Friday, June 28, 2013

5th Birthday Lasercut!!

To celebrate the 5th birthday of Rob's shop Ryantown this weekend, Rob has produced five new limited edition lasercuts.

'I Made It With My Hands' is available in black, light blue, blue, orange and pink and each are a signed edition of 50.

Rob has created a screenprinted folder for the piece which details the history of and Rob's inspiration behind Ryantown.

As part of the 5th birthday celebrations, this Saturday 29th June, Rob is offering the first five customers through Ryantown's door one of these lasercuts as a gift. The shop opens at midday so be sure to get there early if you would like to get your hands on one of these!
Sarah McPhee

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ryantown's 5th Birthday!!!

This Saturday, 29th June 2013, we will be celebrating Ryantown’s 5th Birthday and we invite you to join us for the fun and festivities!! There will be tea, cake and a brand new lasercut edition to exclusively mark the occasion!

Ryantown came about when Rob received a call from a friend asking if he would like to take over the space on Columbia Road. Rob's studio is close by where fresh stock for the shop is produced regularly in small editions. The white walls of the shop create the air of a gallery space with a hand-painted tiled mural on one section and our new tiled wall clock is now on permanent display behind the counter too. Currently in Ryantown you'll find hand printed cushions, screen printed tiles, ceramics, lasercut keys, screenprints and papercuts along with other creations from the Ryantown studio.
Rob’s inspiration is taken from artist inspired retail outlets as diverse as the Omega Workshops based in Fitzroy Square in London in 1913 to The Keith Haring Pop shop in Lafayette street NYC in the 1980's.

We have had some memorable parties at the shop in the past, including turning the entire interior and exterior of the shop to black and white when it became ‘Ryantoon’ in October 2009.  Similarly, In September 2011, Rob collaborated with mini moderns to produce his own wallpaper, and for the launch of this, Ryantown was wallpapered ceiling to floor (including the products) in the design. 

Jackie and Danny screen printed some special party invites on to muslin which you might have been lucky enough to pick up if you have visited Ryantown in the last few weeks. 

The 5th Birthday is sure to be a brilliant day too - we hope to see you there!

Louise Renforth 
Studio Assistant

Friday, June 21, 2013

Make Some Noise! And Then Be Very Quiet!

The 'Make Some Noise...'  zine is made in the same way as the seed booklet I described below. The main difference in this process is Rob's drawing is screen printed in two parts, for each of the different colours. One part is printed then left to dry before layering the second colour on top. This can create some interesting combinations, as you can see from the photograph below. 

We gave out some of the booklets in our retreat at the Chelsea Flower Show, and they are also for sale in our shop on Columbia Road.  

Louise Renforth
Studio Assistant

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Dalslands Kontstmuseum 18th May - 7th July 2013

Rob is showing a small selection of his papercuts until the 7th of July at Dalslands Konstmuseum in Sweden. It is a mixed paper show and includes other artists such as Magie Hollingworth, Cecilia Levy and Agneta Flock.

The museum building itself is built entirely from ecological materials and sits in beautiful surroundings overlooking lake SpÄngen, where visitors can arrive by boat. If you would like more information about the gallery you can visit their website here.

Louise Renforth
Studio Assistant 

Friday, June 14, 2013

NEW Staffordshire Cat Edition: Part 1

Last year we produced our first limited edition of Staffordshire Cats, and since then we have slowly been working on a new edition here at Ryantown HQ. I can now show you some exclusive photographs of the cats in progress and give an insight into how we make them.

We buy the cats as a plain ceramic mold ready to be decorated. Rob starts to work on drawing different sections for the cat’s body, face, paws and tail. These drawings are then screen-printed and cover coated to create the transfers. The main experimentation comes as we layer up the different colours and start to fire them in our kiln.  You can never quite control how this will turn out, but based on past experiences with other colours we have fired we can make an educated guess on what might happen in the kiln. 

There are many stages involved in making the cats, each one is decorated by hand using transfer decals. This involves many firings in our studio kiln to build up the various layers of colour on the body of the cat. But our feline friends really come to life once you add their facial features, each pair suddenly have their own personality!

When you place the cats side by side they read: 'All we can do is live from day to day, and I want to grow old with you until my fur goes grey and my claws have wrinkled up and failed. All we can do is live from day to day.'

I will post a second update during the later stages of the process and also show you the cats when they are finally complete.

Louise Renforth
Studio Assistant

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New Plate Edition: ‘Dreamed The Same Dreams…’

Rob recently finished a new edition of plates. The words read ‘Even though I know we dreamed the same dreams I still wish that we’d known each other as children’ 

Making the plates is a lengthy but rewarding process involving many colour sampling and firings in our studio kiln. You can see from the photo below some of the different colour combinations we tested before making the final decision. The colour sampling stage is exciting in itself as often colours change after they have been fired and something magical can happen! 

It is also necessary at this early stage, to check all of Rob's work for any spelling mistakes. Often, Rob's drawings will include a lot of words so it is important to make any changes now before starting to work on the edition. During the making of this particular plate, we noticed a spelling mistake in the initial stages and were able to correct it.

Similar in process to the tile wall clock, Rob’s drawing is screen printed with ceramic ink then a cover coat, this creates a decal transfer for the plate. The decal is then delicately placed on to each plate by hand, taking care to smooth out any creases or bubbles which may appear in the image. It is important to make sure the image lies smoothly on the plate because any bubbles increase the chance of the decal becoming damaged when it is being fired at such a hot temperature in the kiln. I really like this stage in the process, as this is when Rob’s drawing and the ceramic come together to create a final piece. We place the words on the back of the plate in the same way, with both the front and back being fired at the same time. However, there is a separate and final firing in our kiln once Rob has initialled the back of the plate in gold lustre, the reason for this is the lustre has to be fired at a lower temperature.  

Jackie screen printed some great presentation boxes for the plates to be sent in. The back of the plate and front of the box reads  ‘April 2013. I said that I would do anything for you and NOW your days of ISOLATION are finally over. This plate was drawn at Ryantown HQ Teesdale Street London E2. And was printed and fired at the Mangle studio Temple St London E2 by J.Ford. This plate is # in an edition of #. Robert Ryan. Everything is work. Work is everything.’

The final colour choices, shown above, were green and blue for one edition and orange and grey for another. Each colour comes in an edition of 20 and is signed by Rob and numbered in gold lustre on the back.

I hope the images shown here give a clear picture of the stages involved in producing the plates. Rob is currently working on some new plate editions so keep an eye on the blog for more updates about them soon. 

Louise Renforth
Studio Assistant 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Chelsea Flower Show Seed Booklet

For the Chelsea Flower Show Rob created special seed booklets to give out to all the visitors to our re-treat. The seeds are a mixture of a variety of wildflower, including foxglove, evening primrose,  cornflower, common knapweed and ox-eye daisy, to name a few.

To make the booklet the whole image is exposed on to screen, which is then printed on to one single piece of sugar paper. The paper is then cut along the centre section so it can be folded into a booklet.

The next stage, is to measure out 1gram of the wildflower seeds and pour this carefully into the small white envelope ready to be stuck down to the front of each booklet.

Inside, you will find some advice and tips to help you plant and take care of your seeds. I mentioned in the previous post, we planted some of our seeds here at the studio, and as you can see from the photo below, they have already started to grow!

The Wildflower shop where we bought our seed mix were kind enough to send me the above photograph of how the seeds will blossom after year one, I can't wait!

Louise Renforth
Studio Assistant

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

A Place to Work and Dream: The Chelsea Flower Show 2013

Last month, the RHS Chelsea Flower show celebrated its centenary year and for the second year running the Artisan Retreats invited well-known artists and designers to decorate the summer houses, showcasing their work and transforming the space to reflect their own unique style. With last years artists including Orla Kiely, Kaffe Fassett and Nikki Tibbles we were honoured to be invited to take part this year alongside Cath Kidston, Wayne Hemingway and Pippa Small.

The summerhouses, donated by The Malvern Collection, were introduced last year as part of the redevelopment of the Plateau as a place for relaxation and refreshment, where visitors to the show can escape the busy crowds of the main show-ground and hopefully be encouraged to transform their own outdoor buildings and spaces. 

Rob decided to use the space to re-create his own studio, a sanctuary for creativity at the bottom of the garden. He describes his retreat:

'Here is a gentle, sleepy place where I pick up loose ends once more and tie them onto something new, where I come to think and dream and write and draw. My thoughts and ideas cover the surface of every wall in here, because the inside of this summerhouse is really an entire country of its own and that country is called…The Inside Of My Brain. Surrounded by and immersed in the clutter of these beloved books and records and scribbles and things I know and love is where I am finally free to be myself. In my domain at the end of the garden, I feel confident enough to create and create.' 
The Ryantown team enjoyed decorating the space with all of our beloved things from the studio, with Rob's drawings covering every surface. Rob created a number of unique pieces especially for the retreat, including a conversation seat, weather vane, deck chairs and tiled wall clock. 

 The conversation seat had previously been living in our print studio and the show gave us the perfect opportunity to bring it to life again! Our screen printers, Jackie and Tom, printed the repeat pattern on to a length fabric before handing it over to our shop manager, Cynthia, who did a great job re-upholstering the seat. 
To make the wall clock, Rob’s drawings were screen printed in sections; once the image is printed we use a special cover coat over the image to create the transfer decal ready to be placed on each individual tile. This process is quite lengthy as different parts of the design over lap and require a number of firings in our studio kiln. For anyone who didn't get a chance to see the wall clock in the flesh, it is now on permanent display behind the counter at our shop on Columbia road. 

In our retreat we gave out our own seed booklets, which included a packet of wildflower seeds, (I will be writing a post about the seed booklets later in the week) and for those of you who took one away, I hope you have fun planting them. We planted some of the seeds here at the studio and I can't wait to see what blossoms later in the year. 

As part of the centenary celebrations, the Chelsea Centenary Appeal was launched and designers and celebrities were asked to paint their own garden gnome to be auctioned to raise money for the RHS for Schools Gardening. Rob painted his gnome complete with Ray Ban glasses and lightning bolt jumper! This was particularly special as gnomes are usually banned at Chelsea, so I hope they raise a lot of money for a good cause.  

Rob reflects on the show, ‘I must admit I was a little concerned about how our presence would be received at Chelsea, I mean the studio has little or nothing to do with flowers or gardening at all! But I was completely bowled over by how positive peoples reactions were, people who have never seen my work before came in and asked questions all about it. The great thing was it was people from all over the country, from every social demographic, I’m really glad we did it.’  

Everyone at Ryantown enjoyed being involved in such a great event and talking to all the visitors to our retreat! 

Louise Renforth
Studio Assistant