Friday, September 13, 2013

Report from Regent Street: Eve of the London Design Festival

Cups of the Day #126 - A Rainy Day in London
Cup Artwork by Gwyneth Leech, mixed media on used paper coffee cups

I am actually here, treading the stones of Regent Street which curves gracefully down from Oxford Circus, its domes and handsome facades washed by light rain this morning and people hurrying by with umbrellas or jumping on red double-decker buses. This is London of the imagination!

September 13th, a rainy Friday

I spent the day yesterday unpacking and hanging the cups, assisted by Anna and Heather, two delightful young women who work at Anthropologie. Before we knew it, 365 cups appeared  to be free floating in the window space and crowds were already gathering outside to take photos. Tomorrow, the Design Festival begins and I will take up residence in the window to draw for five days. See the schedule below.

Anthropologie at 158 Regent Street, London

The cup artwork, as packed for travel

I was relieved to see that the porcelain cups in eight of my designs have arrived in-store. After many months of imagining this, how fascinating to see my drawings so multiplied on rows and stacks of cups! At the moment, the porcelain cups are available exclusively in the Regent Street store. Details of a wider launch will follow.

The Porcelain cups are in-store at Regent Street

Heather directed me to several local coffee bars, just around the corner in Golden Square. I was especially taken with Nordic Cafe, not just the coffee but the cinnamon rolls! An additional treat was watching  the games of municipal ping pong and large-scale chess going forward in the square itself. Definitely enjoying some dolce vita in the calm before the festival gets underway.

Some outdoor entertainment in Golden Square on Thursday evening.

Here are some recent articles and blog posts about the cups in London, and Anthropologie's festival activities:
The Telepragh: Gwyneth Leech - the Art of Paper Cups
Vogue Living: Things to Do and See at London Design Week 2013
Mollie Makes: Anthropologie Celebrates the London Design Festival

For the festival program click here:
London Design Festival Program

 Rainy Day in Regent Street

The Cups are on view at Anthropologie 158 Regent Street  24 hours a day through October 4th.

During the Festival I will be drawing on site on the following schedule:
Saturday 14th Sep: 12-3pm
Sunday 15th September: 12-3pm
Monday 16th Sep: 11am – 2pm
Tuesday 17th Sep: 4-7pm
Wednesday 18th Sep: 4-7pm

I will also be returning to Edinburgh where I studied art, and will be doing a live drawing event in Anthropologie's George Street store  on Saturday, 21st September from 12-3 pm, with a talk at 2 p.m. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Anthropologie Presents Molly Hatch and Gwyneth Leech for London Design Festival 2013


Gwyneth Leech at work on a cup art installation
Photo Credit: Marianne Barcellona

I am delighted to announce a collaboration with Anthropologie that will launch during the London Design Festival, which begins next week, September 14th, with an exhibition of 365 of my original cup artworks in the window of Anthropologie's store at 158 Regent Street. Below is the text of the official press release:
"Anthropologie is delighted to announce that to celebrate London Design Festival 2013, we will be hosting two inspirational exhibitions by the celebrated international artists Molly Hatch and Gwyneth Leech. Art and creativity are at the heart of the Anthropologie ethos, meaning that London Design Festival is always an important and exciting time of year for our customers and staff, and we are proud to be bringing work by Molly and Gwyneth to London to coincide with LDF.

At our King’s Road Gallery, the artist-designer and Massachusetts resident, Molly Hatch, will be presenting a collection of her celebrated ‘plate paintings’. Entitled Render, the work will take inspiration from the vintage textiles and ceramic archives Molly has been unearthing in the collections of the V&A. Molly will discuss her influences and artistic career in an interview with Polly Leonard, of Selvedge magazine, in our King’s Road store on Tuesday, 17th September from 6 – 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, our Regent Street store windows will be handed over to the New York City artist Gwyneth Leech, who will create a spectacular installation comprising of expressively hand-drawn and painted paper coffee cups – her signature artistic medium. Gwyneth’s passion for public art and drawing will be combined as she spends five days working in the store windows, making art on dozens of coffee cups inspired by the street scene set before her.

Both Molly and Gwyneth’s work sells for considerable sums to collectors worldwide, but Anthropologie is proud to announce that as part of our collaboration with these artists we will be carrying a limited edition range of specially created porcelain mugs, plates and vases for sale in our London stores.

Plate Paintings by Molly Hatch
Photo Credit: Molly Hatch

In an effort to claim the functional surface as a painting surface, RENDER is a new collection of plate paintings and vases made sourcing the textile and ceramic collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
In the translation and re-working of historic fabric patterns to the ceramic surface of a group of plates, Render becomes an exploration of the relationship between the historic and the contemporary with artworks crossing over categories of decorative art, design and fine art. Through shift in scale, color and context, the compositions of plates both abstract and highlight aspects of the textile patterns, encouraging a new dialogue in pattern.
The pair of vases have also been rendered in a new way—scrambling the expected through the creation of multiple planes and an overall rearranging and collaging of historically sourced surface pattern and decoration. Again, encouraging a new experience of the familiar.
Fascinated by how we live with objects, how and why we acquire objects and what happens to them throughout history, I see this exhibition as a reflection of the life of surface pattern through the decorative art continuum.

Gwyneth Leech Cup Drawings
Photo Credit: Marianne Barcellona
I like my hot coffee or tea in a paper take-out cup, like millions of my fellow New Yorkers. Even better than the contents, I like the used cup as a surface on which to draw and paint. And before I begin, I write on the bottom the date, location, occasion and the beverage consumed so that every cup becomes the record of a social moment.
For Anthropologie in London’s Regent Street I am showing 365 of my original cup artworks, each representing a daily caffeine break. The installation makes visible largely unconscious patterns of consumption; this is what one simple take-away purchase looks like over the course of a year, this is what would usually be thrown away. It can be seen as a measure of time gone by, of money spent, of space to be taken up in a landfill.
But as I upcycle each used cup into an artwork, it becomes the measure of other things as well: an artist’s regular habit of generating new ideas, a diary of time spent with friends and colleagues, and the cumulative positive effect of doing something small and manageable every day.

Gwyneth will be painting in the window of Regent Street at the following times:

Saturday 14th Sep: 12-3pm
Sunday 15th September: 12-3pm
Monday 16th Sep: 11am – 2pm
Tuesday 17th Sep: 4-7pm
Wednesday 18th Sep: 4-7pm
Gwyneth will also be returning to Edinburgh on Saturday, 21st September (12 – 3 p.m.) where she studied art, to give a talk in our store at 2 p.m. explaining her artistic life and career and will create a special work of art on the day taking inspiration from the Scottish location."

Gwyneth Leech at work in a window installation in NYC
Photo Credit: Gwyneth Leech