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.
Last Saturday saw a line of children and adults, tots and basically those mortal getting involved with the fun of flag making. The last weekend of the Liverpool Irish Festival took the Rags Boutique workshop to the contemporary interior to the Museum of Liverpool.
A wonderful day spent with a colourful bag recycling project on the iconic waterfront. We saw identities being identified through the Greens of Ireland, the Red, White and Blue of Britain and the Purples of Feminism.
Flagpoles on the hole of the day and adults which showed us they still knew how to play dress up!
Are you king of your cardboard castle?
Castles were strong fortresses built to withstand invasion. Saxon Castles were wooden structures, mounds of earth now, grassy peaks protruding from the ground level. Still standing up as always but no longer fit for purpose.
The middle ages saw the use of stone to create strongholds were the Lords ruled the battlements. Lines of arches were arrows could be fired from, surrounded by motes and drawbridges to hinder attack.
100 years ago the First World War saw the emergence of new-style fortresses. The underground variety located within the complex network systems of the trenches. Built-in below the surface to withstand the ongoing bombardment. Little mud cabin forms, mantelpiece like structures temporarily decorated with images of loved ones.
A century on what are today’s fortresses: cardboard.
Is this an example of vagrancy? King of the cardboard city. The temporary housing villages created by the nations homeless communities. Safety and security which can be found with others in parallel situations. Warmth and shelter created from communal fires and the cardboard which houses their inhabitants. Every city has a Major, so the underworld must have a King of the Cardboard Castle?
Are cardboard castles a new concept akin to that of the ‘Plastic Gangster’. The king-style leaders of gangland armed with the plastic imitation weapons of infancy. Is it a paradox similar to the new style treble glazing which costs a fortune but claims to pay for itself through savings in fuel bills and rises in property value. The audio version, that can be downloaded, of the book you don’t have to bother reading. A falsehood, a castle which is weather consumable where protection of extreme limitation is offered.
Could the Cardboard castle be a statement for the future: Recyclable. Was the vision created to make a temporary art form, to be consumed by the public, then recycled through the ease of our green processing plants. Is the new King of the Castle to be a leading eco-warrior? Will we be lead towards a sustainable future by environmentally friendly processes?
The King of the Cardboard Castle to be the leader of the cardboard city, the plastic gangster with the falsehood of might or the modern force of the eco-warrior?
Last week saw the arrival of the various components which will make up the Eco Chamber arrive at Rimrose Valley Country Park. Nestled into the appointed hill they have carved out a route over the brow. Each component is made from re-claimed tyre rims with additional textures of biodegradable plastic bags added using a heat seal process. Next week after a much needed few days of rainfall the Eco Chamber will be built into the landscape.
The Eco Chamber is part of the Rimrose Valley Art Trail as part of the Biennial Independents. Seven artists will present works throughout the Park. Alice Lenkiewicz will transcribe poetry directly onto the pathway in the Goodness Trail. Throughout the Biennial, Sarah Nicholson will present Ir/revocable adding to the entrances of the prominent greenspace. Then in September, after an exhausting walking challenge on the continent, Sarah Jane Richards will bring us Willow Nests.
Environmental Art at its finest, activism to Save Our Park!
Eco Chamber is the latest sculptural commission from North West Based artist Alison Little. As part of the Liverpool Independents 2018 Biennial it will form part of the Rimrose Valley Country Park environment art trail.
Concept: Eco Chamber is to be a form created solely from re-claimed materials, a large pod-like structure, fully spherical. The skeleton of the structures is formed from waste car tires rims structure into spherical forms giving the impression of large atom-like shape. The tire rims are wrapped in bio-degradable green garden waste bags adapting traditional crochet techniques to contemporary practise. Plastic bag usage is essential to the ‘Green’ methodology with them being a major contributor to waste culture in the UK and globally. Some element of green incorporated within the mainly white forms, adding to the ‘Green’ credential but not taking complete control of the colour spectrum. The intention is form to forms to stand out, but not to obscure the urban landscape, Sculptural form which will work will the existing environment. Although made entirely from man made materials and 20th and 21st century manufacturing processes the materials and the working process produce a very organic form. Similar in appearance to traditional thatch works, the medium of plastic bag having straw-like qualities and the use of circular forms commonplace . Using foliage adds to the environmental elements of the chamber, use of beans and sweetcorn plants which are in season at the proposed period adding purpose to the aesthetic. The chamber will be around 2 meters high, a strong visual forms which stamp an environmental message on the festival.
Rimrose Valley Country Park
The popular cards are back with some new designs added to the classics which have been flying off the shelves in the well-established collective; Arts Hub on sunny Lark Lane, Liverpool.
For those, all important men that brought us into the World, nurtured are toddler trials and suffered our teenage tantrums we have the essential Fathers Day cards. The familiar chippy fork adorned in Union Jack motifs subsided by a joyful cake eating message take to the shelves. The Red White and Blue of the National Flag always a favourite with Fathers, and never at a better time with the football World Cup looming in the mist.
The all new Snail Birthday card makes and appearance, the colourfully created shelled creature sliding across the card. A bug form which will bring delight to young boys on their Birthdays.
A Feather adorned fork featuring a grand jewel makes a play for our attentions. The purple feathers of poultry finish off silk coated dark forks and show off a new message:
‘To Celebrate, I got you a Posh Fork, lets share a kebab’
A fine purchase to mark new celebrations, exam results, graduation, job promotion and so much more.
Finally, one which the men will like with lashings of Souse humour:
‘For you Birthday, I robbed you a Fork, from the Chinese Chippy.’
The fork displaying the prize signage of the take away restaurants which line the streets of Liverpool. A fun filled, male Humour card to be loved by all recipients.
All new cards are available from Arts Hub on Lark Lane.
The unique mask making workshop showed the Museum of Liverpool how to reclaim last weekend. An onslaught of miniature sized artists, we normally call children, overtook the ground floor space as part of the Liverpool Irish Festival.
Alison Little is the North West based Artist behind the workshop, working across the creative spectrum. Often working around the medium of Textiles, the use of reclaimed materials is key within her practice. In early 2011 she ran a medium term (6 weeks) Arts Project: Rags Boutique. In this, she secured the funding to run the project which consisted of transforming a disused Retail Unit, the Old Paint Shop (Rapid) in Renshaw Street into an exhibition space and workshop venue. This revolved around the theme of fashion from reclaimed materials and was a great success. Liverpool based, working throughout the UK and on occasions internationally. Her initial degree was in 3D Design in which she specialized in plastics as a medium. This is evident in her current practice around the use of heat-sealed technologies for re-working discarded plastic bags. Her working methods vary from hand painting, improvisation of printed digital media to traditional craft practice, all to the highest of standards. She has run workshops for varies Arts Organizations including the Liverpool Independent Art School, Bluecoat Display Centre, Makefest Manchester, The Winter Gardens in Blackpool and most recently for the Liverpool Museum as part of the Irish Festival.
We saw snipping, clipping, sticking in addition to first class creativity in a prime cultural venue which allowed an escape from the gale battering the Liverpool docks.
A glorious day
Photography credits: (c) E Smith c/o Liverpool Irish Festival, 2017
Liverpool Irish Festival
Museum of Liverpool