living jewells, scarlett begi


Another day, another degree show!

June 15, 2011

Leeds University puts on show an eclectic array of pattern, paint and print

Leeds University is next up for the degree show spotlight having just launched on 13 June. The School of Design, housed in the most romantic and historic architecture of the University is another mixed bag of creative disciplines – start with glittery Graphics and wind up in Contemporary Art with an oversized stuffed bear.

Whipped up in one artistic mass, you might like to keep your peepers sharp for this short selection;

Phillip Sinclair has nicely produced some bright and glittering work in Graphic Design, and similarly glitzy, Scarlett Begi in Fashion has produced designs for ‘Living Jewells’ (pictured above) and further designs have classic but edgy Vaudeville style.

Charlotte Avent in Art and Design has a neighbourhood of tiny glowing houses habouring secrets in miniature, handmade and stiched form.

Bruce Usher, an already impressive young designer who exercises his talents in illustration, graphics and art direction and has already started up a small press publishers ‘Yoke Books‘, His work can be seen outside the university, such as recent print design for the collective No Culture Icons .

You can’t fail to miss the perturbing childhood toys and dolls of artist Kathryn Burr, as they compete with us in height and look like an outgrown worst nightmare! We asked Kathryn to elaborate, before her work in the Art&Design show met the public.

Your work is a very warped remaking of innocent objects, the stuff of childhood nightmares – why?

People may feel unnerved by ‘Mr Snuggles’, the dominating, 6ft tall bear. It is free-standing so that people could cuddle it. It invokes a feeling of inferiority because of the viewers’ own sense of diminished scale. This work arouses conflicting emotions of playful joy and discomfort.

All were entirely hand-stitched by myself, as I believe that hand-made toys display much more charm, appeal and skill in their manufacture, as opposed to how breakable and flimsy most mass-produced toys are. These traditional art toys are based on the templates once used to create such toys before the mechanising of production.

Where will you put them post-degree show?
A few traditional toy shops in Leeds, with particular interest for ‘Mr Snuggles’ to be displayed or purchased by a shop with sells many forms of teddy bears. Otherwise, I’ll have to make room for them in my own home!

Have you made this kind of work throughout your degree?
I started properly working in Sculpture in the second year. Considering my generation I developed a range of plaster-cast teddy bears and modified them to look like other kinds of favourite girls and boys toys from the 80s and 90s, such as Action Man, Optimus Prime and a Lego man, and a My Little Pony, Barbie and Pikachu.

The cosmetic bears are all made from plaster, covered in plush material to look like a cuddly Teddy Bear, but which conceal make-up. Either the heads lift or twist off, or the stomachs can be opened to show the 6 different cosmetics available. I will be studying an MA Advertising and Design at Leeds University from September, hopefully positive advertising, such as for charities or health campaigns. I would still love to continue making my art-toys, if anyone is interested in any commissions…

Leeds University Degree shows, open 13 June – 17 June.

Jane Faram, Arts Editor


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