Two new Flea ukulele gig bags in the Ivy Arch shop

I've made two new gig bags for the soprano Flea ukulele. These have a beautiful rounded body shape with channel quilting in straight lines for contrast. One is cut from a bright green and turquoise piece of vintage 1950s barkcloth and has an atomic style bursting seed head print. I love the feel of barkcloth and it makes a perfect strong but soft gig bag. The other is made from Amy Butler's Sari Blooms cotton. It's a wonderful crazy pink paisley fabric with an ornate rust filligree border. I've used the border as the side panels and strap.
Both uke gig bags are on sale now in my Etsy shop.

Mad about Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama's Tate Modern show is my worst nightmare. The most disturbing childhood dream I remember is one where I had to count hundreds of red dots burning on a black background. The background changed to red and the dots became black and I still could not count them. They moved and multiplied and as soon as I started counting more would appear until I knew there were too many to count. Terrified at the impossible ordeal and the spotty vision I screamed myself awake. I've never forgotten the terror of those dots and was confronted with them again looking at Kusama's 1952 painting Parting. It is a visual record of my vivid dream.                             
     Kusama's art touches me. It's familiar, funny and terrifying. Her work famously depicts her history of psychosis, her crazed visions and oppressive hallucinations, but I found it also described my own neuroses. I wonder how many other people in the gallery that day also had a fear of numerous spots? Perhaps it's common.

Yayoi Kusama Walking In My Mind, Hayward Gallery 2009
She is a prolific artist, an original whose work has influenced many others. It's well documented that Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Lucas Samaras and Yoko Ono were inspired by her and I can see her ideas in a wide range of contemporary art (Michael Brennand-Wood's lace constructions, Tony Cragg's sculptures, Leigh Bowery's performance art, Anthony Gormley's Asian Field, Damien Hirst's spot paintings).
     I loved the exuberance of her Happenings and her zany fashion range. I was stunned by the complexity and detail in her many paintings, then found myself wanting to lie down on the sofa and fall asleep in the oddly relaxing fluorescent stickered I'm Here But Nothing room.
     I'm already planning my next trip to London to see the show again.   

Yayoi Kusama is on at Tate Modern until 5th June 2012. 
Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama is published by Tate Publishing.

Kala in my Pocket - the new Ivy Arch pocket ukulele gig bag

Sopranino and Pocket ukes were all the rage at Hollesley Uke Fest last year and as far as I know the only gig bags available for them come in the standard drab, wipe-down black nylon that ukulele case manufacturers seemingly can't get enough of.
     I think it's sad to see such beautiful small instruments encased in synthetic polyamides so I was naturally delighted when my friend (and Bognor's finest stand up comedian) Simon Dooley lent me his Kala Pocket uke so that I could have a go at making a more appropriate carry case for this lovely little ukulele.
      This instrument seemed to deserve an exquisite piece of 1960s screen printed cotton so I chose 'Candida' by Peter Hall - an iconic design which forms part of the V&A textile collection. 
I'm so pleased with the result!

Making a gig bag for a pocket ukulele
Soprano meets pocket uke
To see more pictures of my pocket uke gig bags or to buy, visit the Ivy Arch shop.