It’s been a whole seven days since I wrote my first blog entry on THE ONLY WAY IS IRONBBRATZ! and today I must admit that I feel somewhat of a fraud, as instead of sitting in my warm, cosy studio at Ironbbratz I’m actually sitting at home in my flat. I’m giving you this information just to demonstrate that even when I’m away from the studio; it’s always on my mind!
On average it takes me around 30 minutes to walk from my flat in Kelvinbridge to the Ironbbratz studios which are right at the centre of Merchant City. But I never ever consider this half-an-hour in anyway a drag. Truth be told going to the studio often feels like going to my actual home. And nothing makes one feel more at home than getting in and finding Krispy Kreme donuts waiting for you on the kitchen table. These donuts appeared at Ironbbratz yesterday, a group of originally twelve – although they were already well depleted upon my arrival, and had come all the way from the exotic reaches of Liverpool.
On Wednesday of this week I sent follow studio member Alan Campbell down to Liverpool on a mission to photograph my recent exhibition, My Five New Friends, in the city’s Royal Standard. Alan not only brought the documentation back with him, but crazily also transported a crate of Krispy Kreme’s home for all to enjoy.
The second instance which occurred this week and reminded me of how much I consider Ironbbratz to be an extended part of my home was the continued development of the ‘home improvements’ we are currently making in the studios. With extreme technical support by Robin Leishman, recent studio member on the BROOD programme and local heartthrob, we managed to take one wall down from my beloved but bijou studio set up and transform the space into something almost double of its original size. We continue to develop the kitchen/living space also and this will take greater shape in the next few weeks. It is our own version of Grand Designs and could not be achieved at all without the consistent support from resident architects Pidgin Perfect.
(If you wanted to know more about Robin – OR ANY OTHER STUDIO MEMBER – we are currently looking for a few more studio members, PLUS if you’re pre-art school you can apply to our new BROOD programme and even get to be mentored by Robin himself!!)
Both studio holders and extremely active participants in the development of both the social and business side of Ironbbratz the Pidgin’s have been making up sketches and been in dialogue with other studio users to ensure that the overhaul of the current social space is one to suit everyone. Of course they are not the only ones to credit and both Amanda Dobbratz (Queen of Ironbbratz AND hearts) and Tawny Kerr (when she takes a break from serving the city of art materials or protecting the city from art taxes) have made valuable contributions. Using her art retail connections Tawny was the first to dive into the studio changes, by finally giving the microwave until some much needed love and care. In the form of a new gingham covering! This is just the beginning in the country cottage/tree-house/common room/snuggle area that we are working together to build for everyone.
Additionally this week I was very honoured to be invited to The Telfer Gallery’s first ever real programming session. The Telfer is a new gallery/creative project space that is hosted within the Ironbbratz studios. It aims to provide both studio members and non-members with opportunities to show their work to a wider public. As a fairly recent initiative it hasn’t yet had the chance to fully address how the programme for 2012 would work up until now. As with anything Ironbbratz related, the business side of this was punctuated with pleasure and Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day was chosen as the day for these decisions to be made. Hosted at committee member Bart Manders’s house, we were treated to Dutch pancakes served with a variety of different toppings – most people opting for a topping of every available ingredient. We feasted on ice cream, nuts, apple syrup, Nutella and even profiteroles all presented across delicious thick pancake and following on from this reviewed and made decisions on new projects to pursue and also new team members to help realise these projects. A line-up has been provisionally made so keep your ears and eyes out for updates coming soon!! Also to watch over the following weeks is Natalia Palombo, both a Telfer committee member and Ironbbratz studio holder, who has given up chocolate for the entirety of Lent. I’ll keep you updated on this brave woman’s struggle!
In other studio news plans have been made to shoot out first THE ONLY WAY IS IRONBBRATZ! promotional film, with Olga Criado Monleon volunteering to play a very important start role! We’re all looking forward to that! Kenneth Whyte who inhabits the room at the end (or start depending on where you begin) of the studios has an upcoming exhibition that he’s working towards finishing and Marc, of Pidgin Perfect fame, has been ill – which explains his face in the photograph taken of me and him below! 😉
We’ve also been joined by a new temporary member of the studios, Caroline, who after a year at Prince’s Drawing School has occupied Ironbbratz as part of her design course run by BBC Scotland. So a big welcome to her! Hilary is working on her wedding dress commission and the other day very generously donated to me a selection of flower decals she got from her time working at Harvey Nichols. In other fashion design related news, please do check out studio member Annalisa Simonella’s new collection of amazing clothes that she has been putting together since her time here. I can’t wait for her to start on a men’s collection – they are seriously amazing!
Meanwhile, during all this action, two members from the so called ‘West-Wing’ of the studios – Ashley Russell and John MacDonald – have eloped together on an exciting break into the highlands. No doubt they’ll be bringing back some exciting discoveries soon, especially Ashley who is originally from Australia. I have a slight inkling that both of them may be on the run from the law, but are both very nice about it on day-to-day contact.
So once again, when it comes to studio-building, donut providing or even fugitive behaviour hopefully I have proven– THE ONLY WAY IS IRONBBRATZ!!!