Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallows Eve

October 31st

This is the beginning of the Celtic New Year. Samhain is Irish-Gaelic for 'the Summer's end', and is pronounced 'sow-in'.

This festival celebrates Nature's cycle of death and renewal, a time when the Celts acknowledged the beginning and ending of all things in life and nature. Samhain marked the end of harvest and the beginning of the New Celtic Year. The first month of the Celtic year was Samonios - ‘Seed Fall’.

It's the day that past memories meet the hopes of the future. It is a time to plant the seeds of new projects, allowing them to germinate over the winter months.

It is also considered the time to end old projects and to generally take stock of one's life. Samhain allows you to come to terms with your past year and leave all mistakes and regrets behind you, in order to move on.

Look forward to what the future holds.Use the magic of this time to say good-bye to a bad habit or addiction, an old relationship, or anything else negative in your life - Samhain is the night to leave it all behind.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Book review ... sort of

In Search Of Adam by Caroline Smailes.

Time I gave this a go ...

I haven't been able to put this into some neat words and phrases, with the odd joke thrown in. So this will be some random sketches.

This book has been like a stone in my shoe.

I knew it was coming, from Caroline's blog. I knew it would be very cool ... and very intense. Not the sort of book I like to read ("human kind cannot bear too much reality") but I was attracted by the way she uses typography to express herself and by the way she had put herself on the line for this book.

It's a helluva story. I could only read it in small chunks. I threw it across the room once ... and that was during the scene where Jude first met her teacher in school. I can deal with nasty, but nice breaks my heart.

On the typography ... I think it was sparingly used and all the more effective for it. I was a bit afraid it might be a bit too full-on ... which works well in a blog but not so much in a book. The book got it right.

The subject matter seems extreme (and the story is unrelenting) but in my experience it is all too common in one form or another. I try to avoid it ... I think we all do. Caroline exposes it. I guess that's the job of the artist.

Great line from the book (one of many) ... "his silence pisses on me".

I'm actually not saying all that I think and feel about this book ... and the responses to it I would really like to see ... because that would be giving too much of me away ... and all sorts of people read this. I know Caroline finds this to be a dilemma on her blog, too. Total honesty is a nice idea ... but after you!

There are lots of nice books out there ... but this isn't one of them.

But worth a read? Definitely. Just brace yourself for incoming if you do.

Monday, October 29, 2007


A car fell over this morning ... right outside my window. It tripped over a concrete bollard and ended up on its back.

Poor thing.

Police, fire engine, paramedic, ambulance, all the kings horses and all the kings men.

Seems no-one was hurt, but the car was looking decidedly sheepish ... lying there on its back like a tortoise, unable to get back on its feet ... err ... wheels.

I wanted to go and take photos to blog but it felt a bit ghoulish ... spent all day wishing I had though.

Ignominiously, it was picked up by a recovery vehicle, put on the back of the lorry ... still upside down ... and taken to the ... actually I don't know where it was taken to.

Which is a shame, because I would have gone to visit .. .taken grapes.

Kept me entertained for an hour or so though.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Like it ...

Check out this cool website by the artist / illustrator Rachel Biddulph

Thursday, October 25, 2007

suits you sir

I LOVE this quote / comment I came across:

One artist I know told me that if he had $100 to spend on promotion, he would buy a good suit.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Gun For Hire

The term free-lance has come down to us from medieval times when knights independent of any lord roamed the countryside in search of adventure. Today, a free-lance has come to mean a person who acts according to (his) principles and is not influenced by any group.

Free-lancers want the relative freedom and control of managing their own business without the responsibility of running a company. The free-lance has an even greater freedom in how they structure and use their time than the small business owner. Most businesses have to keep regular hours but free-lancers might start their day at 2.00pm and work late into the night, or they may work intensively on a project for 6 months and then take 6 months off.

As a free-lance you can take advantage of your natural rhythms and work at those times you feel most creative and have the most energy. You are running your schedule, your schedule is not running you.

As with time, so with space ... you are free to create.

Taken from Zen and the Art of Making a Living by Laurence G. Boldt

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Water, Water, Everywhere

I have this recurring dream. Been having it for years. I'm usually pretty good at interpreting dreams, but this one's got me stuck.

It's always about water. Whether the sea (usually) or a river, it's always flooding and threatening to engulf me. I often find myself (in a dream) beside a vast expanse of water, with no way through ... or a treacherous one if there is.

Stuck, threatened, about to be overwhelmed (though it never comes to that).


Ideas on a postcard, please, or in a comment, or an email (seriously).

And if any of you "Initiative" people read this, then give me what you get.

It's time I worked this one out.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A more sensible post

“I incorporate found paper and other objects in my paintings in order to bring the mundane into the sacred, the discarded into art. Using evocative textures and rich colors to create visual, tactile, and conceptual layers, I summon spiritual landscapes and inner spaces. My process consists primarily of letting my responses to both inner and outer stimuli emerge on the picture plane, a process of continual change and evolution as the original idea interacts with the reality of the emerging piece. My collage paintings invite viewers to linger in a state of meditation, discovering new layers and letting the image speak uniquely to them, my spirit to theirs.”

Angela Rockett Inner landscapes

I LOVE this Artist Statement. I just came across it ('cos I read Angela's blog), and it resonated with me because of what I’ve been thinking and doing this (these?) last few days.

I’m making jewellery. I know … I’m also working on a load of other things and I should be more focussed blah blah … but this has been in my mind for some time and I’m having fun doing it. So, nah.


I’m making jewellery out of paper that I’ve used as a palette or background, or for masking or whatever. The discarded bits and pieces. Splashes of colour; random marks, layers and textures of paint.

When I did my studio show entitled “Images of Earth and Spirit” I made a leaflet to give to people with a square cut out of the middle.


I made a leaflet with a square cut out of the middle to give to people.

(first one’s funnier)


The pictures I was showing were based on the idea of placing a template over a piece of nature so that it became almost abstract. Then trying to look closely INTO the energy, the power, the spirit within that little piece of nature. Then pulling back to set it into the bigger context.

Like our lives.

They may seem an abstract mess of colour, shape and texture when we look at them closely, but actually they have meaning and context if we could only see it (if only we could see it?).

(One girl went all round the place putting her template against things and looking at them. That was cool.)


I looked at my palettes, my pieces of discarded paper, my unsuccessful pieces, and I put a series of templates over them. Suddenly, there were beautiful fragments and sections, and whole new pieces which looked FAB! They could be made into pendants, brooches and badges.

Turning the discarded into art.

Like our lives.

Everything is redeemable.

And everyone.

(OK ... why am I so paranoid about my grammar?)

I should have stayed home

I heard a man talking loudly on his mobile phone. “It was hard. Really hard. I was hoping to do it in less than 2 hours but it took me 2 hours and one minute”

I shouldn’t have, but I smirked.

As I walked into Cardiff I knew something was up. People were wearing medals. And Baco Foil. One was dressed as a bee, many were in fat suits (OK … they weren’t suits … I was trying to be kind). It must be difficult to parade around Cardiff wearing a medal and trying to look nonchalant at the same time. Unless nonchalant is another word for smug.

It was a half-marathon. I’m guessing that’s a running thing and not as far as a marathon. Still sounds like a bloody long way though.

I have this theory that exercise is bad for you and health is vastly over-rated. And sport … let’s not even go there.

I felt totally out of place among all these people in shorts, numbers and a medal.
I even bought a bottle of Lucozade to try to fit in.

Trouble is. They were doing it for charity. Barnardo’s, Macmillans, etc. They weren’t sporting freaks at all … they were just out having a good time and raising cash. So any jokes I make seem cheap and hollow (not that I’ll let it stop me).

Especially when I remember that I can hardly walk to the bathroom without getting out of puff.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Come in 99 your time is up … or are you having trouble 66?

I mentioned some time ago that I was doing this 100 day ‘thing’. Well, it’s up tomorrow. Realistically, it was up last week, but I waited this past week to make sure.


It’s been a time of literally and metaphorically ‘setting out my stall’ … of getting things in shape and in place for the next stage of my life … of settling things in terms of who I am and what I do.

Practically speaking this means I have:

Set up the structure of a business : self-employed status, bank account, business cards etc.
Revamped my blog to show more of my ‘products’
Made up a ‘look-book’ of what I’ve done in the last year
Booked myself in to Craft Fairs every week between now and Christmas
Produced new craft products to sell
Produced a new portfolio of drawings
Made up numerous sketch books and journals.
Completed a few consultancy-type projects.
And possibly more that I can’t recall off hand.

The point is, I’ve moved myself too far in this direction of being a ‘working artist’ that I can’t go back. I now have to make it work well and make it pay.


More importantly.

I’ve re-orientated my SELF. So much changed in the last 2 years that it left me disorientated and confused … I didn’t know what to do with myself … I didn’t even know if there was a plot, let alone where it might be!

Now I’m working on the next 3 months.

I’ve got goals, but it’s not about them. I’ve got new working practices, but it’s not about them.

Things are a lot less certain now (it seems they always were). I have a 150 year plan, yet I don’t know if I’ll make it through to Christmas!

This about to lapse into bollocks if I try to explain myself, so I’ll leave it there. Let me finish by quoting The Proclaimers:

“My heart was broken, my heart was broken.
Sorrow Sorrow Sorrow Sorrow
My heart was broken, my heart was broken.
You saw it, you claimed it,
You touched it, You saved it.
My tears are drying, my tears are drying.
Your beauty and kindness
Made tears clear my blindness.
While I’m worth my room on this earth
I will be with you.
While the Chief puts sunshine on Leith
I’ll thank him for his work
And your birth
And my birth.”

Saturday, October 06, 2007

What an eventful evening.

I was sat sitting here watching “The Devil Wears Prada” (yes, again), when this massive, scary wasp-like thing (I think it was a wasp) flew in through the (open) window.

He was vicious looking … you know the sort … shaved head, piercings and tattoos on each leg spelling out LOVE and HATE. Hang on … that’s 8 legs, and that’s a spider. So I guess the tattoos spelled out LOV and HAT.

So, yeah. Anyway.

After buzzing me a few times and generally behaving with what can only be described as “an attitude”, I decided it’s time was up. I rolled up my copy of the Sunday Times Culture magazine and started flailing around like a mad thing. But he was too quick for me and I couldn’t get the height.

So I jumped up on the sofa bed and started to get some bounce going. If I bounced and swung my Sunday Times Culture magazine in perfect, co-ordinated harmony I could almost get it. It was positively balletic.

Until I bounced a little too far and lost my footing. That’s when I fell. Except my foot got caught in a throw. So I didn’t so much fall as … well … pivot.

I landed on my shoulder and banged my head. I think I might have cursed a little. But I didn’t cry.

And the little bugger’s still in here somewhere.

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