16 December 2012

Its Christmas time...

...and there's no need to be afraid - apparently.

The few weeks before Christmas I usually feel like I'm being chased by bears. This year is no different. Please don't think I'm being a humbug. As soon as the girls and lovely man are on holiday, I love it. And once all the work is done, I am as excited as the children. It is probably the dark days. Living in a village with no streetlights really doesn't help. At about 5ish the day is done. I can see why people in the higher latitudes turn to alcohol at midwinter. 

This year, like every other, I'm excited about a few decoration ideas. I cut out the green foliage with my paper robot and pimped my mirror with lights. The dear came from a craft sale at a friend's house. I suspect he'll be up all year.

I'm feeling brave putting this up here. My living room is quite strange. You could call it vintage but I think probably not. A combination of original 1968 carpet and wallpaper (which don't go together) and our inherited chintzy sofa and furniture. Not a place to hang out with a migraine! But, its got an open fire so that makes it okay by me.

I'm working on a mistletoe decoration. I might even get it finished before Christmas! Still got hopes for some sort of retail situation for my paper mobiles and other stuff still in my brainbox. Next year maybe...

Now I'm off to sip something by the fire.

11 December 2012

"Playing With Scissors" at Store Street

Point 35 is an exhibiton of smaller works at Store Street Gallery, London until 24 December. 

This piece is there along with some other of my things...

Playing with  Scissors

The show has been up for a little while but I've been so busy with other stuff I've neglected the poor blog!

19 November 2012

Playing with scissors

Well, I actually finished it fairly quickly!

Its going to the framer on Friday along with another one not started yet - I am on an over optimistic roll here!

Inspired by my fun with scissors, I made this. Eight pairs in various states of openness. It is quite long so not very practical.

I'll be selling them along with my other mobiles from this Saturday 24 Nov - 2 Dec at Wrington Arts Trail.

The venue is Glaisters, Church Walk, Wrington. My stuff is for sale in a gorgeous pop-up shop along other locally made things. You can also see beautiful paintings by Amy Shiner.

I'm off to get started on the other one now...

15 November 2012

Beginnings of some new stuff

Before I start I like to try a small section and maybe make a mistake or two. It helps me check that the scale is okay and is like a tiny warm up before I begin the proper one.

More of the little objects again. Clothes pegs...

... and scissors.

I'm on a mission to get these done quickly. Although I've said that before!

22 October 2012

Arts trail part 2 - new things

My latest things. Finished and framed.

Small appliance 1
This is one of two pieces using a single line/cable to draw a doillie.

And a companion piece for the first curtain... 

Indoors, looking out

...Together with the first one. I probably have one more of these left to do. 

I'm also working on some completely new things. The ideas come thick and fast but it all takes time...

21 October 2012

Arts trail part 1 - paper mobiles

I have been playing with my paper robot again .

This is a remake of the 1st complex cut paper thing I made. I blogged about it here. 

This is based on another thing I blogged about here

I made a few mobiles  to hang up along with my pictures for the Chew valley arts trail. It was an experiment to see if anyone might be interested in them. Surprisingly, I sold loads and still have orders to make! A good friend will be selling some other similar designs at a local craft market in December.

Sorry my pictures are ropey!

11 October 2012

Health and safety

I've just finished another curtain piece, so I thought I'd post a couple of work in progress pics.

I'm not sure how I managed to do the other ones without a mask. I make the holes in the paper with a soldering iron. The fumes aren't that bad but my head is about 8 inches from the paper. After a very short while on this, my nose was streaming an my eyelids were a bit crispy! I ran out and bought this mask.

The less enjoyable bit is picking out the all extraneous tiddly bits  which weld themselves to the paper. I do it in front of the telly. Its both painstaking and boring, but worth it to get to the moment when I can cut it away from the template.

Its framed and ready so will be on the Artwork page soon.

10 October 2012

My workspace

I thought I'd post something about my studio. Its the old dining room of my house. Our kitchen is big enough to eat in, so this room's mine. We got the house a year ago and the room looked like this - you can't tell from this crappy picture but it was mouldy, both the the brown walls and the brown carpet.

I moved all my clobber in and set to work amongst the mould and dust. Then one day Bill and I cleared it out and pulled the carpet up. Two weeks later it looked like this. I painted the lino pale blue so its a lot lighter in there now.

I'll happily admit to being into house porn. I buy Elle Deco monthly - its a lot cheaper than doing my house up! And I look at websites full of inspiring workspaces. Mostly very sparse with a carefully placed mid century/vintage nik-nak or two. Inspiring to look at but I wouldn't get much done in that sort of room. 

My space is no shrine to design. Its functional. And its not very tidy. The making process is very fiddly and precise but I tend to chuck paper around and rummage through drawers looking for stuff. I'm sitting here with 2 cupboards, 1 drawer and a toolbox open right now, and that bureau is never closed! 

Here is a work room that I could work in. Fleur Cowles was an artist, philanthropist, publisher of Flair Magazine, aircraft pilot, and a lot more. This is her study. I think she probably had someone else do the dusting!

My studio is open for the Chew Valley Arts Trail this weekend 13 - 14 October. 

Along with my framed pictures, I'm hoping to have some paper mobiles for sale like this red and yellow one in my studio picture and also some a bit like this based on my Womans Realm pictures.

Come along and see.

1 July 2012

Small appliance number 1 - blender

It took a long time to draw and longer to cut. For a while I've been dreaming of nothing but loops, but its done. It should look better when its in its frame. 

a doillie made with a single line
Back to the drawing board, more net curtains next...

24 June 2012

Desperate Artwives

I have my pictures in this show. It opens on 28th June - my birthday! Unfortunately I won't be there for wine and nibbles, which is a pity as I'd love to meet the other women in the show.

Come to the Private View!
I am really excited to be chosen for it. This is the second show put together by Amy Dignam. The first show was reviewed favourably by Jane Martinson in the Guardian - here. There are a lot of very talented women squeezing time from the daily grind to make artwork as you can see on the Desperate Artwives website.

Mothers of course, aren't alone in this tightrope walk of the daily grind v artistic practice. Its difficult for anyone, beyond Art School to carry on making stuff. Time, space and money are all necessary. Essentially, this show puts the spotlight on women with a family making art and it is timely. Surrounded by lifestyle and craft blogs, sometimes I feel it would be easier if I just knitted and made toys for my children. It would seem, that its very acceptable to be a creative mummy if it is directed toward your children. I say this as my children are playing outside, whilst their dad is in charge for the second day in a row. I've got a deadline for next week...

I feel guilty, yet at the same time I'm pleased that I'm trying to get my career off the ground, something that will hopefully benefit my family. But this is not yet a paying job and right now I know that I'm letting people down. The people who mean the most to me. Maybe that's the difference between the Desperate Artwives and the other Desperate Artists. The emotional pull you feel as a parent is a particular context in which to make art.

Cyril Connolly famously said, "There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall."

I disagree. I could have got my finger out before I had children, and I didn't. For me they're my biggest inspiration.

I would say that the rubber gloves under the sink are an altogether more sinister opponent...

17 June 2012

Small appliances, in progress

I'm working on some new things, involving electrical cables...

Rock, Paper, Scissors

I have 3 pieces of work in THIS exhibition at Store Street Gallery in London. They even put one in the window. Woo hoo!
Me with Su Blackwell

Here's my piece in the window, hanging out with one of Su Blackwell's book sculptures. Top Banana!

Also have had hints that my stuff may be in shows in September and December, plus some Art Fair fun in the autumn too.

19 March 2012

Motherboards and motherhood

I'm typing this on a Dell keyboard on a machine running Windows 2000 and I'm not especially pleased about it!

Yesterday, my Mac went pop and it won't reboot. I'm taking it to the hospital this week but strongly suspect that the motherboard is kaput. Without funds to purchase a shiny new one, I'm resigning myself to having 2 shit machines to do the job of one average one; an ancient G4 mac to make artwork and this for the internet.

I've also been having a bit of a crisis in my work lately, trying to get back to some artistic habitat I lived in before children. And hey, the G4 just took me straight back there! I replaced it whilst pregnant first time round so its free of bookmarks for mumsnet or excel spreadsheets referencing school stuff, etc. If I were overly optimistic (I'm not) I'd say its serendipitous!

The novelty will surely run out in about 15 minutes creating an incentive to sell some pictures and  get a new one. Until then I'll be mostly using a pen and pencil...

Gil Gerard, nice!

To donate to the cause of bringing me - Buck Rogers style - back into the 21st Century, look out for my Etsy shop opening soon!

For the musings of a desperate house husband neighbour with a keen interest in forest gardens and raising kids in the country check out Diary of A Country House Husband.

See, I'm not the only blogger in the village!

(I really hope this looks okay on a 'modern' browser. The whole thing could be in comic sans for all I know.)

15 January 2012

Béatrice Coron

I found Béatrice Coron last year whilst researching paper cutting. Her website is a hub for links to other artists. Prolific and poetic, but what looks at first whimsical, reveals a harder edge with a bit more scrutiny.

This is how she begins her TED lecture...

"I cut stories. So my process is very straightforward. I take a piece of paper, I visualize my story, sometimes I sketch, sometimes I don't. And as my image is already inside the paper, I just have to remove what's not from that story." 

You experience a sheet of paper as a surface on which to put a drawing or painting. Its the place that the work of art inhabits, a surface which must be added to to become more than itself.

By removing material piece by piece to reveal the work of art, the paper becomes a 3 dimensional thing. More than a surface, it is the artwork.

I describe my pictures as "things", not work or pieces.

She too, uses Tyvek paper, but she paints it black. Unlike many silhouettes, hers are "a wash of black", varying in density and depth.

3 January 2012

Splendid isolation

I'm back on Jan 2 after a break from the blog.  Since last time, we bought a house and moved to the countryside from the city. Big change for me, I'm too used to having cafes and shops on the doorstep. The main issue has been that I failed my driving test

...... twice.

So I'm here in splendid isolation until I can drive. Thank God the view is good.
There's an orchard across the road. Its owned by the community so we ate a lot of apples in the autumn - mostly in crumble! You can see Blagdon Lake beyond.

Its a gorgeous old house but its very cold! It needs some work, by which I mean new bathroom (haven't had a shower since August), insulation and the removal of carpets/curtains/wallpaper - oh and a dishwasher too!  It's going to take a long time, but after renting, and only hanging pictures where the hooks in the wall happen to be, it will be a pleasure! No fear of this turning into a "house blog" though!

I have found the blog a bit intimidating at the risk of just sharing the humdrum. And having not done any artwork since we moved in, I'm a bit stuck for what to say. So until I get my finger out, and make some new things, it'll be a bit random.

I've got a space to work now, so watch this space...