Friday, 30 April 2010

talking to rob ryan and making your own town

 messy book making and playing with paper - this is what my house looks like right now

I went to see this exhibition yesterday: pick me up in Somerset house central London -  really inspiring especially for those that like doing things with paper, print and little arty books . . . . .

Curator Claire Catterall says this about it:

"We wanted to bring the best contemporary graphic art under one roof in central London. The industry is very much centered around East London and we wanted to create an opportunity for the public to see all the amazing work that is being produced. The original idea was born out of the growth of independent collectives and individual artists who are bypassing the traditional gallery system and setting up by themselves. There has also been a real resurgence of interest in screen printing and we wanted to offer the public the chance to experience it first-hand."
source from here

Apart from the great work what really excited me was I got to speak to ROB RYAN - He has set up his studio down at the exhibition and I got to quiz him (okay I always do ask loads of questions generally I find it hard not to!) and find out some ins and outs about making a success of your art.

- persistence (he graduated from his Print MA at the RCA in 1987 and has worked hard since then)
- he wasn't an overnight success, he worked as a cycle courier etc alongside painting, printing and creating
- a good few years back now he signed up with an agency and got a couple of jobs - people liked his work and from there it all got a lot bigger

What did I feel inpsired by?

- the fact that he calls his studio on columbia road 'Ryan Town' - what a GREAT idea, I want to start my own little town, have my own little ideas, start my own set of rules, create to my own set of ideals etc etc - I'm thinking of setting up an Amelia Town somewhere, I've got to think where, and what . . - if you have any ideas please do tell me?!

Let's all set up our own mini towns and fill it with things we like to make!!!!!!


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

artists manifesta/o

busy doing the experimental art e-course, but enjoying every moment (Summer Course coming soon). It's taking up blogging time, but I have been brewing some ideas, partly borne from realisations running this course, and also from the many things I think about and research often:

the artists manifesta/o
  1. we are all artists/creators
  2. know the source of your passions, therein lies the root of your art
  3. research continuously
  4. ask questions relentlessly
  5. never accept anything anyone says as a given 'truth' - find your own truth and express it
  6. know what you enjoy
  7. do what you enjoy
  8. master and refine your own talents (not others)
  9. do something every day, if not every week, to feed your art
  10. never let criticism stop you from doing your art, EVER!
if you have any others to add let me know your thoughts . . . . . . it may evolve over time.

Here in London I am admiring the gorgeous array of cherry blossoms: deep pink, light pink, white - small gnarled trees with twisting branches, heavy with clouds of fragrant blossom. The sun has been out and it's warm . . . . I am enjoying it so much.

Happy making.


PS hello to new followers, I can't always get back to your blogs, but I appreciate the show of encouragement :)

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

V&A quilt show, the Dulwich Open + a few thoughts on life and art

visited this exhibition yesterday and was most inspired by where stitch and art meet, domestic-domained masterpieces, where the age old 'craft versus art' debate opens up (for me it does anyhow because of the nature of my work). Historically these amazing, exquisite hand-stitched pieces were made by nameless individuals who we will never know. How anyone can say that these quilts are not 'masterpieces' in their own right confounds me. Like many things, what associations and perceptions means that something is deemed simply craft and something else a fine-art masterpiece? is it: concept, construction, hand-work, time, fame, knowing the 'right people', gender, execution, visibility, rules . . . . ?

Is it time to re-orient the way we view many things? I am glad to see that now we know the names of contemporary quilters, I also know it opens up frustrations with quilt art versus traditional art, but is it not your message what counts if you choose to have your quilted work visible rather than quietly covering a bed at home?
I don't have the answers, but I know that I am grateful for the women before me who helped clear a path that enabled me to be an artist today (even within the last couple of centuries women were not allowed into art school), to vote, (once women were only the possessions of men), to be an unmarried mother without the same social stigma there once was, that the work I do at home which is domestic and invisible can be shared (art and web) . . . . . What you do with your one precious life and how you affect others lies at the basis of much of what I am interested in.

"Arts obscured the difference between art and life. Now let life obscure the difference between  life and art."

- John Cage

The stitched piece I've done above was inspired by seeing all the hand-stitches yesterday and will hopefully become part of my body of artists books - mixing my love of paper and stitch, and of course my concepts and messages . . . . a sentence I picked up from the show yesterday . . . . .

I am part of this event. If you are in the area (of even if you're not ;) then do come and visit.


I am thrilled and excited by what I am seeing on the experimental art e-course with the first experimenters. I love doing this soooooo much, (this can only be a good thing :)


Sunday, 18 April 2010

life's simple pleasures

been doing some of life's simple pleasures. making.

this is a double page (above) I made for a book swap with lisa in NZ. I received her's yesterday. gorgeous, see here.

am working on some artists books to put into my etsy shop in time to re-launch the re-vamped gift grants. (watch this space).

in the post came this beautiful book. white simplicity at it's best, whilst full of beautiful hand-stitching and tactile paper.

the sun has come out here in it's full entirety. shorts on. in the garden doing another of life's simple pleasures: planting beautiful flowers and some of our seed pots, and journalling.

these are some papers I find myself drawn to, glued to a painted page (off white) in my art journal.:

whilst doing this, I found a list of 'life's simple pleasures in one of my magazines. here they are:
  • books
  • walks
  • makes
  • nature
  • growing
  • baking
  • visits
  • skills
  • pets
here's hoping you are doing some of life's simple pleasures.


PS. am so excited to be meeting people on the Spring 2010 e-course which begins properly tomorrow. People are already registering their interest for the next one (summer) if you are interested please do leave me a message here.

Friday, 16 April 2010

the weekend is looming, and the sun is still shining: currently going down behind the houses, but it's still not really warm yet. It's been a really busy time recently: honing and refining my experimental art e-course to my own standards of perfection. Two days until the very first one runs and I am really excited. Looking forward to sharing ideas and art with a lovely on-line community of people . . . . . . .

Alongside this, finding time to entertain kids and be there for them over the easter break, and still remain in tact with who I am as an individual who still has my own hopes, ideas, dreams, aspirations and desires many of which are just personal to me, and those times I simply wish to just fly  . . . . . . . maybe this explains so many bird and bird-wings in flight in my own art work.

I recently got this from the library: The Creative Licence, and finding myself nodding in agreement:

"Too many people seem to feel they are not cannot ever be creative. They'd love to write, or draw, or paint, or dance, or act, or play music, but are afraid to even try. Some of them also wish they could be more creative professionally, but have taken a career path that makes that seem impossible. Others have begun to dabble in creative matters but somehow find themselves blocked or limited or lost, and need help to break through."

he goes on to say it's about:

" . . . . permission to be intensely, brilliantly, wonderfully creative. Even though you probably don't believe it at this point, this gift is something that only you can give yourself. It's not a matter of genetics, or social permission or money or talent; it's just a matter of will."

A basis upon which I've designed my course. And am looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

I leave you with a video to watch (top). A friend sent it to me, and for some reason I love the bizarre-ness of it (it's short). Am really wanting to make a short film recently. Always so many ideas and things to do.

Have a great weekend.


PS. hello to new followers and thank you for all the lovely comments - makes my day :)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

paper dolls, 'making' ideas, and Shahin Afrassiabi‏ on art

There has been lots of making recently: paper dolls and robots (my doll above made from magazines and paper fasteners) - she has no hands yet, have to give her hands; she's an artist with lots to do - no passivity ;) Photograph taking, origami planes, miniature gardens in take-away food cartons and 'bits' from our garden, button catterpillars (threaded on string), designing and making our own character on paper, planting seeds with home-made, recycled seed pots, and just general making . . . . .

Took out my pentax K1000 and blew the dust off it and got it working (above). Treated myself to a black and white film. looking forward to taking some photos with a manual camera especially now the sun is shining and the wintery dust is falling off me too.

Still we are making and doing. We had a library adventure yesterday. . . . . words, books, pictures, some of my favourite things.

This came into my inbox too yesterday and wanted to share it: from artist Shahin Afrassiabi‏:

You’ve previously said  ‘When you make art you mean to make a better world or at least change it.’ Which could be interpreted as naïve?
“That sentence is not naïve at all. What other reasons could there be for making art? In fact art does change the world though not always for the better. The question that art poses is always pointing in this direction, of change; change of perception, of position, a question to the community and its certainties. And the impulse for this questioning is in fact ‘change’ i.e. political. The question is how this idea of the community is configured in any given work.”
How do you intend the works to expose, propose and politicize?
“Art produces value, and value produces allegiances. What art also produces is discourse and it is here, in the discourse emerging from an approach to production that any exposition, proposal or polity can be articulated.”

An exhibition of his works is currently on at:
15a Cremer Street
London E2 8HD

If you like words, I just discovered this too. Make your own word cloud . . . . .

Thank you for all the lovely comments and wish lists on last post. enchanting experiences begin with our thoughts . . . .
"Imagination is the voice of the daring" 
- Henry Miller

I get sooo excited about this: what will you dare to imagine? 

Happy making day.


Sunday, 11 April 2010

what do you wish for?


the dreamer in me has been dreaming recently because of talk of other worlds. I read somewhere that we write lists for our shopping needs, and other basic day to day things, but we don't write lists for our lives; conscious declarations of things we wish for and would like. The act of doing this helps bring forth our wishes.

I always have a wish list; writing it down in one of my endless journals, and although it changes and adapts as things come forth, or my ideals change, I really enjoy the process of imagining and dreaming. I dream and wish for . . . . . .

- a little art studio/space all of my own where I can hang things up: images, art work, ideas, things I make
- trips abroad and sharing art as a tool with others
- large art projects that bring people together
- a world where equality is better than it is now
- more energy
- writing a book or two
- getting back into photography more
- a return to a good art school to do my MA
- my son getting the help and support he needs in his life
- my daughter to succeed at all that she dreams of
- that education will grow into a better more refined version of itself, where people realise that they themselves are the secret to all changes (I am continually learning this from all I read and research and I feel education has a long way to go to serve a better function in today's changing world)

the birds I drew (above) remind me of the places I wish to fly to, and the sun has been shining in London, UK after a long awaited absence . . . . . . . . it brings out the dreamer in me too as I feel a bit warmer.

Am loving one of the comments from my last post: "I make my own sunshine" - oh I wish ;) thank you. I am off to make some sunshine :)

What do you wish for?


Friday, 9 April 2010

lost things-what world would you create?

On a rabbits warren of blog visiting one day not long ago, I discovered this video (it's short by the way). It tickled the dreamer in me on many levels. It reminded of places I've been (stop-frame animation at art college), and the places I'd like to go. Some of them other worlds, the imaginary make-believe worlds of my long forgotten child-hood (lost things!), and oh I want to paint a big black spot on my white wall and dive straight in and do an Alice in Wonderland . . . .

If you could create your own world:
- where would it be?
- what would you do?
- how would it smell?
- what does it look like?
- what would you create there?
- what does the dreamer in you dream?

Maybe I will go and create my own little world . . . . . . . .

this seems a good starting place . . . . .


Wednesday, 7 April 2010

journal ideas and asking the right questions

Feeling my way through insideout course right now, and taking time to re-visit my journal. Delving in deep and STOPPING the thinking. I think too much. Too often. And my work becomes cerebral. What do I wish to do: PLAY MORE, think less, 'be' more, and do as the quote says. Reading one of my favourite books this morning, the above quote jumped out. I like where it's leading to . . . . the questions.

I read somewhere it's all about the questions you ask. Ask questions directed toward your future. Less of the 'why' and more of the 'how'. This intrigues me. The best trainers get participants to answer the questions, we all 'know' inside, maybe it's about listening to that voice that whispers to us about  what we need to do NOW, or next.

Ask your journal a question - then see what comes out through the process of play ie. doodle, scribble, cut and stick (try not to think). tear words even and see what you pull out without thinking. DO.

I am enjoying this too from How To Be an Explorer of the World:

Exploration #44
'Library Exploration'
Choose one item or theme.
You may use page 23 for ideas (things to document or collect).
Go to a library. Conduct research on your chosen item using the object log.
Collect as many different materials as you can to display later, such as sketches, history, notes, drawings, and photos. Present your findings as an installation.
Alternate: create poems based on the titles of books.
(based on the work of Nina Katchadourian)

- you could use your journal to record your findings. Apply any subject or maybe questions you want answering right now, to this exploration idea.


Monday, 5 April 2010

new beginnings

Sometimes anger and frustration pop like a boil, yet afterwards there is a chance for fresh beginnings. This weekend finds intermittent sunshine, a threat of a shower, and myself standing in the garden amongst grass cuttings, in socks, sobbing my eyes out. Dealing with the garden, teenage feelings, aspergers, and my own feelings getting the better of me and whelling and shooting out emotion felt so strongly - maybe I've been bottling things. Yet the release is good.

I am enjoying seeing spring glimmering - glimmering only, it still feels so cool and I ache for warmth and sunshine to take me right past the ache of our cold winter. I look around me also and know how blessed I am and clutch onto this, knowing that that blast of emotion assists me in recognising those blasts of happiness too. Both ebb and flow, like the seasons.

Seeing the beginnings of life (photo above) from a few weeks back of planting is so delicious, reminding me that cycles come and go; that is life, and within that cultivating and growing on many fronts occurs. These seeds were planted with 7 year old one Sunday in the garden. We sat, me rolling old household letters and magazine pages around the base of a jar, (and folding in the paper at the bottom) then holding it with masking tape, and putting them into the tray. 7 year old put the earth in, and together we put the seeds in. He then wrote out diligently on the labels the name of each flower we planted. We both enjoyed it and it took him away from the computer and various screens he favours.

I saw also on glittering shards blog (post below) their own garden activities, and it reminded me of an artist I saw at the Tate last year: Richard Long and his recording of walks in nature - the mapping, the books, the collected fragments. It makes me long to get out more in nature and feel my senses and the seasons. Roll on Summer . . . .

I am fine tuning my art e-course and it is so exciting. Can't wait for it to start. The class is full, but here's to running more in other seasons. People are signing up interest for the next one, so please feel free to do this if you are interested in future ones, or any cancellations on this one.


Saturday, 3 April 2010

whatever the answer to these questions - go act on them now!

I have added an 'ideas' section (left column) - my intention is to put a fresh ten up regularly, I have just added a new 10 - see what you think.

Also, introducing a new sponsor. A fellow artist who I met through blogging, and it turns out lives locally - very exciting, we have exchanged many arty and blogging ideas . . . . check out her wonderful blog here, which is full of mosaic and crafty inspiration particularly when it comes to kiddie activities, I have found it most inspiring.

Happy Easter all.