Just before it closed this weekend, I caught this exhibition at Bilston Craft Gallery – ‘Bilston’s Happy Housing: Otto Neurath’s vision for post-war modern living’. As a fan of all things mid-century and home related, this was good for both these reasons, but also, with thoughts of the upcoming election, encouraging to learn of one man’s passion to improve the lives and happiness of a community. I wonder what the party leaders would make of this idealism?
‘In the mid-1940s eminent Viennese sociologist and urban planner Otto Neurath set out an ambitious plan for creating happiness in Bilston. His vision was to create modern homes based on state-of-the-art social housing of 1920s Red Vienna. The end result was Stowlawn estate. This exhibition presents Neurath’s ideas, examples of his famous Isotypes (forerunners of today’s infographics), and memories of people who have lived on Stowlawn Estate over the past 60 years. There will also be furniture, textiles, ceramics and domestic items reflecting the ‘new look’ style of the mid-century era.’
I had a meeting at Bilston Craft Gallery this morning and was so pleased to have seen a wonderful exhibition of work by artist Lauren van Helmond while I was there.
Wonderfully fun human and canine characters have been created in a mixture of wire, clock mechanisms, recycled biscuits tins, pegs, wood and washers. Each unique and up-cycled piece shows very British narrative scenes of gardening, tea drinking, day trips and hobbies. I loved the interest in dogs and tea particularly, being a fan of both myself! The exhibition is on until 18th January and is very much worth a visit. The rest of the craft gallery itself contains stunning locally made historical enamel work alongside more contemporary art and craft design.
While in the town of Lichfield on Saturday afternoon, I came across a small exhibition at the Emporium Gallery, showing the works of textile artist Jo Beattie. The work ‘visualises a fragment of a precious memory, it is a reflection on memories of people we love and how we associate them with what they wear. The unbounded and physical nature of Jo’s work enables a suspended image of a moment in a person’s life to occupy a space, leaving the shadow of a memory behind.’
I loved the use of colours, the patterns underneath the black stitched work, and the way the fragile illustrative lines made beautiful shadows on the wall. See the exhibition at the Emporium Gallery until November 3rd.