Thursday, 24 January 2013

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend…

‘The First Cut’ - Manchester Art Gallery… “paper at the cutting edge”
5Th October 2012 – 27th January 2013
FREE Entry

Two weekends ago, (I know, I should have posted this before now! I will get better, I promise…) we spent the weekend in Manchester, during which we visited Manchester Art Gallery to see this frankly stunning exhibition (see photos below). Unfortunately it’s only on until this Sunday, but there’s still time, and it’s definitely worth the trip:

“31 international artists who cut, sculpt and manipulate paper, transform this humble material into fantastical works of art for our stunning new exhibition.

Wonder at giant sculptures inspired by far away galaxies that spiral from the wall, explore a walk-through forest of paper trees and marvel at miniature worlds that explode from vintage staple boxes or emerge from the page of a book.

Flocks of birds and butterflies cut from maps appear alongside artworks that feature dark fairytale imagery. Guns and grenades fashioned from paper currency and sinister silhouettes comment on social, political and economic issues.”
If what you’ve heard so far isn’t enough to get you re-arranging your plans, then here are some photographs of just a few of my favourite pieces, to wet your appetite:

Wuthering Heights, 2010.
Su Blackwell
Photograph originally uploaded by Abby Swanwick

These photographs really don’t do Su Blackwell’s work justice (this book was encased behind glass – hence the reflections). The images on her website are much better (definitely worth a visit), but nothing beats seeing these works with your own eyes. The detail is incredible. Just look at the fern behind the roses (below).

Rose from Sonnets, 2012.
Su Blackwell
Photograph originally uploaded by Abby Swanwick

Anderson M Studio
Photograph originally uploaded by Abby Swanwick

This has to be my favourite piece of the entire exhibition, (and trust me, that was difficult to say when you see the standard of work on display). It doesn’t look much from the photograph, (and I know what you can see is incredible), but when you view the outstanding stop-motion animation that Anderson M Studio have created, using these paper-cuts amongst many more, you’ll be blown away. See more of Anderson M Studio’s animations on their website.

Mountain II, 2005.
Peter Callesen
Photograph originally uploaded by Abby Swanwick

I just adore this paper cut by Peter Callesen. Simplicity really is the key to this piece, created from one sheet of A4, acid free, 80gsm paper. It’s difficult to see from this angle, but the tiny figure climbing the mountain, is very intricately cut from the paper and stood, folded from where he lay - absolutely astounding!

Sarah Bridgland
Photograph originally uploaded by Abby Swanwick
Something about this artwork by Sarah Bridgland awoke the typographer in me. Can you believe that the explosion you see here, is bursting out of a box not much bigger than a matchbox? That gives you some perspective as to not only the size of this piece, but the work that has gone into creating it.

Noriko Ambo
Photograph originally uploaded by Abby Swanwick
Believe it or not, this fantastic, sculptural piece of Noriko Ambe’s, is made of layer-upon-layer of paper, (well you might since it’s a paper themed exhibition!). I cannot imagine how long this took to construct. I am so amazed; I’m actually speechless...

The Wonder Forest
Manabu Hangai
Photograph courtesy of Manabu Hangai
Upon entering the main exhibition, (upstairs, don’t be fooled like we were, that the room on the ground floor is all of it!), you are greeted by Manabu Hangai’s ‘The Wonder Forest’, an almost interactive installation, of tree like structures with over-sized leaves. Now that description really doesn’t do this artwork justice. It’s truly fantastical. You’re able to walk among these structures and stand below the giant leaves, observing up-close their incredible texture.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning one additional artist, Nicola Dale, whose work was also featured at ‘The First Cut’, but for which I am attempting to source photographs:

Another pleasing feature of this exhibition, was that work such as Nicola's, remained accessible within the centre of the room, as opposed to being encased in glass, (though they’d have had a job). ‘Sequel’, is an actual tree branch from which paper oak leaves, cut from various coloured, printed material are attached. It encapsulates the true beauty of nature and symbolises the paper’s connection with its origin.

And as if that wasn’t enough:

“At the Gallery of Costume fragile paper dresses and shoes, as well as sculptural dresses fashioned out of maps and money respond to the historical costume displays and grandeur of the Georgian setting.”

I’m afraid I didn’t have time to attend this side of the exhibition, (gutted!) but if above is anything to go by, I don’t know about you, but I recon it’s certain to be a goodun!

Now I'm not sure if I’m right in thinking this, but to me, it looks Manchester might be just one leg of a tour that ‘The First Cut’ exhibition is taking. Therefore if you didn’t get the chance to visit Manchester Art Gallery or the Gallery of Costume, check these dates out:

Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham, 20 April - 9 June 2013

Southampton SeaCity Museum, 11 October 2013 - 12 January 2014

Thursday, 17 January 2013


Photographs courtesy of Toby Lea.

Thanks for visiting. I've been putting off writing this opening post - oh what to say?! ...Well, I thought I'd start by telling you a bit about Keflüti and the person behind it.

Kefluti is my online craft venture, selling handbags, coin purses, make-up bags, mobile phone covers, snoods, jewellery rolls and cushions; amongst other things... all designed and handmade/hand knit by me. ‘Who’s me?’ I hear you ask. Well, my name is Abby and I’m a 25-year-old textile artist/designer from Stafford, England. I'm a trained graphic designer, but gave this up to become a secondary school supply teacher-which I love. What’s more, working for an agency allows me to choose the hours I work, giving me the time to make for and run Keflüti. As you may have surmised, my passion actually lies in textiles rather than graphics. I studied a City and Guilds qualification in machine embroidery and later a foundation diploma in textiles at Stafford College, but the rest I’ve learnt from either my Mum, from workshops or from books/play.

I began designing my own handbags a few years ago, when I couldn't find the type of bag I was after on the high street. I received compliments from my friends, quickly followed by orders... and the rest, as they say, is history! 

I tend to design based on my and my friend's needs, e.g. jewellery rolls and iPhone covers. I take my inspiration from art, design, crafts, architecture, travel, nature and pattern.

For me, crafts are my hobby. Besides those items I make for Keflüti, I knit, sew-both by hand and machine, embroider, print, felt, make paper and journal - combining photography, design and craft in a mixed media fashion. I visit as many exhibitions, both locally and nationally as I can manage, finding them a great source of not only inspiration, but also motivation. 

Whilst I'm crafting, I listen to the radio, to music (more often than not singing along!), or the television. Alternatively, I’m taking days out with my boyfriend, to the seaside, to various parks, gardens and castles or to galleries (since he too is a graphic designer and a budding photographer). Besides all of that, if I find myself with any free time, I can be found gardening, decorating, or taking city breaks abroad.

It is my aim to post on here at least once a week (so feel free to give me a virtual kick up the bum if I'm slacking!), in order to give you an insight into what I've been up to, whether it be making for/running Kefluti; my own work; or telling you about an exhibition I been to see - an online studio-diary of sorts if you like. What’s more, I’ll be telling you about techniques that I'm trying out, what I've been reading and whom I've been following (blog-wise, rather than stalker!).

You can also keep up to date with goings-on by visiting my Facebook page, or by following '@Kefluti' on Twitter.

Well I think that's about all from me, for now. If you'd like to know more, then why not take a look around my website. I’m in the process of updating it - so expect more in the coming months; or alternatively drop me a line - either by leaving a comment on here, or through

Thanks for reading - I'm looking forward to sharing my craftiness and getting to know you!

Abby x