Monday, July 29, 2013

'In Rye' New Mug

‘Do you remember when we walked arm in arm around the narrow cobbled streets? The sun high and hot that summer afternoon? That day belonged to us and us alone. Do you remember the small shops we visited and the lunch we shared. That day will stay with me forever. ''I think we could be happy here'' you said…not realising that we already were. In Rye.’

This week at Ryantown HQ we have been working on more new ceramics. We decided to adapt Rob's drawing 'In Rye', which exists as a screen print and on a t-towel too, to produce a brand new mug.

Earlier in the month, Libby posted a photo on our facebook page of the two colours we had sampled. We couldn't decide which we preferred, so we asked Rob's facebook and twitter followers for help in choosing which colour to produce. After an overwhelming response for both colours we decided to produce the mug in both bright blue and teal!

You can see below some of the stages involved in making the mugs which are then fired in our kiln.


The mug features a specially designed base, like Rob's latest series of ceramic plates, and reads:

'Rye Mug July 2013. Asked by his Teacher in History Class when did the Dark Ages in England end? He answered with mock surprise ''I never realised they had finished!'' Printed and fired at The Mangle studio London E2. R Ryan.’  

Here they are basking in the glorious sunshine in our yard! 

Louise Renforth
Studio Assistant

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

NEW! Plate Edition

‘Scraped in the sand on a beach or scratched on a toilet wall, written on a postcard or felt-penned on a poster in a bus shelter in Birmingham and now living for just a few brief seconds on this single tear I tell you one more time that I Love You.’

This new edition of plates is the second to be produced from Rob’s etchings, and as promised here is a look at the plates being made here at Ryantown HQ.

The plates were screen-printed in three stages, in colour order, grey, brown for the eye and black. They were then cover-coated to create the transfer for the plate. 

Each plate is signed and numbered on the back in gold lustre and reads ‘ Go stare at a guy with no legs and see how lucky you are!! Printed and fired at The Mangle studio. Temple St, London, E2. Robert Ryan. This plate is an edition # of 22’

Louise Renforth
Studio Assistant

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Truants by John Walsh

It seems these days that anything and everything is available just by typing a few words into the google search bar, but it's not true.

For years if I ever saw a book that had been illustrated by Edward Ardizzone I would buy it  just to discover yet more of his beautiful pen and ink line drawings, most of them I never bothered to actually read at all -  and the book pictured below 'The Truants' by John Walsh I must have owned for at least a dozen years and I'm sure I had not looked at it since the day I bought it .That is until a few days ago.

I don't know why I took it down from the book shelf but I'm so glad I did,  flicking through the pages I saw the title of one of the poems 'Last day of the Summer Term' , perhaps it drew my attention because exactly this time of year is just when the schools in England break up for the long summer holiday, and the hot weather we are having so reminded me of my own summers at school in the heatwaves of 1975 and 1976.

As I read, the poem's story unfolded from what at first seemed a rather 'jolly hockey sticks' girl's school tale into a haunting image of such melancholy and sadness that I was dumbfounded.
I must have read it 50 times at least in the last week.
I searched for more information about John Walsh on the internet but drew a blank, which was sad but in a way I was glad that he had disappeared, the thought that hidden within the pages of so many dusty and forgotten books there were still gems like this just waiting to be discovered by someone  interested enough to seek them out made me feel glad that a world of words and dreams still exists somewhere out there besides on a glowing screen.
Anyway, Thank you John, whoever you were or are - and here is your poem....

Last Day of the Summer Term

We sit around in the classroom
Exchanging holiday plans;
The many familiar faces-
Kate’s and Maud’s and Anne’s!

Kate’s spending a month in Brighton;
Joan is for Paris; Maud’s
Going to an aunt in Scotland,
And Anne to the Norfolk Broads.

I listen, envious and silent,
Or do the jobs of the day:
Tidy up; stack books; or I read
In a half-hearted sort of way.

We gather for the last Assembly-
The prayers and the final hymn;
‘If you girls go on being fidgety
I shall keep the whole school in.’

But it’s over at last, all over;
And I walk along home with Sue,
And stand at her door, while she chatters
About what they’re going to do:

They’ve hired a holiday-caravan
Down on the Isle of Wight:
‘We shall set out by car this evening-
We’ll be travelling all night…

‘Ah, well! Good-bye till September!’
I go on to my house alone;
I find my key, and enter
My holiday-home.

The house is close and quiet;
A few dead roses spill
Their petals one by one
On the hot window-sill.

A tap drips in the kitchen;
Two flies buzz on the pane;
There’s a note on the breakfast-table
Two lines from Mother. – ‘Dear Jane,

‘Make yourself a cup of tea, dear;
I’ll be working late at the shop.’
And I turn with hardly a sigh
To the uncleared washing-up;

Or wander vaguely upstairs,
To stare awhile at the tall 
Unanswering photo of father
That hangs on my bedroom wall. 

Posted by Rob R

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A great show in a gallery in a school in the Kent countryside.

On a recent visit to Marlborough our friend Sasha Ward, the genius Glass window designer, was raving recently about a great exhibition she had seen of drawings/paintings of surgeons doing their work in operating theatres by the sculptor Barbara Hepworth at the Pallant House gallery, unfortunately the show had already finished ! Boo !
Looking it up online I learnt that the show would be moving to the Mascalls gallery in Kent ! Hooray !

We were traveling down to Rye anyway so decided to have a country detour to see the show rather than our usual grinding motorway journey. Mascalls gallery is a part of the comprehensive school of the same name in the prettily named Paddocks Wood.

The pictures made by BH are a great cross between pencil drawing and painting, made on boards and primed with successive costs of gesso and stain the surfaces of which are scraped and scratched into to create softly undulating hills of texture, the white primer being revealed beneath the color. Detail is added in pencil and finely scratched line. The subject is one thing only. Surgeons and their assistants working. For this their bodies are covered leaving only the flesh of their hands and the area around their eyes exposed. There is something ghostly and detached about them but also something robotic too, as if these people were engaged in doing something so clinically precise and accurate so as to make them almost like machines, (these pictures were made in a period when science was making great leaps forward, and was already being described as the 'atomic age')

But I didn't see these pictures as cold and clinical, and though they hold all the drama and suspense of extreme concentration I found the gestures within them to be gentle and caring, the eyes so very beautiful and full of warmth.
In fact the whole experience was quite moving, these small almost monotone pictures of people trying to help other people.

The exhibition is on until 20th August 2013, but double check that -I might have got it wrong! Do try and see it if you're in that part of the country, it really is good !

On the way out of the show the grassy playing fields of the school it was set in were dotted with pupils sitting around in groups in the sun, the summer term nearly at an end. It threw me back to days exactly the same in the mid seventies when I didn't fret about the past or the future all day long but was happy to just lie on the grass in the sun and be listening to 'I'm not in love' playing on my transistor radio.

- Posted by Rob R

Friday, July 19, 2013

V&A Lasercut 'You Are My Universe'

Earlier this year the Victoria and Albert Museum invited Rob to create an exclusive piece for their shop. Rob worked closely with the V & A to create 'You Are My Universe', a limited edition lasercut, part of a collection of artworks designed to make the perfect wedding gift. 

 The lasercut is a limited edition of 500 and reads:

'Moons circle planets and planets circle stars, and every star and galaxy has its place in the universe, and you and I will circle each other for you will always be at the heart of my universe and if you want me - I will always be yours'
Rob also designed a special screenprinted folder for the lasercut, here it is being printed at the studio by Jackie.

The lasercut is now available to buy from the V&A.

Louise Renforth
Studio Assistant

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Australian Vogue August 2013

Rob was recently asked by Australian Vogue to illustrate six pages for their 'Love' issue. Six of this season's must-have fashion accessories were chosen by Vogue Australia and Rob created a papercut piece for each of them, from a Burberry bag to a Dolce & Gabbana crown. 

The images above show the work in progress, each of Rob's drawings are carefully cut from one piece of our cutting paper using a scalpel. The papercut is then sprayed with colour and stuck down very lightly to a piece of mount board using tiny dabs of PVA.

Here are the finished pieces. The August issue of Australian Vogue is available to buy now. 

Louise Renforth
Studio Assistant

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Umbrella Plate Edition

Over the past few months Rob finished working on some new etchings, the editions are are available to buy exclusively through TAG Fine Arts and you can see them all here

Within the pages of our latest SPQR newspaper you can read Rob's thoughts behind making his etchings. He etches the drawing with the tip of a metal scribe on to a metal plate, each plate is quite small, around 12 x 10 cm, and Rob uses a big illuminated magnifying glass so he can work in close detail. 

He explains, 'I always thought that the exciting thing about the whole process was that it was never corrected, every accidental scratch and mistake was revealed in the final print...It's an intensely personal experience, almost like you are trying to climb into the very plate itself to personally act out the story you are trying to tell. I'm not interested so much in making a brilliant print, I'm interested in making a good picture.  And working so closely and in such detail you begin to lose yourself in concentration.' 

Rob decided to use one of the etchings in particular to produce a new edition of plates. The plates are made in the same way as our previous edition, you can read about them from my post on June 11th. As this edition is printed in black the only difference with this process is we didn't have to do as much colour sampling. Rob's drawing is screen printed using ceramic ink then a cover coat to create the transfer. Once dry, it is ready to be carefully placed on the ceramic before being fired. There is a final firing in our kiln for the signed edition number in gold lustre on the back. 

The final plates are an edition of 22. Rob is currently in the early stages of producing a further edition of plates from his etchings so I will write a new post soon to show you a behind the scenes look at it being made.

Louise Renforth
Studio Assistant 

Thursday, July 04, 2013

5th Birthday Round Up!

A big thanks to all who came and celebrated the 5th birthday of Ryantown on Saturday, it was a brilliant day. The day started off with a queue of people eager to get their hands on a 'Made It With My Hands' lasercut which we had promised as a gift for the first five visitors. We were overwhelmed to discover that our first visitors had been queueing from 8.30am!!

We spent the day drinking tea, eating cake and talking to customers, friends and fans. Everyone in the studio had been busy baking, including the Ryan family, and Libby made a special cake for the ocassion which Rob and Cynthia cut at 5pm!

In addition to the lasercut we made a limited edition mug to mark the five years. 'You bring light' is an edition of 50, here it is being made in the studio. Jackie delivered the mugs to Ryantown first thing on Saturday morning - they had come straight from the kiln.

Each visitor to the shop received a raffle ticket to have the chance of winning the 'Can We, Shall We?' screenprint. Congratulations to Ned the winner who was close by and able to collect his prize from Rob! 

It has been five fantastic years thank you for all your support, it was fantastic to celebrate with you.

Sarah & Louise
Ryantown HQ