Spark: twenty two

A series about people that have influenced my creative path

Flock at Low Tide by Ishbel Macdonald

A couple of summers ago I met Ishbel Macdonald at her studio whilst campervanning around the north coast of Scotland. I bought a small pot and this gorgeous painting. The colours and details are wonderful, and the touches of gold are inspired. It makes me consider adding tiny amounts of lustre to some of my more decorative pieces. Oh to be back at the wheel.

Whilst the building work is going on and we’re making some big decisions, I’ve also been thinking a lot about finer details. I can’t help it. I’m looking forward to redecorating some rooms once the works are finished, and I have an idea about grouping this little picture together with some others on a wall in the sitting room… but then part of me would like it to look at when I’m working in the studio.


Spark: twenty one

A series about people that have influenced my creative path

Lettering by Alan Fletcher (quote by Francis Picabia)
© Raffaella Fletcher and Fletcher Studios 2013

It’s funny how sometimes you feel like you know someone, even though you’ve never met them. Alan Fletcher (1931-2006) ‘the father figure of British graphic design*’ fell into this category for me. My old boss, Lynda Brockbank, worked with him at Pentagram and shares a similar rigorous approach to graphic design. His work is witty and timeless and I was reminded of it just the other day when I visited the V&A… he designed the symbol. I can’t think of the number of times I’ve leafed through his book The Art of Looking Sideways seeking inspiration.

Spark: twenty

A series about people that have influenced my creative path

Joseph Müller-Brockmann, poster for Zurich Town Hall, 1955

“…the leading practitioner and theorist of Swiss Style, which sought a universal graphic expression through a grid-based design purged of extraneous illustration and subjective feeling.” Eye Magazine

I’ve always admired Joseph Müller-Brockmann’s (1914-1996) minimalist design. When it comes to graphics I think that a pared-down direction often works best. I wish I could apply the same approach to the rest of my life.

Spark: nineteen

A series about people that have influenced my creative path

Cy-Twombly-Untitled-Bacchus-Steve ParkinsonCy Twombly (1928-2011); Untitled from Bacchus Series, 2005
(creative commons photo from Flickr by Steve Parkinson)

Some years ago I had agreed to meet my husband in Hyde Park. I had some time on my hands so I nipped in to the Serpentine Gallery and saw the Cy Twombly: Fifty Years Of Works On Paper exhibition that was on at the time. I have become fascinated by his abstract drawings – what first appear to be little more than scribbles, in fact have a strange depth and calligraphic rhythm that I find intriguing.

Spark: eighteen

A series about people that have influenced my creative path

Eric Ravilious; South Coast Beach, 1939-1942, watercolour

We’ve been away for a long weekend – hence the lack of posts. The last four days have been spent campervanning along the north Aberdeen and Moray coasts – just wonderful.
I saw these WWII coastal defences along Burghead beach and they reminded me of two things… firstly the ‘tank stoppers’ that used to be on the beach where I grew up; and secondly of this picture by Eric Ravilious (1903-1942). I’ve long been an admirer of his work and I was pleasantly surprised to see some of his pieces in the Aberdeen Art Gallery on my first visit after we moved here. I’ve been there again this morning for another peek.


Spark: seventeen

A series about people that have influenced my creative path

Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand, illustrated by Edward Ardizzone (detail from book cover)

One of the things I remember most strongly from my childhood are the books that I read and were read to me. There were many favorites, in particular the books illustrated by Edward Ardizzone RA (1900-1979). The stories of Nurse Matilda, Stig of the Dump and Little Tim were fantastic, exciting and imaginative but what really captivated me were his drawings. Deceptively simple they immediately convey the energy of the situations described on the pages. Even as a child I recognised that there was something very special about them.

Spark: sixteen

A series about people that have influenced my creative path

8b29516vDorothea Lange; Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936

A small part of my BA in Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins was spent doing ‘complimentary studies’. Running in parallel with our design work we researched and discussed Art and Design history. One of my tutors gave lectures on photojournalism and through him I became fascinated by the power of photography… how so much could be conveyed in a single frame. One of the first images he showed us was this acclaimed portrait of a destitute mother (Florence Owens Thompson) from the Californian Dust Bowl, by Dorothea Lange (1895-1965). It has stuck with me ever since. In fact, looking at again over the last few weeks, I feel it resonates with me even more, because now I have children.