Monday 10 October 2011

Ilkla Moor Baht Hat

It is thirty years since I made my first film Ilkla Moor Baht Hat at the Royal College of Art. As I was just reminded, by an organisation researching the films that were shown in The New Contemporaries Exhibition in 1982. 
Ilkla Moor Baht Hat 1981 by Emma Calder

They also wanted recollections about the exhibition. Sadly I didn't go to the show, I was too busy working on my next film Madame Potatoe, but, I do have a few bits and pieces connected to the film.

The leaflet I made for the RCA Second Year Show

Half way through my first year there was an opportunity for Graphics and Illustration students to do an animation workshop with the animators (Heros of my childhood) Bob Godfrey (Roobarb, Henry's Cat and many more...) Dick Taylor (Crystal Tips and Alistair and more).

Some drawings I did of Dick Taylor, the day Dick and Bob Godfrey came to introduce their work.

Afterwards, our Graphics tutor said she would tutor us on our storyboards when Bob and Dick weren't around. About eighteen students signed up to do the animation and the plan was to each make a very short film.

Unfortunately this tutor was very hard on the students. She said our ideas wouldn't work for animation, or were a waste of time. She also told me I couldn't draw. I said I was interested in the circular idea of the Yorkshire song and I thought the simple story of the song a good way to start learning animation. I did agree about the bad drawing though, so I drew all the art work really small in the hope that enlarged the drawings would have a more interesting quality.

Here is the original artwork sheet before being blown up on a PMT (Photo Mechanical Transfer) machine, coloured and cut out ready for the paper cut out animation.

 Artwork from Ilkla Moor Baht Hat

Bob and Dick were very encouraging to us all but, this tutor was so negative about my work, I decided to stop working on the film and I disappeared from college for three weeks. Visiting my friend in the Lake District with all the artwork and storyboard. She liked my idea, told me I was giving up too easily and I should listen to Bob and Dick, not a tutor, who probably had some other private agenda.

When I arrived back in the studio at the RCA my desk was covered in funny drawings by Bob Godfrey, who had been searching for me to tutor. He was quite desperate as all the other students had given up their films. Thanks to the tutor. What was her name? 
Bob Godfrey's funny drawing of my character from Ilkla Moor Baht Hat

So I carried on making the film, luckily for Bob and Dick, as they thought they were going to be sacked.

The head of the film school Dick Ross, let me have the entie budget set aside for the animation workshop, so I was able to make a proper film shot on 16 mm negative stock, not just a little test as had been originally planned for each student.
The artwork and storyboards took about six weeks, We recorded the music in the piano room at the RCA prior to doing the animation, in one take, in one half hour session. The animation and editing took about two weeks. The song was sung and played on the piano by David E Glasson then of Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band (and now playing with Three Bonzos and a Piano).

If I had listened to the tutor, things might have turned out very differently!

Thursday 22 September 2011

R.I.P Small Leaf Lime Tree

All this year I have been mourning, but for nothing or nobody.

Every day I'd wake up with the same feeling. That deep sadness that you feel when someone you love has died. Then I would walk down to the builders yard where I work, look up at the trees over hanging the space and feel much better.

Breathing in the moist damp air from beneath a beautiful small leaf lime, over 20 meters high. Home to a pair of jays, numerous wood pidgeons, squirrels and the lime hawk moths who came to lay their eggs once a year. The tree would give me a wonderful feeling and make me glad to be alive. 

 The end of the line for the small leaf lime tree
 and our lime hawk moths enjoying life to the full last year

Then out of the blue, we were informed by the owners of the garden that the lime tree grew in, that they were having the tree cut down.

They hated the lack of light in their flat and couldn't be bothered with having it cut back regularly to resolve the problem. Nothing we could say would change their mind, even offering to pay for it to be trimmed was no good, they just wanted to get rid of the tree. It was their right and they could.

Why are people so obsessed with light and hate trees so much. Ironic when I sometimes feel the world is descending into darkness, maybe that is why?

Two weeks later our other neighbours on the other side of our yard cut down all their trees too. Now we just have to stare at all their dull houses.

The saddest thing of all was the wood pidgeon. After they chopped the last of the trees down, he was flying around searching wildly for his nest and chicks, then he picked up a single twig in his beak, all that was left of the last tree and sat on our fence bewildered. 

From Emma Calder's note book 2011

Then I thought I knew what all my grief had been leading up to.

But, I was wrong!

Tuesday 9 August 2011

London Riots 2011

I feel really bad walking round my area today and so sad that things have come to this.

Monday 18 July 2011

Sticker Workshop Lambeth County Fair

Just a few snaps from my sticker event at Lambeth County Fair last Saturday. The weather was horrendous but it didn't stop the constant flow of keen sticker makers. 

In 5 hours we produced over 3000 individual stickers. 

The kids and adults were brilliant, some producing whole books. 

To be honest I did very little, except tidy up and make a few very small suggestions.

It was great to see how inspiring my stickers were to others and I am feeling back in the mood to do some more myself.

Actually, I did just do a new set but, I haven't quite finished them. When they are ready I'll be selling them through my new on line shop

Saturday 16 July 2011

Stickers at Brockwell Park Today

If you fancy it, head down to Lambeth County Fair at Brockwell Park today.

I will be doing a sticker stand and workshops, showing work from my sticker books, including Emma Calder's Moody Days. The illustration above, was done a few years ago by my kids and me. Hope to see you down there it's quite a good fair with lots to do.

Monday 4 July 2011

Mud Larking

The year is slipping by without doing the blog for Emma Calder's Moody Days. As I have been focusing on new work and cannot be distracted.

Except the other day my friend Gill asked me if I would accompany her on a Mud Larking adventure on the banks of the River Thames. We were quickly hooked.

As I lover of Car Boots on a Sunday, this felt like the next best thing but free. Although you do need a licence and if you find anything of value, you must report your find to the Museum of London.

The first time we went, I spotted a shark swimming and the next time.. we saw a massive bird's footprints in the mud. Each footprint spanned ten inches, with a four foot apart gait. Wild times down on the mud!

It was Gill's birthday this weekend, so I thought I would take some of my finds and turn them into her present. 


Friday 15 April 2011

Think Big Act Small

Think Big
Act Small

Think Small
Act Big

This morning I could not get these two sentences out of my head. The more I thought about which one was best the more confused I got. Then they seemed to merge in my brain. Which one had I said first, which one was I on now. In the end I was saying to myself. Think Big, Think Small, Act Small, Act Big.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Emma Calder's Bent Fork Stickers

It's a year since the publication of Emma Calder's Moody days Sticker Book. And I still have tons of related work, that I have not yet put on this blog.

Here is Sticker Sheet Number Three.

This sticker was purely practical and was inspired by the famous seventies conjurer Uri Geller who used psychokinesis and telepathy to bend forks live on television. Apparantly!