Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Abstract Art of 1950s Fashion Print


After browsing through a new purchase request, '1980s Fashion Print' by Marnie Fogg (available in the Library soon!), we looked up another book in the series by the same author, '1950s Fashion Print', and were struck by the abstract beauty of the designs, which could easily be exhibited as artworks in themselves.



Abstraction was intrinsic to 1950s print design, with designers (in parallel with the painters of the day) using creatively organised shapes, forms and colours which had no counterparts in nature.

Take out '1950s Fashion Print' , available on the first floor of the Library, and be inspired for your next project.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Celebrating Ivor the Engine's 55th Anniversary



Ivor the Engine was a British children's animation series created by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin for their SmallFilms company in 1959. Ivor follows the adventures of a little locomotive in the top left-hand corner of Wales, along with his cheery, rosy-cheeked driver, Edwin Jones. Ivor has a number of friends in his village, including the grumbly station master, Dai, as well as Bluebell the Donkey, Idris the Dragon, and many others, besides. Made with watercolour-painted cardboard cutouts, and animated using stop-motion techniques, the series was originally made for black and white television in 1959, before being picked up by the BBC in 1975 and remade in colour.  




For more information about Ivor the Engine, Oliver Postgate and SmallFilms, why not take out our DVD, 'Oliver Postgate: A Life in Small Films', available in the DVD collection on the second floor of the Library? You could also look at the SmallFilms website, too!



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Strategic Questions - New Display at the Library

As you may have seen from our Twitter account, there is a new display on the second floor of the GSA library.

Based on Strategic Questions (curated by Gavin Wade, 2002) - an on-going project to develop forty projects in response to forty questions written by architect R. Buckminster Fuller. Each project is an artwork or combination of artworks developed in relation to forty different publication scenarios. Each project tackles one question (such as, 'What is intellect?', 'What is wealth?', etc.) and is placed into an existing magazine, journal or other publication vehicle (or a new publication is developed in response to a specific site and context).

These strategic questions were written by R. Buckminster Fuller as part of a statement to a leading figure in the world building industry. The statement is called Design Strategy (1966), and was published in Fuller's Utopia or Oblivion: The Prospects for Humanity (1969, p.352). It is Fuller's proposition that to achieve total success for all humanity until the end of time, all interested parties must agree upon the answers to these strategic questions before they can successfully combine their efforts.

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If you'd like find out more about the project, then please follow this link. You can also find a full bibliography for everything on display on the library VLE site.


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Artists U: a Movement for sustainable art practice

Artists U are a movement originating from America questioning the current cycle of unsustainable exploitative practices in the field of art and trying to offer an alternative.

Their mission statement is as follows:

Artists U is a grassroots, artist-run platform for changing the working conditions of artists.
Make art. Don’t starve.
We want to change the conversations artists have in our heads, with each other, and with the world.
We push artists to build lives that are balanced, productive, and sustainable.
We are skills-based, not need-based: we work to empower artists to create their lives and their art.
We don’t give advice. We don’t do things for you.
Everything we do is artist-to-artist and free for all participants.

Artists U have now produced a book, which is available to buy online, but also free to download as a PDF, called Making Your Life as an Artist. They are aiming to get 100,000 artists to read this book (and have reached 57,882 downloads so far). Follow this link to download a copy for yourself.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

This is Make Works: a curated directory of Scottish industry

Ever had a great creative idea, but couldn't bring it about because you could source your materials of manufacturing processes locally? Well, hopefully, this no longer needs to be the case thanks to the Make Works directory of local Scottish fabricators, material suppliers and facilities.

This website isn't your usual bland and anonymous directory, MakeWorks have personally gone out and visited each facility listed on the directory in order to gather information, photos and videos of the processes and materials involved, providing a rich picture of what each place can offer. You can also find expert production guides and articles covering a whole range of subjects.


Make Works is a great source of information for students, researchers and makers alike and it is continuously adding new content. To find out mare about Make Works, visit their website or sign up to their newsletter online.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Times Digital Archive now available on campus!

I'm sure you'll all be happy to hear that the GSA Library can now give you access to the entire digital archive of the Times newspaper from 1785 to 2008. The Times Digital Archive offers access to 220 years of The Times as full-text facsimile. It's a great opportunity for students and researchers to explore the context surrounding the period of time covered by their research.


The Times Digital Archive is accessible on campus only via the GSA Library catalogue. Follow this link to try it out today.

Monday, June 30, 2014

New online resource: Arts Search

As some may know, the GSA Library lost a great number of its pre-1985 journal collections in the fire of the 23rd of May, including seminal publications such as The Studio and Dekorative Kunst, which were of great interest to researchers at the art school.

We're currently working on rebuilding those collections in print, however meanwhile, we're happy to inform you that we have subscribed to Arts:Search, an online journal database which contains many of the most important decorative and fine arts journals published in Europe and the USA during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, making them available for the first time in a searchable form online.


Arts:Search also offers the opportunity to access Arts+Architecture ProFiles (AAP), a biographical dictionary of modern designers, craftspeople, artists and architects, and Design Abstracts Retrospective (DAR), a new ongoing abstracting and indexing service that aims to cover many of the most important design and applied arts journals and annuals published during the twentieth century.

Access to this online resource is available via the GSA Library Catalogue, on campus only.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Artists' Books and Multiples...

Looking for a bit of inspiration or maybe some contextual research relating to Artists' Books? Look no further than the Artists' Books and Multiples blog hosted by Dave Dyment. It's a mine of resources, articles and features on Artists' Books and includes lots of images for your pleasure!


Dave Dyment is an artist, writer and curator based in Toronto, Canada. He is the co-editor of "One for Me and One to Share: Artists Multiples and Editions" (YYZ Books, 2012). He has been keeping this blog since 2008 and built it up to be an undeniable resource on the topic of Artists' Books. 


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Intellect Journals: Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education

As previously announced, the GSA Library are now taking an electronic subscription to the ground breaking collection of Intellect Journals. We'll be telling you about the various journals included in the subscription over the coming months and today we're highlighting Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education:

How can art, design and communication aid teaching? Do these teaching methods work better in certain fields of study? Focusing on arts and media-based subjects, and encompassing all areas of higher education, this journal reveals the potential value of new educational styles and creative teaching methods.

This journal has had 30 issues published to date and it's a great new resource for anyone interested in Art Education as well as other disciplines. It's accessible electronically through our catalogue, following this link. Access off-campus will require an institutional login using your GSA login and password.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Intellect Journals: Craft Research

As previously announced, the GSA Library are now taking an electronic subscription to the ground breaking collection of Intellect Journals. We'll be telling you about the various journals included in the subscription over the coming months and today we're highlighting Craft Research:


The aim of Craft Research is to advocate and promote current and emerging craft research, including research into materials, processes, methods, concepts, aesthetic and style. This may be in any discipline area of the applied arts and crafts, including craft education.


This journal is currently in its 6th publication and a great new resource for anyone interested in Craft and Process-based Work as well as other disciplines. It's accessible electronically through our catalogue, following this link. Access off-campus will require an institutional login using your GSA login and password.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Blown glass by Bocci

We came across this video today of Canadian lighting company Bocci's creative director Omer Arbel describing the process of glass blowers making the bubbles in some of the company's recent creations and we simply had to share it with you... Bocci are famous for their glass designs including the masterful chandeliers exhibited in museums such as the Victoria and Albert in London. We hope you enjoy the show!


Thursday, May 01, 2014

Home Within Home Within Home Within Home Within Home

A stunning feat of aerial architecture, Do Ho Suh continues to explore the themes of home, displacement and cultural exchanges with his latest work at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.
In this piece, he has created an exact architectural replica of his LA home in fabric and placed within it a replica of his family's traditional Korean home, creating a surreal juxtaposition. Follow this link to read more about the installation.

Home Within Home Within Home Within Home Within Home

Home Within Home Within Home Within Home Within Home

Home Within Home Within Home Within Home Within Home

Home Within Home Within Home Within Home Within Home

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Intellect Journals: Art & the Public Sphere

The GSA Library are happy to announce that they have taken out an electronic subscription to the ground breaking collection of Intellect Journals. We'll be telling you about the various journals included in the subscription over the coming months and today we're highlighting Art & The Public Sphere:


Art & the Public Sphere provides a new platform for academics, artists, curators, art historians and theorists whose working practices  are broadly concerned with contemporary art's relation to the public sphere. The journal presents a crucial examination of contemporary art's link to the public realm, offering an engaged and responsive forum in which to debate the newly emerging series of developments within contemporary thinking, society and international art practice.

This journal is currently in its 3rd publication and a great new resource for Sculpture/Environmental Art and other disciplines. It's accessible electronically through our catalogue, following this link. Access off-campus will require an institutional login using your GSA login and password.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Internet Detective: Improve your internet search skills

Were you disappointed with the mark on your last essay? Did you get pulled up for using the wrong mix of sources or poor quality sources? Maybe you need to brush up on your internet search skills with the Internet Detective, a free online tutorial geared towards academic writing.


This online tutorial will take you through examples of good and bad sources and citations and explain the difference between the two. It also has little quizzes to test your knowledge as well as information on referencing and copyright law.

Monday, April 28, 2014

British Pathe on Youtube

British Pathe have been around ever since the birth of the moving image industry and brought news, information and culture to our cinemas from the time they first opened. With such a wealth of footage and newsreels, we're delighted to find out that British Pathe have now made available online their entire footage archive via youtube.


You find footage here of the Hindenburg Disaster, Arnold Schwartznegger winning the Mr Universe Contest, footage of the First World War and much more rare and precious footage.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Upcoming seminar: Work of mutual interest - Galleries and artists engaging with audiences

Engage are presenting a great new seminar next week at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, in Edinburgh, on the 23rd of April. Places are free but must be booked in advance.

THE NATION // LIVE - FAITH
Recent projects such as Collective's All Sided Games, the National Galleries Scotland's The Nation//Live and Tramway's Albert Drive will be the main topics of debate and discussion, along with talks and presentations from the following artists: Anthony Schrag, Arpita Shah, Daniel Warren, Kevin Reid and Martin O’ Connor.

Albert Drive Project, Tramway
Follow this link to find out more about how to book a place on the seminar.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New online resource: The Audio Arts archive

In 1972, artist William Furlong conceived and created the sound art magazine Audio Arts as a cassette-based audio magazine. The magazine ran for 33 years and had 24 volumes in total, each of four issues, alongside more than 60 supplements.


Audio Arts focused on documenting contemporary artists' work by recording their voices, usually done in close proximity to their work. It developed over time to include interviews with artists and curators, artists commenting on their work, documentation of major art events, collaborations between artists, sound performances and other sound works. Total contributions feature more than 900 individual artists including Joseph Beuys, Ian Breakwell, Tracey Emin and Andy Warhol.


The GSA Library used to subscribe to Audio Arts and held the tapes as part of its collection until the medium of the audio cassette became obsolete and was no longer accessible to the library's patrons. We're happy therefore to announce that Tate have now acquired and digitised the entire archive of Audio Arts, making it available to everyone online.

You can access the entire Audio Arts archive here and watch this video of William Furlong to find out more about his reasons for starting the magazine and how it was produced.


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

A Video Guide to the Art Crit

Art Crits: 20 Questions have commissioned an Artist's Video (Talking About Talking About: An Introduction to Visual Art Critiques by Giles Bunch) on the theme of the Art Crit. The video tries to answer 4 main questions: the purpose of the art crit, Finding the right approach to the art crit, problems and solutions and tips on reading an artwork and speaking about your work in public.


This video complements the publication Art crits: 20 questions - a pocket guide, also published by Q-Art, as well as a few of their other books on the theme of art education 12 gallerists, 20 questions11 course leaders: 20 questions and 15 methods: 20 questions, all available in the GSA Library collection.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Invasion of the surreal

Augmented reality is the latest hype in technology and Pepsi Max have been paving the way in London for its uses in the world of advertising. Check out the video below with the bemused reactions of people as they wait for a bus in an augmented reality bus shelter. On one side you just see a run of the mill Pepsi Max advert, but on the other you step into a world full of alien invasions, escaped wild animals and so much more...


The GSA's digital culture course currently investigate the use of augmented reality. What reality would you like to see augmented at GSA?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Life Captured in Macro

When I first came across these photos, I thought these were the creations of a fancy new fashion designer, but imagine my surprise when I realised they were the photographs of the wings of butterflies and moths taken by Linden Gledhill at a macroscopic level. You then realise that what looks like solid shapes are more like flurries of small petals creating the wonderful array of colour on these insects' wings.

 Gorgeous Macro Photographs of Butterfly and Moth Wings by Linden Gledhill nature moths macro insects butterflies

Gorgeous Macro Photographs of Butterfly and Moth Wings by Linden Gledhill nature moths macro insects butterflies

Gorgeous Macro Photographs of Butterfly and Moth Wings by Linden Gledhill nature moths macro insects butterflies

Gledhill is becoming well-known for his mastery of this technique and you can find out more about taken macro-photography with this episode of Smarter Everyday and check out this blog post for more of the same photos.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What I Know Is: A Research Symposium on Online Collaborative Knowledge-Building

The GSA Library attended last week a fascinating symposium on the theme of open knowledge and open education at the University of Stirling.

The first strand of the Symposium was on Digital Publishing and Open Access and got started with Ally Crockford, currently Wikimedian-in-Residence at the National Library of Scotland. Ally commented on some of the perceived anxieties about Wikipedia in library environments such as anxieties about the way students are now accessing information via Wikipedia rather than via library collections and anxieties about whether Wikipedia will soon make institutions such as libraries obsolete. Ally argued for exactly the opposite of the perceived anxieties, namely that rather than making libraries obsolete, Wikipedia holds the possibility of driving more traffic back into libraries thanks to its referencing system, but also of driving more traffic towards some of the digital initiatives that libraries are undertaking nowadays. Ally used the example of project specific resources, such as the Duncan Street Explorer or the Scottish Science Hall of fame, which a lot of time and effort has gone into, but which you wouldn't necessarily come across unless you were specifically carrying out research on that topic. Wikipedia on the other hand has a strong factor of incidental traffic which leads itself to discovery, so instead of acting as competition, Wikipedia can instead act as a gateway to these digital projects. If more librarians and other professionals in the Gallery, Museums and Archives sector add references to Wikipedia, then it has the potential of becoming a structure that supports open access to these digital resources and platforms.

In the same strand, Padmini Ray Murray, who teaches at the university of Sterling and has recently become a  Board Trustee for the Wikimedia UK Foundation, then carried the conversation onto ideas linked with Open Access Publishing. Padmini introduced her address in the context of the debate raised by Harvard in 2012 when they chose to denounce the outrageous prices set by academic publishers and instead urged their academic staff to switch to publishing their research through open-access journals. Padmini compared the current academic publishing structure to that outlined in Sorenson Mork Peterson's essay Loser Generated Content: From Participation to Exploitation analysing user exploitation trends occurring in Web 2.0. Padmini went on to outline a number of initiatives which have been trying to offer solutions to this issue, such as the Aaron Swartz's wish, leading to tax-funded research becoming freely available and the recent Knowledge Unlatched initiative which seeks to make books freely accessible on a Creative Commons license with the help of libraries around the world. Padmini added that she also saw academics using and contributing to Wikipedia as a stance of political resistance in this context. She sees the act of making academic knowledge and research openly accessible as part of our civic responsibilities, in reference to Tim Berners-Lee's recent call for a digital users' Bill of Rights, which should surely go hand in hand with a bill of responsibilities? In conclusion, Padmini drew our attention to Ben Werdmuller's definition of "Respectful Software", which is something for all of us to aspire to in the world of open access.

In the afternoon, we moved on to a new strand on Networked Communities, Commons and Open Learning. Penny Travlou from the University of Edinburgh, talking about her ethnographic research on networked artist communities and the concept of Co-Creation as a Model of Creativity. Penny made reference to the current maker movement with David Gauntlet's book Making is Connecting and its influence on contemporary art. She then expanded on some examples of open-source, networked art making with movements such as Art is open Source and the Furtherfield community which she explored as part of her ethnographic research. As another example of open-source art project, Penny also drew oour attention to Salvatore Laconesi's project La Cura, which she'd been involved with as a participant. As part of the discussion following the presentation, the point was raised that these collaborative cyber art practices are still not considered part of mainstream art, but rather exist as a marginal element, still awaiting recognition as Claire Bishop describes in her essay The Digital Divide.

The next part of that strand was led by Lorna Campbell, from CETIS, who works with OpenScotland and the UK Open Knowledge Foundation. Lorna began her talk by touching on some of the legacies of the UK OER program and in particular about the yearly OER conferences which continue to take place despite the original OER program having come to an end and are going from strength to strength (the next OER conference will be taking place in Newcastle at the end of April). Lorna pointed out a couple of interesting Scottish examples of OERs with the Napier 3E Framework and the Glasgow Caledonian University Library OER Guidelines, as well as drawing attention to Re:Source, the new resource-sharing platform for the college sector in Scotland, all providing support structures for the further development of new OERs. Some interesting conversations came up during Lorna's talk in relation to MOOCs and the fact that they are free, but not open-source, raising the point of what constitutes open in the context of education.

The conversation ended with a discussion between Toni Sant and Greg Singh on the theme of digital humanities. Toni Sant is currently the head of the Wikimedia UK Education Outreach initiative and teaches at the university of Hull. Practicing what he preaches, Toni hasn't read a student essay since 2010, assessing them instead on their contributions to Wikipedia. He'll be leading the next Annual EduWiki Conference, which will be taking place in Edinburgh either end of October or beginning of November 2014 (dates to be confirmed).


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Approaches to Anatomy...

You might have noticed the GSA Library and Archives' display on Anatomy, currently showing on Level 1 of the GSA library...


Well we've been inspired by that display to look up a few ways in which artists have drawn their inspiration from anatomy aside from life drawing, mixed media artist Travis Bedel who creates intricate collages inspired by anatomical drawings and treatises:

Anatomical Collages by Travis Bedel mixed media collage anatomy

Much in the same vein, artist Lisa Nilsson recreates anatomical cross-sections using a quilling technique, which she then displays in wooden cases, reminiscent of what you'd expect a last century surgeon to keep his instruments in:

Anatomical Cross Sections Made with Quilled Paper by Lisa Nilsson quilling paper anatomy

With a more technological approach, Jessica Lloyd-Jones creates fabulous artworks in her collection Anatomical Neon. She describes the 2 works photographed below as follows:

Optic Nerve shows a similar effect, more akin to the blood vessels of the eye and with a front ‘lens’ magnifying the movement and the intensity of light. [...] Electric Lungs is a more technically intricate structure with xenon gas spreading through its passage ways, communicating our human unawareness of the trace gases we inhale in our breathable atmosphere.

Anatomical Neon: Blown Glass Human Organs Containing Neon Lights by Jessica Lloyd Jones sculpture neon light glass anatomy

Anatomical Neon: Blown Glass Human Organs Containing Neon Lights by Jessica Lloyd Jones sculpture neon light glass anatomy

 You can find out more about all these artworks on the Colossal blog.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Library of Lost Books

The Library of Lost Books is a wonderful initiative which was launched at the time of the opening the new Library of Birmingham and is currently touring the country as a travelling exhibition. The concept behind the project is simple yet really amazing, the LoLB curator rescued old, unwanted and unloved books which were being disposed of and saved them from getting pulped then sent them to a wide and varied group of artists who work with books as part of their art practice to repurpose them into beautiful pieces of art.



Find out more about the different artists involved in the project here and read the blog chronicling the various artworks as well as the events surrounding the travelling exhibition.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Brits who built the Modern World

Check out  this TV series currently showing on BBC4 and available on the iPlayer: The Brits who built the Modern World, a series of documentaries investigating architects from the 60s through to the 90s and their various influences on the built environment.


The BBC have teamed up with the Open University to offer a short interactive course Building Stories related to some of the architects as well as some free MOOCs  on the theme of Design, Design Thinking and people-centred designing which anyone can sign up to and work their way in 10 - 28hrs depending on the course. All these OU resources are available here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New e-Book: Play as engagement and communication

We're happy to announce the library has purchased a new e-Book for Art and Design called Play as Engagement and Communication thanks to the suggest for purchase function which features in our catalogue.

As some of you might know, we have populated the catalogue with e-Books which we believe would be of interest to our students. If you come across on of those, you have the option to Preview the book for 5 minutes and if you think it is of interest to your studies, you can Suggest it for Purchase and the librarians will then okay your request. This allows us to make sure that the e-Books we purchase are of relevance to our students and allows you to gets access to a book usually within 24 hrs of making the request.


Play as Engagement and Communication by Eva Nwokah:

This multidisciplinary and varied perspective on play continues the stimulating and informative volumes in the Play and Culture Studies series. The primary focus of the papers in this volume is to reflect on the close relationship between play and the process of engaging and communicating with others in different contexts.