At last, an update!
The PRECIOUS exhibition at Galerie Isabelle Riffon was a great success: not only was it great fun, but I sold almost everything and received several commissions. One of my recent commissions:
I've been working this year on a range of subjects in different media. My current work focuses on the abstraction of patterns in nature, particularly feathers and the world of insects. Some with a lot of gold and rich, deep colours:
I'm still very interested in printing, especially now I have my new beloved rolling press. A recent work:
I'm currently working on some larger, more abstract black and silver collages inspired by bees and white peacock feathers, and am hoping to have an exhibition soon in a gorgeous Leiden restaurant soon, so watch this space!
PRECIOUS opens 8 November
Precious , which is held in the gallery of the fabulous silversmith Isabelle Riffon, celebrates the jewel-like properties of the natural world. Works include collages, prints and paintings, with a leaning towards gold leaf and gold dust.
The exhibition is on display from 11 November until 31 January, with a festive opening on 8 November from 14.00- 16.00. Please contact me if you would like an invitation.
Galerie Isabelle Riffon
2311 TR Leiden
See for more information:
The Temple Guardians is out and selling nicely in the shops!
The book for sale at the Rijksmuseum
We had a hugely enjoyable launch at Silvester in Leiden and another very special one hosted by the Friends of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. This was combined with a lecture by Menno Fitski about Japanese sculpture and was so well attended we had to have a special fire safety briefing as people were literally sitting on each other's laps!
It's available for sale widely in shops in the Netherlands, or online here website.
We've had some lovely reviews, and were Book of the Week on Hebban (see website).
- 'De compositie, de kleuren, de vormgeving, alles klopt en is van grote schoonheid. De tempelwachters van het Rijksmuseum is echt een boek om heel vaak bij weg te dromen, zo´n boek waarvan je de plaatjes nooit meer vergeet.' Kinderboekenpraatjes
- 'Voor deze intrigerende illustraties in zachte kleuren is veel ruimte in het boek; zij geven het verhaal een sprookjesachtige sfeer' Hebban Junior
- 'een supermooi boek' Marijn Hageman, Kidsweek
- 'The publication plays in a nice way with Japanese history, the art of Japanese prints and the two guardian statues of the Rijksmuseum. as a whole The Temple Guardians of the Rijksmuseum is an exciting novel for children.' Inge Klompmakers, Yoyogipark
Menno's small book on the history of the guardians is also out, and is delightful - packed full of information and painstaking research but remarkably easy to read. If you've enjoyed my book and would like to know more I recommend this as an excellent companion volume!
You can buy it here.
We also went as a family to Japan, and travelled to Yokota to visit the temple Iwayagi whence the statues originally came. After a fairly arduous climb up the steep hill path (Menno literally pushed me up the hill!), it was incredibly moving to see the empty gate, crumbling away, with the two niches where the guardians once stood.
It is evidently still a holy place, not only from the feel of it but from the countless tributes of money, figurines and notes that people still leave there. We tried to continue further through the bamboo forest to get the the abandoned temple, but eventually the snow was so deep that we had to stop. It was the most extraordinary experience to be sinking into the snow as we climbed the steep hill through the bamboo forest - it felt as if I were walking through my own book. I was astonished at how close it felt to the atmosphere we had tried to create in the book.
We were greatly honoured to be received by the former priest of the temple, a wonderful grand old man of 93, bent double and dressed exquisitely in his official robes. We presented him with the book and he was extremely moved by it, and by the idea that children on the other side of the world knew all about 'his' temple. I had been somewhat diffident about presenting the book in Japan but it was received with huge enthusiasm, to my delight and relief!
Our friends in the village were also extremely enthusiastic about the book, and have subsequently translated it into Japanese. Rubinstein is now talking to their agents in Japan, so watch this space.
In November this year I will be having an exhibition in conjunction with the goldsmith Isabelle Riffon in Leiden - think tiny jewel-like pictures and you'll have an idea of the sort of things I am working on..
September was a wonderful month - I was the guest artist for the month of September in Galerie Zône. The opening was enormous fun, as was the weekend of Kunstroute. It went really well, I'm happy to say, and I sold the majority of the pieces. It gives me enormous pleasure to know that my work will be hanging in houses in Leiden and elsewhere, and (hopefully) giving pleasure to its owners! It was a great experience meeting all the lovely artists that make up the collective running Zône, and seeing all their work in combination with mine
So what next? As we're moving house, my studio is currently in boxes, which is most frustrating. However, I'm still working on some ideas, including an extremely large butterfly and some jellyfish. I love jellyfish - they're such extraordinary creatures. I am also working on a series of very small, jewel-like pieces which I am hoping to exhibit in conjunction with jewellery by the amazing goldsmith Isabelle Riffon ( www.isabelle-riffon.eu ) in Leiden. More on this later
The Temple Guardians has FINALLY gone to press, and will be out in early November in Dutch and English. There will be a launch in Leiden in early November and one at the museum in late November. so watch this space!
I can't believe we are half way through 2014 already. It's proving to be an exciting year.
I've been asked to be the guest artist at Galerie Zone in Leiden (www.galeriezone.nl) for the month of September - which is a particular honour since it's the month of Kunstroute. The opening will be on Sunday 7 September from 15.00 - 17.00 - please join us for drinks and nibbles! Kunstroute is the weekend of 28/29, so there will be another opportunity for fun and frolics then.
I'm trying to build up a large collection of works for the exhibition - only I've sold several of them recently so will have to start again! Fish are still very much on the menu (thank goodness for the wonderful fishmonger Klaas Hartevelt in the market!), but I'm also starting to work with metal, Perspex, pearls and more wire.
I have also got into the world of insects.
I'm currently experimenting with gold backgrounds, and getting into learning some techniques involving gold leaf, as I have long been inspired by Rimpa screens, and would like to develop a modern interpretation of this style. For this, I am also going to have to learn how to make screens, which is also an enjoyable challenge! I love the format of screens, and the way that they allow art to become a functional part of a room.
On the book front, our second children's book, The Temple Guardians of the Rijksmuseum , is going to print in July with Rubinstein, and will be out in September. See website for more information. And here it is on bol.com. It's being published simultaneously in Dutch and English.
It's been such fun, but a lot of hard work, so we're looking forward to holding it in our hands. It will be launched during Kinderboekenweek in the beginning of October (probably on the 8 th ) at the Rijksmuseum, with children's activities and all sorts of fun. Watch this space or contact me to make sure you are on the guest list!
It's been a busy summer! The Dende exhibition was a huge success, much to my delight - I sold more than half the exhibits at the opening, and then continued to sell well throughout the 3 months that the exhibition was up. I was kept busy making new things to replace ones that had been sold.
My next project will be w orking with Marco Kruit of De Patissier in Oegstgeest (www.depatissier.nl), together with Ankie Stoutjesdijk (www.ankiestoutjesdijk.nl) It's the most fantastic patisserie - and so I have been much enjoying painting his creations. and then eating them. Oh that chocolate cake. utterly heavenly. I'm going to be experimenting with lots of new media for this so watch this space.
||Some of the delicious things made by De Patissier.
At the moment I'm mostly into leaves, silver leather, gold leaf and brightly coloured beetles at the moment.
||Vine (silver leather) €80
I've also been making quite a few things on commission for specific clients, and it's been fun playing with designs to make them right for the right client. The silver wire collages and the big felt collages have been particularly popular. They don't look right in photographs though: you have to feel them!
I'm very much looking forward to this exhibition, which will open with a party on Sunday 28 April from 4pm. The exhibition is called Edible, and is a collection of recent works - watercolours, prints and collages (e.g the prawn above and lobster below). I love the process of painting, say a mackerel from life, and then using that painting to create a pared down design in which simple lines convey the essence of the mackerel, and then cutting blocks to make it into a print. And, of course, pretty much everything in the exhibition was consequently eaten - thus completing the art food cycle!
See PRINTS and WATERCOLOURS for a good selection of the works that will be on display. I have also had so much fun with the recent collages - the idea somehow appeared from nowhere, and after a lot of time spent sourcing thick industrial felt, they finally took shape. I'm now experimenting with different textures such as silver leather and wire, so we'll see where that takes us.
On the book front, the text is now done and Katie and I are finishing the illustrations (many of which had to change with the changes made during editing of the text. Alas it will not be out for the opening of the Rijksmuseum, but it will certainly be out for the inauguration of the Guardians (a ceremony that will be taking place in the autumn) if not before.
I've recently been busy with a new collection of works, on the theme of 'Edible'. And oh yes, there are crustaceans involved. I've been honing my printing techniques with the help of Sylvia ten Kley in Haagweg and her lovely printing press, and am delighted with the results. A lot of prawns, crabs and crayfish, but also experiments with printing with several colour blocks. One of the things I most enjoy is having a series of paintings of a particular, say crab, and then a print of it, and then a delightful memory of a meal. Most satisfying. If you are going to be eaten, surely it is better to be immortalized first?
Take a look at the WATERCOLOURS and the PRINTS sections for some of my recent work.
I've also recently completed a small glass panel of doves for a pigeon-fancying client - surprisingly difficult to achieve without it becoming rather twee, but am happy with how it turned out (although the photograph is less successful - spot the freaky artist in the background). The world of decorative doves, something I had never explored before, turns out to be an interesting (and highly competitive) place. Never before have I seen so much attention paid to the shape of leg feathers. I live and learn.
On the book front, The Temple Guardians is in the final throes of energetic editing and discussion with independent children's book editor Annelies Fontijne and the Rijksmuseum. If all goes to schedule it will be out in April for the opening of the Rijksmuseum.
I'm much enjoying settling into my new studio. thanks to the wonderful Ankie Stoutjesdijk (www.ankiestoutjesdijk.nl) I now have an elegant window announcing my presence....
Crustaceans are still ruling the studio at the moment.
On the book front, my trip to the USA was a great success - you can read about it on http://www.abowlfulofhappiness.com/a_bowlful_of_happiness/news.html and on the museum website http://www.pem.org/calendar/event/593-a_bowlful_of_happiness.
We are now working on our next book. The Temple Guardians. watch this space!
My atelier has moved again. but this time for good! It is now at Groenesteeg 33, 2312 TK Leiden. It's a beautiful space near to home with a fantastic window and everything I need. I'm still in the process of setting it up but am very inspired and motivated! At present I'm working on two commission, one for a door panel with white irises and the other a painting of red orchids. although I've been getting rather obsessed with drawing crustaceans recently, including my crayfish friend who kept walking across my desk as I was painting him! He looks a bit scary in this black version of the design I'm making from him, but actually he was very sweet.
Our children's book A Bowlful of Happiness is now in its second Dutch edition (see www.abowlfulofhappiness.com) and is selling well in museums and bookshops. It is also available in both Dutch and English from our website and from Meijering Art books
(www.meijeringartbooks.com ). We have also had some fabulous wrapping paper made, based on the design of the endpapers, which is also for sale in shops and online.
In March I have been invited to the Peabody Essex Museum to give a presentation and book signing of A Bowlful of Happiness , which they will be using as part of their educational programme. It's a brilliant opportunity to promote the book in the US, and should be great fun!
The children's book I recently published with my childhood best friend Katie Pickwoad is now on sale throughout the Netherlands - indeed the Dutch edition has almost sold out! It launched in the UK on 16 September at the Ashmolean Museum, and there will be further events at PAN Amsterdam International Art fair and during Asian Art in London in November. For more information see our website www.abowlfulofhappiness.com.
Harriet Impey and Katie Pickwoad with Welmoet Wartena, our designer
My work currently on display at the Keramiek Museum Princessehof, Leeuwarden!
The current exhibition at the Princessehof, 10.000x Happiness, on auspicious symbols in Chinese art, displays the children's book that I have written together with Katie Pickwoad and uses it for an extensive children's speurtocht through the exhibition. See http://www.princessehof.nl/tentoonstelling/53.html for more details of the exhibition.
The book A Bowlful of Happiness (Een Kom Vol Geluk) by Harriet Impey and Katie Pickwoad (see below) is in the process of publication and will cost €19.95 - for more information or to pre-order a copy, please e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Harriet Impey and Katie Pickwoad
Format: Hardback 24x24cm, 26 full-colour illustrated pages
Synopsis: How can one find true happiness? This book, suitable for children 5+, tells the story of one little boy's search for happiness, more than 300 years after he was painted on a Chinese jar. Imprisoned in sadness by a slip of the painter's brush, Kang is suddenly set free by a museum curator's wish. He sets out on a journey, his only guide his wise blue-and-white hobby horse. He is joined along the way by the Auspicious Animals: the Dragon, the Lion Dog, the Elephant, the Mandarin Ducks and the Feng Huang, also released from the dishes and vases on which they have been painted, who each bring their own special attributes. Together they journey through Chinese cultural history, entering into the scenes depicted on objects throughout the museum, such as a betrothal and a meeting of warriors. The characters he meets, and what he learns along the way, help him to realize eventually that sometimes happiness is to be found where you least expect it.
Aim: This illustration of this book uses the rich and colourful decoration of Chinese porcelain to bring alive the symbolism of animals in decorative art. Capturing children's imagination with lively characters taken from real objects in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and Princessehof Ceramic Museum, Leeuwarden, the story gives an introduction to both the symbolism of Chinese art and aspects of material culture in China during the 16 th , 17 th and 18 th centuries. Children will be inspired to really look at works of applied art, objects that are notoriously difficult to make attractive to this audience. The book is being used for educational purposes in the exhibition Happiness, Ten Thousand Times at the Princessehof,. The book also serves as a cultural link to enable children to feel akin to our hero, despite his different time and culture: his hobby horse is still a popular toy every child will recognize. The playfully educative nature of the book and its rich and original illustrations make it eminently suitable both for enjoyment at home and as part of an educative programme in schools, libraries or cultural centres.
Biographies: Harriet Impey is 33 and an artist and translator specializing in Asian art. She read History of Art at Cambridge and has her own business, The Tulip and the Butterfly (www.thetulipandthebutterfly.com). She lives in the Netherlands with her husband and two small children. Katie Pickwoad is 32 and an artist and designer. She trained at Oxford Brookes and South Bank University, and works as a freelance designer in London. Harriet and Katie have worked together since the age of two, but this is their first children's book.