Macmillan Science and Education recently invested in part of the Kings Cross regeneration
development, bringing together all of its separate divisions to
work together in
a 'campus' style environment. The company acquired some beautiful
historical buildings that make up the campus, one of which is known
as 'The Stables', formerly used to house the horses who pulled the
horse-drawn omnibuses. Macmillan were keen to
this local history, and wanted to create a focal point for the
campus in the form of a life size, white horse statue, positioned
within The Stables building.
A team of designers from Macmillan Science and Education came up with the concept to create a saddle for the horse, the
saddle acting as a metaphor for stability and balance as the company
(and publishing as an industry) embark on a period of substantial change
and development, whilst celebrating Macmillan's
rich heritage through the beauty of its objects.
It was my role to turn their concept into an art installation. I had access to some stunning documents from the Macmillan archives (ranging from Sir John Tenniel's
Alice in Wonderland
illustrations to the original St. Martin's architects plan) and my brief was to incorporate these documents into the installation.
the installation to be beautiful and really make the most of materials
that would otherwise never be seen.'
Firstly, the horse (pictured here) was delivered to my studio, where it lived with me
for a few months, while I worked on the saddle.
I borrowed an equestrian saddle, in order to work out the pattern, and I familiarised myself with equestrian terminology. Here, I am working on the stirrups.
Macmillan were keen for me to incorporate their logo into the design.
Book cloths were used for details, such as the brass attachments and rosettes.
Macmillan Science and Education gave me some of their original archive material to use, such as these maps. For their collections of rare manuscripts and first editions, I took scans and printed them out on to the end papers of old books.
The Stirrup Leathers
The Saddle Tree is the base on which the rest of the saddle is built. Usually it is based on wood
or a similar synthetic material, and is eventually covered in leather. My Saddle Tree was made from cardboard.
Cutting out the pattern for the seat.
I decided to stitch the fragments of pages and cloths together to represent the unity of the Macmillan Science and Educationn divisions coming together and working together in their new building.
The final installation in The Stables, Macmillan Science and Education, Kings Cross
The team from Macmillan Science and Education sanded and spray-painted the fibre glass horse.
I love stationery! The stationery company 'Roger la Borde' are continuosly coming up with innovative ideas to add to their collection of Su Blackwell's range of exquisite designs. Later in the year they will be releasing more products to the range, and as soon as they do, I will let you know.
Liberty London have launched their New Season of Liberty Art Fabrics.
Wild Flowers by Su Blackwell is a recollection of early childhood
journeys across the British landscape in discovery of native flora. This
joyous Liberty fabric was initially inspired by illustrations from an early 19th Century book, 'Field Guide to Wild Flowers in Britain'.
Original sculpture commissioned by Liberty London.
A Field-Guide to Wild Flowers of the British Isles
I got out my trusted Bernina sewing machine, and made the cushions (below). The dress (modelled by my daughter 'Miki') was made by a friend.