Saturday, 4 October 2014

It was a busy summer, well busy enough. And although I have indigo, cyanotype and rust experiments that I want to document on my blog I've been in easy space after the frenzy of preparation for the Blue Jacket Textile fair and just needed to revel in the late summer sunshine, to enjoy my garden and to begin to prep it for winter which is not so far around the corner. I've been sifting my compost heap which is always satisfying, and I've had one small bonfire.
Today, however, the weather broke which has given me a little time to read. That's the reason why I'm blogging today because sometimes I read a book and I just want to make a note of the title and author so I don't forget. This book is From A to X - A Story in Letters by John Berger. It's another library pick up and is a slow read for me as it has a quality that is akin to poetry, every word is potent and so it is difficult to absorb, but every word is potent and I am enjoying every word, and also the form. 
A part of me longs to write and another part struggles with that longing because when I do put down words they sound clunky and ugly. Maybe one day I will break through that vanity and let myself be. I know that I often encounter this block in art and the knack is to just do it and if it isn't good it's o.k. In a way it's a rule for life, better to take the risk than spend a lifetime wondering.
Anyway From A to X is giving me pleasure at the moment so expect a few little snippets over the next few days/entries.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

I found this on you tube last weekend and it made me feel peaceful so I thought I'd share.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfdu9pJ7GWk

Brian Eno - Thursday Afternoon


Friday, 5 September 2014

Sometimes, I come across a book that seems to fall into my hands because I am meant to read it. This happened to me yesterday whilst at my local library. I don't generally read graphic novels but I was looking for a book I'd been recommended many years ago by Neil Gaiman and as I was searching for this I picked up Habibi by Craig Thompson. All I can say is read it, it is beautiful. I couldn't put it down. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

And I guess, while I am blowing my own trumpet, now may be the moment to put up a link to the Blue Jacket Workshop http://bluejacketworkshop.co.uk/ which is where I will next be showing my work.
I've just been looking back over the past year, remembering my journey, and pausing in the moment before I move into autumn, and what in many ways feels like a new year. After five years in education I still think in school years. One of my hopes when I left university a bit over a year ago was to continue working and to get a feel for who I am as an artist now that I have been cut loose. It has often been an act of faith. I am mostly quite broke but I love what I do, and that is priceless. And, all the artists I know are amazing, warm, generous people whatever their skill is. To be a part of that community is similarly priceless.
After I got back from the summer residency in Cumbria I was contacted by Emma from Norwich Resident http://www.norwichresident.co.uk/ which is a high-gloss local lifestyle magazine. She wanted to interview me and to have some photos taken of my home. She said that it would be in the September issue. I was pretty nervous and I tend to talk too much when I'm nervous, but both Emma and the photographer were lovely and this is the gentle article that she wrote about me and my home. 
I am on pages 70 and 71 Issue 16 September 2014

Thursday, 28 August 2014

This year has been a fantastic year for my yoga practice. In January I was lucky enough to be able to take a space on Lou Kitchener's Yoga for the Mind course. This really set the ball rolling and has changed my life for the better, 100%. This was followed by several workshops including three with Lou that focused on the heart chakra, each in very different ways. And a yin yoga workshop followed by two evening sessions with Sarah Lewis. On top of that Jane Orrell taught a couple of classes at the ksdiy residential in Cumbria. And I am now looking forward to a week of early morning yoga classes again with Sarah followed up with some more yin yoga classes to ease me into autumn. 
Yoga is such a sanctuary for me, when I go to a yoga class it feels like coming home. I have been so lucky to have had some amazing teachers over the years, special mention here goes to Joan Stonehouse, whose gentle humour, grace and kindness seem to be the very definition of a yogi. It is not that I am particularly "good" at it, and over the years I have realised that that really isn't what my yoga practice is about, what I learn from yoga is to be still within movement, to let my breath cushion every moment, to extend beyond my physical being whilst simultaneously drawing in to my centre. What I learn is that being is good, being present is good enough and that I belong, I belong to a long line of people who like to move, to stretch, to be, to note, to smile and to be soft within my effort. I know I still have much to learn but I am grateful for this amazing year and the amazing teachers who have given so much by sharing their knowledge, their wisdom, their growth and their journeys.
Lou Kitchener - http://www.yogahappy.co.uk/
Sarah Lewis - http://sarahsyogaspace.wordpress.com/
Joan Stonehouse - http://www.joanstonehouseyoga.com/index.html
     

Saturday, 23 August 2014







Being as I was there anyway I decided to take the long way home by walking along the coast path, Morston to Cley, instead of catching the bus straight back. It was a gentle walk in sunshine and soft breeze, hmmm, how could any soul not be happier for that. 








Just about catching up with myself. Last week I went out to Morston on the North Norfolk coast to have a look at the Blue Jacket Workshop http://bluejacketworkshop.co.uk/. One of the owners, Luke, had seen my work on my website as a result of me being a part of the local open studios event and has asked me to be a part of their annual textiles fair. I'll admit to some nerves, I'm very new to exhibiting and my work is made in a state of hope rather than absolute conviction. But I have been making some rust samples and some of them are lovely. And my visit allowed me to get a feel for the space and also to meet Saffron, Luke's lovely partner which has made me feel more peaceful and less anxious.  

Monday, 18 August 2014

During the stay at the Merzbarn, our lovely hosts organised a couple of rural skills workshops. I missed out on learning how to scythe hay which I was a bit sorry about but made it to the rope-making session. A lovely old man showed us how to make rope out of the hay that had been cut a day or so before, and also fleece and nettles. I've been using this since, it's not so tricky and it's a kind of peaceful, meditative thing to do. The photo below is of wool rope that I made in Cumbria. 


And a little piece of me. Two baskets that I left in a nook in one of the garden walls. 



And here's some light in the darkness in Kurt Schwitter's MerzBarn. And the little clinker-built boat with a hole in it's side that was so much a part of the gathering.  





And then there is the last day, packing up, dismantling, letting go and just feeling so thankful for being given such a wonderful opportunity to meet and play with other artists in such a lush and lovely setting.



Yup, more beauty



And back through woods.




Sunday, 17 August 2014

And just everywhere whichever way I was facing the world looked beautiful.


Nice steps. And a "how".



And a few more pictures of my work living in the wild. Maybe it's silly or pompous, I don't know, but it is interesting to see how things look in different settings.







The birds and animals seemed to lack fear. It was quite Beatrix Potter. For a while I watched a country mouse putting away stores for winter. And this robin was almost playing with me.


  

These last few photos are mostly from my final day of walking which was to Grasmere lake. I had taken the little baskets and the wrapped pieces that I had made with me to photograph in the wild - so to speak. 






I'm tripping over my feet with stuff going on at the moment, from birthdays and being, to magazine articles and prepping for exhibitions and the ongoing job of applying for the next thing to do. So, I am just going to post the last of my photos from Cumbria very quickly so that they are logged/blogged and I will have a record of my time there, which seems, now, so very long ago. Time flies when you're having fun. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

A meadow of buttercups and cotton grass at the beginning of my walk to Grasmere Lake



Feiyi Wen gave a talk about her work and the effect of man on the landscape. The talks and projects on the ksdiy residency are still flickering away in my mind, shifting the way I see, think, feel about life, art, being. This picture is really an after-Feiyi shot, the sofa had been dumped at the top of a hillock where it was possible to get phone reception. It had been burnt at some point and the metal was rusted. Some of the upholstery fabric was very beautiful in it's decomposition.

   

Thursday, 7 August 2014

As an aside, because it is nearly two weeks since I got home from Cumbria and life at home goes on, I want to make a note of the film "Betty Blue", which I watched again last night after probably not seeing it for the best part of thirty years. I had forgotten so much of it. It's a strange adult fable for our time and I am sure that watching it in my youth, way back when, it had a profound subconscious influence on me, and my generation. It is a heart breaking film, but also intensely, extraordinarily beautiful.