Saturday, 20 December 2014

UPCOMING - Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas for 2014, this years Christmas Card is 'Jesanta the Redeemer' aka. Santesus...

Monday, 15 December 2014

AA2A 'PLUS' - Back into the Art Gallery stores

I've been thinking a little about my first visit to the ceramic stores at the end of November. I was really drawn to the Thomas Toft piece which I mentioned in a previous blog post, this got me researching more work by and the history of Thomas Toft and his contemporaries. Of this style I particularly like the slipware chargers. I seem to be heavily drawn to the charger form at the moment... it's like a ceramic blank canvas waiting to be tackled with various decorative techniques. With this in mind when I had my second visit to the York Art Gallery's ceramic stores on Monday I was keen to unearth a selection of chargers and plates. I was interested to find out of they had any majolica or Delftware plates. I was in for a treat as I dug around in the mass of plate boxes and pulled out some of these inspiring chargers...

YORYM:2000.2674 - Delftware Charger, King William III on Horseback

YORYM:2000.3336 - Slipware Charger, Virgin Mary

YORYM:2000.2672 - Delftware Charger, Queen Anne

YORYM:2004.11968 - Kiity Shepherd, 1997


YORYM:2000.2677 - Delftware charger, Adam & Eve

I've just searched google for 'English delftware chargers', this interesting quote has come up on Wikipedia...

Blue-dash chargers, usually between about 25 and 35 cm in diameter with abstract, floral, religious, patriotic or topographical motifs, were produced in quantity by London and Bristol potters until the early 18th century. As they were kept for decoration on walls, dressers and side-tables, many have survived and they are well represented in museum collections.
One of the most popular decorations on the blue-dash charger was a representation of Adam and Eve with the serpent in the Garden of Eden, produced from the 1630s to the 1730s. "The challenge of rendering the anatomy of Adam and Eve was inescapable, and as the subject became more and more freely repeated by painters of less and less competence, most of the anatomy gave trouble, particularly Adam's abdominal muscles, which eventually became grotesque and could not be wholly covered by his fig-leaf." In later examples, "the images had declined to the level of coloured graffiti; Adam and Eve were cave dwellers, the Tree had become a mere cipher and only the serpent and the fruit proved simple enough to survive debasement."[3]

Funnily enough it's the naive style I seem to be drawn to in these chargers, I'm becoming more and more inspired by folk art and the naive style as well as outsider art. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

AA2A PLUS - First Visit to York Museums Trust's Stores

At the end of last month I managed to spend a couple of hours in York Art Gallery's 'top secret' ceramic store warehouse. It was quite a bombardment of the senses as I took in a diverse range of studio ceramics. I'm trying to focus in on one object that will inspire a new body of work. I'm unsure at the moment what direction that work will take but I have an inkling that it might be focusing on surface decoration as this is an area of investigation I am keen to revisit soon. My initial visit didn't manage to come up with any conclusive object which I could respond to, although there were a few items which caught my eye and I have been pondering since.

Among these objects was a fascinating Masons pot (YORYM:2001.427) this was made by John and Christopher Potter in between WW1 & WW2 in Staffordshire (Wedgwood), it's a large earthenware vase of a flattened disc shape with a tall foot. It's decorated around the shoulder with a landscape and Gothic castle, painted in colours over the glaze. The waist has a band of inscription painted in black which reads... I was painted by Alfred Powell for Omar Ramsden & Anne his wife of St. Dunstan's London S.W.  A.S.  MCMXXVIII. The underside is decorated with an underwater scene of fish in blue, green and silver. The tall foot is decorated with panels of floral decoration in gilt, red, green and blue.

A Mason's Pot. York Art Gallery Stores

An iconic piece of Thomas Toft slipware also caught my eye, there have already been many modern interpretations on his work including the late Bernard Leach. However, I can't resist the folk art feel and absolutely love his plates. He is well known for the plate of King Charles II (unfortunately not in York's collection!), maybe I could respond with a comment on the current debate over Richard III bones

Thomas Toft slipware - York Art Gallery Stores.

Thomas Toft - Charles II.
Bernard Leach.

There was also some lovely William De Morgan lustreware, I would love to explore lustreware a little as I think I may be a magpie... anything that is shiny! I also love his repetitive designs.

William De Morgan Lustreware, York Art Gallery stores.

I still have lots to ponder from my first visit to the stores and a stash of photos to take in. I can't wait to get into the stores again to have another look around. There were masses of goodies boxed away, I'd love to get unearthing some of the hidden treaures... 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

TUREEN HEADS - Ideal Christmas Presents

Karen Thompson - Tureen Heads (Ceramic). Photo: David Chalmers.

Selling out fast are the Tureen Heads in the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle... Get yourself along there to grab one of the last ones before Christmas... They are also available in Angela & Rosie's in Scarborough, 108 Fine Art in Harrogate and the Margate Gallery. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

EVENT - Crafts Council Collections

Crafts Council accession forms

Just filling in and returning the accession forms for the Crafts Council. A GOVESHY Bust for the Crafts Council Collection and a Porcelain Sandwich for the Handling Collection. Great News! 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

OUT & ABOUT - York Museums Trusts Stores

The Ceramics Collection @ York Museum Stores

Spent a couple of hours in the York Museums Trusts stores yesterday with my fellow 'AA2A Plus' artist Ian Kirkpatrick. There is a vast amount of studio ceramics in the store. It was fascinating getting some background information on the collectors also. It was all a bit overwhelming in the short time we were there so hoping to get back and have another look around shortly. I feel I've only just scratched the surface, it would be great to have a look inside some of the boxes at selected objects. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

NEWS - AA2A 'Plus' Residency

I'm just starting my AA2A (artists access to art college) placement with York College. I have also been selected by York Museums Trust for a 'Plus' placement which means I will be working directly with the Trust. During my residency I intend to make some form of response to York Museums Trusts ceramics collection. I'm looking forward to getting into the store and having a look through some of the collections! York Art Gallery will re-open summer 2015 with new ceramics galleries and a new centre of ceramic art(CoCA), I feel lucky to be around a little in the run up to this big event.... 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

PRESS - Yorkshire Post, 8th Nov 2014

Yorkshire Post Magazine - Sat, Nov 8th 2014.

My Tureen heads feature in this weekends Yorkshire Post Magazine...

Friday, 24 October 2014

OUT & ABOUT - Crescent Arts Painting Team

Crescent Arts painting team at the ready!

The things one is made to do! Last week the Crescent Arts painting team sprung into action in Queen Street. From left to right... Andrew Webb-Ellis, Caitlin Webb-Ellis, Karen Thompson, Sarah Coggrave and Serena Partridge... just to embarrass us all a little more! 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

DRAWINGS: Badgered catch up

Been catching up a little with my Badgered project. A few recent drawings and a few old drawings which I eventually got around to scanning in and working on. The badges are all ready to be sent out to the unsuspecting victims which I'll do this week. Always wonder what folks will make of them just arriving on their doorsteps.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

PRESS: Front Page Cover of September 2014 Issue of The Skinny (Northwest)

Today saw my first front page cover of a magazine. The Skinny (Northwest) September 2014 issue features a detail from Goveshy. The skinny is the leading entertainment & listings magazine for Manchester, Liverpool and surrounding areas with a distrubution of 24,680 free copies. Click the link below to browse through the magazine.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

OUT AND ABOUT - Liverpool Biennial 2014

Crescent Arts day trip to the Liverpool Biennial.

Crescent Arts day trip to the Liverpool Biennial on Tuesday, an action packed day in which we managed to check out some of the work at the Library, The Old Blind School, The Tate, The Bluecoat and The Open Eye Gallery. 
Photo L-R: Sarah Coggrave, Serena Partridge, Katherine April Caddy, Karen Thompson & Stuart Cameron.

Monday, 7 July 2014


GIVEAWAY - In anticipation of the upcoming release of the ART PARTY movie on the 21st August, I have 2 Michael Gove busts from the GOVESHY to give away. One to a new Follower of my facebook page or twitter account (@KarenTcouk) and one to one of my current followers who share or retweet this post. I will be randomly selecting the two winners on the 21st August.

August 21st sees the nationwide release of the Art Party film by Tim Newton and Bob & Roberta Smith. I'm really looking forward to seeing it!! I shall definitely be at SJT in Scarborough watching. GOVESHY will also be making an appearance for the night of the 21st at the SJT in Scarborough... GOVESHY even made it into the official trailer! Bonus!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

PORCELAIN SANDWICHES - Museum Gardens / Treasure's House Images

Gary Bateson & Karen Thompson at Yorkshire Museum (Photo: Ian McKinley)

Spent the afternoon walking around the Museum Gardens with Yorkshire Museum Manager Gary Bateson, placing another batch of the porcelain sandwiches... From here I went onto the Treasure's House to meet with Visitor Services Manager Lisa Holden and place a few more in the gardens there.

I had a Lovely afternoon which followed on from my packed out artists talk at Kings Manor. Brilliant Day!

Lisa Holden & Karen Thompson at Treasure's House, York (Photo: Ian McKinley)

Thursday, 12 June 2014

PRESS - York Press 12/06/14

A piece on York Curiouser and my Porcelain Sandwiches in today's York Press...

PRESS - Northern Echo 12/06/14

A Full Page article in todays Northern Press. Steve Pratt interviewed me about my work for the forthcoming 'York Curiouser' which kicks off at the weekend...
Northern Echo 12/06/14

Read the article online here -

Friday, 6 June 2014

UPCOMING - York Curiouser Exhibition

York Curiouser kicks off next weekend. I'll be out and about on the morning of Saturday 14th placing the first batches of porcelain sandwiches. Some of the places they will be going are the Museums Gardens, The York Walls, Kings Manor and the Treasures House... I'm interested to see the response to them! Getting excited now....

Saturday, 31 May 2014


The porcelain sandwiches are coming out thick and fast now... only 100 or so more to go! Tony Bartholomew took some press shots the other day. I like the idea of the picnic basket, which reminds me, I really should dig out a rather pertinent suitcase from my mum's loft to take the sandwiches to York in. One of my more tortured childhood memories involving the tall ships race and corned beef and onion sandwiches!! My fathers brainwave! One day I'll tell the full story... perhaps at my artists talk....

Friday, 23 May 2014

PRESS - CC #todayimmaking

The Crafts Council very kindly covered me on their #todayimmaking feature. Thanks guys. 

Today I'm making... Porcelain sandwiches for @YorkCuriouser 

Saturday, 10 May 2014

STUDIO - Button Project

I've created 3 buttons for Jo Dahn's Button Project... The 2 blue buttons were made at the time of working on 'GOVESHY' for the Art Party Conference. The tiger button was made alongside my 'Trilogy of Death' series. I love sending things like this off for contribution in group projects and exhibitions. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

PRESS - Crafts Mag (exhibition review)

Great review by Anna Burnside in Crafts Magazine, pity she got the wrong end of the stick/knife & fork with the Death of Sainsbury's though. She surmised that Monrow is feeding the tiger not eating the tiger. I shall have to re-look at how I display this piece in the future. I had previously displayed Monrow with his knife and fork resting on the tummy of the tiger but I thought to move him to the end to make him a bit clearer and have him eating a bit of a delicacy of tiger tongue. Will definitely reconsider the positioning in future. I might possibly have to get new studio photographs taken of the trilogy again to compensate for this. Makes you think how clear you have to be in your thought process and how what you're trying to convey can be construed. 

Crafts Magazine's Review of Hidden Agenda