Nutrient: May

17 May 2023
Nutrient: May

Nutrient: (noun) a substance that provides nourishment essential for the maintenance of life & growth. 

Here are ours for this month. 


I purchased a Supermundane  x Ivor Cutler limited edition print on demand T-shirt and I'm grateful to artist Rob Lowe (aka Supermundane), whose hero is Ivor Cutler [pictured above], for reminding me how great our other national bard is in this, his centenary year. If you're new to him, you could start here. Cutler was definitely Irregular in the best way. 

While the cool kids discovered him via John Peel, my introduction was through the older members of the ceilidh band I played in from the age of 13, who would quote Cutler constantly (including this about his family "going to the beach". Life in a Scotch Sitting Room is excellent toilet reading material. Although Cutler is mainly remembered for his more outlandish and eccentric work, he also wrote some really beautiful songs. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of Cutler's minor hit Women of the World Take Over. Listen here to a version sung by Karine Polwart & Louis Abbott which is truly nourishing. 

The latest copy of the Gentlewoman arrived this month, and it's always such a treat. Amazingly, there are 134 profiles of notable women available for free on the library section of their website. The magazine was where I first discovered Lizzo. Other favourite interviews with the artist Andrea Zittel and the art dealer Manuela Wirth


Faye Toogood - Drawing, Material, Sculpture, Landscape 

Though I don't think I have ever actually seen - and certainly not owned - anything by the english designer Faye Toogood, she has been on my peripheral vision for a while and I was therefore intrigued to get hold of a copy of her monograph, recently published by Phaidon. As with her own work, this is a thing of beauty, rich in detail and a tactile delight - bound in heavy uncoated paper with raw edges, exposed binding etc...

Toogood seems to apply a similar conceptual approach to all her projects, which include sculptural objects, furniture, interiors, homewares and clothing: the work always has a strong sense of narrative and she clearly delights in playing with material, proportion and form. 

I havent even finished properly going through the book - it deserves time! - but I have found it inspiring to note the breadth of her practice, which is varied but unified with a certain DNA - playfully poetic? - and lovely to see so many of her original drawings, the looseness of which somehow translates into the final 'products', which invariably seem to carry the trace of craftsmanship and the maker's hand (without crossing over into 'crafty'). The Bouroullec Brothers have this way too... and also dedicate time to drawing as an essential 'nutritious' activity to feed their own practice. 

What makes this all the more impressive (to me, at least!), is that Faye didnt actually study design formally at all, but took a degree in Art History and then worked as a stylist for World of Interiors for a decade. I'm pretty sure that this is part of why her work is so appealing: without a particular disciplinary background, she is free to explore whatever feels right within a given context, and she goes for it with gusto and passion, yet nothing feels laboured: confident ideas, done well.

Too Good!

Ploterre: Artwork created from environmental data

... and so from one 'outsider' to another boundary-hopping polymath who I had the pleasure to meet last weekend in Edinburgh at the Endless Love Creative Spring Maker's Market: Rebecca Kaye, who combines her love of data with a keen graphic design sensibility in her practice Ploterre

Having studied mathematics and following an early career in data research, Rebecca retrained in communication design and now blends these interests in beautiful info-graphic artworks which illustrate various phenomena from the natural world in delightful ways. Each piece takes real data from a particular context (the relative heights of different Scottish  Munrosseaweed variety around the UK coastline, lighthouse illumination 'signatures' etc) and translates this into work which is both beautiful and rich in detail. It's the kind of poetic thinking I love, and will be using these as examples for my own students.

Nice to meet you, Rebecca!