Saturday, 6 June 2009

Nostalga at the Midland Hotel, Morecombe Bay: Inspiration from yesteryear.

This has lingered with me since I took this photo late last summer. We took a detour off the M6 to visit the recently refurbished Midland Hotel. (Check out this link for some wonderful images of it in its heyday). Yes the hotel is stunning and it was great to sit in the Yurgen Bey chairs and see the Eric Gill art in the foyer but the poignancy of the derelict seaside funfair just a couple of hundred meters from the art deco hotel is really what inspired me. “Jug o Tea”, “Remote Control Boats” and “Arena Funfair” reminds me of fairground and dodgems of my childhood.

Every year I would visit my auntie who lived in Callander, Scotland. My big cousins would take me to the fairground where we would drive the dodgems and play on the one armed bandits. I still absolutely love dodgems and drive one at least once a year when the fair comes to the Lichfield Bower in May. You are never too old to drive a dodgem and I fully intend to be bumping into the under ten drivers when I am in my nineties.

There’s something about dodgem design. The colours and the curvy styling; It’s probably the stuck in a time warp aspect that I love. This card says it all!

As a sculptor I get a lot of inspiration from the forms I come across. Sometimes these are ambiguous objects such as this lawnmower part at the (truly wonderful) British Lawnmower Museum at Southport.

This is one of my earliest inspirations. The "Roll a Ray" was a mystery object when this image was first printed in a book about Bakelite. Patrick Cook owner of the Bakelite Museum in, Williton, Somerset has now identified it as a tool that was used to smooth the baise on biliard tables. ( But did I need to know that?)

And this creature… it’s oh so perfect!

My grandfather was a dairy farmer and even when he was retired I used to watch him use this machine to separate cream from milk from my uncle’s farm. For me the low down view is best.

I was little and this separator towered over me. I am taken back to that moment, as a six year old child, quietly standing there mesmerised by the hum of the machine and waiting for the flow of cream from the spout. My beings are all about transporting the viewer back to a moment or place in their past (Frillip Moolog). It doesn’t matter whether you’ve seen the exact same object or textiles before. The ambiguity and universal language of textiles and form will open the door to your subconscious memories.
This is "Stan", one of my most recent beings. His blue aluminium body was once the top of a downpipe on a Birmingham Bus Depot. (That’s Corporation Blue.)