful postcards we produced to promote the event (which we were unable to give out) with a design taken from the Blackpool archive materials - designed to be made into a Christmas decoration, please do contact us and we'll send you one (peaceandlove79 (at) hotmail.com)

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

First book....

We have received and posted the first book in the atelier story exchange project..

Get in touch we'd love to hear from you and receive your books!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Atelier story exchange...

A quick word to say that I will also be posting over at atelier story exchange to document the Blackpool Culture Shops project.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


I've just been away for a couple of days, over the border to Yorkshire, how lovely is the snow...

Sunday, 5 December 2010


Some inspiration from the Blackpool archives...

See more about the other artists doing the Blackpool Culture Shops project here.