InkyGoodness Part 1: The Custard Factory

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I’ve had a rather different weekend than usual this week. Usually I’d spend my weekend catching up on some illustration and visiting Mat’s parents for the day, this week I was catching copious amounts of trains and unwrapping body parts from mile after mile of bubble wrap.

What was I up to I hear you ask? Well I’ve spent this weekend halfway across the country helping InkyGoodness out with their latest exhibition, which is all about Totem Love.

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I had a bit of a nightmare when I first arrived in Birmingham. I’ve not actually been there since I had an interview for one of the universities to do a degree in Visual Communication over three years before and at this point I was getting taxi’s everywhere and didn’t really need to think about where I was and where I was going. This time I wrote myself a list of directions so that hopefully I’d know exactly where I was going only to fall at the first hurdle- I couldn’t find any street signs! I ended up pulling my iPhone out to help with the directions only to end up walking up and down the same road about 10 times getting more and more frustrated. In the end I worked out I was literally walking over the road that I needed to be on and managed to get on with my journey a lot quicker and easier.

Birmingham has a lot of interesting graffiti. The photograph above was taken along Digbeth and the giant stickers featured were all along the road and across from it as well outside an abandoned building. It was a form of graffiti I’d just never seen before and against the wood they looked fantastically different.

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When I finally reached the Custard Factory the first thing that I was greeted with was this fantastic car park. Now I’m not usually a huge fan of graffiti but I couldn’t help but stop and stare at these beauties, they really brightened up a space that would have otherwise been quite mundane.

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As it was a Sunday none of the shops in the Custard Factory were open, so I resigned myself to sit down and do a bit of reading while sat on the edge of a little man made pond. The two pictures above were what I could see from where I was sitting, quite a bright, colourful and interesting display that’s for sure! In the end it started raining quite hard so I thought it was probably best to head inside and have a little nosey as to what was around.

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The Custard Factory is certainly an interesting building and I wish that there was something similar in or around Lincoln as I would love to be able to work with such a large amount of creatives around me. There was so much glass around! All of the shops and gallery spaces have full glass fronts so you can really get a feeling for what’s happening inside of them and there was businesses that ranged from a theatre to a professional photographer.

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In the outside courtyard these beauties were perched on the walls looking quite magnificent and a little scary. They just seemed to have been placed quite randomly and I think that added to the charm quite a lot, it’s almost as though one of the studios hosted there had decided that they wanted to decorate the space a little and leave their mark.

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The outside of the building boasted this curved banner celebrating the huge variety of creatives that have made the Custard Factory their home. It was quite inspiring to thing that such a wide scope of people work here.

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These lovely tshirts caught my eye on the wonder round. Unfortunately as they weren’t open I could only get a sneaky (and rather dark) photo of the inside, but all the illustrations on the wall are awesome and I’d definitely like to visit Get a Grip when they’re open!

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I thought this was a really cute idea. The local cafe had a washing line outside where people had pinned what eating and hanging out there meant to them. There was a really nice and human mix of responses and I think my favourite was that it was full of ‘web design types’, gave me quite a laugh. Using a washing line gave it a really cute and innocent feel.

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This enigmatic looking structure was actually the walkways for the upper floors. If you look closely you can see the netting that covered the sides of them. It reminded me a lot of a piece of modern sculpture paired with children’s Wacky Warehouse parties. Never seen a walkway designed anything like it before that’s for sure!

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These guys were just hanging in a little inside courtyard and they created quite a creepy image, especially as they were swaying every so slightly in the breeze. They made me feel rather uneasy.

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The interior design of the Custard Factory almost seemed to be a miss mash of styles, with these gorgeous lanterns hanging just across from a very minimalistic white corridor.

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This strange little room seemed quite popular over the two days that I was working in the Custard Factory and I could quite often hear people tinkling a little tune on the keys of the piano, it seemed to bring out the best of everyone who sat in front of it. The room was really relaxed and strangely had been left unlocked on the Sunday even though all of the shops around it were closed. It had an almost Alice in Wonderland feel to it, with giant indoor hedges creating alcoves for people to sit and relax and more hedges outside creating a ‘hedged in’ feeling. (I know, I know, terrible!) I did have a look through the books on the case thinking that there would be a lot of art books to look through, but they seemed more to be the books that nobody wanted and included a book on Photoshop 4 and Paint Shop Pro 7. I had quite a giggle at that as I’ve never seen a version of Photoshop lower than 7 and a friend of mine used to use PSP7 when we were in year 8 to create blog layouts- almost 10 years ago now!

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This print is absolutely gorgeous and I would really like to own a copy, but unfortunately I don’t know who created it or how much it costs at the moment. Knowing my luck it will be far too expensive for me to afford!

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So now we come to why I was actually in Birmingham and the Custard Factory to begin with, I’d put my name down to help InkyGoodness with the setting up of their latest exhibition, the Character Totem Homecoming. I won’t be posting a load of pictures of what was within the show as I didn’t feel that I would be able to show them properly with my iPhone camera and so decided to wait until next week when I will be going back with Mat to keep an eye on the show for two days. I had a really fun filled if tiring two days though where I got to unwrap a lot of body parts (that’s one for the CV!) as well as helping to put up artwork and match the totems to their various bits of body.

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I’m gonna leave you guys with this cute little fellow. He’s just one of the dozens of totem designs that will be on display for the next few weeks and are definitely worth a look at. If you’re in the Birmingham area you should definitely pop in and have a look around, and if you’re around on the 28th or 29th you’ll get to see my smiling face as well. 🙂