The Invisible Woman meets…
Well what a weekend that was. I arrived on Wednesday to begin setting up downstairs in the gallery underneath Hantverk & Found’s fabulous seafood restaurant, the brainchild of chef Kate de Syllas. Kate has been open for around two months and is bringing something new both as a restaurateur and as a curator, to the regeneration of the old town, close to Margate’s sweep of English seafront.
The opening night of the show was a great deal of fun with visitors to the gallery persuaded to look through the eyes of The Invisible Woman, including having their photos taken, wearing the green eyed mask of visibility. The resulting photographs will be on show and added to the installation at the gallery throughout its run.
Hantverk & Found is just around the corner from Turner Contemporary, which shows an impressive array of internationally recognised artists. At the moment Grayson Perry is showing his Provincial Punk range of pots, puns, industrial sized tapestries and a couple of flickery films celebrating Claire’s (Perry’s alter ego) pinkie in the air brand of suburban sophistication. It was very busy when I went, as it was the weekend that the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair Charabanc parked up behind the bike sheds of TC. The VACBF is formerly a London based institution that over recent years has loaded up it wares and taken its caravan to the coast. This is a fair where traditionally, artists of every kidney open their metaphorical handbags to clean out the crumbs to sell the contents.
There were dancers in knitted cozzies, jigging like disco mad deck hands, as well as artists wearing stick on ‘taches, a dog in a tutu, a man sprawled in car boot, serenading passers by with his mimed siren songs, heard only by those who listened carefully, all showing alongside the art world workhorses, those that lure the flippers and welcome the families. The queues five deep waited nicely for their fistfuls of potential dollars, in the form of limited edition prints and covetable knick-knacks, as well as all sorts of glamorous ‘what have you’s’, that maybe one day will pay to get the kids through college.
Then there was the beacon of all that is new, exciting and black and green, that is, Hantverk & Found. The stall featured work by four artists, there was Sam Simmons with his SAMZINE, a monthly publication by Sam who is a local poet and reviewer of all that you need to know about the arts and music scene in Margate. Much of SAMZINE is hand written and appears as a free flowing train of thought mixed in with some intimate poems that give an insight into waking up after the night before, when the bands played and the reviews were written. Jason Pay is a photographer who lives in Margate and the work he showed was a series of ethereal Polaroids, deftly catching the moment where the sea and the sky become one massive fluid canvas, set in a 2×3 inch print. Tom Swift brought along his collection ‘Container’ prints and T Shirts that give the viewer a glimpse of the ever-present container ships anchored just out of reach on the Margate horizon. His work mixes the fluidity of gouache with a wry black lined commentary of life on the Kent coast. His work is next up at Hantverk & Found, opening at the end of September for a month. Illustrator and music lover, Angela Federico‘s collection of the named, shamed and feted faceless, iconic hairdo’s of ‘Stars Without Eyes’ appeared on a range T Shirts, mugs and bags, were popular with the queuing throng. Finally, I took along some ‘Fido at the Lido’ A4 drawings that featured kittens in cups and dogs not allowed on the beach, accompanied by Saucy Seagulls Scoffing chips. By four o’clock it was all over bar the shouting and we retreated en masse to be served buckets of mussels with white wine, supplied by our hostess Kate. Karen Ashton organiser of the VACBF turned up at H&F in a whirl of post boot fair excitement, already making plans for next year.
This also gave me a chance to show more folk around The Invisible Woman, in the basement gallery, talking them through the frieze of over 250 6 x 4in High Street printed photographs, all bearing the flashing green eyes of The Invisible Woman, she who empowers the unsung and appreciates the unrecognised heroines and heroes, contemporary and historical. The eyes are all taken from one photo and are applied with care to each subject, highlighting an aspect of the story of each chosen subject . There is all too often a quick visual gag, but always with a point to make or a story to tell.
I didn’t leave until Monday, when the heavens opened in true seaside style and back to The Smoke I came.
The Invisible Woman show runs until Thursday 24th September at Hantverk & Found, 18 King Street Margate CT9 1DA
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