Backwards is the way forward

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I went home to the chocolate box county of Warwickshire this week to gather my thoughts before looming deadlines creep any closer. Whilst walking the dog in the increasingly vibrant woods, I was speaking with my mum about the stresses and strains of modern life. She believes the reason for this, amongst others, is due to the fact that many people have abandoned age old skills such as sewing and knitting and the satisfaction which they bring. She recalled a 1980s ski trip that she had organised at the school she used to work at and how her and my dad had hatched a plan to keep track of wayward students on the slopes. This involved sending out knitting patterns to all parents so that they could create a bobble hat for their child to prevent them from being lost. Such a charming plan would be met with disbelief these days I fear!

Fortunately, crafts have seen a massive resurgence in recent years with many people wanting to learn traditional skills and re-invent them for the modern world. Already a keen seamstress and knitter I thought I would devote some time this week to learning the basics of crochet. The bizarre, somewhat fiddley motions soon developed into a pleasing rhythm and I found myself crocheting long into the night. The process of turning a loose ball of wool into a complex piece of cloth filled me with the same kind of satisfaction you get from climbing into a hot bath after a walk on the moors. The fruits (or nuts) of my labour can be seen in the photos above. I’ll keep you posted on my future projects which will hopefully be more ambitious than a green square.

Disintegration of time

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“I used to think I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough, in fact, it shows me how much I’ve lost” Nan Goldin

What would life be like without photographs? In an age where it seems all events must be recorded and shared on social media, how would the 21st century world cope without tangible visual evidence of time, people and events? This is a question which has fascinated me for years and provided the starting point for the drawings above.

These studies are from a series I produced about the nature of memory. I wanted to challenge the notion of the photograph as a method of recording memories, as I feel they have a way of re-writing memories rather than preserving them. The work addresses the way in which memories disintegrate and change and what role photographs play in the formation of memories.

I used white chalk, pencil and pen to work into photocopied photographs from my childhood. Parts I remember clearly are embellished, sometimes to the point of distortion itself whilst forgotten details are clouded or blanked out by white mist. Some details such as the ripples of the water or the pattern of tiles are picked out, whilst other details evaporate, lost to the cavern of time. White space is important. Suddenly the solidity of the boundaries of the photograph are less tangible and the view of the world around the frame of the photograph is open for contemplation.

Alternatively, you could consider these studies from a different angle, as if you ‘enter’ the image from the white space, falling upon the skeletal beginnings of the scene, and are then able to work your way back to the most tangible part.

Melancholy city

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Photographs by Nick Randles

Night time in the city has a particular tension which creeps in as the last rays of sun are engulfed by the sodium stained darkness. Photographer and cinematographer Nick Randles has captured the melancholy of the twilight city intriguingly and sensitively in this series of photographs. The photos provoke an intriguing sense of uneasiness in the viewer, and although mostly void of human presence, they capture the imprints of the past and seem infused with an eery tension which pulls you in and holds your attention in a way that feels both beautiful and dangerous.

You can see more of Nick’s photography at: http://nickrandles.carbonmade.com/

‘Seasons’ by Blex Bolex

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Whilst perusing the shelves of a small bookshop a few weeks ago, a gem of a cover revealed itself nestled amongst the other books. With it’s pleasing vintage colour palette and beautifully crafted print style illustrations, ‘Seasons’ by French illustrator Blex Bolex is a wholesome and thought provoking read. With it’s tactile fabric spine and style reminiscent of 1960s children’s book illustrations, it takes you on a journey through the intricacies, pleasures and ordeals of the changing seasons, exploring our relationship with nature from large scale events to the smallest intricacies of everyday life. The images, some full of texture and detail, others perfectly minimalist, coupled with their unexpectedly philosophical titles, conjur memories, emotions and smiles at every turn of the page.

Gecko press said; “The most striking thing about it for me is that it forces you to slow down and to reflect on the associations within, which are not always immediately obvious. When you read the book as a whole, you really do get the sense that the world is both changing and unchanging. It’s a meditation.”

You can purchase ‘Seasons’ along with other books by Blex Bolex at: http://thegreendoorbookshop.co.uk/shop/seasons/

Snow memory

Snow memory

Snow memory

I have never experienced as much snow as there has been this winter. The fascinating formations the snow and ice created have transformed familiar sites into weird and wonderful new worlds. What I think is perhaps most interesting about snow is the stories it tells- instead of people and animals moving through the environment with little trace, evidence is left all around, freezing movements in time. I stumbled upon this beautiful graphic pattern created by the wheels of van on a recent walk round Newmiller dam.

The miserable life of cup

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This year I have started to create my own animations. Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be an illustrator, but to finally be able to bring my drawings to life using adobe after effects was an extremely exciting process. I am very fond of animations that look handmade and slightly clunky. As I have developed creatively, the importance of a ‘human feel’ in design has become an increasingly important element of my work and the work that inspires me. I think it’s important that we don’t lose a sense of personality in an increasingly digital world, where the handcrafted feel can be easily lost.

‘The miserable life of cup’ is a series of short animations I made about a polystyrene cup who struggles to find meaning in his life after he is discarded. Below are links to my youtube and vimeo channels where you can watch my animation work. Please share, comment or subscribe if you like what you see!

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUSoW5hTTGJpe8svvBViAMA?feature=mhee

https://vimeo.com/user17405499

Fresh from the dairy

Hello and welcome to The Opposite Wall. My name is Christina and I am currently studying a BA in Graphic and Communication Design at the University of Leeds. My interests lie in illustration, animation, photography, film-making and graphic design.

This blog will be a space to share my work, thoughts, inspirations and observations from the visual and design world. I hope you enjoy reading, looking, watching and contemplating with me.

Christina