Martyn Thompson Studio

TEXTILES AND INTERIOR ARTS

JANUARY 2015 NEWSLETTER

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CAPRICORN

"Snow"                                                    Sarah de Teliga

"Snow"                                                    Sarah de Teliga

A couple of days ago we had the first smattering of snow. It settled on the SoHo rooftops — and I’m sliding down memory lane again. Making a snowman at my grandparents house — the magic of pushing around that ball of snow getting bigger and bigger and bigger, until its almost impossible to move. Then a smaller one for the head — eyes of coal (from the coal shed) and a carrot nose (from the pantry). Then I’m rudely awakened by that particular dread of the slippery sidewalks that may dominate the months ahead, putting an end to the wearing of my much loved (but impractical) footwear and needing to be sensibly shod.

 "The Roost"                                            Martyn Thompson

 "The Roost"                                            Martyn Thompson

We called my Grandparents Nana and Grampy. In what seemed like the middle of the garden there was another house, where someone called Mrs. Crabapple lived. I never saw her, but I had the idea that she was very, very old… too old to appear in fact. Sparrows nested in the garage, which I thought strange, and my Granddad would open the doors to let them in and out — or so I thought… the birds could probably get in and out on their own too… They lived in the village of Barlaston, in the midlands of England — “the Potteries” — just up the road from Wedgwood. Nana and I would go there and could wander round the factory, virtually unsupervised (it’s the 1960’s). Occasionally I was given a bit of broken jasper ware— or a cracked eggcup.
Everything was about china 
 Nana had tea sets and coffees sets — and different china for breakfast, lunch, dinner. I used to spend many hours taking it all out of the big dresser and covering the floor — making new mix and match combinations of all the cups and saucers.

The Slits

The Slits

Xmas/New Year was a series of trips upstate — little jaunts on the train and bus. A grand opportunity to read, I’d bought myself 2 biographies — Vivienne Westwood and Viv Albertine. The latter was guitarist with the Slits — one of the MOST IMPORTANT punk bands… for me anyway. “Important” in the way that some things can be VERY important when you’re a teenager — they seem huge — they shape you. Because I always connected with girls and their brand of outsider angst… all the boy stuff was much too aggressive — it confused me. Her book,  “Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Boys, Boys, Boys. Music, Music, Music” - might be the best self penned history I've ever read - exposed and vulnerable. I related to every moment of doubt and a certain craven desire to succeed…

"The Gang"                                                  Ron Galella

"The Gang"                                                  Ron Galella

SUCCESS — what is that? — somehow the parameters on success keep shifting as the years go by. Once I really thought it was all about acclaim… and cash in the bank went hand in hand with that notion… I guess that’s why I ended up in New York, New York. Something stuck the first time I saw the very glamorous Liza Minnelli at the movies singing THAT song…
Fortunately I now appear to be developing a slightly more mature understanding of the infinitely more soul-satisfying pleasures that come with a sense of connectedness.

 "Byrdcliffe"                                          Martyn Thompson

 "Byrdcliffe"                                          Martyn Thompson

In Woodstock we stayed for a few days at the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony — a utopian dream of community and creativity built in the early 1900’s. Our friends Chris and Bobby live there.Bobby paints pop portraits of peoples pets and Chris has spent the last five years building his own community — The Secret City — a monthly meeting that he calls, “a church service for artists”… though there’s nothing religious about it — except he tells a very captivating story every month — which could be interpreted as a sermon, something plucked from his past that will have you in tears…anyway — that’s where I met them some years back.

"Emma Balfour in Chanel Couture circa 1996"                    Martyn Thompson

"Emma Balfour in Chanel Couture circa 1996"                    Martyn Thompson

Now it is fiercely cold. Typically I’d be sunning myself at this very moment, but for the first time in 27 years, I haven't made the annual sojourn Down Under. Life has other plans... One of the upsides is I get to attend AMERICAN REALNESS — an impossible to describe dance festival at Abrons Arts (an historic and heroic outpost for fringe performance), and later this month I am going to Paris to photograph some of the Couture. I’m very excited, its been nearly 20 years since I last did that…

 "Capricorn"                                  Dove Drury Hornbuckle

 "Capricorn"                                  Dove Drury Hornbuckle

We’re in the sign of Capricorn — all about perseverance… and a large degree of patience… a quality that remains somewhat an enigma to me…
 
Happy 2015
 
xm