As always at this time of year, I set about doing new work - to use the "quiet" time of January and February to explore new ways of doing things, new ideas.
I've been interested for a while in Leporello sketchbooks - often called concertina sketchbooks. I made a few of these for friends and family as Christmas gifts. Why do they excite me so much? Well, I love the idea of just carrying on a panorama - on and on, as if you're going on a walk, but I also love picture books. A concertina book offers the opportunity to create a continuous picturebook. Rather than telling a story, it takes you for a walk, a chance to imagine,ruminate and observe.
This is one of the books I made recently:
It is an imaginative composition of my daily forest walk.
I began to imagine doing something like this for my familiar townscapes - like Ballydehob, for example. Rather than placing head-on facades beside each other, I'd like to explore walking through the town, with the perspective constantly shifting as we move. Even as I'm writing this, I'm getting more ideas - so this recent drawing already seems too strict and tight to me:
You can imagine how this would take you through the whole town, shifting perspectives all along - and then folds up into a beautiful little book...
I suspect the key to the idea may lie in actually getting out and doing my drawings on the street - but I'm finding it quite cold and hardy (and mainly wet) at the moment, so I'm working off photographs. But the information they reveal is quite limited. I shall keep working!
I began making drawings of Crawford Art Gallery last year, and only during spring 2019 did I put my head around making this model.I learned that it was originally built in 1724. Back then, Emmet PLace was a waterway known as King's Dock. The building was a custom house. In 1880, it was extended by Arthur Hill for William Horatio Crawford.The modern extension was designed by Erick Van Egeraat in 2002. I love the little tower in the middle, and the garden all around.
It just shows that bad decisions at the beginning sometimes take a long time to iron out. Initially all my A4 packs where in plastic sleeves. This made them shiny and showed off their bright colours. But I soon lost sleep over the though that I'm sending out thousands of plastic bags every year. I came up with a recycled, die-cut folder, printed at Cityprint in Cork. The kits are now 220gsm cards inserted into these folders, with a picture of the relevant models peeking out of the front frame. I hope you like them!
The A5 kit greeting cards, are in PLA biodegradeable cellobags.
My last post was in January (yikes, where has the time gone!), about my desire to learn to draw. I tried to do drawings of my surroundings, or my imagination every day. Of course, as soon as things got busy for the summer, I found it very difficult to continue this practice. But I did come out with a series of nice drawings of Schull, my next town here in West Cork. I worked these illustrations into my new model kit: Tiny Schull
As always, I worked these illustrations onto my models. This, I feel, gives my models an added gifty feel. They are like three dimensional postcards, and they put the chosen buildings into the context of the surrounding landscape and history. Please take some time to look at the finished sheets below to see how my illustrations work on the buildings:
This commission was especially challenging and a lot of fun - as I find the Christmas theme quite a tricky one. Normally I rely on the ambient light around the model to illuminate it - but creating a model which had Christmas lights all over it and lights on inside the building as well was challenging.
The front entrance of the hotel shows a festive wedding party:
I liked the idea of the front of the hotel being brightly decorated, while the sides and rear are in night-time darkness, full of the mysterious atmosphere of Christmas. Using the railway station theme (which was always so closely linked with the history of the hotel - it used to be "The Railway Hotel"), I drew in the Polar Express:
Beside it, just behind a huge Christmas tree, is a festive afternoon tea party - another seasonal treat which takes place at the hotel.
The right and left wing show the festivities on Eyre Square, and the hotel's famous gingerbread house...
And this is what the model looks like :
To get your own Tiny Hotel Meyrick kit Christmas Edition, visit the hotel asap!
Every town in Ireland has its own special atmosphere - Cork is so different to Dublin, and in turn different to Galway, Limerick, Sligo etc. The Imperial Hotel is as essential to the feel of Cork as is the Shandon Tower, UCC, The English Market, McCurtain Street....
Again, I tried to illustrate some of the history associated with the hotel while making the model. The front facade is very much the present day with, however, some old fashioned visitors - a hint towards its history. As you turn the model, you'll find Sir Thomas Deane (who originally designed the building in 1813) looking out of one of the top floor windows - down upon a horse-drawn coach.For the rear of the building I drew a scene of Franz Liszt giving his famous piano recital at the hotel in 1843.
Charles Dickens, also a famous visitor, is busy writing down thoughts, while Michael Collins stands by his iconic armoured car: the "Sliabh na mBan". On the western gable I placed an old map of Cork.
It is a relatively easy model to make: simply join the central block and attach the wings to it. The roof then fits onto it after the decorative facia is turned up to meet the facade.
The "Tiny Imperial Hotel" model kit is available at the hotel itself - so please visit soon!
It's been such a busy few months that I have only now come around to appreciate all the projects I've done this year already... March the 10th 2018 seems like a long time ago. On that bleak Saturday afternoon, Fionn and I, took the ferry from Cobh to Spike Island. As we approached the island, the melancholy, eerie mood, which was to stay with us during the whole visit, overcame us.
How was I ever going to create a TinyIreland model of this? The star shaped fort was hardly visible from the waterside - it is set into the island surrounded by a deep trench - and yet, it is its most remarkable feature. My initial idea was to somehow project the ruins and landscape around the fort onto its walls. So, I began by making drawings...
The views from the island of the harbour all around where breathtaking - beautiful and interesting. I fostered ideas of working this into the model as well...
It took us about 40 minutes to walk around the whole outside of the fort. We then entered through the impressive entry archway. This also needed to be featured on the model, I decided. But how could I accommodate the huge fort as well as its impressive interior buildings and architecture? If I made the whole thing to scale, the fort would be huge and the buildings absolutely tiny... and all this was to fit on an A5 card!!!!
I love the patterns the buildings form - like playing cards folded out to line the interior shape of the fort...
After trying out various ideas, I also realized that the inward slant of the fort walls were important - they could not be vertical - it just didn't look right. This made the layout of the artwork much more complicated. It had to be arranged in a curved pattern:
This formed the exterior of the fort on the base shown. But I also needed the interior. I decided to place that on the reverse side of the card, which posed the challenge of alignment during printing.
And this is what it looks like when assembled!