As the summer draws to a close and the new school year gets underway, it’s all go, collecting images, searching for new artists, pulling together materials and resources.  Alongside all this, I have spent a good few hours uploading and editing literally hundreds of photos from the various trips I have been lucky enough to take this Summer.  Of all the places I don’t think I have been anywhere with such spectacular light, as that in Cornwall or Florence.  After a week in Cornwall, sketching and exploring the wonderful landscape, I was loathed to leave and filled with ideas and inspiration.  Needless to say, upon returning to reality, production has been slow, but with my creative pot freshly brimming with artists and new techniques to try and an exhibition deadline in sight, I remain ever hopeful.

Dangling my feet over the cliff tops

Dangling my feet over the cliff tops

Cornwall just has so much light and I was lucky enough to spen the week right here…the camera does not do justice to the incredible colours.

Light in Rinsey bay

Light in Rinsey bay

 

Rocks

Rocks

Barnacles

Barnacles                       

My explorations have lead me to explore the close up texture of rocks and cliff tops, as well as the dramatic vistas, with an exhibition in the not too distant future I need to decide on a focus.

Reflections in the rock pools

Reflections in the rock pools

I could not get enough of the overwhelmingly beautiful beaches and rugged coastline.

 

Rugged, rocky cliff face.

Rugged, rocky cliff face

 

Cracked rock surfaces

Cracked rock surfaces

Just one more look at the stunning coastline

Just one more look at the stunning coastline

Sewing machine at the ready…

 

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Look at my garden

May 11, 2011

As city dwellers we find ourselves with a severe lack of garden or any outdoor space whatsoever to call our own, only made worse recently to discover a neighbouring flat on the opposite side of the building have a lovely outdoor roofspace!!  This situation, I am sure is one which many of you find familiar.

However…

We will not be beaten by the restraints living two storeys up.  Last year we managed to construct a platform within the gutter to house our planters, sadly we were not the most faithful of farmers, this alongside the fierce winds that hit our building, left our mini garden looking rather sad.  This year we are much better prepared and committed and dare I say, our very modest crop seems to be thriving.

spinach plant

This is a beautiful purple spinach plant, with windbreak constructed from an old duvet case & bamboo cane.

Obviously we would not be able to live off our ‘land’ but there is such a wonderful satisfaction in grabbing a handfull of leaves and herbs for your salad from the window ledge, or picking some fresh mint for a summer Mojito.  More so than anything it is another example of reinforcing those old fashioned values that are coming back into, well fashion.

More and more people are shopping in Vintage and second hand stores, re-styling and re-working old outfits.  The balcony gardening trend seems to be following suit, so many shops and websites are stocking easy to sow seeds, that are ideal for window box and grow bag allotments.  I am seeing an increasing number of cookery books, designed to cook from your crop, focussed on ingredients you can grow on your windowsil.  The balcony Gardener have such a great variety of seeds and the packets are so pretty too.

French bean plant begining to sprout

The french bean plant is beginning to sprout, taken on Easter Sunday

This year saw a re-make of the classic 70’s television show, ‘The Good Life’, this time around starring Sue Perkins and Giles Coren.  The couple filmed a sort of comedy docu-sitcom and actually attempted the things Tom and Barbara did in the original; re planting their garden as a veg plot, raising livestock, even making their own goat’s cheese.  Obviously this is not a realistic lifestyle for those of us aiming to afford to live in a City, but with allotment share schemes and the growing popularity of farmer’s market trade, it seems we are inching closer to a collective self sufficient way of living.  Hopefully I will have some more pictures to update you with in the coming weeks, watch this space 🙂

Wildflowers from Brockwell Park

Some wild flowers I scooped up from Brockwell park

Searching the archives

July 27, 2010

Looking back through my old albums of pictures from my various modules throughout University, I came across some snippets of work I really enjoyed doing and samples experiments with different materials.

An image of a section of a piece developed for a public art installation at Penarth Marina

This image is comprised of small handcut discs of copper, which I treated with a Borox Patina, to acheive this beautiful aquamarine finish.

Easter in Berlin

April 10, 2010

Happy Belated Easter!

I was lucky enough to spend a week of the Easter break in the incredible German Capital City of Berlin.  The architecture is magnificent and I was astounded by the sheer size of the buildings.  The streets there are so wide the city feels vast and has a lovely laid back atmoshpere.  Day one we did a FREE walking tour that takes you around att the major historical landmarks of the city.  Our guide was fantastic, full of energy and he really knew his German History, I learnt so much about pre and post war Germany.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone visiting the City, they run most days, twice a day I think, meeting at the Brandenburg Gate.

I wanted to share some of the wonderful sights with you.

Brandenburg Gate

The Jewish War Memorial

Catherdral at Museum Island

A quirky, retro cafe bar, near the Prenzlauberg Flohmarkt

These were on the ceiling in a Thai restraunt, in Prenzlauberg, I think they were made from coffee filters, but can’t be sure.  I love the way look like they are dancing along the ceiling.  I would like to experiment creating light features and lampshades, these caught my eye from the street and we ended up staying for a beer.

The government buildings that line the river near the Reichstag make a pretty spectacular skyline.

Such an amazing city to wander round and get lost in, came home with a list of places to visit and re-visit next time.

Fling in the Spring!

March 9, 2010

An event you can feel good about!

I am sure many of you agree that it is about time we had a bit of sunshine here in the UK and after such a harsh winter Spring is just round the corner…it maybe a big corner but it’s there!  And what better way to celebrate the thaw than stepping into a party frock and celebrating country style…

For the past few months I have been involved with the organisation of a charity ball in aid of Jamie’s Farm, situated in the beautiful countryside surrounding Bath.

Thier Mission: “To support the development of vulnerable young people by providing opportunities for achievement, wellbeing and sustainable change in an agricultural setting.”

The team at the farm work hard to help these children explore activities that encourage, teamwork, a healthy lifestyle and safe outlet for an abundance of energy.  Children are involved in taking care of the animals, cooking, countryside walks and creative activities.  Jamie’s Farm Spring Fling is an evening of music, dancing and fine food, and you don’t need any excuses to attend this splendid event, bring your friends and help support this wonderful cause.

Aside from being involved with such an inspiring charity, the ball has also provided me the opportunity to explore my creative side.  I was asked to design some images for the ball, that had a village fete theme.  Thinking about dancing and nature and the sense of spring in the air…

Inspired by these images, I began to think about Flower Fairies, those little fuchsias remind my of two ladies dancing.

Eventually I came up with these little dancers, the shape of the petals and reminded me of swaying dresses.  Thanks to Tom’s technical wizardry, my sketches were transformed into these neat, line drawings.  This little project has inspired me to do more illustrative work.

I hope to see you there 🙂

CoolTan Arts!

February 13, 2010

Since graduating I have been doing a few voluntary placements in London, off the back of my dissertation.  I researched how ‘the arts’ are incorporated into the education, healthcare and criminal justice system and the many benefits in each area.

‘An Investigation into the benifits of ‘The Arts’ in Healthcare, Education and Criminal Justice Establishments’

I developed a particular interest in Mental Healthcare and the outstanding benefits of art and creativity in this field.  I have had the opportunity to work with a fantastic charity, CoolTan Arts, a community arts centre run by and for those with mental distress.  At the moment I run a knitting group at their community centre, based on Walworth Road, in Elephant and Castle.  CoolTan offers survivors of mental distress the chance to meet with others and become involved in a variety of activities that contribute to wellbeing.

Every month CoolTan runs a walk around Southwark called the Largactyle Shuffle.  This is a pilgrimage to uncover the history of Southwark and aims to target the Stigma surrounding Mental illness.  This walk has been named one of London’s top ten walks, by Time Out.  During one of the midnight Largactyle Shuffles a film crew were invited along to document the journey, last week I attended the screening of this film and two others about the work of CoolTan at the British Film Institute, (BFI) on the Southbank.  The turn out was great and the production was extremely professional and well put together.  Footage from the walk was amalgamated with animations that explain what the walk is about and where the name comes from.

You can see a trailor here for one of the three short films premiered, ‘In the studio with Maggie Hambling’, a patron of CoolTan.  If you are in the area definitely pop in and have a browse around their gallery and studios; a wonderfully vibrant hub of activity.

Glad Findings!

February 9, 2010

Following on from my previous post re: new years resolutions…my other promise is to make sure I keep up with my crafty self.  Unfortunately getting my own needle punch embellisher is a little adventurous, but I am determined to get going with my felting again.  My first step was to get my hands on a new felting mat, searching online I came accross the most amazing website GillianGladrag!  This is a fantastic feltstore for both experienced and beginner feltmakers.

I got the feltmaking kit at the top there, in comparisson to other felt mats, this seemed like a teriffic bargain, due to the selection of rainbow wool tops.  However I did not read the description properly and the mat itself is huge, great for making scarves and large sheets of felt which you can store for mixed media projects.   On top of all that you get really easy to follow instructions on how to make basic sheet felt, which I found really usefull being a little out of practice…and they are laminated (as felter’s will know it can be a pretty messy hobby) Genius!!

Alongside basic materials, Gillian offers books, pre-made felting kits, to make a variety of fun projects, for different experienced felters and they all come in lovely bright colours.  It maybe winter outside but in your ‘Art’ it can be spring 🙂  If you fancy trying your hand at felting, but need more instruction you can book onto a feltmaking course too,  (vouchers are available too if you know someone who might like to go…hint, hint)

I absolutely love the range of tea cosies.

And this lovely snuggly hot water bottle cover.

Like most of the population, I made several new years reolutions, which were forgotten by about January 2nd!  So better late than never I am making up for far too much lost time on my blog, for which I have no valid excuses.

Since getting my new computer I have had Ffffound set as my Safari homepage, this has introduced me to many a lovely new website, but at the same time is responsible for a lot of internet procrastination!  I am sure many people are familiar with the problem; by the time you have clicked through to the website and all subsequent links, you have forgotten why you logged on in the first place.

One of  my most favourite finds, a site many will be familliar with, is Desire to Inspire! A blog collated by two design enthusiasts Jo and Kim, who have never met, but both like to share their love of good design.  My desktop is filled with images of beautiful houses and furniture and I thought I would share some of these delights…

Many of the houses and apartments seem to feature some element of textiles, arts and crafts.  Thus I have pretty much planned myself a lovely studio…

I find to if you are spending many ours hunched over your sewing machine, it is really important to have a comfy chair and plenty of storage to hand.

I just love these little apothecary drawers, fellow crafters (and most likely clutter bugs) will be familiar with the amount of tiny ephemera that accumulates in your sewing box, this could be perfectly housed and organised in these little boxes.

The same goes for knitting, as much as it is a relaxing hobby, it is not good for the posture, I could quite happily sit comfortable on here…

I could do a whole post just about the amazing chairs featured on Desire to Inspire, the other speciality seems to be fantastic wall displays, examples of making use of wall storage to save space in smaller houses, excellent for city dwellers!

Not only do I think these are all beautiful, well thought out spaces, but there is something refreshing in the use of pattern and colour and proving that having a little clutter on display does not have to be messy.  After all you wouldn’t collect the things if  you didn’t htink them worth looking at.

Images all courtesy of Desire to Inspire, with examples from Design Sponge and Marie Claire Maison and many, many more I just cannot remember where!

And I said what about…

September 30, 2009

Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

I just returned from another visit to London, with some old school friends.  Whilst there we went to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the Royal Haymarket Theatre.  I thought it was a stunning perfomance, Anna Friel was superb as Miss Holly Golightly, nobody can say Audrey Hepburn is an easy act to follow, and the accent was spot on.  Oldham Theatre Workshop turns out some of the best actors. 🙂  The costumes were terrific and the acting was full of energy, the set was fairly minimal, but the famous silhouette of the New York skyline, set the scene perfectly.  I had never been to the Haymarket Theatre before, it is a lovely size and we had a great view, diffinately worth going to see.

The only thing that left me a little confused was that Anna Friel was blonde on stage, yet in the theatre programme and the famous movie Holly Golightly was a brunette!?

Blog City (Part 2)

September 22, 2009

Over the summer I have been splitting my time between various cities, juggling work/job hunting and work experience.  I recently spent a fair bit of time in London, doing some voluntary work in Community Arts.  I am lucky to have the opportunity to work with CoolTan Arts, an amazingly busy charity, based in Southwark.  The hub of the charity is an industrial unit behind Walworth rd, which has been transformed into an inspirational arts centre and gallery.  Every month CoolTan run the Largactyl Shuffle, a guided walk around London, that offers the chance to learn about the history of the city and mental health.   I am looking forward to working with them later this year, on some Christmas craft activities.

Alongside meeting lots of new people I have been exploring the capital and thought I would share some of the highlights of my visit.

Some interesting Architecture

Central St. Giles

This is a new development on Central St. Giles, not far from Covent garden Market.  I was tipped to visit this by my Dad, it is an unusual concept, designed by Renzo Piano, but I actually think the luminous colours work!?

Mile End Pavillion

This interesting structure is the Back of the Mile End art pavillion, which nestles underneath the hill.  Unfortunately the centre has not actually been open any time I have been past, but the building itself is worth a look.

Art Pavillion

Taking some time out, you would not think these images were from the ‘City’.

Heron white flowers

We found this beautiful creature at the side of th Serpentine after a lovely lunch at The Serpentine Bar and Kitchen.  I think the only thing that tells city birds apart from country birds, is how tame they are.

statue

This is Isis, a new sculpture in Hyde Park, a more urban bird, it is better from the other side (as you can see in the link below), but this was taken from across the river.

“Isis, by Simon Gudgeon, represents the Egyptian goddess of motherhood, who could take the form of a bird”

willow

I spent a lot of time with a friend of mine who works as a woodland educator, so I learnt a lot about the surrounding nature.  This is a Weeping Beech Tree in Victoria park, you can stand inside the branches, like a curtain.  The bumpy bit is because one tree would have been grafted onto another.

paints something we are working on…more to come later.

Whilst I was there I went to several different events.

Peter Pan

I was lucky to get free tickets to See Peter Pan at Kensington Gardens, it is worth going just to experience the 360 degree scenery.  I have to say it was an unusual twist on the traditional story, but the atmosphere was terrific.

Finally, but by no means least…Interesting 2009!

Interesting Sign

It was  my first experience of the conference and I would deffinately go again.  As well as learning a lot, hearing a lot of, well interesting things and meeting lots of lovely and important people, it was great to see such a sense of community spirit.  I don’t think I am alone in presuming there is a lack of community in big cities.  People came to visit from all over, all contributing tea, biscuits, cakes and their own mug.  At the end of the conference, before heading to the pub, everyone pitched in to help clean up.  I also went to a stitch and bitch meeting, people of all ages, getting together, having food and sharing a hobby.  The amount of events like this has been a lovely surprise and I think are definitely what’s needed to take time out from the inveitable hectic city lifestyle.

This was one of my favourite presentations all about Guerilla Gardening, (now thats my kind of London)

sunflowers

It has been lovely to spend more than a day or two in the City and actually have quite a normal lifestyle.  In keeping with the theme, I just thought this was quite interesting…

Van Gogh