Block Works

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Block Works is the latest concept based practice from Alison Little: comprising of a series of sculptural forms which represent areas of urban residence. An ethnology process where collections of discarded objects are cemented together in block form. The artifacts are selected and encased in the common urban material offering an explanation of those who occupy the city space, their lifestyles and methods human existence.

Everton Block Works engages our attention with the towering form of the engine suspension system, reflecting the second-hand car culture commonplace within the area. Several narcotics smoking devices emerge from the upper surface, indicating drug use within the external environment. Homelessness or the misguided pursuits accountable as youth culture. Contrasted by the healthy activities of dog walking, shown by a lead and enhanced by an exercise equipment suspension spring. An adjacent feather shows the ever present urban pigeon, commonplace within cities globally. The top surface encases a heavy industrial ring, accompanied by screw findings, rope matter throughout the form. Manual work being common with local inhabitants. Child’s playthings are present, but items from £1 stores from lower-income families. The edges of the block are lined by food consumer packaging waste: crisp packets, fizzy and alcoholic drinks cans. A suburb where the unhealthy diet is prominent and drink alcohol a persistent activity. The greens and grays of the blocks finish reflect the mix of residential and urban green space which dominates the Everton area.

The top section of Anfield Block Works is entangled by the dynamics of a discarded cable. Other electric wastes reflect a culture where the inhabitants are happy to discard debris freely. An array of drinks top illustrates further examples of poor diet, however, an exercise water bottle top suggests healthy activities. This is joined by a dog toy and tennis ball, positive pursuits within a leisure space. Again, a pigeon feather evidence of urban wildlife. Examples of gambling additions within the district can be drawn from the miniature blue pen of the bookies. Wire wool, cable systems and sponge matter indicating manual tasks occurring within the outdoor spectrum. The Liverpool football stadium ‘Anfield’ being a central hub of the district. The inflatables from match-days, the drinks straws from spectators present in the block formed in the shadows of the Kop. The final colour showing a degraded range of greens and blacks, an urban green space heavily polluted by the traffic of the stadium.

The Block Works Collection with expand across the city and further afield. More collections with be collated, encased and presented as representations of the city and occupants.

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A Void

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A Void

In this, I have agreed to what was termed ‘A life modelling process’ for an artist seeking volunteers for a project he is working on. I stand before him in my dressing gown, nude underneath and wondering what he wants me to do, he tells me:

‘Don’t worry, I have done this lots of times before.’

From this, I am somewhat reassured, but still, air a little caution.

‘I just need you to lie down so I can paint you with latex.’

In this he shows me the latex, it’s white and when he paints a little of my arm it feels cold but pleasant on my form. I agree to the process and he helps me untie my dressing gown belt, although naked I feel comfortable in front of him, he has put me at ease.

I lie down under his direction and move into the position he needs me to be in. He starts painting around my neck area, slowly but surely working his way down. He is careful but professional as he covers my breasts, making sure he only touches my nipples with the horse hair bristles of the paint brush.

Working his way further down my body he comes to the groin area. I become nervous again, worrying about what he is about to do.

‘Relax, I have done this many times before.’

I let my muscles fall low, then with warm air, he blows gently inside myself. From this, like magic, I open right up like a great white shark about to launch an attack.

‘That’s right, good, you’re doing well.’

He directs, then he moves onto his back and slides his head and upper body inside my womb. From this, he begins to paint, carefully and professionally, coating the walls of my womb and ovaries in latex. When he has finished he edges out carefully and puts each hand delicately on the inside of my legs. Then without touching me with his lips he sucks air from the inside of myself. I return to my normal size, at ease with everything going on, amazed at what has been performed by this genius.

From this, he works down my legs in a similar motion. He then turns me over to work on my back and lower body. So relaxed with the brush motion I am almost asleep when he finishes:

‘We just need to wait for it to dry.’

He whispers, in this, he picks up an old fashioned guitar and begins to sing folk songs.

He wakes me up to tell me that it’s time to peel the latex off. I stand up for him and he begins stretching off the suited coating, carefully going over my breasts. After my ribs he stops and places a hand on each side of myself, then he kisses my forehead, gently and childlike in motion. As I smile he gets back to action, working the form off down to my lower body.

After a gentle shake, my womb falls out. Before me, I see its squashed in structure, perfect on the inner coating, but de-revelled on the outer. My ovaries flop out almost deformed and entwined, messy and forlorn. Ahead of me, I see the babies, I will never give birth to and the children I will never raise. The bedtime stories I will never read, the play parks I will never go to, the football matches I will never go to and the school plays I will never attend. In this he finishes the removal process, then he shakes out the body-like creation. He clips it onto a line, in this, it stands tall and strong, an independent being, strong, singular, but of great value.

Alison Little

A Void is a flash Fiction works from Alison Little. This piece was first performed in the Hornby Rooms, Central Library, Liverpool for International Women’s Day in 2018. The subsequent year it read for an event marking the same celebrations held during the 209 Women exhibition marking the centenary of women being able to vote in the UK (Although restricted to those over 30 and with property).

The illustration was also created by Alison Little using a bamboo dip stick pen and Indian ink. It feature a close up of a womb and creates an impression of scarring. She is looking to make a sculptural piece from latex later in 2020 to represent the works.

More about 209 Women exhibition, Open Eye Gallery

An engagement: at the Museum

An engagement

An engagement: at the Museum

The museum is relatively new, but the building historic and highly thought of in terms of grading by the authorities. It’s gold faced clocks hands speak out to the city as a symbol of ancestral culture. They glisten as a focal point from the hills which surround the port city as the low midday sun melts the last of the frosts. She gingerly negotiates her way up the front steps, she has carefully combined kitten heals with tight fit smarter denim’s. Through the red brick arches, she enters the museum. The café stands bright, larger, but higher placed stained glass windows bring colour to the eatery.

Attending many events here previously: drinks receptions, open lectures, exhibitions and varied tours of the Great Victorian structure. Today was busier than expected, it was the first day of the annual literature festival. It had only been running in its current format for several years, perhaps it had started picking up, becoming a noteworthy literary event. Mental note: check website to see what readings and book signings were on later in the week.

These events were not normally as busy, there was a long queue for one of the books to be purchased. The authors must be particularly popular, she will take a closer look, it may be a nice gift for her mother to add to her Christmas presents. Alternatively, a purchase for herself to read over the holiday season as she indulges of the planned solitude of the festivities. Having been on her own for several years now and not liking going to her Mothers to avoid the rest of the family she had spent the last few Christmases isolated in her own pleasure. No obligation to be joyful, simply indulging in the enjoyment of downtime and the pleasure of her own company. Things had been worse before this, the traditional Christmas ‘Barney’ followed by his continual lack of appreciation of her culinary efforts left her with little desire to cook or celebrate on Christmas day.

‘Good’, he wasn’t here yet, she thought to herself. After ordering a coffee she moved to the quieter side of the café. She fixes her hair and checks her make-up on the subtle reflection of the menu holder. The collar of her blouse needed smoothing out slightly, she had gone for a botanic style print. Combined with a snug fit leather jacket, she was officially smart-casual, off work but nicely attired. They had arranged to meet here as they shared similar interests in the museum. Through the week they both worked in varies building scattered around the vicinity of the red-bricked foundation. She sipped her latte, they could perhaps they could share a bottle of wine over lunch, she thought to herself. Mental note: not to drink too much or to indulge in an extra glass of wine or three.

As he enters she waves subtly, his is flush-faced and freshly showered, looking like he had been out jogging that morning. He is carrying several bags from the toy empire and a sports shop. Slipping the bags down, he pecks her on the cheek and smiles as he compliments her appearance.

 

An Engagement: at the Museum is a flash fiction works from Alison Little. She may develop the prose into a short story or potentially the opening of a novel in 2020.

5 ways to Shop this Christmas

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Last week the all-new Childwall Emporium threw open its doors for the first time.

The Childwall Emporium is the brainchild of woodworker Peter Bennett. The shop is positioned on the busy 5 ways roundabout on Queens Drive. The ground floor houses a variety of craft and printed goods, all reasonably priced. Above this, we have a selection of artist studios and on the top level a skylight venue for art workshops, many of which will be running throughout 2020. Peter had always wanted a shop, this became available, he jumped at the chance. The time really was now and Liverpool has a new retailer selling goods from the cities finest artists and makers.

Peter originally studied a BA(Hons) in 3D design at John Moores University, graduating among the glory of the Capital of Culture year. He has ranges of everything from household goods to hand made jewelry, solid wood pens to surf shack style key fobs. Some of his more specialist works include techniques of embedding leather in solid block wood forms. The leather is re-purposed, reducing waste and he and the majority of the artists are locally based. We have a new business with valid ‘Green Credentials’ taking to the streets of Childwall.

Ink Smudge has a range of journals on sale at the Emporium. The highlight being the miniatures every bit a small as the ones written in by Charlotte Bronte, purchased by the Bronte Parsonage Museum last month. Could this gift provide column space for England’s next great twenty-first-century novelist? Smaller than a matchbox they are intended to hang on the beloved Christmas tree, our Christmas wishes inscribed into the tiny journal. The subsequent year it can be read through to indulge in the desires which literally became true. The woman behind the ‘Burrower’ sized journal confesses to being a stationery addict, her other goods also hand made indulgences intended for thoughts to adorn their pages.

Some much-needed music is added to the Childwall store with the cigar box guitars. The maker behind these instrumental muses, Dave Worthington, brought the guitar boxes back from Taiwan. Intending to become the Switzerland of the Asian continent, Taiwan direction towards environmental sustainability has strengthened over the last decade. It seems very fitting that the maker decided to re-invent these sizable tins into the finest electronic string instruments. The tin casings contain the electronic components and a well-positioned socket to plug in an amp. Cigar box ‘come’ electric guitar genius beaming from the gallery wall.

Much more can be found at Liverpool’s latest hand-made shopping experience. Prints from Alison Little, bags from Le Meme Etoffe and favorite textiles collections from Sandra Hepworth. Look out for courses starting next year: candle-making, furniture painting, the small art of kids craft, followed by woodworking skills from Peter himself. Open till 9 pm on Thursday the 19th of December, don’t miss the last late night shopping before the big day!

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More about Childwall Emporium

Sinister Smiles

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Sinister Smiles

Folded over
Strapped down
Sectioned off
Cajoled, centrally

Dropped down from a disheveled Heaven
Tossed out of Godliness
Rejected from comfort provision for the afterlife
No longer good enough, surplus to requirements

Perhaps pushed out of a boot
Uphill reversing, then shoveled out the back way
Redundant of domestic interior requirements
Rendering green space urban wasteland

Alternatively, a body encasement
A wrap-around, makeshift coffin
A heroin-induced fatality
Disposed of under the extremities of degradation

But from the sinister tatters
We see a smiling face
From the angled geometrics
A striking grin works through
Turning the corners of our mouths
We smile back at the sinister grins face!

 

 

Sinister Smiles is a flash fiction works in response to the mattress shown in the image above. The image was originally posted on social media and the comment made helped to generate the literal works. Originally located in Everton Park, Liverpool, the mattress is no longer present and appears to have been disposed of by the authorities.

Williamson’s Tunnels on…..

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Last month a part of Heritage Week, Friends of Williamson Tunnels took us deep down into the hollows of Edge Hill to view the latest of their excavation work and forever new findings.

The Williamson’s Tunnels were created over four decades starting from the early 1800s. Joseph Williamson, the man behind the labyrinth of passageways was believed to have started life in nearby Warrington, probably around 1769. Presumably, being of little means, he was sent to Liverpool to find work at the grand age of eleven. He gained employment with the wealthy tobacco merchant Richard Tate. Over time he rose through the ranks and eventually married the merchant’s daughter, Elizabeth. Eventually, he acquired the company from Richard Tate Junior after the death of his Father. In the early 1800s, Joseph and Elizabeth move the then suburbs of Manson Street and the tunnelling began. There are numerous theories behind the purpose of these tunnels, the most likely being for the excavation of sandstone which is used extensively in building constructed of the period.

On this fine Heritage week exploration, we were taken down into the latest of the excavations on Paddington. The once site of former Paddington Gardens tenements was demolished to make way for student Halls not long after the turn of the Millennium. The tunnels look to have been under a commercial building, the entrance possible a though way from a bakery.

. a philanthropist by default…


Williamson was a philanthropist by default, through the construction work he provided much-needed jobs for local people and ensured they became highly skilled. It is thought that many of those who burrowed the network went onto work for the railways, the first line being laid between Edge Lane and Manchester in 1829.

The tour started at the Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels main HQ in Mason Street. We took a quick look at the remains of the Manor house where the Williamson’ resided before heading down the road to Paddington. After carefully making our way down the damp gangway we embraced the stalactites ever so familiar with tunnel structures. Harsh lights illuminated former access passages as we headed to the main chambers.

..a delightful collection of pots to p*ss in…

Used as a Victorian dumping ground for many years the chambers host an array of artefacts from bygone era’s. Bottomless glass drinking vessels, bodiless dolls heads, various tea taking vessels and a delightful collection of pots to p*ss in.

As we head down and deeper into Edge Hill the magnitude of the tunnel network was hard not to be overwhelmed by in its full glory. Ever-present drippings of water, which are drained daily, join us as we look around in awe.

A magnificent tour and a big shout out to the Friends of Williams Tunnels!

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More about Friend of Williamson’s Tunnels

More about Heritage Open Days

A Respectable Woman

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A Respectable Woman is the latest poem penned by Alison Little around the theme of Truth for National Poetry Day 2019. It was performed by Alison at the Life Rooms in Walton and for Sefton Slams at Crosby Library.

 

A Respectable Woman

Respectable, woman I am
Married, my working man
Toddler hand, baby in pram
Nightly, I cook up scran

Cleaned daily, house gleams
Sparkle, blinds align
Domesticity, I beam
Other tasks benign

Respectable, woman I am

Indulging, drink I never
Curse those who do
Frolics, not me, ever
Bars, the fallen go

Narcotics blamed for all
Because of drugs!
The route of all downfall
‘She’s off it’ I shrug

Respectable, fat through childbirth

Gateaux, farm food supply
In fat pants, I squeeze
For dinner I deep fat fry
Weight gain ease

Obesity: giving birth
Fat blamed, motherhood
Woman’ purpose on Earth
Hefty means good

Children, reflect parenting
Ensure they behave
I scream, shout, demanding
Blamed, early grave

Mortgage renders responsible
Better than those amid
Marriage equals respectable
Only role, provide kid’

Respectable: I got Married

Every bride is beautiful
Fat pant’ looks, dismay
Nightly groom uses tool
Every dog has its day!

Alison Little

More about National Poetry Day

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Lister Steps Up!

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Last weekend for Heritage open day the former library, Lister Steps throw open the doors for the public to see how the £3.9 million restoration project was progressing.

Lister Steps, the Andrew Carnegie library, based on the corner of Lister Drive and Green Lane in Tuebrook, Liverpool, was opened in 1905. The building was funded by the wealthy philanthropist: Andrew Carnegie, it became Grade II listed in the mid-eighties due to being of architectural and historical interest.

After serving as a functioning library for over a hundred years it was forced to close in 2006 due to health and safety concerns. Under the period of closure, the library suffered from theft and vandalism in addition to general neglect. The major damage was as a result of the lead flashing being stolen from the roof, resulting in rain waters flooding the interior. Severe damage to the timber structure was to follow.

After a small grant in 2014 to run a feasibility study for restoration a large scale funding bid was progressed. In 2016 a £3.9 million grant was awarded from Heritage lottery funding, Liverpool City Council, Hemby Trust, Eleanor Rathbone Foundation and Power to Change.

The final development is intended as a community Hub offering; childcare, café, meeting space, hot desking, events and services for the community including volunteering opportunities. The exterior ground looks to offer a variety of landscaping. The customary formal garden and traditional lawn, but also wild woods, the green credentials of allotment planters and a faraway land designated for use with the youngsters of the nursery.

H.H Smith Construction was offered the renovation contract, utilising many trades including those with traditional craft skills. Currently, a large pod has been set up inside the building to allow for work to continue. The foliage of the grounds has been cleared fully to allow for new planting from next spring. Flood damage and dry root are being repaired, internal structures and staircase put into place. The original high windows which were ideal for the bookcases of the library are being lowered in the nursery area to bring light in at child height.

A great start, we will look forward to developments!

More about Lister Steps

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I must be Miss Liverpool!

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I must be Miss Liverpool!

We are seated, lined up, eventually at the final of Miss Liverpool. The seats of the room arched around, judges desks empty for now. They have demobbed to a side room, making the final, ultimate, life-changing decision.

I must be Miss Liverpool!

It’s taken me four years to get here, I am twenty-two now, applying since eighteen, each time getting a little further, this time to the final. The extra cash borrowed for botox being the bar heightener. Four years of casual work to fund; hair, make-up, nails, extensions, tanning, designer brand gear and finally botox.

I must be Miss Liverpool!

When Daniel Lloyd won it she really became someone. She got Miss Liverpool, Miss GB and even got put in the Miss World contest. She did FHM, Playboy and even bagged the Face of Ladbrooks. She should have won Celebrity Big Brother, if it hadn’t been for that Shilpa ‘Shitty’. And then after having three kids with Jamie O’Hara, I bet the divorce settlement was massive. That’s want I want, a line of footballing boyfriends to make me the ultimate WAG.

I must be Miss Liverpool!

Then there was that Christine that got married to Paddy McGuinness, she was only eighteen and him in his forties. I wouldn’t mind being with an older fella if you got all his money and the celebrity lifestyle. She even got to go on ‘The Real Housewives of Cheshire’.

I must be Miss Liverpool!

Lots of the winners get signed by Impact modelling agency. There the best glamour agency around, on your page you model in just your bra and knickers and they list your vital statistics. Image, everyone who wants looking at you, men wanting you and women wanting to be you.

The judges are coming now, I look down and chant:

I must be Miss Liverpool!

Through my teeth, I repeat the words as the third then second placed are revealed. This is my last chance, I will be too old next year at twenty-three.
I must be Miss Liverpool.

I recoil as the winner is read out. No, not her, barely eighteen, a bookworm at college, a bore. Actually looks like she let her hair dry naturally and it’s not straightened or dyed or anything. Her heals are only three inches high and that’s not even a designer dress. I cannot believe it, with the title she wants to go the Alder Hey and visit the cancer ward as she has promised her Aunty who is a nurse there, ridiculous!

No night club openings, no botox, no boob job, simply visiting boring sick kids. What could have been, I could have been a leading WAG, I could have had my own line of product, gone on ‘Celebrity Love Island’, I could have married a footballer…. I could have had another boob job….I could of had a maximum divorce settlement.

I will never be anyone!

‘I must be Miss Liverpool’ is a flash fiction works from Alison Little. It was performed at the The Athenaeum as part of the Light Night 2019 festival.

More about Light Night

Rags, the Boutique does Southport

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Last Saturday saw the fun of Rags Boutique at Southport Festival.

For the magic-themed festival we created an array of high standing wizard hats, a collection of mushroom masks. Black cats masqueraded and a troop of unicorns topped everything off.

Alison Little started Rags Boutique workshops over a decade ago as part of Bold Street development as consumers were flocking to the newly opened Liverpool 1 and retailers were losing custom. She then found a temporary home for the workshops and an exhibition venue in The Old Paint shop, Rapid. The workshop has grown from strength to strength making appearances at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool and the Museum of Liverpool on several occasions.

Last weekend it was Southport’ turn and it livened up Mermaid gardens in the traditions of Lord Street. Southport Festival takes place in early May, lining the streets with arts, dance, music and comedy.

More about Southport Festival

Much fun was had on the streets of much loved Southport.