Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Designing a life and lifestyle: Play & Experiment | Charles & Rae Eames style

I love the idea of art and creativity as a lifestyle design, not just an act, product and end result. It's a WAY OF LIFE in my ideal world. Some of these elements are intangible. It's about a feeling (or feelings) too.

Lately I've been thinking about lifestyle design and what my own would look like (and feel like). Do you know what yours would look like?

I've worked hard over the years to get my life and the way I'd like to live it, just how I imagine (don't we all dream of that?). Spending years carving time to be with my kids, whilst generating an income and having a house that looks just like my ideal one on Pinterest - yeah, you know the ones, where it's just a snapshot moment of a perfect room, perfectly organised with all the ornaments arranged beautifully, never showing the moment of disarray, or day to day living; the real MESSINESS behind the seeming perfection! And have a fulfilling art career, writing and blogging career, ideal relationship and so on and so forth. And like many of us, sometimes I feel like I do, other times it feels like I'm only just holding it together and it's about to fall apart and something unforeseen strikes, or urgent money needs to be earnt (the up and down of working for oneself with an erratic income - but I wouldn't have it any other way : ) )

However, when in a philosophical mood I realise that without the downs the ups can't truly be appreciated, it takes both to be able to experience the other. And life is always about desire and expansion (think I've touched on this before). Once we attain a dream it can be a feeling of 'is this it?' Not in a bad, negative or ungrateful way, just that life is not static; just look at the seasons, it's a cycle of planting, growing into your fullest, ebbing away and receding to the earth and atmosphere again. I figure life, emotions, feelings, living is like that on many levels.... growing, receding, redefining, ongoing, always.

And so, as I dip in and out of trying to deal with my daily struggles; the good times and the not so good times. I found myself re-reading The 4-Hour Work Week. Oh my, how I love a plan. The thought of getting out that fresh piece of white paper and sitting with pen in hand and writing out exactly how it's going to go; the blue print of the next phase of my life. The specific goals, the what-I-need-to-do to get there, and then when I am going to do it, and how I might do it when I need to be omnipresent so much of the time (you know how it was with motherhood, earning, household management ladies!) But also looking at the 80/20 he refers to; what 80% of stuff causes you stress, time consumption (that isn't always effective in its results), versus the 20% that is most effective with the greatest results and the greatest joy, and the least stress?

I've been doing this recently. Quite interesting. Adding up the hours I spend on things and then ideas-storming about how I might streamline, move forward, delegate, redefine etc. I haven't necessarily got the answers just yet, but this is fun and interesting to do. I love spending time whipping ideas out of thin air - one of my very favourite past times. Give me a problem and my mind immediately goes in to action about how to solve it. Love that.

Charles & Rae Eames:

Lifestyle design brings to mind Charles and Rae Eames who managed to merge art, design, science, technology and ideas so successfully to create a whole way of life. On researching for this blog post, it struck me that they also found ways to combine unusual elements together to get new results. Fibreglass and aluminium anyone? They married practicality with art and design; functional creativity; specialist knowledge with craft; making things and communicating things simultaneously.

Charles Eames dropped out of Architectural College, but still considered himself an architect. I love the concept of being an archi-tect of one's life too. Architect meaning: Master Builder or Higher Crafter - what are you/we crafting for our lives? We are builders of our own existence and it's this thought that keeps me going. There is something I find un-expansive in accepting the status quo - for me, it's about an ongoing pursuit of enquiry. The difference between dreaming and living a life of quiet resignation (and desperation?) dreams and imagination keep us going and maybe Charles and Rae Eames embodied this inquisitiveness in both concept and output/production.

It is the intrigue/result of marrying the two again.

What can you combine from both basic materials (fibreglass & aluminium) to concept and idea that wouldn't necessarily sit together traditionally?

Somehow this takes me back to The 4-Hour Work Week - as we are encouraged to be designers, artists and architects of our own lives. To think we don't have that power is detrimental. Doesn't mean that you don't need to experiment/do/practice along the way. This is where field work is more powerful than theoretical work (you know, the kind found in Schools & traditional educational systems!) What if we simply came up with ideas, tried them out and went 'out there' to see what happened and dismissed the concept of failure, but embraced the notion of learning through practice and that may well involve 'temporary defeat' in our pursuits, (but never failure!)

Get a Fresh Piece of Paper and experiment.......

- what will you design?
- what will you write?
- what art will you create on it?
- what ideas can you scribe together?
- what can you 'make' or assemble (physically/literally) from you piece of paper?
- what can you learn from the process of doing the above without knowing the outcome first?

See what happens and occurs through the process, what thoughts come to mind, what shape is embodied, and how does this all occur?

These are the foundations for discovering and finding creativity and not getting off 'the train' but continuing with the journey even when you find yourself in an unknown land or unfamiliar territory. But this my friend is the fun, where dreams and discoveries give birth. Just pure elementary 'playing' and 'experimenting'.

The image (top) is from here - and it is well worth reading the article too for more interesting thoughts on 'playing' from the duo above :)


Saturday, 23 July 2016

4 ways to Collage & the latest from around here....

new work in progress, July 2016, postcard collage
1. erasure
2. scalpel
3. cut
4. combine

1. postcard
2. vintage book page
3. magazine
4. paper

Am thinking about process driven art (outcome unknown), my favourite. Techniques versus (or with) materials.

A rare day of creativity. The sun beats down. Blind partially drawn. Table cleared for all but postcards, book pages, magazines and cutting mat. Piling papers. Back in the zone and my happy space after a CRAAAZY start to 2016.

I am doing the Wandsworth Artists Open House this year. I will have new art as that's what I'm working on (first two weekends of October 2016). And a wellness theme too with NYRO. #health #art #creativity #combined #can'tlose :)

It's time for some adventures. How do you get in to your 'happy zone'? Where and when does creativity come to you the most? I'm cyclical for sure. Consistency I struggle with, that's just the way I make. How do you make?

The Summer holiday's are here, the stress of School is released, the sun shines and beaches beckon and along with it comes tidbits of my old self, of creativity and my love of art.

Been thinking recently of art as a lifestyle again. More to come.


Monday, 20 June 2016

the storyteller

Tim Walker (from here)


mistake by

an amateur photographer


for me the most

inspiring because

it charms so







if you






- Tim Walker from Tim Walker: Story Teller . p. 49

Feeling inspired. Let's get snapping!


Sunday, 29 May 2016

Combining creativity & wellbeing - what happens?


It's a perfect Sunday. The sun is shining. I like working. Working on new ideas maybe? The Winter has finally disappeared and like Spring (think I mentioned this before) something has started to spring up in me too. Soooo many ideas.

Where to begin?

What creative project next?

Stitching or collaging?

How can I take that photo spectacularly?

What thought can I delve in to next?

What book is the best one to read?

Do you have ever this? Where there is such an abundance of ideas, things, thoughts, projects, makings that you quite simply aren't sure where to begin?

Where I'm at Right Now & How it Links Creativity with Wellbeing:

Well, I thought I'd share with you where I am at right now.

Getting older comes with restrictions and well certain freedoms too. Do you mind less what others think? Now you can do what it is you are truly here to do without worrying as much as you did about other's judgements of you? I've heard it said and now I'm beginning to wonder if it's true.

I've had so many disordered thoughts about my fine art practice, my blogging adventures, my wellbeing interests - that there's been a little paralysis about where to go with each next, how to balance and where to blend (and not, as the case may be!)

What if what you (or I) thought in the past wasn't 'right' or 'wrong' but just was, and it was we who put those interpretations on that thought?

What if it wasn't for the radical thinkers that had gone before us who paved a pathway of trial and error that eventually lead to new ways for us followers? We wouldn't have had those ideas sparked!

Recently I keep reading that trying out an idea badly is better than never executing a 'brilliant' idea!

I'm thinking that unless I try (and as you may know from reading my blog before now, that it's all about daring to do!) I will never know.

I have spent the years since writing this blog going on such a personal journey.

I have shared so much and yet there is lots I haven't shared too.

You may know that I have two children. One is about to be 23 and the other is 13. I am 43 (just in case you didn't know) and yes, I still feel about 23 sometimes because of the way I think and behave.

I have learnt through dealing with special needs not to 'judge' others so quickly, because no one knows what is going on for another, what they might have 'going on' that isn't visible to the eye.

We are all vulnerable in our way, we all want to be loved, heard and accepted. And most outward behaviour is a reflection of inner thoughts.

In the time since blogging, I have gone from having a 6 year boy who is now a teen. I have spent years living in fear that the beautiful partner I have will let me down like others have (single parenting is not fun, but does come with some of its own individual perks - that's probably in a blog post somewhere in the past!!), and in this time I have also had to address health issues that have arisen, re-educate myself quite fundamentally about how what I put in and on my body affects me (and all of us).

You may have journeyed with me through some of it (that that I have shared) on this blog, and some of the times I've gone quieter are because the tough bits can (and have been) super tough. I have been dealing with an ex partner for years that for want of a better word has caused immense 'stress' through his behaviour. I have come to accept that I don't understand and that I don't need to, I just don't need it in my life anymore because it is not acceptable and that is okay to say THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO ME (anymore).

The Practice of ongoing CREATIVE development:

I am currently seeing an acupuncturist, who is helping me on this ongoing journey to healing. So, along with reading (oh how I love books to re-educate myself), changing my diet, looking carefully at what I put on my body, developing my own art practice, of (single) parenting (and learning the art of that too), experimenting with ways of being creative in life, art, business, food, relationships - I am keen to develop a way to blend these new found elements to my life and to share it too.

The CREATIVITY and WELLBEING retreat is underway:

So with thoughts of how to blend my experiences and findings with health & wellbeing with my love of art and creativity. I thought I would write openly these changes, my findings and ways of blending them in order to share with you too, without having a total identity crisis!

Oh my, we could all drive ourselves crazy with questions and self-analysis. I intend to enter a period of casting that aside and trying this out so that you can share what I've learnt to, from a place of ENHANCEMENT and POSITIVITY for all.

There is no RIGHT or WRONG in how we do it (something), it JUST IS. I dare you to do, to try, to cast aside analysis and just take ACTION. Why? Because I'm going to try it and I thought it might be fun if you wanted to try it too :)

What if nothing was what you thought it was? And you were able to have a totally different thought about it?

This is where creativity comes in for me...

And what if....

What if, we just did it. Then we can get feedback, refine, hone and change if needs be?

What have you found to be the most important elements to your life, or art, or business, that just WORK because you dared to do in the first place?

If you would like to be first to know more about my (soon-coming) online 'creativity and wellbeing retreat', please remember to subscribe to my e-course mailing list here (or top left) and you will also receive '21 creativity tips and art ideas' e-book.

There is more coming soon.

I have Rosemary burning in my soto diffuser (in pic above), it helps with focus and concentration apparently :) More on that though in the retreat ;) Oh, and by the way there is FREE DELIVERY all this weekend with anything ordered via Neal's Yard + free hand cream when spending over £40 :)


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

#creativetuesday | postcard experiments + thoughts from Hockney's Pictures

Hello there,

Here's playing around with images from books, collage, erasure, all mounted on a #postcard - ready for upcoming postcard fundraiser.

Been considering a multitude of art projects. As life changes, art changes. I find.

And so some thoughts from David Hockney for you:

"How do you represent a changing, three-dimensional world, through which we move, and by which we are moved; and how can you achieve that in a still image on a flat surface? How, indeed, do we see the world? How do we represent it to ourselves, inside our own heads? How can an artist convey that internal representation to others?"

I am definitely intrigued by not only how we perceive and 'see' the world around us, but how and where those inner & outer experiences meet and get depicted. 

I've been doing some simple drawings from my immediate environment too. Something about capturing the essence and simplicity of one's life. Slowing down & observing. Something Hockney obviously did a lot of.


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

#Cupid #Collage & Creating the 'Online Creative Retreat'

I'm ever so slightly obsessed with taking square photographs at the moment (thanks iPhone). The challenge of trying to get what I want in to a square frame. I stood for ages trying to get this frame 'right' with people at the V&A not knowing whether to walk in front of me or not! Here is Cupid.

Ran my collage workshop today at Imperial College. What a lovely group. And walked home through the thoroughly soaked streets of London (Kensington). I haven't been out in to central London for so long. I forget what's 'out there', beyond my home and life in South London sometimes.

I bought in some new postcards images to work on some new postcard works.... more to come ;)

I am busy developing a new online idea/project. This one has been bubbling away for a while, and now I'm in full swing on it (the clue is in the title). So if you'd like to find out more, head on over here and join the mailing list and you will be first to know :) 

subscribe here (or on the side of my blog too!)

Here is a sneak peak of today's group working hard in Studio SW7. There are drop in sessions on Wednesday afternoons too, with artist Mindy Lee.


Sunday, 8 May 2016

21 tasks in 21 days (art & creativity)

a photo taken from a Winter Walk earlier this year....

We are celebrating a spring in to Spring and Summer here. With it a burst of creativity always comes. I am busy preparing works for the Postcard Show at Sprout coming up next month & I'm teaching a collage workshop next week at Imperial College - an annual event for the last few years now. I love these lunchtime art sessions.

For you, I thought I would put together a list of 21 creative tasks in 21 days. An adaptation from a friend's art course project. I have tweaked and personalised to suit the experimental angle I always enjoy.

1. Make a canvas stretcher (across four bits of wood of any shape), using an unusual fabric, such as: old piece of clothing, bedsheet, already used canvas that you will re-purpose for this project, super-thick paper even? other? Then create a painting using both water & oil based paints

2. Do a watercolour painting on a typically non-artistic surface - what do you not usually paint on? Create an unusual watercolour of your day today. Paint a feeling (think Rothko), or the sky from your window, or the creases of your bedsheets, or the ripples of a reflection...

3. Collage together some photographs to create a new composition; cut, tear, scalpel parts out and then reposition on a new surface (paint this too if you feel so compelled)

4. Collage together found photographic imagery with text to create a new word and image piece

5. Combine 4 materials together to create a collage or sculptural piece using items bought only from a DIY or hardware store

6. Take a photograph and make a print without using a traditional camera - how else can you take an image? (clue: Solar Paper). See this article for some camera-less imagery inspiration.

7. Take a photographic image in a location and at an angle where the scale is ambiguous

8. Take an image using your camera but make your own lens/filter (non photographic)

9. Take a photographic image without touching your camera - what can you set up? how can you do this? what effects come from this process? through a cushion at the button?!

10. Print an image on a non-paper material or surface.... what can you use? what effects arise?

11. Film a journey to a location you have never been to before? Think of different ways you can film, capture, document the journey and make a mini film

12. Film or photograph the same object or subject many times in different locations or circumstances

13. Create a film work by piecing together 'found footage' i.e. other pre-existing footage. See Christian Marclay's 'The Clock' for inspiration

14. Select a variety of materials to create your own sculptural relief piece

15. Make a simple mould by pressing an object into clay or similar (or other process) and cast it - you could use melted household tea-light candle wax?

16. Create an unusual 'assemblage' by unifying multiples of 2 opposing objects or materials of your choice together

17. Display a found object or 'ready-made' object of your choice in a way that allows for a re-interpretation of the original context/object

18. Re-configure, adapt, modify an already existing object bought from a shop, car-boot, or other to make a 'new' sculptural piece - how can you add to, or take-away to create a 'new work'?

19. Make a negative non-physical space physical... think Rachel Whiteread's work

20. Create an 'accumulative' piece by doing the same thing on a daily basis for a set period of time 

21. Make a large poster-sized drawing of items in your everyday environment: you can draw with your eyes shut, by not taking the pen off the paper, by using another part of your body to draw with other than hands - be imaginative in how you could do this large drawing of your every day items/environment

Document all the above tasks and keep together as your 21 tasks in 21 days project.