Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Creative Inspiration for 2015

Ah, it's now officially 2015 in the world.

A good break over the festive period has got me all inspired.

One of my favourite loves: where art and life meet. This was perfect then for a visit to Kettle's Yard in Cambridge. LOVED visiting Jim Ede's house. Ede was Tate curator in the 20's & 30's I believe. He then travelled and lectured and in the 50's found and restored 3 tumble-down cottages in Cambridge to create a living place with art. He had 'open house' daily for students to visit and tour his living space filled with art. How EXCITING!

Regular readers (and those who've done my e-course) may well know about my passion for where art and life meet. It intrigues me, and this was such an intriguing spectacle. One knocks on the front door to be let in to what is still the original set up and living space of Jim Ede and his partner Helen. There is his work desk and bed and a beautifully open and extended house filled with objects from nature, art and design works, furniture and carefully curated windows of light.

It is beautiful and fascinating. Each chair is an invitation to sit, and once sitting you will see something in your line of sight. There are pictures hung high and low; works hung on top of each other; craft objects with splashes of colour (a single lemon making a pewter plate sing and echoing splashes of yellow in art pieces and other objects). The careful curation of colour, image, tone, texture within this living space is something I wanted to come running home to do in my own house.

I realise this is happening already, but there may need to be a different level of consciousness to it.

I often dream of opening my downstairs as an art gallery space. It is white, light and spacious enough. There are pieces of art that already adorn the walls from friends, family, others and myself.

There are circles of stones on some of the tables at Kettle's Yard and glass works hanging in the window. Handmade things with love. And I loved it.

Ideas for you and I to experiment with:

- what textures in the home?

- what colours? And where/in what?

- where does the light bounce or reflect in your space and how could you use it or 'play' with it? what could hang in the window or shafts of light?

- could you have multiples of things? If so, what?

- could nature be arranged to have a dialogue with art pieces?

- where and how could you curate your own family's works within your living/studio space?

- what do you see when you sit down somewhere? could you see that space differently now and do something conscious with it so others see what you've put there?

- what about reflections and materials to use? How could they relate or 'speak' to other materials?

One day I dream of a living space built with nothing but upcycled, recycled and reclaimed materials and home to art works I love. And I'd love to be able to share that space with others too in a similar fashion to Kettle's Yard. I wrote a blog post about it once here.

This year is ripe and fresh and ready to be filled with ideas and creativity - what will you fill this year with? What concepts? What dreams? What hopes and desires?

I'm a great believer in dreams coming true and this month's Workbooks has touched on goals and ambitions for a new year :) I will be running this subscription again soon. I've loved writing them so much.

I can feel new ideas brewing. Lots of things for the home. Interior fashions seem to have taken a turn for the 'natural' and 'eco' vibe. I'm down with this indeedy :)

I hope 2015 is great for you. Full of creativity and inspiration. I aim to be back here soon with more.

The image at the top is from Kettles' Yard. The living space with art works (collages) by Italo Valentini.


Tuesday, 23 December 2014

if you could do it all over again.... & Merry Christmas 2014

just uploaded on my instagram feed #leicestersquare london


Time is ticking away over here, and as usual there has been a lot happening.

December is always a good time to reflect - quite often on the past year, but at times (like now) more.

When I write my blog I tend to write posts intuitively, when the mood or idea strikes; when I am inspired. I've tried writing pre-meditated blog posts but somehow it doesn't seem to resonate with me. I shy away from the 'business' style of planning/writing - and I am attempting to move away from the concept of always needing to generate 'business'. I am doing this (my blog) because I love it and because I love sharing.

There are some things I've learnt over the past couple of years (and maybe more):

- trust your intuition - don't just trust it in fact, act on it!

- doing things from the heart (with love)

- I know I've said it before, but I will say it again - filling your time with what you love - finding a way to make it work (so you can live of course) and knowing what you can and can't live without: what is too much? i.e. do you need it? And what is too little? Only each of us can answer this for ourselves

- diet is so imperatively important. It affects mood, health, body function (in every way), connection with nature and source. I've mentioned it before also, but I got to a point where my body screamed for change and I wish I had been educated more about food (and everything we put in our bodies and how it really does affect us) waaaay before. We are like time bombs, by continuing to consume things that are no good for us, or have little to no nutritional content, a time will come when that treatment catches up with us. Don't leave it too late. If I were to summarise (if you are interested) it's more about knowing the foods to avoid: deadly nightshade family, processed and refined foods, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, cows dairy, wheat and gluten, + oranges, soya and anything genetically modified. I've learnt the best food - apart from the ones I've mentioned to avoid - are alive foods in their whole forms, natural, organic and from nature. The only oil to cook with (heat up), coconut oil and the best on cold food; cold pressed virgin olive oil. Truthfully? I can't tell you how different I feel, how much better my skin, body, mind and mood feel since sticking to this.

My new years resolutions for 2015 involve:

- worrying less (because it gets me precisely NO-WHERE)
- doing more art projects that I love; working toward ideas that are expanded, researched and developed (& more time to create)
- reduce my time on the internet
- to worry less about what others think/say - we are all on individual journeys - no-one is the same or on the same journey - oh my, to judge less!
- to trust that just enough of what I need will always be provided

Ideas to think about (based on recent experiences):

I was thrilled to meet John Stezaker a couple of weeks ago. You can hear a talk (an 'in conversation' with) over here. I got a signed copy of his new book: John Stezaker: Crossing Over, at this wonderful independent book shop: http://clairederouenbooks.com/ 

I am now thinking of sooo many ideas. Micro narratives being one......

Recently I met up with Evy Jokhova whose work I was admiring via the internet not so long ago. Strange how the universe works. Great conversations and some ideas - watch this space ;)

I went to a family party and met the inspiring founders of this: http://www.touchstonecollaborations.com/ 
So much food for thought - pardon the pun.

If you could do it all over again, no, maybe that's wrong - if you could choose to do it now, what would you choose?

I am in that space. A space that chooses reduction in stress, consideration of the material objects I want (I mean do I really need them?), carefully selecting art projects to do and research. I discovered this book also recently - Point and Line to Plane - Brilliant!

There really is so much to be inspired by (although, like everyone I guess, I don't always feel like this!) and I'm always seeking more time to explore the things that find their way onto my life's path.

I hope you all have a wonderful and merry Christmas and peaceful New Year.


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Here's an update because it's been waaaaay too long!

playing with visuals as a way of thinking and processing...... as always....

Ok. So it turns out I can't spell 'artists' books'! I had an errant apostrophe.

Still the book fair is in the making. I am making. There are still a couple of places left if you wish to join us. And even better, come along and party or browse during the 3 days.

What can you do with your time that is best suited to what you'd like to do?

I am sitting on questions like these at the moment. Being a little reflective. Still dividing my time between 'living' and sitting on the computer - I miss the tangible (and questionable) 'reality' of material life sometimes as opposed to virtual life.

I'd have a massive coffee morning where we are all there. Or a large workshop where everyone makes together.

This recent period has seen the start of some art applications, some proposal ideas, a publication idea musing on the role/interpretation of image in artists' works. I fight the feeling where lack of time appears to hinder the ability to sink fully into the creative zone and achieve all my ideas. Patience, my friend, patience.

I then in turn, attempt to do nothing to see if I generate more output. Apparently doing nothing can be very productive. Can anyone else vouch for this? I bought this book a while ago: How to Change Your Entire Life by Doing Absolutely Nothing: 10 Do-nothing Excercises to Calm You Down Quickly

There are times I LONG TO DO Nothing and see magic happen :)

In other news, I've decided to have an entirely hand-made Christmas. I don't know whether I am simply adding to my frequent sense of fatigue and overload, but I do love the notion of recycling and making by hand and thought I would extend this idea to Christmas given I am hosting this year. I have already ordered my cracker snaps and christmas hats and been collecting loo rolls vociferously. I also ordered a lovely stamp and white ink for my cards. + I discovered a delicious Pear & Fig Chutney recipe and so my kitchen has been filled with these aromas :) And I will be making some more of these rum truffles too this year (another good reason to keep a blog).

This book is also a good discovery: The Image as Burden

It is a present but I want one myself now - looks intriguing.

Have been to see the Turner prize recently along with Turner's late watercolours. Sometimes I don't get to as many exhibitions as I'd like.... although I did also get to see this year's Jerwood Drawing prize too.

Oh, and I ran a well-received collage workshop at Imperial College last week. Strange as I don't do so many in-person workshops these days, but I do love them when I do.

That's all for now. I know there are many other things, many of them involving domestic life, helping with homework, endless rounds of washing. And in between I try to sleep.


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The ArtLacuna Book Fair is coming to town!

It's official. The date is set, we are busy preparing and if you would like to join us (by coming along or taking a stand) see details here:

ArtLacuna | Book Fair & Publication Launch
Saturday 6th - Sunday 7th December 2014, 11am-5pm
Publication Launch / PV, Friday 5th December 2014, 6-9pm
To celebrate the 2nd publication of our Really Serious Research, Bodies That Matter 3, ArtLacuna is hosting an artist's book fair
Please join us for this exclusive Artist's Book event featuring one-off and limited edition Artist's Books by artists and book-makers at ArtLacuna Space 
If you make books, zines, small publications, photo, print or any form of artist book, then join us by taking a shelf space (£20*) or table (£27*)
We have table spaces of 100cm x 60 cm
And shelf spaces of 115cm x 9cm
Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis - so sign up quickly, and we will do our best to accommodate you.
There will be music, drinks & refreshments + if you have an idea to add to the event such as book reading, live demo or similar, please submit to us for consideration.
The fair is open to all. To book your shelf/table, and for further details visit:
*no other commission or fees taken on sales
48 Falcon Road, London, SW11 2LR
I look forward to seeing you there - any questions, just ask!

Sunday, 12 October 2014


Wear Me, 2014, showing in Williams Art Gallery, Gwydir St, City Centre, Cambridge CB1 2LJ as part of Art::Language::Location 2014

Earlier this year I entered an open submissions competition and was thrilled to have work accepted.

This weekend was set up in Cambridge, UK, along with many other artists.

In regards to my work, I've been pondering and exploring the idea of erasure and removal in many different guises (of the female figure from it's static location within advertisements), still exploring my interest in how images in popular culture are presented to us, and what messages are embedded within as a result.

This particular Project (ALL), gave me a chance to develop ideas started last year when my work was also chosen to be part of Deptford X. Posters.

Posters as a way of re-examining public images. I'm interested in sight. In the consumption of images. What we view and where we might view it and the language therein. I want to intervene and interfere with the images that are presented to me as a norm, or as an identity, or as an aspiration for me or my life. There is a sense I am inadequate without what is presented to me. This is the basis of advertising is it not? To emphasise lack; where we lack in our life and where one's life would be better etc etc if we only had what was (visually) on offer. It's about looking and desiring.

That's another reason I 'do' art - it's an opportunity to create visual images that have a language of their own, or at least attempt to.

As I homed in closer to these images and started to look at the context of where female models were placed, what titles were given to the articles or fashion shoots, I felt an odd mix of alarm, surreality, frustration, disbelief, and at times horror. But then I chose to emphasise these contexts, switching them about, minimising areas, choosing to select and re-look and re-present, and in the process create new narratives - as much of my work does.

What happens if you take a photo of a photo. If you select and magnify an area. The odd-ness increases, revealing (in my view) just how strange, and at times, how insidious advertising can be.

In this project I developed a series of images, selecting, magnifying and re-contextualising graphic imagery. I have put these images with article headlines or advertising text from the same magazine, marrying them together so they become one again. I chose to explore the incongruity, and amplifying that incongruity that already exists, for me, within the pages of the same magazine and advertising in general.

These (altered) images have then been put back into the public domain in Cambridge ranging from shopfronts, to cafes, to an art gallery, to bookshop walls, to public park noticeboards. I've often longed to put work back out in the public domain, removing it from a white cube gallery scenario which can make them commodities and concrete 'art-work's and therefore being 'read' in a certain way as a result. But by being posters in an alternative context, they have a chance to be read differently. For others to bring their own thoughts and narratives to it as they encounter these images in unlikely places, throwing off a typical or 'given' reading of 'images and text' within certain locations.

This seems to be an ongoing part of my work and practice. A way of examining public graphics, exploring the ways and hows of taking photographs and playing with the tyranny of imagery that already exists 'out there' in the public domain and how and where we experience visual culture. I recognise this over-abundance of advertising is synonymous with living in a city, and this level of mass media imagery doesn't exist everywhere, in all locations, although it is extremely pervasive.

What impact does TV have? What impact does all the imagery we encounter on a daily basis have on us?

I don't necessarily have the answers, but I enjoy using art as means to explore this. To take apart what already exists and question it. I enjoy being a creator and not just passive consumer of what culture has to offer - creating different realities even. Reality is up for creation, not just consumption.

I hope you can visit the projects and art-works for this year's Art::Language::Location in Cambridge. It looks set to be great, with some fine artists showing (pardon the pun), performing and generally punctuating the city with art.

Locations for my pieces in Cambridge:

'Future Perfect' - Waterstones bookshop, 22 Sidney Street, CB2 3HG 

'Out of the Ordinary' - Waterstones bookshop, 22 Sidney Street, CB2 3HG 

'As Seen' - Waterstones bookshop, 22 Sidney Street, CB2 3HG 

'The Chosen One's - Indigo Cafe, 8 St. Edward's Passage, CB21

'Casting Her Spell' - G. Davids bookshop, 16 St. Edwards Passage, CB2 3PJ

'Wear Me' - Williams Art Gallery, Gwydir St, City Centre, CB1 2LJ

'Dream Cream' - Parkers Piece, Park Noticeboard, Cambridge City Centre see map here

'Designing the Future' - CB1 Cafe, Mill Road, City Centre, CB1 2AD

'the goddess of small things' - St. Mary's Church Railings, City Centre, CB2 3PQ

*event runs until Nov 2nd. All images will go on my website soon

In other news:

We have the last day of Open Studios down at ArtLacuna today, please do come and visit us.

I was also honoured to by invited to contribute a piece to this great new site: KontentApp - please see my piece here.

There is more to come, but there has been so much going on lately that I feel a need for a rest before continuing on into the next vast plain of where life and art take me.


Monday, 6 October 2014

Current inspiring art books to share

pic from a Summer visit to this art and craft museum


Well the first weekend of the Open Studios event went well. We are at ArtLacuna again next weekend if you would like to pop down for a visit and a cuppa with cake ;) See ArtLacuna listing here.

I'm happy to say there is a merry group signed up to the workbook series - and there is still time for you to sign up before the offer closes tomorrow at midnight! www.experimentalart.co.uk

I've had a flurry of creative ideas, must be the time of year and the workbook series that's precipitated it. This has led to discovering a host of books I would like to get my hands on, so thought I would share with you my current art book wish-list:

1. Draw Paint Print Like the Great Artists

2. Just Draw It!

3. The Imaginary World of

4. Photo Art: The New World of Photography (this book looks amazing - I spied it in an art library recently)

5. The Artist's Rule - I am drawn to this due to a frequent desire to slow down and 'look within' for quiet creative inspiration. Giving more time to ideas and even making.

If you've already got any of these books, or you buy any before me, let me know which ones you recommend.

Oh and I found another good quote, which I've just added to the new experimental art website:

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."
- Scott Adams
Back soon,


Friday, 3 October 2014

creativity + the NEW website & workbook series!

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."

- Scott Adams

This ties in with something I was supposed to do on the 1st of this month, it didn't happen until the 2nd and I am only sharing today! I am so exhausted, but the new site and the workbook series are here!

see here: www.experimentalart.co.uk

Been busy times. I'm excited. Hope you decide to join in - it's only available until the 7th ;)